Things to do in Brighton
Eddison Wells is privileged to have an office in Brighton. As as Brighton Mortgage Broker we value the opportunity to pop down to the beach after a day in work to soak up the sun. Renowned, iconic and ever trendy, Brighton attracts visitors for scores of assorted reasons. The main attractions are the grandiose and whimsical Brighton Pavillion, the historic Palace Pier and Brighton Beach. The whole town is a visitor's delight, from the splendid sunny seafront to the old town known as "The Lanes", to the futuristic BA i360 observation tower.
That Regency feel: the town itself
Ever since the Prince Regent expressed a desire to have a house in Brighton in 1783, the town gradually began to develop and expand, giving rise to some of the finest examples of Regency architecture, much of which has been faithfully preserved. This rich expanse of graceful and majestic buildings proudly exhibiting their gothic/classic/quasi-oriental mix of influences are an engaging characteristic of Brighton, giving the very air of the town a rare historic quality: you feel you could bump into the Prince himself as you stroll down Marine Parade.
The Royal Pavilion
The Prince Regent was enchanted with Brighton and wanted a residence in the town. A suitable building was located and restructuring/re-decorating/remodelling work began in 1786. It was a long business: architect John Nash finally finished the job, following the Prince's fanciful instructions, in 1823. The Prince, as George IV, happily took up residence there, as did his successor, William IV. Queen Victoria, however, was not amused; she considered Brighton somewhat intrusive, so she sold it and made her summer home the Isle of Wight. The town of Brighton purchased the Pavilion in 1850 and it slowly grew into an exciting tourist attraction. The extraordinary Indian/Saracen facade exerts a strong fascination and the richness of the interior dazzles visitors. It is unparalleled, one-of-a-kind; it is Brighton's star attraction, not to be missed.
Brighton Palace Pier
The "Brighton Marine Palace and Pier" opened in 1899 and it still has that turn-of-the-century feel to it, with its wooden decking and intricate wrought-iron decorative railings. The pier is all shiny summer white and the vintage-style brightly coloured stripey deckchairs make a vivid contrast. Another contrasting feature is the modern family-fun amusement park at the end of the pier, which replaced the old theatre. It is in complete disparity with the fin-de-siecle ambiance of the old pier: Brighton Pier gives the best of both worlds! Amusements include various ultra-modern thrill rides, and also traditional seaside attractions, such as the classic carousel, great for the kiddies.
Pebbles galore! The 614,600,000-odd, smooth, round pebbles are the characteristic, endearing, bothersome, loved and hated feature of ever popular Brighton Beach. The pebbles are part of Brighton's high-calibre character, successfully transforming discomfort into a special attraction. The sea itself is clean and blue and is especially inviting on a hot summer day for swimming, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. The backdrop to the beach is a series of Victorian arches (recently restored) which hold up the lovely seafront promenade above them and provide a variety of bars, restaurants and commercial spaces offering anything from ice-cream to art to fashion.
The Lanes: shopping and history
The narrow, picturesque Brighton Lanes were part of the original settlement, a fishing village, before the Regency era that symbolises Brighton. Their completion dates from 1792, and they are still the commercial heart of town with a grand variety of shops, both vintage and modern. Antique shops, jewellers and boutiques are the main menu here, whereas the nearby bohemian quarter of North Laine offers ethnic and quirky in sundry varieties. Here you can find vintage fashion, African drums, vegetarian shoes(!), and you can admire an entertaining panorama of street art, including Banksy.
The avant-garde side of Brighton is represented by the futuristic British Airways i360 observation tower. The tower was inaugurated in August 2016; standing 162m high, it is the world's tallest vertical cable car. The project was designed and carried out by the same team that created the London Eye and the i360 offers a similar experience to the Lonon Eye: the glorious view unwinds before your eyes as you go higher. Another unprecedented feature of i360 is the ample viewing pod that can accommodate up to 200 people. In the pod, you can walk around freely whilst viewing an incredible panorama that, on a clear day, stretches as far as the Isle of Wight, 79km away. Bonus point: the elegant Sky Bar is actually on board the pod. There are also various facilities at the foot of the tower including a bar, restaurant, tea room and an exhibition about the record-setting BA i360.
Brighton's West Pier is actually a derelict tangle of iron piping in the sea. Yet its curious construction and location have made it the most photographed icon in Brighton. This eerie scaffolding emerging from the waters is an important part of the Brighton seafront panorama, a constant reminder of bygone days when it was a shining example of Victorian seaside architecture. The finely decorated and elegant pier opened in 1866; over the years some additions were made (widening, windshields) and a large concert hall was built in 1916. It was a popular location until its closure for security reasons in 1975. Then, in 2003, it caught fire, reducing it to the curious skeleton we see today. The i360 was built on the site of the land end of the pier, in some way to replace it. Rumour has it that the pier could, someday, rise from its ashes and be restored to its former splendour.
Sea Life Brighton
A great family experience is a visit to Sea Life at the land end of Palace Pier. It is the oldest operating aquarium in the world and is still housed in its original Victorian high-vaulted building. The aquarium was built in 1872 and has accommodated numerous weird and wonderful sea creatures over the years. It is now home to 3,500 sea animals: sharks, turtles, giant crabs, seahorses and myriads of rare or tropical fish. It is also possible to take a ride in a glass-bottomed boat to get a diverse eye-view of our underwater friends.