Sights and attractions in Brighton
You’ll often find Brighton in festival gear, and we’re not just talking about the crusties.
Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe are the UK’s biggest arts festivals outside of Edinburgh, The Great Escape is Europe’s leading new music showcase, and twice a year Artists Open Houses sees local artists throw 200 of their homes and studios open to snoopers.
Turning every day of the year, Brighton Wheel is the city’s attempt to ‘do a London Eye’ (but with a rather incongruous commentary by Alan Partridge creator and Brighton resident Steve Coogan). 2016 will bring another divisive addition to the skyline in the form of the 162m, £46.2-million i360 observation tower.
For a more retro seafront experience, visit the Mechanical Memories Museum’s penny arcade, then take theVolks (the world’s oldest operating electric railway) out to Brighton Marina. This stretch of promenade, Madeira Drive, also throbs with vintage engines during the famous Brighton Speed Trials and Mods & Rockers-themed Brighton Burn-Up – visit www.brightonrun.co.uk for a calendar of all the races, serious and silly, that draw tourists to Madeira Drive.
Photo ops don’t come more essential than King George IV’s pleasure palace the Royal Pavilion. A sort of pocket Taj Mahal built for orgies rather than love, it’s the wonderfully preposterous glacé cherry on Brighton’s architectural cake. The looping gardens offer a rest-point for shoppers emerging between two confusingly named mazes of independent shops – the North Laine and more upmarket The Lanes, where you’ll also find the unique church-turned-art installation gallery Fabrica.
One more ‘oldest’ superlative: arthouse haven Duke Of York’s Picturehouse is the UK’s longest-running cinema. It also provides the best visual emblem for Brighton’s slight fantasy feel: out of its roof protrudes a 20-foot pair of can-can dancer’s legs.