Brighton: The Best Festivities this Christmas Season

Based in the beautiful seaside city of Brighton, Patrick Moorhead Antiques is one of the UK’s finest trade-only antique dealers with over thirty years of experience. Whether you’re looking for a rare piece or want something unique and striking to put in your home, Patrick Moorhead can help. Call today to arrange a visit to our warehouse today.

Christmas is a time for family, food and festivities – and the best can often be found right on your doorstep. If you’re a fan of art, culture, antiques or exhibitions and want to add a festive flair to it, we’ve collated together a list of some of the best festive events happening in and around Brighton this Christmas.

A Christmas Carol Immersive Dinner

It’s a tale that synonymous with the season: the stingy Mr Scrooge learns of the power of Christmas and faith after being visited by three ghosts during the night before Christmas. Now, the show is brought to a whole new dimension as its classic story is weaved into dinner created by Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman to create an immersive dining experience unlike any other. Located at The Windmill Theatre, you can experience the magic of Scrooge and Dickens’ immortal tale until December 29th.

Royal Collection Exhibition

Held at the iconic Royal Pavilion, this exhibition will feature over 120 pieces of artwork commissioned by the Prince Regent, currently on loan from the Royal Collection in a joint two-year collaboration between the organization and the city. Many of the works have not been put on display for the general public for almost two hundred years and these rare pieces have been a popular staple of their current home in Buckingham Palace. Learn of the Prince Regents love for Brighton and the Pavilion itself through this gorgeous collection of art and antiques.

Burning The Clocks

In a tradition unique to Brighton & Hove, the community is welcomed together to make paper lanterns to carry through the city and burn on the beach as a symbol of the new year. Run by the Brighton based art charity Same Sky, the parade takes place on December 21st- the shortest day of the year- they invite people of all faiths and creeds to build lanterns out of paper and willow and then bring it to the beach in celebration of the festive season.

Christmas Market

Whether you want to get in some last-minute Christmas shopping or want to explore the very best of what Brighton’s local food vendors, craftspeople and artists have to offer, the Paper Daisy Christmas Market, held at the Brighthelm Centre and Gardens is the place for you! With stalls manned by over forty local businesses, you can purchase pieces from local artists or find something to add to your Christmas décor. For those looking to try something new, the Street Food Fair has a variety of cuisines and snacks available for you. It’s the perfect way to support Brighton businesses without breaking the bank.

Peter Pan – The Pantomime

You don’t have to be a theatre connoisseur to enjoy a good pantomime! Peter Pan is flying into the Hilton Brighton Metropole throughout December. One of the biggest pantomimes to hit the Brighton area, this hilarious and heartwarming tale, based on the popular children’s book by J M Barrie, follows Wendy, Michael and John Darling as they’re taken on a magical adventure with Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, and Tinkerbell, whilst trying to escape the fiendish plans of one Captain Hook. This swashbuckling adventure is perfect for families and young children and is a brilliant way to get into the festive spirit.

Discovering the treasures of the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum

Patrick Moorhead has secured a well-earned reputation as one of the UK’s finest antique furniture and art dealers in a career spanning three decades. If you are visiting the stocked Brighton warehouse, take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the artistic side of Brighton, most notably the Royal Pavilion.

The Royal Pavilion comes with a colourful history. Towards the end of the 18th century, Brighton was moving away from its reputation as a struggling fish town and became known as a holiday retreat for figures of note, thanks in part to the proximity to London. In 1787, George, Prince of Wales commissioned an architect to transform his Brighton lodging house into a villa fit for a Prince Regent. The decorating consisted of Chinese exported furniture to match George’s extravagant tastes with maximum comfort.

The appeal wasn’t just limited to the building. Dr Richard Russell discovered that the seawater offered therapeutic remedies, which he incorporated into his treatments as a physician. It was this same water that had led George to Brighton on the advice of his physicians.

The expansion of the Royal Pavilion would take place over several decades in multiple instalments, culminating in 1815 with the completion of the oriental palace that stands there today.

