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Visitor's Guide to Brighton

Visitor's Guide to Brighton Brighton is undoubtedly a top destination for British sightseers, overseas visitors and businesspeople alike, as the city attracts eight million tourists, 310,000 foreigners and 200,000 delegates each year.

But once you arrive in the city, you will quickly realise why it is so popular and was voted in the top ten in the Observer’s Travel Award for Best UK City in 2000.

Brighton’s most famous tourist attraction is undoubtedly the Royal Pavilion, which attracts 350,000 visitors a year and was nominated "best history and heritage attraction in Britain" by Holiday Which magazine in 2003. With its Indian architecture and Oriental-style interior, this former home of George IV is one of the UK's most beautiful buildings.

One of the main reasons why people come to Brighton is to see its historic piers, one of which, Brighton Pier [map], is the UK's fourth most-visited leisure attraction.

And although the West Pier [map] is crumbling into the sea, the once magnificent Victorian structure is still worth a look, especially if you’re a keen historian, as it has an interesting story to tell.

Dubbed the' city-on-the-sea' by its fans, Brighton is also hugely popular with sun worshippers, who head to the beach every year in their thousands. Pebble collectors too should be happy; a city academic estimates there are around 100 billion pebbles on Brighton beach, which would take one man about 2,500 years to count!

Ever since the Prince Regent, later King George IV, came to party in Brighton at the beginning of the 19th century, the city has been known for its wonderful sense of fun. This in turn has helped to establish the city as the south coast’s premier destination for entertainment offering everything from clubbing and dance classes to museums and cinemas.

Among the most popular venues are the Brighton Dome Complex [map], which is home to three theatres, and the Brighton Centre [map], which plays host to party political conferences and major music events.

With more than 400 restaurants and cafés to choose from, Brighton is also a food lover’s paradise, offering a huge range of cuisines including Chinese, Mongolian, Mexican, Spanish, and Indonesian.

Shopping is also on the list of priorities for day-trippers to Brighton, as the city has an array of shops selling everything from designer gear to gadgets, and wacky shoes to souvenirs.

The most popular shopping districts are The Lanes, for its designer names, and North Laine, for its crazy independent stores, but there are also department stores and the Churchill Shopping Centre [map] in the city centre.

If you’re a die hard clubber then you’ll probably already know that DJ Fatboy Slim lives in Brighton with wife Zoe Ball, and that he does regular gigs in the city. But you’ll also be glad to here the city attracts plenty of other top DJs making the clubbing scene nothing short of spectacular, with dance, indie, pop, retro and garage playing every night of the week.

In recent times Brighton has also become famous for its gay scene, with more than 25,000 gay men and around 15,000 lesbians now living in the city.

The Kemptown district has also been affectionately renamed ‘Camptown’ by locals, as this is where the majority of gay bars, clubs, cafés and shops can be found.

So, whether you’re heading to Brighton for a day’s sightseeing, a weekend of partying or a summer holiday, one thing’s for sure, you shouldn't be disappointed by what’s on offer here.

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