A History of Brighton’s Tourism Industry

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Self proclaimed history geeks will love Brighton, or Brighthelmstone as it was known before the 18th Century. The Old Town in particular, also known as The Lanes, is an area that was used in the same layout, way back in medieval times. The medieval buildings are unfortunately long gone, thanks to a raid by the French in 1514, but the 18th and 19th century buildings that replaced them are still there today and are laid out in the same way. These cobbled backstreets were once home to the fishermen that lived and worked here, but now feature independent boutiques, shops, bars and cafes and, although a popular area with tourists and locals alike, they offer an escape from the more well known attractions of this bustling seaside resort.

 

In 1651 King Charles II escaped from Cromwell’s clutches on board ‘The Surprise’, a boat owned by a Nicholas Tattersall, who later bought the oldest inn in Brighton, The Old Ship. Tattersall was made a captain in the navy following Charles’s return to England in 1660 and the ship was renamed ‘The Royal Escape’. To commemorate the escape of England’s King all those years ago, Brighton now hosts a yacht race every year in May, featuring a historical re-enactment of the King’s escape. A different way to enjoy the history of Brighton, that’s for sure.

 

Of course Brighton was placed very firmly on the tourist map once the fun loving Prince of Wales, who later went on to become King George IV, was ordered to Brighton to cure his ailments with the help of the medicinal properties of seaside living in 1783. The Prince of Wales secured himself a farmhouse which was completely remodelled until it eventually became the amazing sight that is the Brighton Pavilion, which can still be seen today. It was a well known theory back then that sea water could cure all kinds of illness, so it was mainly health tourism at first that brought the well to do from their London homes to the Brighton coastline. Once there they fell in love with the town and amenities sprang up like the Theatre Royal opposite the pavilion and three piers, although only one of those survives today.

 

Of course tourism in Brighton declined during the first and second world wars, but by the 50’s and 60’s it was the typical British holiday resort once again and has remained so ever since. It has moved with the times, modernising many a time over the last few centuries, and was proclaimed a city by The Queen in the year 2000. Visitors have always flocked to Brighton and it seems that little is set to change, with people coming from throughout the UK and abroad to visit the city and take part in the many festivals held here each year.

 

Popular with families, groups of friends, pensioners and with a reputation as the gay capital of the UK, it remains a wonderful seaside resort enjoyed by everyone. So book your stay at a Travelodge in Brighton and head down to the South coast today.

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