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History & Heritage

History & Heritage

Once a small fishing village called Brighthelmston, Brighton has gone through many changes over the centuries to be transformed into the modern town that we know and love today. The town is overflowing with historical landmarks and significant sights, from gorgeous gardens perfect for whiling away a summer afternoon to all sorts of museums. Here are our favourite heritage and history sights in the fair city of Brighton…
 
A stunning and unique building in the centre of Brighton, Brighton Pavilion and Gardens was built as a pleasure palace for King George IV. The building was sold to the town of Brighton by his niece Queen Victoria in 1850. Within a year of the sale, the palace had been redecorated and opened to then public, and is now considered a truly iconic Brighton landmark. Explore the opulent and stylish rooms and take a turn around the fashionable Regency gardens to enjoy a taste of royal life.
 
While you’re at the Royal Pavilion, hunt down the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery which is tucked away in the gardens. The museum was opened in 1861 and today hosts a selection of exhibitions around art and history. If that’s not your bag, Brighton has many other interesting museums to choose from! The Booth Museum of Natural History is home to a beautiful collection of birds, butterflies, fossils and more while Brighton Fishing Museum explores the town's heritage as a fishing community. The Fishing Museum contains hundreds of pictures and artifacts as well as a 27 foot traditional Sussex fishing boat! Brighton Toy and Model Museum is housed in four of the early Victorian arches under Brighton Railway Station. It is packed with thousands of unique and historic toys, from puppets to Meccano. Meanwhile, Hove Museum and Art Gallery boasts one of the finest craft collections in the UK and is just a short walk from the beach!
 
If you’re happy to head a bit further afield, take a trip to the historic house of Charleston. Just a half-hour drive from Brighton in the Sussex countryside, this seventeenth century farmhouse was home and meeting-point for the famous 'Bloomsbury set' of writers, artists, philosophers and intellectuals. The house hosts regular events, talks and workshops including two literary festivals each year. Other nearby stately homes and historic houses well worth a visit include Preston Manor, Anne of Cleves House in Lewes and St Mary’s House and Gardens.
 
Finally, no visit to Brighton would be complete without a walk along the seafront. While taking a stroll, you’ll see some brilliant examples of Regency architecture including many wonderful 'Crescents' of grand houses by architects Amon and Amon Henry Wilds and Charles Busby. 

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