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The Royal Pavilion

Built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV, in stages between 1787 and 1823, the Royal Pavilion is remarkable for its exotic oriental appearance both inside and out. This magnificent royal pleasure palace was revered by fashionable Regency society and is still a distinctive landmark for vibrant Brighton & Hove today. The Royal Pavilion is also home to some of the finest collections and examples of the chinoiserie style in Britain.

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Royal Pavilion Red Flowers



In the early 1980s, when the idea was first aired of re-creating John Nash’s original landscape setting around the Royal Pavilion, Regency gardening as a style was still being actively explored.Its various origins, the Picturesque movement, the cult of all things oriental, the rediscovery of the role of flowers around the house and the vast influx of new species, were all familiar and well documented in literature, but nowhere had these strands been analysed and pulled together to illustrate a coherent, practical method of gardening which could assist in restoration.

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Royal Pavilion Restoration 1984

In retrospect it seems entirely appropriate that Mavis Batey should have had such a long-standing and indispensable role in the making of Brighton Pavilion’s gardens. Her enthusiasm, supported by Marion Waller (then deputy director), helped to persuade the Pavilion’s director that a re-created Regency landscape would be the ideal setting for the building, itself about to undergo the most intensive restoration of its life.Although at the outset there was no strong archival support for Nash’s layout having been carried out, and regrettably no archaeological investigations made, the inclusion of a comprehensive garden layout in Nash’s volume, “Views of the Royal Pavilion” (1826) indicated what he had in mind and hence the form of the garden’s re-creation.

Mavis and Marion together went on to produce the literary and horticultural quotations and descriptions, the prints and drawings of Regency gardens in England and abroad and the nursery lists and catalogues, all of which went to form the archival basis for the re-creation.

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Royal Pavilion 1984

Mavis has since collated and made available her researches not only through the Society’s invaluable Regency Information File, but to a wider public in her splendid addition to the Shire series, “Regency Gardens.” So comprehensive yet eminently readable is this that it is adopted as prescribed reading for the following commentary on the more practical and particular aspects of the re-creation of the Pavilion’s gardens!

You can find out more on the history here.


The Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation is a registered charity. They raise funds to support the Royal Pavilion & Museums. These five fabulous venues bring a world of luxury, scandal, beauty and pleasure to Brighton & Hove. Help protect their unique culture heritage and provide a future for art, culture and history in the South East. ​

​Step inside the Royal Pavilion and be amazed. Created by the Prince Regent, the Royal Pavilion challenges the boundaries of art and culture. Brilliant, extravagant, eccentric and fun, this historic royal palace is magical and magnificent.​

The Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation is a registered charity. They raise funds to support the Royal Pavilion & Museums. They want to conserve this unique part of their cultural heritage so that it continues to inspire, enrich and illuminate our culture.​

They rely on their supporters to help safeguard their future. Through membership, donations and gifts they raise funds to:​​

  • purchase important works of art​

  • conserve and protect the Royal Pavilion

  • support learning and education programmes​

  • bring the very best art and culture to Brighton & Hove

The Chapel Royal


​​The Foundation Stone of the Chapel Royal was laid by the Prince Regent in 1793 and the building was opened for worship in 1795, during August. It was intended as a Chapel of Ease to St Nicholas, the old Parish Church, which could not accommodate Brighton’s enlarged summer population – a consequence of the Prince Regent’s patronage of the town.

For this reason the Chapel Royal was only open from June to September in its early years, but following an Act of Parliament legalising it as a Chapel of Ease, the building was consecrated on August 16th 1803. Although frequented by Regency Society, the Prince himself stopped attending, following (it is said) his displeasure with a sermon on immorality in the nation.

In later years he caused a Royal Chapel to be opened in a converted ballroom in Castle Square. (This building has since been moved to Montpelier Place.)

You can find out more on the Chapel Royal days here.


As the Regency period came to an end and royalty ceased to visit the town, the centre became increasingly inhabited by poor people and the ministry of the Chapel Royal became more concerned with the problems of poverty and deprivation. Much of this occurred during the long ministry of the Rev’d Thomas Trocke (1834-75), who also had the big central lantern installed.


By 1876 the Chapel Royal was in a bad state of repair and when North Street was widened by the demolition of the shops on the south side of the building, urgent work was necessary. The Rev’d Seymour Penzer attacked the problems with vigour and he employed the noted Victorian architect, Arthur Blomfield, to supervise repairs and improvements. Blomfield had one interior gallery removed and new brick facades erected on the South and East sides. It was at this time that the clock tower was added. In 1897 the Chapel Royal was designated a parish church and a small area around the pavilion was designated the Chapel Royal Parish. The young Winston Churchill was a member of the congregation from 1883 to 1885.

Ice Rink

The hugely popular real ice rink with the former Royal Pavilion palace as a backdrop, the 800 square metre rink has space for 250 skaters per session, offering seasonal fun and a unique and special Christmas experience.

Each skating session is for an hour. There is a family discount ticket available (2 children under 12, accompanied by 2 adults) or (3 children under 12, accompanied by 1 adult)

Ice Skating lessons available to develop your skills! Penguin aids for young children under 8 are available, including bob-skates for younger ages.

The rinkside restaurant will be offering a top notch family menu for the last two weeks, including half term, including kids’ crowd pleasers like spaghetti bolognaise and bangers and mash, plus for the grownups, mouth watering gourmet burgers, succulent steak, ale and mushroom pie and a scrumptious selection of pastries and patisserie.

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Royal Pavilion Ice Skating

Experience this great opportunity to skate on the Royal Pavilion Grounds!

For information on the ice rink click here.

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