brighton: sun, sea, pebbles and george IV


Brighton is the story of George IV (1762-1830), the king who liked to party, party AND party, and whose patronage subsequently, turned the once small fishing village into one of the most ‘happening’ places in the country.

As Prince of Wales, and later Prince Regent, his life revolved around lavish gatherings, heavy drinking and an indulgent lifestyle. The Royal Pavilion, his palace designed by John Nash in 1822, testifies to it. I stood in the music and dining rooms with my mouth open and had to blink once, twice, thrice.

A secret wedding at the age of 21 with the twice widowed Roman Catholic Maria Anne Fitzherbert, an unhappy marriage with his cousin Caroline of Brunswick whom he desperately wanted to divorce, but was unable to because he was royalty, several illegitimate children and a string of mistresses [the Royal Pavilion audio guide describes them as ‘Mistresses of the Moment’] constituted his personal life.

By the time he became king at the age of 58, he weighed 111 kg and his waist was 50 inches. He so loved to have a good time that his exorbitant lifestyle kept drowning him in debt which Parliament faithfully kept pulling him out of. Described as the ‘First Gentleman of England’ for his style and manners, he was, nevertheless, a fervent benefactor of the arts and pioneered many a fashion statement, such as the bare unwigged head!

But there is more to Brighton apart from dear George. Brighton is the gay capital of Britain. It also has the largest number of vegetarians and anarchists in the country and is the only place in the world with a beach made solely of pebbles.

White Regency houses snake through the streets whilst quaint pubs dot the historic Lanes. And when you go on a day when the sky is a glorious blue, it becomes one of the most attractive sea-side resorts as well, complete with a Victorian pier and colourful carousels. In other words, a day spent well. 🙂

There are apparently 614 billion pebbles on Brighton beach. It is actually very beautiful, also less messy than sand; for one, it does not get into your food!
The Cricketers pub immortalised by Graham Greene in his novel Brighton Rock is in the historic ‘Lanes’ quarter
Brighton has some of the country’s most dazzling architecture: Regency houses, The Grand—the iconic Victorian hotel by the seaside which was bombed by the IRA during one of Margaret Thatcher’s visits …
… and the Royal Pavilion (1822). Indian on the outside with its minarets, and Chinese on the inside, its inner rooms are some of the most opulent in this world. Seeing is believing 🙂
St. Nicholas Church [founded in 1091 AD], mother-church of Brighton, is dedicated to St. Nicholas the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, children, pawnbrokers and Russia


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