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Brighton City Guide

Ever since the Prince Regent first visited in 1783, Brighton & Hove has been England’s most exciting seaside city, and today it’s as vibrant, eccentric and cosmopolitan as ever. If you’ve never visited, you too will fall for Brighton & Hove’s rich cultural mix – Regency architecture, pleasure pier, specialist shops, pavement cafés, lively arts and of course the exotic Royal Pavilion. Everything’s in walking distance, so take time to explore and enjoy what the city has to offer.

The seafront is always popular – stroll along the beachfront, enjoy the sea air, have a drink in one of the cafés and watch local artists and crafts people create original souvenirs to remind you of your visit. Visit the award-winning Fishing Museum and become a kid again at the Sea Life Centre. Traditional and modern seaside fun can be had on Brighton Pier with its full-size funfair, candyfloss stalls and arcade games. Catch the Volks – the world’s first public electric railway – along the seafront to Brighton Marina admiring the elegant seafront squares as you go.

A visit to the Royal Pavilion, with its Indian exterior and Chinese style interior, is not to be missed. Originally the seaside palace of the Prince Regent – later George IV, this amazing building has been restored to its full splendour and is open all year round. Get a fascinating insight into the development of Regency Brighton & Hove’s urban lifestyle at the Regency Town House in Brunswick Square. Home to England’s largest arts festival every May Brighton & Hove has a lively arts scene all year round. Enjoy pre-West End productions at the beautiful red-and-gold Theatre Royal, concerts at the magnificent Dome theatre and international artists at the Brighton Centre. For a more intimate experience, try the Komedia, the Concorde Club or one of Brighton’s many thriving small theatres. Don’t miss Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, with its famous collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and Ethnography, Archaeology and Fashion galleries, as well as paintings and special exhibitions. At Hove Museum there are collections of delightful 20th century paintings and stylish contemporary crafts. And Brighton has many small studios, galleries and workshops too, showing the work of local and international artists and crafts people. Explore The Lanes, with its narrow, paved streets full of shops selling antiques, jewellery, hats, designer clothes and much more. Visit the North Laine, Brighton’s Bohemian Quarter, with quirky and unusual shops selling everything from bonsai trees to vegetarian shoes and its Saturday street market. For all the best high street names try East Street, North Street, Western Road and the Churchill Square Shopping Centre. Upper North Street has a range of antique shops. And don’t forget Hove and Kemp Town for antiques and bric-a-brac.

Brighton Marina offers factory outlet shopping with top quality goods at discount prices. Chinese, Goan, Indian, Italian, Lebanese, Tex-Mex – you can sample food from all over the world in Brighton and Hove’s 400 cafés and restaurants. Foodie areas are The Lanes, Church Street in Hove, Seven Dials and Kemp Town. Relax in the pubs, clubs, bars and cafés, or choose from jazz, soul, R&B, funk, house, gay, salsa, 60s, 70s, and 80s. There’s live music and big-name DJs too. See a blockbuster film at the multi-screen cinemas, or an art-house film at the Duke of York’s. For the healthy alternative try windsurfing or rollerblading along the seafront, hang-gliding from the dramatic Devil’s Dyke, golf overlooking the sea or volleyball at Yellowave. Spectator sports include county cricket and greyhound racing in Hove and horse-racing at Brighton Racecourse. There’s plenty to see and do for kids – visits to the Sea Life Centre, the Booth Museum of Natural History and the Brighton Toy and Model Museum. Enjoy funfair rides on the Pier, swimming at the Prince Regent plus a year-round programme of events for the whole family. Brighton & Hove is a great base for exploring the beautiful Sussex countryside – cream teas and castles, English Wines and windmills, there’s something for everyone. From the picturesque little villages of Alfriston, Lindfield and Petworth, and the famous gardens of Leonardslee, Nyman’s and Borde Hill, to the historic houses of Great Dixter, Parham and Standen, and much more, there’s so much to see and do.

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