We visited the Royal Pavilion in Brighton earlier this year on a few days layover between Malta and Toronto (Brighton is a 50 minute train ride from Gatwick Airport, trains run several times an hour). It’s a pretty town by the sea with lots to offer; a decent, well priced hotel or 2 (our favourite is the Travelodge on West St), many vegan restaurants, a great marathon (it takes place in April and is the 2nd largest in the UK), an old fashioned pier and of course the Brighton Pavilion.

It’s a fascinating building when viewed from the outside – the Brighton Marathon will lead you right past it – and inside it’s stunning. No photography is allowed within the various rooms but the images that follow, which were supplied to us by (and copyrighted to) the Royal Pavilion & Museums, will give you an idea of the fairy-tale setting that awaits you.

We took the audio tour (fantastic and well recommended) and our visit lasted a little over 90 minutes. For those who want to linger there is a tearoom where refreshments can be had inside or on a balcony. There was an exhibition going on at the time of our visit that we thought excellently curated. I shan’t write much more as it’s enough to say that we loved our time there and recommend you make the Pavilion a priority in your schedule if you’re based in Brighton, London or anywhere nearby. It’s spectacular.

There’s also a very special new exhibition coming to the venue in September of 2019. Here’s some info supplied to us by the Pavilion staff which details more about the building and the exhibition.

“Exquisite items of art and furniture owned by George IV will return to the Royal Pavilion, Brighton & Hove for the first time in 170 years on 21 September 2019. Items lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection include majestic 15-foot high porcelain pagodas and the Kylin Clock, an extraordinary golden extravaganza featuring turquoise Chinese lions.

The Royal Collection loan of more than 124 unique decorative items will return to the Royal Pavilion while extensive building work is being carried out in the East Wing at Buckingham Palace.

All the items were originally commissioned or bought by the visionary Prince Regent, who later became George IV, who transformed a former lodging house into an extravagant, exotic palace inspired by a romantic vision of Chinese and Indian design. For the first time ever visitors will be able to see how these stunning items would have looked in their former home.

A collaborative venture between Royal Collection Trust and the Royal Pavilion & Museums this unique project lasting two years will show the Royal Pavilion as it looked before the items were moved to Buckingham Palace by Queen Victoria in 1847.

Keeper of the Royal Pavilion David Beevers said; “We are thrilled to have so many pieces which were commissioned by George IV for the Royal Pavilion to be on display here. They are beautiful items with a wonderful history linking them to the Pavilion. We are so grateful to Her Majesty the Queen for giving us this opportunity to display them in their original setting as they were nearly two hundred years ago.”

Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the Tourism, Development and Culture Committee of Brighton & Hove City Council said; “We are delighted to receive this generous loan from the Royal Collection. I’m sure many of our residents and visitors to the city will be keen to see these splendid pieces in the ideal setting of the Royal Pavilion.”

The Royal Pavilion, part of Brighton & Hove City Council, is considered George IV’s most exotic extravagance. He first visited Brighton when he was the Prince of Wales and was thrilled to be able to enjoy the delights of the town away from the formality of the royal court in London.

He soon commissioned Henry Holland and later the architect John Nash to transform his original humble lodging house into a palace fit for a prince, adding domes and minarets and furnishing the interior in the most lavish and opulent style.

He sent his most trusted courtiers to purchase beautiful wallpapers and ceramics imported from China and commissioned the designers Frederick Crace and Robert Jones to make his romantic and fantastical visions a reality. The Prince loved Asian and Chinese design and employed the most talented craftsmen to make items designed in the Chinoserie style which later became the height of fashion.

With his love of visual arts and fascination with the mythical orient, The Prince Regent set about lavishly furnishing and decorating his seaside home. He especially loved Chinese ceramics mounted in France and England with giltbronze mounts, Chinese export porcelain and furniture, and English and European furniture in exotic styles.

Many of these decorative ornaments and works of art were removed to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle by Queen Victoria in 1847 when it was thought the Royal Pavilion might be demolished. A lot were incorporated into the new spaces at the Palace, particularly the Chinese-themed interiors of the Centre Room, the Yellow Drawing Room and the Chinese Dining Room. Over the years some items of original Pavilion decoration have been returned by monarchs including George V and Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth II. Most of the items returning on loan from the Royal Collection have not been on public display for many years, having been in rooms at Buckingham Palace not on the visitor route but used by the Royal Family for charitable events.

George IV;s exquisite taste and opulent style can still be enjoyed in the spectacular palace visited by over 325,000 people every year. The loan of the Royal Collection items is expected to increase visitor numbers and add a new dimension to the experience of visiting the Royal Pavilion.”

Discover more about the Royal Pavilion and purchase tickets online here – https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion/