R is for Royal Pavilion

Published June 27, 2013

There were a range of options available to me for the R stop on my Alphabet Adventure, but when I realised it coincided with a trip I was taking to Brighton, it seemed to make sense that I visited the Royal Pavilion. To make things slightly more interesting, my parents were joining me for the visit too, so I got to enjoy the wonders of the pavilion with company.

The Royal Pavilion was built by King George IV as something of a play home, showing off and trying to outdo everyone else in terms of style and decoration. There’s an odd visual straight away because the outside is very Indian in style, whilst the inside is all the reds, blacks, bamboos and dragons of China.

Royal Pavilion

Royal Pavilion entrance

The Pavilion is unfortunately one of those locations that doesn’t allow photography inside the building, but once inside, it was easy to see that wouldn’t be a problem. The rooms are so dark and cluttered and dingy, that it’s hard to think of a good photograph you could actually take. There is an audio tour that guides you around each room, although both my mum and I struggled with the unintuitive handsets and kept pressing the wrong buttons at the wrong time.

So, we wandered from room to room, listening, chatting, gazing around. I was a bit disappointed at how closed off everything felt. There was a section about halfway through which demonstrated the damage that millions of visitors could have on wallpaper and furniture and the like. I can understand the need for presentation, but it was such a hands off experience that it was quite hard to totally engage with it.

Some of the rooms were better than others (in terms of taste), I was astounded at how busy everything was/is. In some of the more decadent rooms there is just no single block of colour to give your brain a break. Busy wallpapers, patterns, a myriad of colours, glittering chandeliers and gold-leaf on everything. It made me long for a plain white wall!

I found the kitchen interesting, particularly the horrendously large menu, as well as the King’s bedroom with the secret doors. I also enjoyed the music room with its acres of space. There were snakes curling around the curtains in that room though, so I went off it pretty sharpish.

Anyway, as I couldn’t take any pictures inside, I opted for a couple of postcards from the gift shop.

Royal Pavilion postcard

Overall, it was an interesting experience but not one I would particularly recommend. The rooms inside are not to everyone’s taste (my mum’s impression after two rooms: “Dark and dingy… and horrible!”), and they are pretty intense. As mentioned, the preservation of history takes far more precedence than the enjoyment of it, so you may as well just look at the postcards rather than pay the entrance fee.

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