Visitors will be able to explore the Royal Pavilion for free for a weekend later this month
The Royal Pavilion will be opening its doors to visitors for free for a whole weekend for the first time ever later this month.
The former royal residence and seaside retreat for King George IV has previously organised a free entry day every year, but for the first time, the scheme will be extended to two days to allow more people to enjoy art and culture despite the cost of living crisis.
The Brighton and Museum and Art Gallery, a short walk away from the palace, will also be open for free over the weekend, with access to a wealth of different exhibitions.
Hedley Swain, CEO of Brighton and Hove Museums – the trust that operates the Royal Pavilion, said: “We know so many people are struggling with finances and it will be difficult for many people in January after an expensive Christmas, so we’re throwing open our doors for everyone to come along and enjoy all we have to offer.
“There is something for all the family from exotic interiors in the Royal Pavilion to incredible views of nature in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year show in Brighton Museum.
“Families will love our archaeology and Egyptian galleries and our Queer the Pier gallery offers an insight into LGBTQ+ life in Brighton.
“Art lovers will also enjoy our Down from London exhibition in the Fine Art Gallery.”
People can visit the two venues for free on January 14 and January 15, with no pre-booking required.
The Royal Pavilion was built in three stages from 1787 to 1823, taking inspiration from architecture from India in the 19th century and featuring domes and minarets.
While both George IV and William IV stayed in the Pavilion, Queen Victoria disliked Brighton and the palace’s lack of privacy, instead spending time at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
Many original fixtures and fittings were removed by Victoria and transferred to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, although some were later brought back to Brighton.
During the First World War, the Pavilion was transformed into a military hospital for sick and wounded soldiers, particularly those from the Indian Army.