In pictures: Brighton's Royal Pavilion reopens to the public
Brighton's wonderful Royal Pavilion has reopened its doors today as lockdown measures are eased.
Staff dressed as famous Regency characters and string quartet Just Strings welcomed the first visitors to the pavilion since December.
It was an exciting day for the staff at the royal palace who pulled out all the stops to bring visitors back. And now, looking to the future, it's more important than ever those visitors keep coming.
There is a great reason to take a trip to the pavilion right now, too, as there is a fascinating collection of items on loan from Her Majesty The Queen as part of the collection called A Prince's Treasure.
Although on loan while building works are completed in the east wing of Buckingham Palace, the items were, in fact, originally housed in the pavilion so they have been returned to their former home.
The collection includes some fantastic 15 foot high porcelain pagodas, six of which have been returned to their positions in the music room. It is hard to imagine the room without them having seen them today.
Hedley Swain, Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust chief executive officer, said he was 'incredibly relieved' to be reopening and was looking forward to the year ahead.
He added: "I am also slightly anxious because we will not get the foreign tourists and big groups. More than ever this year we really hope Brighton people and people from Sussex visit us. If people from Sussex and Brighton value culture, please visit us and help us."
Mr Swain said thankfully over the last year, support from the city council as well as the national furlough scheme and money from the Government's culture recovery fund, had been a huge help but now the charity is reliant on visitor spend.
In a bid to bring in some donations, a new virtual tour of the pavilion has been launched.
The online tour includes new 360°-degree panoramas of 12 of the grandest rooms in the palace. Each room is accompanied by audio commentary from the Royal Pavilion’s curators and includes information hotspots and zoomable images showing how the rooms looked during George IV’s reign.
Mr Swain said: “We’ve created this tour because we know that many people, particularly those living overseas, will still be unable to visit us for many months after we reopen.
“We hope the virtual tour will encourage people to donate and support our work. Online visitors can either make a small donation at the end of the tour or sponsor their favourite room to show their support.”
Find out more about the tours by visiting: https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion/virtual-tour/Book your tickets for the pavilion online: https://www.maximcloud.co.uk/brightonmuseums/events/Don't forget Brighton and Hove residents get a discount on ticket prices.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) will see the reopening of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. It's first exhibition will be the highly successful photography show Rock n Roll with me Bowie/MacCormack 1973–76.