The Royal Pavilion in Brighton has to be one of the most unique and fascinating palaces in the UK. Built over 200 years ago as a seaside getaway for the then Prince Regent – later George IV – it boasts a stunning Indian exterior and exquisite Chinese interior. Unfortunately, I can’t show you any photos from inside – interior photography is forbidden – but you can find some wonderful images on their website.
One of its more intriguing uses was as a Military Hospital for Indian troops during World War One. According to a booklet available at the Pavilion, At the outbreak of war, Britain’s army was relatively small: in August 1914 it had fewer troops available than Belgium. The allied British and French forces were outnumbered by the advancing Germans, so reinforcements were brought in from Britain’s colonies. The first Indian divisions arrived in October 1914.
The Royal Pavilion ceased to be used as a royal palace during Queen Victoria’s time – she disliked the lack of privacy – and is now open to the public year-round. I can’t recommend a visit highly enough. The palace is a feast for the eyes. (And it also hosts a lovely tea room if you’re looking for a feast for something else.)
Brighton makes for a wonderful day trip from London – it’s only a one-hour train journey and trains depart from several London stations.