Main Attractions of Brighton
By: Susan Ashby
There are so many great places to see in Brighton that tourists will never run out of places to visit. Spending an entire day or two touring all those fascinating venues may not be enough. Here are some of the main attractions that you should not miss.
(1) The Royal Pavilion
This is certainly Brighton’s most popular attraction and one of the premier royal palaces in Europe. It’s no surprise why the Royal Pavilion was hailed as the tourist attraction of the year in 1995. Every year, thousands of tourists lay their eyes on the Royal Pavilion for the first time and can only stare at it in awe. Once the home of George IV, the Royal Pavilion truly is one of the most beautiful buildings in the UK.
All the rooms of the Royal Pavilion are decorated with exquisite designs that befit royalty. The Music Room is the jewel in the crown. There are nine impressive lotus-shaped chandeliers that hang from that ceiling. The ceiling itself is a masterpiece made out of 26,000 scallop-shaped shells.
(2) The Arundel Castle
The Arundel Castle is another of the great historical buildings in the south. Located at the small but lovely town of Arundel, the Arundel Castle is a fabulous stately manor whose rich history has links to both Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry VIII.
The Earl of Arundel erected the castle during the latter part of the 11th century. It now contains a magnificent collection of furniture from the 16th century as well as artworks by Van Dyck and Gainsborough. There are also a restaurant and a gift shop on the premises.
(3) The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower at central Brighton, located between Queens Road and West Street, is another famous landmark that has historic links to royalty. The Clock Tower was built in 1888 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Visitors to the Clock Tower often marvel at the exquisite portraits within, depicting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, their son Edward VII and his wife.
(4) The Brighton Churches
Brighton is home to many churches and religious buildings as well as one of Europe’s premier synagogues.
The upper-class Lanes district is home to the Brighton and Hove Jewish Congregation, a spectacular structure with a Romanesque facade with round arched windows. The interior of the church is dazzling and includes artworks elevated on marble columns and depicting Old Testament stories. The Brighton and Hove Jewish Congregation was built in 1874 based on a design by local architect Thomas Lainson.
Constructed in the 11th century, St Helen’s Church on Hangleton Way in Hove is Brighton’s oldest building that is still being used. Its huge walls feature ancient religious paintings. The churchyard is noteworthy for its interesting headstones, including that of the parents of actress Dame Flora Robson.
St. Peter’s Church in York Place, the parish church of Brighton, is another magnificent religious structure. The church represents one of the UK’s earliest Gothic Revival churches. Its tower is mesmerizing and its interiors impressive. The building was constructed from 1824 to 1828 based on a design of Sir Charles Barry, who would later gain great fame for designing the Houses of Parliament.
(5) The Brighton Piers
The so-called City on the Sea has two famous piers: Brighton Pier and West Pier. Both of them have experienced contrasting fates.
Brighton Pier is as popular as ever and serves as a year-round entertainment venue boasting of the biggest funfair on the south coast. It has a wide array of amusement arcades, three bars and a very famous fish and chip restaurant. Brighton Pier is open 364 days a year.
Although an essential part of Brighton’s history, the West Pier has been closed to the public since 1975. This once elegant Victorian structure is literally falling apart and continues to fight for survival against nature’s harsh elements. The West Pier has been accorded Grade I status as a historically listed building, reflecting its innate importance to English history and heritage.
(6) Brighton’s Statues and Monuments
Right beside Brighton Pier is a large and controversial round sculpture that the locals fondly refer to as the Seasick Doughnut. Officially known as The Big Green Bagel, this unique statue was a gift of the Mayor of Naples to Brighton. The city’s residents are split in their regard for the sculpture: they either love it or hate it. The one sure thing about it is that such a unique sculpture just can’t be missed.
On the other hand, the locals unanimously hold a high regard for the Peace Statue on Kings Road, on the Brighton and Hove boundary. The statue depicts an angel holding an olive branch and an orb. Although it was created in 1912 to honor King Edward VII’s reign, it has become a well-loved symbol of peace among local residents.
Brighton’s two other famous landmarks are Devil’s Dyke and the Body Shop International headquarters.
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