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Doctor Brighton's Riches

A fascinating and diverse trail around one of England's newest cities.

Distance 3 miles (4.8km)

Minimum time 2hrs 30min

Ascent/gradient 164ft (50m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Pavements, streets, squares and promenade

Landscape The heart of Brighton and its famous seafront

Suggested map Brighton street map, available at tourist information centre

Start/finish TQ 311049

Dog friendliness On lead at all times

Parking Various pay car parks close to station

Public toilets Several on seafront; Royal Pavillion Gardens

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1 From the front of Brighton Railway Station, keep the Queens Head on the right and walk down Queens Road. Pass Upper Gloucester Road on the right and some steps on the left. Cross over North Road and continue down to the junction with North Street. Turn left here and left again into New Road. Pass the Theatre Royal on the left and on the right is the Brighton Dome Pavilion Theatre. Note the striking façade of the Unitarian church. Bear right into Church Street and pass alongside the Corn Exchange, part of the Brighton Dome. The Dome, built in 1806, was originally used as stables and a riding school for the Prince Regent. Next door to it is the exotic 18th-century Royal Pavilion. The Royal Pavilion was designed by John Nash.

2 Keep the Pavilion on your right, pass the George IV monument and look for three art-deco bus shelters. Cross Castle Square and look for the YMCA and Marlborough House on the right. Originally built for the 4th Duke of Marlborough, the house was sold in 1786 and later transformed by Robert Adam. Turn right, signposted 'The Lanes and tourist information centre', and walk along Old Steine. Many of the houses here are typical of Regency Brighton. Cross East Street and look for the handsome town hall on the left, located in Bartholomew Square. Bear right into Market Street and pass Regent Arcade and Nile Street. Continue into Brighton Place and now you are in The Lanes. .

3 Veer left into Brighton Square and cross it to the right corner. Turn left into Meeting House Lane, then bear right into Union Street, noting the Bath Arms on the corner. Turn left into Ship Street, make for the seafront and look towards the old West Pier on your right.

4 Veer left here and walk along to Brighton Palace Pier. Swing left by the Sea Life Centre and follow Marine Parade. Pass Royal Crescent on the left and look for Bristol Court and Paston Place. Make for the steps opposite, descending to the Volks Railway.

5 Travel to the terminus and, if returning to the station or one of the car parks near it, alight and head for the Sea Life Centre then cross into Old Steine. Pass the Royal Pavilion and curve left into Church Street. Turn right into Regent Street, then left into North Road and on reaching the junction with Queens Road, bear right and return to the station.

Brighton began life as a small fishing village, labouring under the name of 'Brighthelmstone', but it was Dr Richard Russell who really put it on the map in 1754, when he transformed the modest settlement into one of Britain's most famous resorts. Dr Russell believed fervently in the curative properties of seawater and he began to promote Brighton as somewhere where the ailing could regain their health. The town was dubbed 'Doctor Brighton'.

The Prince Regent, who later became George IV, helped to strengthen Brighton's new-found status by moving to a farmhouse which he then transformed into the Royal Pavilion, which looks stunning at night when it's floodlit. Even in the daytime, this Oriental fantasy, characterised by exuberant spires, minarets and onion domes, cannot escape your notice. The town's genteel Regency terraces and graceful crescents reflect the Prince Regent's influence on Brighton.

Nearby is the area known as The Lanes, a maze of streets and narrow passages. This is the picturesque old quarter of Brighton, representing all that is left of 16th-century Brighthelmstone

The railway era attracted visitors and holidaymakers in their thousands, boosting the town's economy to unprecedented new heights. As a seaside town Brighton has always been a mix of 'the raucous and the refined' - as one writer described it. It's cheeky but loveable; a place of fun and excitement. In 2000 the only recently united boroughs of Brighton and Hove were awarded city status by the Queen, one of three millennium cities to be favoured in this way.

While you're there

Dating back to 1869, the Sea Life Centre is the largest in the country, with many displays of live creatures. Take a ride on the Volks Railway at the end of the walk. Built by electrical pioneer Marcus Volk and opened in 1883, it was the first public electric railway in Britain.

Where to eat and drink

With over 400 restaurants in Brighton and Hove, and countless pubs and bars, there are numerous possibilities for eating and drinking in Brighton.

What to look for

The clock tower, at the junction of Queens Road and North Street, was erected in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee the year before. The clock face has gilt Roman numerals and a gilt time-ball designed to rise and fall precisely on the hour. West Pier is one of Brighton's most famous landmarks, though it has been in a poor state of repair for some years. It is the only Grade I listed pier in the country and was used in the filming of Sir Richard Attenborough's classic production of Oh! What a Lovely War in 1969. Steamers sailed from here on excursions to Wales and the French coast.

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