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5 things you didn't know about Brighton

2 minute read

Did you know there are secret tunnels under the Royal Pavilion, and that Brighton is home to the UK’s oldest cinema? Here are five things you didn’t know about Brighton.

Sunny days on the Brighton Palace Pier, a stroll through the Lanes, and the spectacular Brighton Pavilion. That’s what usually comes to mind when you think of things to do in Brighton, but did you know it’s also where you find the country’s oldest cinema? Here are five curious facts about Brighton you probably didn’t know.

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1. George IV made Brighton popular

The city used to be a quiet fishing village called Brighthelmstone. George IV, however, made it a popular seaside resort in the early 1800s. He brought his entourage along with him to his summer retreat, and before you knew it, Brighton had become the most popular resort among London’s aristocracy. It was even nicknamed "London by the sea" in the 1800s.

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2. The Royal Pavilion used to be a war hospital

You may know George IV built the impressive Royal Pavilion as his summer house, but did you know it’s also been used as a war hospital? During WWI it was used for wounded Indian soldiers, and later on for British troops who had lost arms or legs in the war.

a person riding a skateboard down the side of a ramp

3. Secret underground tunnels

Did you know George IV constructed hidden tunnels underneath the Pavilion, that are still there to this day? His popularity had plummeted, and obesity had made his self-esteem low, so the tunnels allowed him to go from the Pavilion to his horses in the stables, without anyone seeing.

a group of people standing in front of a building

4. Home of the UK’s oldest cinema

You may know of the Theatre Royal in Brighton, but have you come across the Duke of York's Picture House? It’s a hidden gem for cinema lovers, but most importantly, it’s the UK's oldest cinema, founded back in 1910.

Fish swimming

5. The oldest aquarium in the world

Perhaps you knew that SEA LIFE Brighton is the UK's oldest aquarium, but were you aware it’s also the world's oldest? It opened in 1872, making it the world’s oldest aquarium still in operation. And not only has it seen fish of all kinds, there even used to be a music venue in the 60s, that saw The Who play every Wednesday.

Once the rules allow day-trips to Brighton again with Southern, not only will you have ideas of what to do, but you can also show off your knowledge to your friends, proving you haven’t just binge-watched tv series during lockdown.



Remember to follow the latest government guidelines on travelling.

Images: iStockphoto; Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove; Hassocks5489 Creative Commons