We always used to say that July and August were quiet months as far as press visits were concerned but that theory seems to have been blown out of the water and we're not even halfway through the month!
Last weekend we hosted a group of German journalists and the loose theme of the trip was anniversaries as it seems 2014 is a significant year for our city. So in case anyone would like to replicate the trip, here's what we did:
The group stayed at the Mercure hotel as it celebrates its 150th anniversary, although of course the hotel hasn't always been a Mercure. The Grand is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year as well, so 1864 was a good year for the hospitality industry!
I did mention that anniversaries was a loose theme didn't I...? The first two items on the itinerary didn't actually relate to the theme but as some of our journalists hadn't been to Brighton before we also wanted to give them an introduction to the city. So with this in mind we started with the classic Fish 'n' Chips on the Brighton Pier. We then moved from the traditional to the eccentric with the Funny Peculiar tour.
When describing Brighton to press we are keen to get across the fact that a lot of the city's charm is down to the atmosphere and the characters of the place. The Funny Peculiar tour got this message across perfectly! Part walking-tour, part theatre we were introduced to the main areas of the city whilst taking a look back at some of the eccentrics that helped make Brighton what it is today.
After the tour we were back on track with the anniversaries theme with a visit to the museum at the Cricket Ground. The Sussex County Cricket Club is the world's oldest cricket club and this year is their 175th anniversary. Even though we were all cricket novices it was a fascinating insight into the development of the game over the years. We then rounded off the day with a sumptuous meal at drakes, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year. I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to go there for dinner but I won't be waiting until their 20th birthday for my next visit!
Continuing with the anniversaries theme, the next day we started with a trip around the Old Police Cells Museum to see the graffiti left by the Mods & Rockers who were held there after the infamous clash 50 years ago. It was then on to the Royal Pavilion to learn about the fascinating history of how the Pavilion was used as an Indian Military Hospital during World War One (part of the centenary commemorations). After a delicious lunch at Curry Leaf Cafe we then whisked them away to Court Garden vineyard. While the vineyard isn't celebrating an anniversary this year, they do produce a lovely sparkling wine, which is ideal for anyone marking a special occassion - such as an anniversary ;) The vineyard is in Ditchling and it's surprising to think that this tranquil setting is just a short distance for the bustling city centre!
|Court Garden Vineyard|
In the evening, after a quick break to watch Germany win the quarter-finals on the Big Screen on the Beach, it was off to Komedia which is enjoying a double whammy of celebrations this year. The venue as a whole is 20 years old and the famous (or infamous!) Krater Comedy Club is 15 years old. While some of the jokes didn't translate, there were enough that did to make it a fun night out. Although sadly we were too tired to stay on for Ultimate Power - the club night full of power ballads. Oh well maybe next time.
On Saturday we stepped back from the anniversaries theme to give the group some time to explore the city by themselves, this mostly included shopping! But in the evening we had time for one last walk along the prom and a photo to mark the end of a busy few days in Brighton.