The Brighton Pavilion, called the Royal Pavilion, is the main attraction of the city and is a historical landmark that is both beautiful and exotic. Unlike other architecture from the period, the Royal Pavilion does not adhere to the typical styles that you would expect. Instead, this Pavilion has an Indian architecture seen with gothic elements mixed in.
History of Brighton Pavilion
The Prince of Wales had the Pavilion built in 1787 with an Indo-Saracenic style that is both exotic and unique. The existing building would eventually be enhanced with many additions taking place over the years. In 1787, the building would first be transformed into what it is known as today.
Originally, the building had only 3 main rooms, but during its 1787 – 1823 redesign/construction, further rooms were added and the style was changed into its current state.
Brighton Pavilion, after the death of George IV, would eventually be sold to the town in 1850. During World War I, the Pavilion would be transformed to a hospital, which lasted from 1914 – 1916. After the sale of the Pavilion in 1850, the Royal Pavilion has become one of the most visited attractions in the city with over 400 thousands people visiting every year.
Guests are allowed to visit the Pavilion all throughout the year, but during the months of July and August, it is closed unless a booking is made.
The current opening hours are:
- 10am – 5:15pm October – March
- 9:30am – 5:45pm April – September
The attraction is closed during major holidays.
Entering into this architectural masterpiece is like stepping back into history. Much of the furniture found within the walls have been donated by the Queen, which adds to the ambiance and makes the Brighton Pavilion truly authentic.
There are tours available, but if you come alone, you will be happy to know that there is an audio tour that will inform you of the building’s history as well as some of the sights that you will see. When you visit, you will want to drop by all of the most prominent rooms, which include the following:
- Music Room: The Music Room is especially beautiful and is where George IV would entertain guests from around the wall. From the chandeliers to the painted dragons on the wall, the room is beautiful from one end to the other. The room was recently restored in 1975 and 1987 when a fire damaged the room and a storm caused the ceiling to need repairs. Since, restorations have brought the room back to its original appeal.
- The Banquet Room: Royalty at its finest. The banquet room is a beautiful display of centerpieces, dragons, lighting and original lamp shades. During its prime, the room would see over 70 different dishes spread across its large table on just one night. You will also be able to see the Regency silver gilt that is a very rare sight.
- Great Kitchen: Unusual for its period, the great kitchen is located near the banquet room and is where all of the dishes would be prepared. The kitchen is somewhat of a marvel as it included the very latest technological innovations of the time.
- Royal Bedrooms: Unfortunately, the royal bedrooms have changed over the years, in particular the bathrooms which were demolished in some instances. You will be able to see the original bed that belonged to King George IV, the king’s apartments and Queen Victoria’s apartments. This is a rare look into how royalty spent their nights.
- Reception Rooms: Large entrance halls are seem within the Brighton Pavilion and would be where George IV would receive guests. The décor features furnishings and Chinese art. The Long Hall is the great hall that linked all of the major rooms together.
The Brighton Pavilion is the one attraction that you must see. Spending a whole day in the Pavilion is recommended or at least 4 – 5 hours. The tours will keep you thoroughly entertained. It is recommended to not eat prior to your visit as the dining rooms are open and allow you to sit and eat where royalty once did. Tea, small lunches and delicious cakes are offered on the upper floor.
The entire ground floor is handicap accessible.