George’s presence over this period allowed Brighton to prosper, with residents growing from 3620 in 1786 to 40634 in 1831. Over the years, several monarchs visited the Royal Pavilion, including William IV, who sought to expand the building for his Queen’s household, and Queen Victoria, who would sell the palace to the town in 1850 for £50,000, after which the Pavilion was opened to the general public.

Today, tourists will have the opportunity to visit lavishly decorated rooms such as the Banqueting Room – an opulent dining hall; the Great Kitchen – which lived up to its namesake and the Music Room – which offered the height of entertainments to guests. What began as a Prince’s luxurious vision ended as a springboard to open Brighton up to the rest of the world.

But the Royal Pavilion is also home to many other layers of Brighton history, most notably the Brighton Museum located in the Pavilion’s garden. Some of the many sights to set your eyes on the Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery, which explores the lives of Brighton and Hove’s earliest residents from the Stone Age up to the Saxon Era. This family-friendly exhibit takes visitors on a series of magical tours in the guise of children’s stories written by local children author Imogen White and illustrated by local artist Jennifer Khatun.

The Museum is also home to an extensive Fine Art gallery, filled with many fine pieces of art such as The Reader, Girl Knitting and Boy with a Cat. But the Museum can also offer a glimpse into the many cultures around the world with their World Art Collection. Collecting items from such countries as Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americans between 1860 and 1940, the collection includes masks, sculptures, textiles and agricultural tools. The Fine Art Gallery harkens back to periods where Britain had a colonial presence in countries such as India and West Africa. Its prestige has further been established by Arts Council England, who cited it as a collection of national importance. Some of the most prominent artefacts include ‘kpokpo’ woven textiles created in 1880, a ‘batakari’ gown covered in leather amulets, and an extensive collection of 18th-century and 19th-century beadwork representing Zulu and Xhosa makers in South Africa.

If you’re looking to take a tour of a founding location in Brighton’s history, or maybe lay your eyes on beautifully crafted artefacts with a unique history behind each one, then the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum are where you need to be.

Brighton: Exploring the Town’s Key Historical Sites

Shopping for antiques reveals a lot, not just about the items you’re browsing or purchasing, but about the area in which they’re from. This is particularly true when you visit Brighton and head to Patrick Moorhead Antiques: since the early 1950s, our antique dealing has been entwined with Brighton’s rich cultural history.

With this in mind, if you’re visiting our warehouse, it makes sense to explore the best Brighton has to offer in terms of other outstanding historical and culture-rich locations. And vice versa: if you’re in Brighton to explore its incredible buildings and key historical sites, be sure to come and view our exquisite range of antiques.

Aside from our antiques, here are some unmissable treasures of Brighton’s streets.

The Brighton Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion was initially built as the seaside pleasure palace for George, Prince of Wales. It is entrenched in over 200 years of history, with this history reflected in its design, style and furnishings. George turned his Brighton lodging house into a beautiful but modest villa, with inspiration from his love of visual arts and a fascination of the then-mythical orient. This has led to various antiques on display in the Pavilion, such as Chinese export furniture and wallpapers.

After George was disallowed to reign (called incapable of performing his duties), his son George IV was sworn in as Prince Regent. This led the Pavilion to being converted into the modern oriental palace that it is today. It had been carefully decorated with galleries, beautiful oriental decorations and Regency Era furnishings.

When Queen Victoria took over, she thought that the pavilion was too extravagant for its own good, and so she stripped it and placed the furniture and decorations in other royal homes. However, when Brighton became prosperous and of symbolic importance because of this pavilion, Queen Victoria returned many of these items (chandeliers, wall paintings and fixtures), as well as other items, to go on show for visitors to the residence.

The Brighton Pier

A must-see for visitors is the Grade II* listed Brighton Pier. Opening in 1823 and having been through (ravaged by and then rebuilt) both World Wars, this is an excellent scenic spot for visitors. With its rich history, such as its shared grand ceremony in 1899 with the Brighton Marine Palace and its transformation into an amusement park, those coming to the area should feel inspired by such an iconic Brighton structure.

