Brighton, England, originally became a fashionable town in the 18th century, when the Prince of Wales (later George IV) built and took up occasional residence at the Royal Pavilion. Today, it is a hip, vibrant, and free-spirited city that mixes an elegant Regency heritage with eccentric bohemian cool—there's no place in England quite like it.

Stroll down the 17th-century lanes (alleyways) past Georgian homes and 19th-century churches and visit the spectacularly ornate onion-domed Royal Pavilion. Opposite the Royal Pavilion is the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, which takes advantage of interactive technology to showcase diverse collections of design, fashion, 19th-century ceramics and fine art.

You can also relax at Brighton Beach, where decadent beach parties are held in summer, and visitors in May can check out the international arts festival.

Located 45 mi/70 km south of London, Brighton is best seen as a day trip by train from London's Victoria or London Bridge stations.

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