My Favorite English Palace: Brighton!

     Brighton was the city that helped make my decision to go back to England. I had read a few articles and was sold on this adorable seaside town. Give me a beach and I am happy any day. Include a famous pier and a quirky castle and I am booking my tickets stat!
     Luckily Brighton is not that far from London. It took me about an hour to get there. The city is quite small and easy enough to walk. I love cities where I don’t have to worry about public transport and can do everything by foot. How can you really get a feel for a place when your being shuffled around?
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     It happened to be a little rainy that day. Every so often it would drizzle and it was mostly overcast but there is something about the exploration of a new city that makes the weather easier to handle. If I was home I would be less likely to venture out and I certainly would not be walking anywhere. Although I had two specific destinations in mind I wanted to wander as much as possible.
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 Brighton is a huge summer destination for people who live in London. Tons of people spend the warm months on the rocky shores of this town. Maybe that is why the cafe culture is so prominent. As I walked towards my destination I saw tons of coffee shops boasting different blends and free wifi. Having been partly inspired to come by reading this article by Young Adventuress.
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     I love a beach town. I live on a island and I am always surrounded by water and I love it. However my favorite part of Brighton was definitely Brighton Palace. It is by far the most unique palace I have ever been to. From the outside it looks like a Mogul Indian Palace. With its high rounded columns it is reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, on a smaller scale of course. Once I saw it I knew I was in for a treat. I excitedly bought a ticket inside.
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     It was built in the late 1800’s by King George IV. Son to crazy King George III, it is no wonder he was such a weird guy. He built the palace so he would have a place to party and retreat to since he had little interest in politics. He loved women, parties and food. He would throw dinner parties that would last until the wee hours of the morning serving 12 course dinners.
     George was also well traveled. He enjoyed exotic destinations and built this place to mirror that. The interior is completely Asian styled. From pagoda shaped entrances to bamboo railings there is nothing this place lacks in excess. My favorite thing in the whole building is a the dining room chandelier. We were not allowed to take any pictures while inside and it was the first time I ever wanted to break that rule so bad.
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 A 12 foot long silver dragon painted with jade looked like it was coming out of giant leaves that were made to look 3D. Hanging from the large dragon where 4 smaller silver dragons. It was stunning. I stood in that room for about 15 minutes just staring at it.
An interesting fact about the palace is that it was the first one decorated by an interior designer. Usually the architect not only built it but designed and decorated it. Not for King George. He wanted the best and apparently started a trend that still exists today.

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When I finally emerged from the palace it was still gray out and I wanted to wander around the gardens. The weather did not stop the lawn from being filled with people. It was a weekday but there were still loads of people enjoying ice cream while lounging on a blanket or playing frisbee.
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The gardens were by no means as large as Versailles or Fountianbleu but were charming. It is easier to appreciate them. Versailles is overwhelmingly large. I barely covered half of the gardens before I was exhausted and ran out of time. At Brighton I was able to walk around and appreciate the full view.
Afterwards it was a short walk to the famous pier and the neighboring giant Ferris wheel. Brighton Pier has existed since the turn of the century. Once a place of grandeur it now looks of faded beauty. You can see why it would have had such a huge draw in the early 20th century. When it was brand new, it was also novel. There was nothing else like it around. Carnival games, almost a full amusement park on the pier and tons of food vendors.
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Now it is a bit tacky. The faded white facade and worn out looking rides give it a nostalgic feel. Tons of fish and chip shops line the boardwalk with little souvenir places in between. It did not matter to me that it was worn out and tacky looking. There was still something about it.

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I wondered for a few more hours enjoying a meal on the pier before I boarded a train back to London.
Have you been to Brighton? What was your favorite part?

 

 

 

 

 

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