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Culture Guide To Brighton

Culture in Brighton You only need to take a short stroll through the city centre streets to see that Brighton is bursting with creative splendour.

From theatres and concert halls to sculptures and art galleries, this city has a lot to offer those looking for a bit of Great British culture.

The city’s connection to the Royals is perhaps what first brought about the influx of artists, designers and performers, when the Prince Regent, later King George IV, made Brighton a trendy place to be.

So it seems very fitting that one of Britain’s finest displays of architecture is the King’s former Brighton home, the Royal Pavilion [map], with its Indian architecture and Oriental-style interior. Each room here is exquisitely decorated, but the cream of the crop is undoubtedly the Music Room, which has a ceiling made up of 26,000 scallop-shaped shells and is lit by nine lotus-shaped chandeliers.

Possibly just as famous as the palace are the city’s piers that attract a mixed crowd of followers, with entertainment lovers usually heading for Brighton Pier, while historians settle for the crumbling West Pier.

Open 364 days a year, Brighton Pier [map] has the biggest funfair on the south coast, a hugely popular fish and chip restaurant, plenty of amusement arcades and three bars.

The once magnificent Victorian-style West Pier [map], on the other hand, is now the poor relative that is falling apart due to years of neglect.

Before we delve into the array of museums, art galleries and music venues on offer here, let’s first just mention the other splendid – and perhaps strange – architecture that has helped Brighton become the leading tourist destination on the south coast.

For starters there is St Helen’s Church [map], which is the oldest building still in use in Brighton and Hove, dating back to the 11th century.

Located on the beach next to Brighton Pier is a mesmerising circular sculpture officially called The Big Green Bagel but known locally as the ‘Seasick Doughnut’. This unique sculpture was given to Brighton as a gift from the Mayor of Naples.

Another monument worth visiting is the magnificent Peace Statue on Kings Road, which was erected in 1912 to celebrate the reign of King Edward VII.

With such a huge array of art galleries and exhibition venues, it’s no wonder Brighton is a popular location for artists, sculptors and media types.

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery [map] is the city’s premier gallery, which has a number of innovative exhibits including fashion and style, 20th century art and design, and world art.

In nearby Hove you’ll find the Hove Museum and Gallery [map], which has a film gallery celebrating Hove's role in the birth of cinema, two craft galleries displaying the South East Arts Craft Collection and a paintings gallery featuring displays of fine art.

Back in Brighton city centre, Fabrica [map] is a contemporary art gallery that offers a hands-on experience, while most local artists hang out in the Arts Quarter, a series of small studios and shops under the King’s Road Arches where painters and sculptors sell their products.

Working hand in hand with the art galleries are the city’s museums, which uncover the history of Brighton, its industries and its lifestyle.

Among the most popular are the Booth Museum of Natural History [map], which exhibits of dinosaur bones and British birds, and the Brighton Toy and Model Museum [map], which displays aeroplanes, dolls and teddy bears, to name but a few.

There’s also plenty of theatrical entertainment in Brighton, what with the Theatre Royal [map] playing host to touring musicals, the Pavilion Theatre staging gritty dramas and the Ray Tindle Centre [map] putting on a selection of international dance performances.

Brighton is also regular haunt for clubbers with the likes of Fatboy Slim and other top DJs playing here most weekends.

You can also catch some of the best bands and solo artists at a number of venues, including the Brighton Centre [map] and Event II [map].

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