As a palace it is pretty poky

Royal Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion is a Western idea of an exotic place. It’s been compared to a Moorish palace, an Indian temple, and the Kremlin. For a royal palace, though, it’s pretty poky. If you look at the front of the building, you can see the original 3-bay Georgian farmhouse. It’s basically a two-storey house with twiddly bits.

The gardens are based on original plans by John Nash. However, the prince ran out of money, so the plans were never implemented till a few years ago. Instead, Great East Street, as the road to London was called, ran across right in front of the Pavilion.

There’s a lovely open-air café in the gardens. This was originally a seaside refreshment booth, moved here during the Second World War, when the seafront was out of bounds. The same family still runs the café. You can sit out under the trees, look at the Pavilion, and listen to someone playing an oboe or a saxophone.

Comments about this page

  • To view our many photographs of the Royal Pavilion and Gardens through the years, visit the photo gallery on our website:

    By David Sewell (04/12/2007)
  • I think this was part of the reason Queen Victoria sold it to Brighton Corporation – not big enough for her large family, the gardens not large enough to offer the privacy she required. However worth pointing out that at the time it was in use as a royal palace, the Pavilion was considerably larger than it now appears – as much as a third of it was demolished after Queen Victoria sold the building to Brighton Corporation in the 1850s. The kitchen and servants areas stretched all the way to North Street. Perhaps at the time these sections were seen as being of least interest and not of historical or architectural importance.

    By Lottie Queen (02/01/2010)

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