You’d be forgiven for thinking the Taj Mahal was actually located in the centre of Brighton. In fact, it’s The Royal Pavilion, a stunning display of architecture that has become one of Brighton’s most iconic buildings. Built in 1787, it was designed as a seaside retreat for Prince Regent (later King George IV).
In the early 19th century, George IV and architect John Nash transformed The Royal Pavilion from its modest structure into most of what we see today. The Indian style of The Royal Pavilion was a diversion from the mainstream tastes of the times. They furnished the rooms with flamboyant art, exquisite furniture and plenty of decorative pieces inspired by his love of China. With interiors just as grand as the exterior, inside you'll find the most extravagant chinoiserie styles in Britain.
The rooms on display reflect George IV’s love of entertaining and impressing guests. Lit by nine opulent chandeliers, the music room features flying dragons and a gilded, domed ceiling. The banqueting room still looks set for a magnificent lengthy feast, and visitors can even see the gallery used as an Indian Military Hospital during World War I. The Royal Stables built next door in the same style, previously had an underground passageway leading directly to the ground floor of the main building.
Now it houses Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and The Dome Concert Hall, a popular venue for musical performances. The Royal Pavilion is in a central location, close to the shops and restaurants that make up the heart of Brighton. Because of this, it has become the perfect backdrop to a variety of events including weddings and functions. The Pavilion also hosts many of its own events, including White Night; the Moroccan Meze Experience, where guests can indulge in a three-course meal set in the extravagant Banqueting Room; and even hosts its own ice rinks during the winter.
A trip to Brighton wouldn’t be complete without visiting the stunning Royal Pavilion to see how the royals lived out their oriental fantasy. The controversial, but undeniably fascinating, building has a colourful history and a unique character that has made it as much a landmark for Brighton as the city's pier or quirky lanes. The Royal Pavilion has truly stood the test of time, still surprising and inspiring visitors from all around the world.