Discover an era of extravagance and decadence of Britain’s royalty when you visit the eye-catching Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England
India has long been an exotic and very distant destination for Europeans. It should not be surprising that there were efforts to bring some of the architecture and exoticism of India to the shores of the United Kingdom. One of the most unusual attractions in Britain is the Royal Pavilion.
One of the biggest attractions of the United Kingdom is the Royal Residences (and many of them are open for tours). Not far from the Royal Pavilion, you can also visit Windsor Castle, the most occupied royal palace in the world. Of course, the most famous royal residence is Buckingham Palace in London, where visitors flock to witness the iconic Changing of the Guard. However, the Royal Pavilion offers something different.
The Royal Pavilion is a unique Aladdin style attraction in the UK
The Royal Pavilion (also called the Brighton Pavilion) is a former royal residence in the stunning city of Brighton in southern England (which is also one of the most charming destinations to visit in the UK).
It was built in the Indo-Saracenic style that was common in India at the time. The unusual design of the building dates from 1815 when the domes and turrets were added by architect John Nash.
It is a well-known attraction in Brighton and attracts around 400,000 visitors each year.
Take the time to explore the building from the outside as well and wander through the Royal Pavilion Garden – this is the only fully restored Regency garden in the UK. You can take great pictures of the pavilion across the lake in front of it.
The decadent story of the royal pavilion
The story of the royal pavilion began in 1787 and was built in three stages. It was built to be a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales. He went on to become Prince Regent in 1811 and finally to King George IV in 1820. The pavilion did not remain as a royal retreat, in 1850 it was sold to the city of Brighton.
At that time, Brighton developed into a fashionable seaside resort town for the rich and famous as it was close to London. George, Prince of Wales rented a small residence (he was investigated by Parliament for extravagance in building Carlton House in London).
His doctors informed him that he would benefit from the treatments of Brighton’s climate and seawater.
There may have been several good reasons why the American Continentals of the Thirteen Colonies were at odds with the British Monarchy during this period. George gained a reputation as a vain and extravagant man with a passion for fashion, the good life and the arts.
He loved a decadent lifestyle of women, gambling and drinking. In 1787 the House of Representatives agreed to clear his debts and increase his income. He then set out to transform his lodgings in Brighton into a modest villa.
But later he massively decorated it with domes, pinnacles and minarets and with magnificent interiors. It was later inherited by Queen Victoria, but it was not really usable for the royal family.
She was very different from her aunt and adopted a policy of financial austerity when she visited Brighton. Eventually, she sold it to the city of Brighton. The furniture and decorations were stripped and taken to other royal houses.
Visiting the Royal Pavilion today
Today the Royal Pavilion is one of Brighton’s main attractions. It’s not every day you find an Aladdin-style British palace. The Royal Pavilion mixes Regency grandeur with Chinese-inspired interiors along with the Indo-Islamic exterior.
Highlights of the visit include seeing Queen Victoria’s bedroom featuring the original elegant 19th century Chinese export wallpaper that hung in the bedroom and has since been restored. Another major attraction includes the charmingly restored Regency Garden.
- April to September: 9:30 to 17:45
- October to March: 10:00 to 17:15
It is open most of the year, although it is closed in January.
- adult: 17 pounds
- Boy (age 5-18): £10.50
Commissions are good for free return visits for a full year from the date of issue. If one is visiting with a family, get a family ticket for £44.50 (good for two adults and two children).