Tourist Information: Marlborough House, Old Steine, Brighton. 0273 23755.

(posted Nov 2011): Brighton (0273 29332).

Brighton and Hove have long enjoyed a reputation as the two rather 'naughty' towns on the south coast, a place where couples would sneak away for week-ends or royals would keep their morganitic wives. One Edwardian moralist thundered 'they are no less than the Sodom and Gomorrah of England' and Queen Victoria did not conceal her dislike of the place and its inhabitants - 'the crowd behaved worse than ever I have seen them do' she wrote in her journals. It is no surprise that Victoria set up home at Osborne, although her name was given to the London railway station where you catch the train for the hour's trip to the Sussex coast and to the resort which, more than any other I think, encouraged us to spend family holidays at the seaside or, as I did, have a day out. The railway was one of the first to be electrified and trains take just over the hour from London Victoria with frequent services along the South Coast to east and west. The railway came to Brighton in 1841, less than a hundred years after Dr Richard Russell of Lewes had written a pamphlet claiming that all manner of illnesses and diseases could be cured by drinking and bathing in sea-water. Russell set out his stall in Brighton and others have followed him ever since. A long, pebble beach, a couple of piers reaching out into the Channel, Europe's largest marina, the Royal Pavilion, wonderful shopping in and around the Lanes, year round entertainment and endless activities are more than enough to keep anyone amused for a short or a long break. Brighton provides an ideal centre for exploring the coast and countryside within a few miles. Those seeking to recollect in tranquillity can equally easily lose themselves on the Sussex downs or cliffs, or stroll around the elegant Regency terraces.

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These rights and privileges were resented by some of 'The Town' who rebelled against 'The Gown' and many of those rights were eventually abandoned.

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