There are a couple of “must-dos” whenever I go back to UK, Camden Market and / or Brighton – if I can do both so much the better but often it’s not the case. This time round, I went to Brighton and would recommend this to all that have never been.
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove (formed from the previous towns of Brighton, Hove, Portslade and several other villages) in East Sussex on the south coast of Great Britain. For administrative purposes, Brighton and Hove is not part of the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex, but remains part of the ceremonial county of East Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex.
The ancient settlement of Brighthelmstone dates from before Domesday Book (1086), but it emerged as a health resort featuring sea bathing during the 18th century and became a destination for day-trippers from London after the arrival of the railway in 1841. Modern Brighton forms part of the Brighton / Worthing / Littlehampton conurbation stretching along the coast, with a population of around 480,000.
The city is blessed with more than a fair share of visiting and resident colourful & eclectic characters and is home to many “arty” types. Throughout the year this is one of the most vibrant UK cities you’re ever likely to visit and has some amazing restaurants and bars.
The Royal Pavilion is a former royal palace built as a home for the Prince Regent during the early 19th century, under the direction of the architect John Nash. It was built in three campaigns, beginning in 1787 and is often referred to as the Brighton Pavilion. It is built in the Indo-Saracenic style prevalent in India for most of the 19th century, with the most extravagant chinoiserie Oriental interiors ever executed in the British Isles.
The purchase of the Royal Pavilion from Queen Victoria marked the beginnings of the site’s tourism dominance through the Royal Pavilion’s transition from a private residence to a public attraction under civic ownership.
Brighton Marine Palace and Pier opened in 1899. It features a funfair, restaurants and arcade halls. It is generally known as the Palace Pier for short, but has been informally renamed Brighton Pier since 2000 by its owners, the Noble Organisation, in an attempt to suggest that it is Brighton’s only pier. The West Pier was its rival but was closed in 1975 and was subsequently severely damaged by fires and storms, with the remaining iron structure being partially demolished in 2010.
The West Pier was built in 1866 and has been closed since 1975 awaiting renovation. The West Pier is one of only two Grade I listed piers in the United Kingdom, but suffered two fires in 2003. Plans for a new landmark, the i360, a 183 m (600 ft) observation tower designed by London Eye architects Marks Barfield, were announced in June 2006. Plans were approved by the council in October 2006. Development work has yet to happen!
Volk’s Electric Railway (VER) is the oldest operating electric railway in the world. It is a narrow gauge railway that runs along a length of the seafront. It was built by Magnus Volk, the first section being completed in August 1883.
Today the line runs between terminal stations at Aquarium (a short distance from the Palace Pier) and Black Rock (at Black Rock, not far from Brighton Marina), with an intermediate station and depot at Paston Place. The line has a gauge of 2 ft 8 1/2 in (825 mm), It is electrified at 110 V DC using a third rail, and is just under 1 1/4 miles (2 km) long.
Operated as a historical seafront tourist attraction, the railway does not usually run during the winter months, and its service is also occasionally liable to suspension due to severe weather or maintenance issues.
The seafront has bars, restaurants, nightclubs and amusement arcades, principally between the piers. Being less than an hour from London by train has made the city a popular destination. Brighton beach has a nudist area (south of the easterly part of Kemptown). Brighton’s beach, which is a shingle beach up to the mean low tide mark, has been awarded a blue flag.
So what else to say? Well, lots actually – I could go on forever as there’s so much more to Brighton than you’d ever think so, why not make a visit!
…that is of course AFTER you’ve come to visit me in Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata 🙂
Martyn Thompson – Landscape Photography
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