We travelled to that Icon on the South coast known as Brighton, where visitors can rollup their trousers and paddle in the sea, have a fish and chips lunch, and then visit a building where previous Monarchs took their lady friends – the Royal Pavilion, an exotic palace with a colourful history. Built as a seaside pleasure palace, this historic house mixes Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China.
The Pavilion started as a modest 18th century lodging house. but George, Prince of Wales, transformed his humble seaside retreat by hiring John Nash, to redesign the building in the Indian style. The work was completed in 1823 by which time George had become King.
George was a cultured and well-educated man, enthusiastic about the visual arts, music and architecture. He loved chinoiserie –It is these flamboyant, artistic tastes, combined with George 4th’s desire to impress, that are evident throughout the Royal Pavilion. George enjoyed entertaining and surrounded himself with courtiers and fashionable society guests. At the Royal Pavilion, he hosted gastronomic feasts in the Banqueting Room, and balls and concerts in the Music Room.
There were other rooms to see –the Grand Kitchen, the Royal Ballroom, Saloons and Reception Rooms, and the Prince Regent Gallery. The two guides in the Pavilion were very good in explaining the reasons for the architecture, the parties and behaviour of the King and the extraordinary actions of Queen Victoria, in removing and replacing much of the furniture and decorations.
But before and after the Tours, there was a wealth of other attractions to completely occupy our time – the Brighton Pier, the Aquarium, the Brighton Wheel, the Promenade, the Lanes for antiques, jewellery and dining, the Old Police Cell Museum, the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Madeira Drive and plenty of restaurants (specially fish), or even look at the construction of the i360 vertical cablecar 450 ft high now being built close to the pier. But the majority of Members seemed to migrate to the Lanes shopping at some stage, and chance meetings were frequent.
As extra value, we were in the front row for an episode of Police Interceptors when a drunken man was arrested near the pier.
We were lucky with the weather, although cloudy, it stayed dry. Feedback was that everybody really enjoyed their ‘traditional British Day Out at the Seaside’.