Dan Johnson - 10 March 2023

Family adventures! Hidden things to see in Brighton

Famous for its pebbled beach, pier and funky art scene, Brighton is on most people's wish list for spring and summer weekends.

But if the weather's not playing ball or your kids get restless, there are plenty of hidden things to see in Brighton, especially if you take the kids on a treasure hunt of Brighton to spot cool stuff.

Brighton started life as a small Saxon village in the 5th century AD. It was originally called Beorthelm’s tun, which translates as Beorthelm’s farmstead, and the named evolved into Bristelmestune, Brichtelmeston, Brighthelmeston, with Brighton emerging in the early 19th century.

The town’s fortunes were in decline in the late 18th century, when a doctor named Richard Russell wrote a book that claimed bathing in seawater was good for a person’s health.

As a result, wealthy people flocked to the coast to cure their illnesses.

They included George, the Prince of Wales, who came to Brighton for the first time in 1783.

He loved Brighton and when he became the Prince Regent, ruling in place of his sick father, George built The Royal Pavilion, the magnificent beach front palace that you can still explore today.

Brighton's Royal Pavilion

There are loads of fascinating things to see around the Royal Pavilion, including Brighton Dome, which was first built as a stables and riding school for George, and was then converted into a concert hall.

Two giant gates welcome people into the Pavilion grounds, with the North Gate once the main entrance to the palace, and India Gate, at the opposite side of the grounds, a more recent addition.

If you wander through the Pavilion Gardens, you'll find a statue of a man with a big hat and baggy trousers. This is Max Miller, a comedian and variety performer who was one of Brighton's most famous residents.

Head out of the gardens and you'll see the Theatre Royal, which is one of the oldest and most distinguished theatres in the country. It's decorated with a giant Royal Crest, featuring a lion and unicorn.

There's another version of the Royal Crest around the corner, on the Chapel Royal on Prince's Place. Next door is Regent House, which has two large, ornate faces on the front. The man is George IV, and the lady is his Maria Fitzherbert, his longtime companion.

From here it's a short walk into The Lanes, Brighton's famous labyrinth of streets that are packed with quirky, specialist, independent shops and tiny cafes.

Be sure to look up as you wander through this twisting maze of roads as there are lots of ornate sculptures, funny faces and oddball sculptures above the shops.

On the other side of the Royal Pavilion is Gardner Street, another bustling thoroughfare lined with a fantastic array of shops.

There is loads to catch the eye here - see is you can spot the red-and-white-stockinged-legs kicking out from one entrance!

Brighton's Royal Pavilion

If you want to add some structure to your adventure, grab a copy of our Brighton Pavilion Treasure Map Trail, which sets families that challenge of finding 11 treasures in and around the Royal Pavilion.

We've themed it with a Robot Funfair to fire young imaginations, and it even comes with the Scouts Seal of Approval! 

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Scouts Seal of Approval

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