Brighton: Summer Vacation at the Beach This Jubilee Year

Britain’s favorite seaside destination often needs a little introduction. Brighton’s maze of country lanes, quaint pubs, eccentric cafes, shopping area with over 300 shops and a huge variety of year-round events make the city a beautiful destination for the summer. Whether you stay in a caravan or even in one of the holiday cottages in Wales, Brighton’s close neighbor, you are sure to have a lovely summer holiday.

The promenade is usually crowded with runners, roller skaters, dog-walkers, and strollers out to enjoy the summer sun in an azure sky. After lunching at the seafront restaurant Due South, vacationers can take a stroll around the Artists’ Quarter where more than 20 different shops sell jewelry and ceramics.

This summer the newest attraction is the Brighton Wheel, which takes passengers for three full rotations in one of its 36 glass pods. One of the south coast’s leading family attractions, the Sea Life Brighton Aquarium, is reopening its doors this summer after closing for renovations in October 2011. A new major exhibition is also opening at the Royal Pavilion.

The regal seafront crescents, elegant squares and breathtaking Regency architecture hint at the grandeur of Brighton’s past, when a chance visit by the then Prince of Wales set the façade of Brighton as we know it today.

When his fascination with the Orient inspired him, he commissioned architect John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion and transformed a plain, nondescript into a whimsical seaside palace. The fairy tale-like onion domes and over-the-top home furnishings make it a top visitor attraction ever year, but it is especially fitting that this Jubilee year will exhibit a special display dedicated to the life of George IV’s daughter, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales.

Princess Charlotte was only 21 when she died in childbirth and the outpouring of grief from the public is still remembered today. The exhibition will be housed in the Royal Pavilion’s new Prince Regent Gallery until March 2013.

The exquisite personal effects on display, including some on loan from the Royal Collection, are Charlotte’s musical notebook, paraphernalia intended for the baby, and a silver-and-white evening dress. A portrait on loan from the National Portrait Gallery shows the Princess, pregnant, and with yellow roses entwined in her hair.

“If Charlotte had lived it would’ve changed the course of British history,” says David Beevers, keeper of the Royal Pavilion. “She would have inherited the throne and Victoria would never have been Queen.” He also says that many of Charlotte’s happiest memories were spent at the palace, which makes it the perfect place to bring her story to the public eye. “The exhibition will highlight a fascinating story during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year and enable people to learn more about the royals who stayed here.”

The landscaped gardens in the Royal Pavilion house the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, which used to be the Prince’s stables. Nowadays, you can learn more about the city’s fabled history and admire the extensive art collection, including works by Constable and Turner.

Crossing the gardens takes you to a different kind of art, the Theatre Royal Brighton. Opening with a performance of Hamlet in June 1806, the theatre has been witness to some awe-inspiring performances, by actors such as Peggy Ashcroft, Marlene Dietrich, John Gielgud, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and more recently, Sir Ian McKellen and Simon Callow. They even offer backstage tours to learn about the detailed mechanical stage traps and the secret tunnel underneath the stage.

The Red Room of English’s seafood restaurant has been owned by the Leigh-Jones family since 1945. With echoes of Edwardian era dressings, the house provides another essential Brighton experience. Located in three fisherman’s cottages on the cusp of the Lanes, English’s is decorated with crisp tablecloths and old-fashioned service. The after-work crowd huddles around the oyster bar to dine on scrumptious buttery skate, langoustines and lobster with a crisp, dry Chablis. And in a city that is famous for its coast, this is a fish feast to remember.

Written by the Marketing Department for Los Angeles car accident lawyer, Paul E. Lee.

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