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10 Christmas gifts they won’t throw away…

by Dinah Hatch

Let’s face it, drawing up a Christmas present list (if you’re organised, at least) of what to buy everyone from great aunt Gertie to your niece’s toddler can be trying at the best of times. After all, there are only so many woollen scarf and hat combos and The Killing box sets you can buy. Instead, try gifting them an experience they’ll remember. Last year I bought my notoriously-difficult-to-buy-for late-teens nephew tickets to a comedy show and my husband’s aunt an annual pass to her local stately home. Both were thrilled – and you know your hard-earned cash wasn’t wasted on something that will sit quietly in the cupboard until the next clear out.

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Royal Pavilion

4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton

Royal Pavilion, 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, East Sussex

This last one, I confess, is a trip I’d happily do, despite actually living in Sussex and having visited it many times. But the story of John Nash’s 19th century seaside masterpiece is just so wonderfully Brighton! What other city can boast a mini Taj Mahal at the bottom of the high street where the bon viveur King George IV (then Prince Regent) would host giant parties and banquets, arrange for vast areas to be decorated in the most lavish and expensive décor (a Chinoiserie dining hall didn’t come cheap) and (allegedly) rush off through underground tunnels to the homes of his mistresses after dark? There are separate audio guides for kids and adults which add more colour to the visit. Pack a picnic and lunch outside on a blanket in the Pavilion Gardens where Brighton life, in all its variety, proves George’s eccentricity has become somewhat thematic.

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