Brighton doesn't really need its ego stroking, but a little indulgence now and then can't hurt, which I think is the philosophy the city is built on. Beginning the tour by mulling over what makes Brighton just that little bit different (yes, I'm looking at you, the father pushing a pram while riding a unicycle on the seafront) it was clear the tour was going to be amusing, tongue in cheek, and filled with quirky stories.
The tour is a great way for both tourists and locals to hear some lesser-known stories about an infamous city
Initially I was regretting booking a walking tour on a Saturday evening while three festivals (Brighton Fringe, Brighton Festival and The Great Escape Festival) were all in full swing alongside the lingering royal wedding celebrations and the usual stag and hen parties. However, despite the group being occassionally harrassed by people drunk on beer and too much sun, the city's party atmosphere was a perfect reflection of the Brighton our guide Ric Morris was telling us about: creative, chaotic, a little bit rough and a little bit mad.
Being a born and bred Brightonian (Hove, actually) meant I was eager to see what new things I could learn about the city I know like the back of my hand. As it turned out, I don't know the back of my hand as well as I thought. My recurring thought throughout the tour was "Well, I didn't know that..." and I was constantly surprised by things I have walked past all my life but never really noticed. The material was consistently amusing and always engaging.
The tour started at the Royal Pavilion (naturally) and wound through the North Laines to then finish right on the beach between Brighton's two piers. Ric's material occassionally dipped into the darker corners of Brighton's history, but overall it was a celebration of the weird and wonderful that has made Brighton the strange beast it is today. Ric put faces to names with a folder of images as he spoke, and spoke about everything from ABBA's Eurovision win in Brighton, cult Parisian radio stations, irresponsible royal personalities to the bricks and mortar (and flint, and grit, and whatever else we could find...) that literally built Brighton from the ground up. It was varied but very well structured tour.
Ric obviously runs a well oiled machine for his tours and the ninety minute mosey around the city flew by. Although individuals with a very extensive knowledge of Brighton history already probably won't learn anything new, the tour is a great way for both tourists and locals to hear some lesser-known stories about an infamous city, learn some funny facts like why your beautiful new house by the sea might be ready to fall down and soak up some atmosphere.
Ric wrapped up the tour with a rather neat, poetic conclusion and I left with a deeper knowledge about and love for my home town. It's an easy recommend for tourists and locals alike.