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Brighton & Hove

Raves on the beach, Graham Greene novels, mods and rockers in bank-holiday fisticuffs, naughty weekends for Mr and Mrs Smith, the UK’s biggest gay scene and the Channel’s best clubbing – this coastal city evokes many images for the British. But one thing is certain: with its bohemian, hedonistic vibe, Brighton is where England’s seaside experience goes from cold to cool.

Brighton is without doubt Britain’s most colourful and outrageous city. Here burlesque meets contemporary design; grotty hostels share thin walls with kinky boutique hotels; microbrewed ales share bar space with ‘sex on the beach’; and stags watch drag. The city returned the UK’s first Green Party MP, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with unusual gusto, and according to the 2001 census, it has the UK’s highest Jedi population.

The highlight for the sightseeing visitor is the Royal Pavilion, a 19th-century party palace built by the Prince Regent, who kicked off Brighton’s love of the outlandish.

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