After many years of wanting to visit Brighton Pavilion my husband & I went today during our holiday in East Sussex. Whilst I thought the building is spectacular & the inside is very opulent & beguiling I thought it was extortionately priced. It cost just shy of £14 each & they wanted to charge an extra £2 each for the audio. We decided not to have the audio guide but I did buy a deluxe photo guidebook at £7. Now you might say that £14 per adult isn’t a lot to look at a building steeped in history & culture. Normally I’d agree. But the annual price was only £28, so £14 per visit seems a little disproportionate. Plus you can’t take photographs therefore necessitating the purchase of their guide books. Also if you’re not an English speaking person then the audio guide in your own language is vital as none of the displays have information in any language apart from English. A lot of the Pavilion is out of bounds such as the tunnel, the old servant quarters as they are not open to the public. The saloon was under renovation so we weren’t allowed in there either. There were hardly any chairs where you could sit & look at the displays. My husband & I have been members of the National Trust for a number of years. We have visited stately homes & castles many many times & it has only cost us £99 per couple annually & we have never been barred from taking photos (apart from very rare occasions when a piece of parchment or such material is light sensitive). This just shows that the council who own the Pavilion are really just interested in making as much money as they can by conning tourists. Now, I appreciate that to maintain a building such as the Pavilion is a costly affair - I work in a grade II listed building &
normal repair jobs are double the cost due to regulatory issues - but I think it is a con to make the public pay more as they are a captive audience. When people visit historical places, especially as part of a trip, then photographs are a way of recreating the time you spent there. So it’s sad that this can’t be done at the Pavilion without buying an expensive guidebook. Plus if you can’t speak/read English then you are alienating many tourists & they are forced into buying the audio guide. There are also lots of donation tubs dotted about asking for £3. After our time inside we sat outside & got talking to a local resident who says that it is known as the most expensive Indian take-away in the world due to its appearance. (Apparently Queen Victoria didn’t like it either!) Now if the locals look at it in that way it’s no wonder there is a lack of funding for it. Go & visit if you enjoy the splendour of a time gone by but make sure you’re happy to pay & have little in return.
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