The Grand Hotel

Standing for over 150 years, The Grand Hotel Brighton has stood for long enough to be an important historical monument in Brighton. With a lovely balance of modern and traditional design and furnishings inside, this is not just a place to stay when visiting Patrick Moorhead Antiques in Brighton, but also a place to enjoy exploring (with bars, restaurants and a lovely lobby space). The hotel has a surprising and intriguing history, including the 1984 bombing and the assassination attempt on the life of Margaret Thatcher and the first-ever electrical lift in the United Kingdom outside of London.

The Lanes

The Lanes is a series of twists and turns in the form of alleys. A curious district of town that now hosts a myriad of independent shops and cafes, this is a definite must-visit when coming to Brighton. It’s the ideal place to get lost (in the loveliest of ways!) and take pleasure in, as well as obtain the best impression of the wares Brighton has to offer.

Brighton: A Hidden Hotspot for Antique Enthusiasts

Brighton is and always has been a city of many facets. Throughout its history, it has worn a succession of different identities, introduced by the disparate groups of people who have come to know Brighton as home. This influx of culture, with all its artistic intricacies, has played a part in the creation of the city’s flourishing antiquities industry.

Far removed from the bustling, international business done in London, Brighton’s antiquity trade has a personal level, with a focus on community involvement and the combination of national and local history. All this contributes to Brighton’s status as a hidden hotspot for antique enthusiasts.

Despite the modern, sun-bleached aesthetic that has come to typify the Brighton of 21st century Britain, the town’s history stretches much farther back then its iron piers and whitewashed storefronts might suggest. There is evidence that prehistorical man has lived there since the dawn of time, with bronze age settlements and burial mounds found in the area. As the years progressed, it became a major site for the Roman Empire as one of their first outpost on Britannia, as the treasure troves of roman artefacts uncovered over the years show.

Developing and growing through the time of the successive Kings of England and then Great Britain, Brighton exploded in prominence during the Victorian Era thanks in part to the commonly held belief of the time that bathing in seawater, or “taking the cure”, was a remedy for illness and disease. The expansion of the railway network saw in develop yet again into one of the country’s first holiday destinations.

Since then it has gone from strength to strength. The influx of a younger, open-minded, vibrant workforce from London and the northern cities has buoyed Brighton’s growth as a contemporary city where modern art and music marry together with its rich history.

Art and antiquities have become two differently coloured sides of the same coin in Brighton. The flamboyant, explorative murals, street-art and boutique galleries of its art scene appear in stark contrast to the street-corner antique dealer shops and open-air flea markets. But, in truth, it is these differences that have allowed Brighton to develop such a unique identity. All tastes are accommodated, whether you’re looking to find the next Banksy at artrepublic or show your support for the community at Phoenix Gallery, the largest artists-led arts organisation in South East England, Brighton has something to suit everyone.

Its antiques scene, often overlooked, has flourished and endured throughout the many stages of the city’s history. The Lanes, a portion of the city that has existed in one form or another since the original settlement of Brighthelmstone, plays host to several beloved local antique shops. Some of which cater more to tourists in search of a quaint trinket to take home as a memento, but of greater importance is the abundance of professional dealers that cater to all manner of specialists and hobbyists.

Brighton’s antique dealers are among the most knowledgeable members of the industry outside of London, counting published authors and renowned collectors among their numbers. Forget home-clearances and second-hand knock offs; these businesses deal only in genuine treasure, featuring some of the rarest pieces and most delicate antique jewellery in the country.
Prominent names such as Sue Pearson, the Lanes Armoury and us here at Patrick Moorhead Antiques make homes and bases down the twisting streets and darkened back alleys of the Lanes, cultivating the area’s reputation with expertise and quality of merchandise. For novices and veterans of the craft alike, Brighton’s antiquities scene is one of the city’s unmissable highlights. If you’re visiting this vibrant area, make sure to check out these places and you’ll discover the town really is a hidden hotspot for antique enthusiasts.

We are lucky enough to be based in the heart of this diverse and historic town. If you’d like to explore our collection, have a look on our website today or come and visit our Brighton warehouse – we’d be delighted to give you a tour.