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About Brighton

Beachuts and Skyline
© Matthew Shostak

Famous Brighton and its neighbour Hove, is situated on the south coast, surrounded by the rolling landscape of the South Downs, 50 miles south of London.

Brighton's history can be traced back to before Norman times and was formerly known as Brighthelmstone. Primarily a small fishing village and haven for smuggling, Brighton became popular as a resort when it's frequent visitor, the flamboyant Prince of Wales "Prinny", acquired a farmhouse here in 1786. In line with his extravagant lifestyle, the farmhouse was redeveloped extensively to become the Marine Pavilion. The rebuilding of the farmhouse was by the Neo Classical architect Henry Holland. The interior was decorated in the Chinese style, much the vogue throughout Europe. A circular stable in the Indian style was added. Becoming Prince Regent in 1811 (later George IV), he commissioned John Nash to further develop the building, which was finished in 1822. The result was an Indian style palace with a wildly oriental interior, extravagant as the Prince himself. These buildings are now known as the Royal Pavilion and The Dome. The Royal Pavilion is famous throughout the world and has to be one of the most extraordinary creations in England, if not Europe. The Royal Pavilion along with The Palace and West Piers are the most prominent landmarks of Brighton.

Modern Brighton is a seaside resort attracting visitors from all over the world. There are the two piers, the Palace Pier and the West Pier. The Palace Pier has amusement arcades galore, restaurants, bars and a fun fair. The West Pier has been closed for some years after falling into decay and suffering storm damage. The seafront has amusement arcades, cafes, food stalls and souvenir shops. To the west of the Palace Pier, Kings Road Arches are host to numerous pubs, street artists, buskers, and local artists and at night becomes a magnet for clubbers. Above the Arches is Kings Road where most of the large hotels are found, also numerous pubs and eating-places.

To the east of the Palace Pier is Madeira Drive, where the famous London to Brighton Car (Old Crocks) Race ends. Madeira Drive is home to the Brighton Speed Trials and many rallies, exhibitions and events take place there. There is the Volks Electric Railway which travels along the length of Madeira Drive, passing by amusement arcades and fun fairs along the way. Further on lies the Brighton Marina with its many boats. The Marina Village has shops, boat chandlers, restaurants, pubs, cinemas, bowling alley and exhibitions throughout the year. The Marina has become very popular with anglers that come from far and wide to fish off the "arms".

For shopping, Brighton is second to none. The newly developed Churchill Square is a modern undercover mall and together with Western Road, boasts all the famous high street names. In between the main shops, the many side streets have eating places and pubs. One of the streets off Western Road is Preston Street, known locally as "the street of a thousand restaurants". All manner of choice is catered for.

Heading towards the Old Steine from the Clock Tower is North Street, where there are more shops and some of the larger banks, again there are numerous sandwich shops and eating-places. Heading towards the seafront takes you into the world famous "Lanes". The "Lanes", with its narrow old-fashioned cobbled alleys, abounds with antique shops and jewellers. Many restaurants and pubs are found here and at night becomes a regular spot for those enjoying a night out before going on to one of the many night-clubs. The Old Steine has a large fountain and gardens.

The opposite way takes you to the North Laine area. Described as the bohemian area and mainly pedestrianised, the North Laine area has shops of all kinds, mainly the smaller specialised shops selling arts and crafts to antiques, from second hand books to cheese and musical instruments to haircuts. There are also many, many food shops and pubs catering for all ethnic tastes, with the many food places and pubs serving food and drink 'le terrasse', giving the area a unique atmosphere.

At night, the centre of Brighton is alive with people out for the night. Whether you are a pubber, eater, clubber, stroller or window shopper, there is always something to do. There are many late license pubs and night-clubs open until the early hours. Afterwards there are the all night cafés to visit for a coffee before going home.

The Racecourse, situated on the Racehill, has regular meetings throughout the year and is also home to the giant bank holiday markets.

All phone numbers are prefixed (01273) unless otherwise stated.

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