It’s been a while coming, but here it is! Part two of my U.K travels!
We left London mid-morning Monday, September 16th, rented a car and headed towards Dover. Dover was a quick stop, the visit Dover castle, and of course the White Cliffs then on to Brighton. This was the first dreary day we had, misty with intermittent rain, leaving me to feel sleepy pretty much all day long.
We arrived in Dover in the afternoon, wondered the castle grounds and walked along a little cliff walk.
Here is some brief history of the castle.
In 1066 after his victory at Hastings, William the Conqueror established defenses with an earthwork and timber-stockaded castle. Since then on Dover Castle was continually garrisoned until 1958.
Henry II remodeled the castle in the 1180s, with the great tower, 83 feet high, 100 feet square with walls nearly 21 feet thick. With three floors of rooms including privet apartments for the King himself.
Within this magnificent showpiece, Henry could welcome and impress important visitors to England.
From the 1740s onwards the medieval banks and ditches were reshaped as the castle was adapted for artillery warfare. Later in the 18th century, when England faced the threat of invasion from Napoleonic France, more additions were made to the castle’s defenses. To house the huge numbers of troops needed to man them, a network of tunnels was dug in from the cliff face for use as barracks.
By 1905 strides in technology made it possible for coastal artillery around the harbor to be controlled from a central Fire Command Post built on the cliff edge.
After we left the castle we headed out of town and started the drive down to Brighton. We took a long way and stopped for dinner at a sweet little pub about halfway there.
We arrived in Brighton around 9:30 and headed right to our hotel. We stayed at the Queens Hotel, right across from the Brighton Pier. The hotel itself was adequate and comfortable, but with no frills and the breakfast was definitely one you could skip, but the location made up for any of the faults
Our first morning we walked the Pier the view was lovely, and it was so nice to be by the sea again. We had a bit to eat at the Pusheen x Artbox cafe, which made me so very happy, I did a review of them already so I won’t go into doing many details(here). Everything there was just as adorable as you would imagine and everything we consumed was delicious.
After that, we continued up the street the Royal Pavillon which was absolutely stunning but seemed out of place in the seaside town.
Here is a brief history of the Royal Brighton Pavillon.
George, Prince of Wales was an extravagant man with an enthusiasm for fashion, the arts, architecture, and lavish living.
George hired architect Henry Holland to transform his Brighton house into a modest villa which became known as the Marine Pavilion.
In 1808 the new stable complex was completed with an impressive lead and glass-domed roof, providing stabling for 62 horses.
In 1811 George was sworn in as Prince Regent, the pavilion was a modest building at the time, not proper for the large social events and entertainment.
George commissioned John Nash in 1815 to begin the transformation from the modest villa into the magnificent oriental palace that we see today.
The royal presence had a huge impact on the prosperity and social expansion of Brighton those the population increased significantly, from about 3,620 residents in 1786 to 40,634 in 1831. The occupancy of the court, George’s guests, members of society and the Royal Household brought invaluable business for local builders and the service industry.
Many of the seafront squares and crescents that still stand today are attributable to the arrival of George IV and the fashionable Regency era.
George became king in 1820, and due to increased responsibilities and poor health, he spent very little time there. On his death in 1830, George was succeeded by his younger brother, William IV.
William IV was a popular and affable king and continued to visit Brighton and stay at the Royal Pavilion. However, the Royal Pavilion was not suitable for a married sovereign and extra room had to be found for Queen Adelaide’s extensive household.
Although William and Adelaide continued to entertain at the Royal Pavilion, it was in a much more informal style than the glamour and extravagance of former decades.
King William IV died in 1837 and was succeeded on the throne by his niece Victoria.
Queen Victoria made her first visit to the Royal Pavilion in 1837 and this gesture of royal approval thrilled the people of Brighton.
As her family grew and the Royal Pavilion failed to provide her with space and privacy she needed, she eventually sold her uncle’s pleasure palace to the town of Brighton. As it was thought the building would be demolished, she ordered all its interior decorations and furniture to be removed for use in other royal homes she later had many of these items returned.
We couldn’t go inside the Pavillon because it was closed for some maintenance, so we wandered the small gardens and neighboring streets. We popped in an out of various shops before heading back to the hotel to change for dinner.
We had dinner at the lovely Ivy on the Lanes, a lovely, spacious, richly colored, luxe feeling restaurant about a ten-minute walk from the hotel. While I don’t remember what I eat, I remember it was delicious and I have creme brulee for dessert.
The next morning we packed up the car and headed towards Oxford.
Our visit to Dover was to short to get a proper feel for it, but I would definitely be interested in returning someday and spending a little more time.
I would love the go back to Brighton someday and see what else it has to offer, we pretty much stayed in a small section of town. I would like to know like to see it in full swing.
My Travel Journal for Oxford and the Cotswolds will be up very soon, so keep your eyes open for that! You can find my London Highlights post right (Here)