Conference city guide: Brighton
◆ Go on, you know you want to. Hit the unashamedly brash Brighton Pier to ease your arcade addiction and climb aboard a stomach-churning fairground ride for some exhilarating relief from the conference circuit.
◆ For over half a million insects, skeletons and stuffed birds, the bones of a Sussex dinosaur, and the relics of the UK’s only known merman*, the Booth Museum of Natural History is a long-standing Brighton favourite.
◆ A hit with the tourists, the Royal Pavilion must rank as the most peculiar of royal palaces with its unlikely combination of Indian-inspired domes and Chinese designs. You can stroll through the gardens for free, or pay to see the inside of the palace in all its bonkers glory.
Places to eat and drink
◆ If the diet of conference canapés and cheap white wine starts to curdle, then why not go vegetarian for a night? Brighton is a veggie heaven, with the award winning Terre à Terre the pick of the bunch.
◆ Ginger Dog, Ginger Pig, Ginger Fox and Ginger Man – there must be a reason why this chain of pubs, run by Ben McKellar and his wife Pamela, keeps expanding. Being featured in the Michelin Eating Out In Pubs guide for 2012 might just be it.
◆ Clocking in at number 49 in The National Restaurant Awards last year, and with two British Curry Awards to its name, the Chilli Pickle is where Brightonistas in the know head for Indian cooking. Worth booking ahead.
Read the books
◆ Brighton Rock, obviously enough. Graham Greene’s 1930s account of Brighton’s underworld has been made into a musical, two films, and inspired former Smiths frontman Morrissey to list the names Dallow, Spicer, Pinkie, Cubitt – all characters in Greene’s novel – in the refrain of his 1994 single ‘Now My Heart Is Full’.
◆ Inspired by Brighton Rock, Peter James introduced the character of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace in his 2005 novel Dead Simple. Since then, books in the Grace series have been translated into 36 languages and hit number one in many of them.
◆ Co-written by Julie Burchill and her husband Daniel Raven, Made in Brighton bills itself as a “cold, hard look at the changing face of Britain, using the seaside vista of Brighton as a focal point”. Brighton, where Burchill has lived for nearly two decades, has been kind to her: after selling her six bedroom house to property developers for £1.5m, Burchill promptly (albeit briefly) quit journalism.