I’ve always admired the architecture of the Taj Mahal inspired Royal Pavilion and was ridiculously excited about getting the chance to go inside when I visited with some colleagues last summer. Regrettably, I left feeling rather disappointed.
Previous reviewers have mentioned informative guided tours, but we were just handed a bizarre walkie-talkie guide upon entrance and told to press the corresponding button for each room. While the most boring voice I’ve ever heard droned on in my right ear, I wandered through the extravagant gaudiness of the Orient-inspired hallway, below the insanely huge dining room chandelier covered in golden dragons (which apparently used to frighten the Prince Regent’s guests) and into the kitchen full of taxidermied rats and pigeons.
I’m not saying the place wasn’t impressive, it was. Every room has a wow factor – particularly the Music Room which is covered in tens of thousands of hand-crafted cockleshells. I just would have enjoyed it even more if we’d had an enthusiastic (perhaps even costumed?) tour guide of whom we could have asked questions.
As a bit of a closet history geek, I adore historical buildings and interesting facts (providing they’re conveyed with the appropriate level of enthusiasm). The Pavilion, sadly, left me feeling more isolated from history than excited about it. I don’t think I’ll be going again.