The Royal Brighton Pavilion
The Brighton Pavilion is rather an amazing place with a history of different careers.
It began life as an eighteenth century lodging house. An Architect called Henry Holland helped George, the Prince of Wales, to turn this seaside retreat into a neo-classical villa. It was called the Marine Pavilion.
And in 1815, George enlisted the hired skill architect John Nash to redesign the building in the Indian style. The work was finished in 1823 – and by that time George was King. Since then, it has been used as a hospital in the First World War, and today it's visited by thousands of visitors every year.
So what can you see at the Royal Brighton Pavilion?
There's a lot to explore and gaze at, as the decor fuses Regency grandeur with Indian and Chinese style. There's an enormous array of furniture and works of art, too, and these include pieces lent by Her Majesty The Queen.
King George IV adored music, and his own band entertained guests with Handel or Italian opera in the Music Room. The room has history of its own: the composer Rossini performed there in 1823, whilst in 1975, the room was badly damaged by fire. Having been fully restored, in the storm of October 1987 the terrible weather dislodged a heavy stone ball through the ceiling – newly restored – onto the new carpet.
The magnificent Banqueting Room at the Royal Brighton Pavilion
The Banqueting Room is magnificent, and you can just imagine George IV dining with his guests. A banquet held to honour the Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia in 1817 had a menu including 36 main dishes and 32 side dishes– you can just imagine the washing up that was needed!
The Great Kitchen was innovative for its day. For a start, it was close to the Banqueting Room, and actually George IV often showed his guests round it. It had the latest steam heating technology, a constant supply of water and a ventilation and lighting system of 12 high windows.
The Reception Rooms include the Long Gallery, which linked the main state rooms. There’s also the Banqueting Rom Gallery, a sort of retiring room for after dinner, where the King’s guests would play cards, drink and talk. The Music Room Gallery was used for small concerns and recitals and occasionally for dancing.
From December 1914 to February 1916, the Royal Pavilion was used as a hospital from troops from the Indian Corps who had been wounded on the Western Front in France and Flanders. There are paintings, archive photographs, film footage and accounts.
There’s still more to see, such as the Prince Regent Gallery and the garden and estate - which all sounds quite exhausting so why not combine a visit with a cream tea (perhaps a sparkling cream tea) or a shared board with cheese for two at the Wine Cellar, five minutes from the Pavilion? Explore the Pavilion, and then you can head to The Wine Cellar, a five minute walk from the Brighton Pavillion.
You could also combine a visit to the Royal Brighton Pavilion with a trip up the British Airways i360 and an Afternoon Tea at the Hilton Brighton Metropole for Two for £115.00!