Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion

For the first time since the 1970s the Royal Pavilion in Brighton has been decorated for Christmas. Read on for a peek inside.

In another first they will be offering two evening tours where a guide will take you through rooms lit by (modern) candlelight and roaring fires. The tour will lead you through the Christmas bedecked rooms and share fascinating insights into the Pavilion along the way. There will also be an opportunity to take photos in the music room, which is not normally permitted.

The night I went along to see the Pavilion transformed by soft light, our guide Darren Terry told us it was a chance to experience more closely what it would have been like to have been a guest of the Prince Regent in the early 1800s.

Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion, photo by modern bric a brac

We headed through to the long corridor where tall Chinese figurines I had not paid much attention to before came back to life when we were told that their heads would have nodded for the delight of the guests.

The salmon pink background of the bamboo wallpaper had been designed to represent dusk and to welcome us the fires in this room had been lit for our visit.

The Prince Regent had taken a great interest in every aspect of his pleasure palace to the point where he had made sure he could attend the installation of the Pavilion's central rotunda during its construction.

Once complete he had entered into the theatricality of the setting and would appear at the top of the stairs in a puff of smoke for the entertainment of his guests.

Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion, photo by modern bric a brac

We were beckoned forward and taken into the last room the guests would have seen on an evening's entertainment, the marvellously ostentatious Music Room, now replete with eight Christmas trees.

It is impossible to compete with the colours and design explosion that this room presents so it seems appropriate that the team headed by Hannah Marshall-Quinn chose to take the room's three most prominent colours as their inspiration for the tree decorations.

Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion, photo by modern bric a brac

Incidentally, the tradition of Christmas trees, commonly thought to have started with Victoria and Albert actually began with the Prince Regent's mother Queen Charlotte.

Originally the tradition in Germany had been to decorate a branch of a yew tree, Queen Charlotte brought this tradition to England and one Christmas decided to decorate a whole yew tree instead and the tradition grew from there.

Our next visit was to the Prince Regent's private rooms where we found a tree decorated with paper stars made by Royal Pavilion visitors. Each star was made from book pages from writers the Prince Regent had in his library, The Bible, Shakespeare and Austen and in combination with the gold decorations, they really suited the fabulous surroundings.

Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion, photo by modern bric a brac

Returning to the main corridor we followed our guide up the stairs to Queen Victoria's suite where two pretty little trees had been dressed with lights and named Victoria and Albert. The trees had been designed to complement the trees on the wallpaper while overhead we could hear a little British bird tweeting. Under the tree presents waited to be opened and on the other side of her dressing table was Queen Victoria's bed complete with its six mattresses.

On our way we had passed an upstairs corridor where pretty crockery loaned from Preston Manor had been laid out for breakfast and in the centre of the table were a pile of unopened presents. The wrapping paper impressively matched the wallpaper in the room and I found out you can actually buy this wrapping paper plus wrapping paper to match the wallpaper in every room in the Palace in the Pavilion shop. Love this!

Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion, photo by modern bric a brac

Back downstairs we reached the most impressive room of all, the dining room. The table was set with golden cups and frosted fruit and everywhere glass and gold glittered. For guests of the Prince Regent a meal would last five to six hours and might include the novelty of a jelly that would continue to wobble (via a clever Georgian device).

Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion, photo by modern bric a brac

Our tour ended with Darren taking us into the kitchen where we found out some interesting facts about this most maligned Prince (I must say with good reason) that slightly redeemed his reputation.

The Prince knew all the names of his staff and both the upper and lower servants would be treated to a Christmas meal, as well as providing meals for Brighton's poor.

It was such a treat to visit the Royal Pavilion after dark and listen to stories that brought the rooms back to life, it really did feel as if the Palace was waking up for another jolly party.

Christmas Days Out - What's On at Brighton Pavilion, photo by modern bric a brac

There are loads of great events happening over the Christmas period at the Royal Pavilion. From weekend workshops and storytelling for the kids and a free day when everyone can visit the Pavilion free of charge plus evening tours for a magical experience. For more details see dates and links below.

Storytelling and Decoration making - Weekends 3/4, 10/11 and 18/19 December:

- Storytelling in the Music Room 12-4pm (on the hour, lasting 25 minutes). Free with admission

- Make your own tree decorations, 12-4pm. Free with admission, drop-in

Evening Tour - Thursdays 1 and 15 December, 5.15-7.15pm 

(£35 per guest, members £30, book in advance), Royal Pavilion

A special opportunity to experience the festivity of the Royal Pavilion after hours. Led by expert guides, the tour takes you through the magnificent State Apartments, specially decorated for Christmas, and ends with a glass of sparkling wine in the Great Kitchen, a copy of the Official Souvenir Guidebook and a 20% discount in the Royal Pavilion Shop.
*Group tours available by arrangement, minimum 25 guests.*

FREE ACCESS to Brighton Museum - Saturday 3 December

From December Brighton Museum will hold a ‘free day’ each month, to enable all visitors to access the museum and its activities free of charge. This month admission will be free on Saturday 3 December, in tandem with Brighton Dome, for a Christmas open day of family-friendly activities.

With thanks to Brighton Museums for inviting me to a complimentary tour of the Royal Pavilion. My love of everything Georgian, truly my own.

Best wishes

Sarah xx

Sarah Agnew
Blogger, Modern Bric a Brac

To find out about the best places to eat in Brighton and London plus beautiful places to visit, click here to Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Blogger Template Created by pipdig