Brighton: the Royal Pavilion is free today

The Royal Pavilion is an exotic palace in the centre of Brighton built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, better known as the Prince Regent. It is a fantasy of a building  mixing the height of Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China as imagined by people who had never been there in the days before photography.

brighton-pavilionQueen Victoria never liked it. She complained that if you were going to have a palace in Brighton  you really should have a sea view and it offered her and her young family very little privacy. She had a point – it was built as a stage set, as a place to show off – and even though a good bowler could aim a stone at the beach with a good chance of hitting it, there’s not a glimpse of the channel from any of the many windows. Victoria pinched some of the good bits for Buckingham Palace and then sold it off., thankfully to the town of Brighton. To celebrate the purchase in 1850, admission charges are waived one day a year. And today is the day. It is open until 4.30pm

It’s a wet, grey Sunday – I can’t think of a better place to spend it. And children will love it.

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