With over eight million tourists each year, including 310,000 foreigners and 200,000 delegates, Brighton is certainly one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations. The city was selected among the top 10 in the Observer’s Travel Awards for Best UK City in 2000.
Aside from the sheer enormity of the numbers, Brighton’s tourist traffic is noteworthy because it represents such a diverse array of different people, including foreign tourists and businessmen, British sightseers, families and couples as well as a lot of UK business folk.
Once you visit the city, it doesn’t take long before you realize why it is such a popular tourist spot, especially once you cast your eyes upon the Royal Pavilion, Brighton’s most famous tourist attraction, with a whopping 350,000 visitors a year stepping through its historic doors. Built in the 19th century, the Royal Pavilion is a magnificent building that has strong ties to royalty. It was once the home of King George IV and a favourite seaside retreat of the Prince Regent. Usually called the Brighton Pavilion, this historic structure was nominated by Holiday magazine as “best history and heritage attraction in Britain” in 2003.
The West Pier, built by Eugenius Birch in 1866, has been in a steady state of decline since 1975, but is still worth a visit. This once marvellous Victorian structure was Brighton’s second pier in addition to the Royal Suspension Chain Pier which was built in 1823. Brighton’s West Pier earns the distinction of being one of only Grade 1 listed piers in the UK. The other is the Clevedon Pier in the town of Clevedon.
Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Brighton to bask on the beach and soak in the warm rays of the sun. These sun worshippers always seem to have a good time as do the pebble collectors who roam around the beach and its surroundings, searching for pebbles of unique shapes, colors and sizes. One Brighton academic estimated, with over 100 billion pebbles in the city, it would take a single man over 2,500 years to count them all.
There are numerous bars, restaurants and clubs that line the pebble beach, but the most popular attractions are certainly the amusement arcades. These arcades are always brimming with life and have helped Brighton gain a reputation as the “London by the sea.” Coincidentally, Brighton is also one of the closest tourist beaches to London.