BRIGHTON, England -- This popular beach resort blends its past and present to create an enchanting day trip from London.

Brighton's Victorian Carousel, a hand-carved collection of animal figures, suggests what must have been Brighton's allure in days gone by.

The Palace PierWith seven miles of coastline on the English Channel, it is easy to envision Brighthelmstone, as this town was known when it was a small fishing community.

The original village was made up of a section of cottage homes and shops along winding streets and courtyards.

Now dubbed the Lanes, the area has been turned into a pedestrian-only shopping district that caters to tourists and has more than 400 antiques shops and restaurants selling everything from furniture to oysters.

Clients should keep in mind that during the off-season, many stores close early.

One shop, Bears and Friends, is stuffed with teddy bears and other cuddly creatures.

The shop includes the Museum of Childhood, a small back room filled with toys and stuffed animals.

Young children and the faint of heart, beware: According to the store manager, Sara Goble, there a is ghost back there that makes an occasional appearance.

This ghost happens to be a hologram, but a "real" ghost is said to haunt Meeting House Lane. Legend has it that several hundred years ago, a nun was walled up alive for eloping with a soldier, or with a monk -- no one is quite sure which.

She has been seen at twilight, walking the lane. At other times, she apparently is running away from something.

She moves through the alley and finally disappears, gliding through a brick archway near a spot in the wall where the "Gray Hooded Lady of the Lane" is rumored to reside. Rumor also has it that anyone who stares into her face will meet an untimely end.

An area still devoted to the fishing community is the Lower Promenade, which stretches along a wooden boardwalk.

Here clients can visit the Fishing Museum, housed in a former fish warehouse, and learn the importance of the fishing industry in Brighton and how the town has changed through time.

Fishing is still a way of life for many locals, and visitors can watch fishermen set out to sea from the beach here.

As a coastal community, Brighton became popular in the late 18th century partially as a result of Dr. Richard Russell's "seawater cure."

He thought seawater, taken internally and externally, could cure everything from a broken heart to money problems.

The word of his miracle cure spread, and people flocked to Brighton.

One of Russell's most famous believers was the future King George IV, who rushed to Brighton in 1783.

In 1811, he embarked on a renovation of Marine Pavilion to befit his status as heir to the throne.

Now known as the Royal Pavilion, with its domes, minarets, stained glass and elaborate arches, it is the crown jewel of Brighton.

The Long Gallery exemplifies the decorative tricks characteristic of the pavilion. It contains iron cast to imitate bamboo, furniture in beech-simulated bamboo and other objects that George and his decorators thought would be found in China.

Dragons are prominent throughout the pavilion because they bring good luck, according to Chinese myth.

In no room is the presence of dragons more evident than the Music Room, where there are approximately 184 of them.

The Lower Promenade is home to the Artists' Corner, a wooden boardwalk with makeshift studios where artisans create and sell their wares' and seaside shops offering items related to the area. The Victorian Carousel is there, as are a number of psychics.

Near the Lower Promenade, Palace Pier, a scaled-down, subdued version of Atlantic City, N.J., seems to be preferred by families.

People can spend the day riding Ferris wheels and roller coasters, playing typical boardwalk games and gorging on fish and chips, corn dogs and ice cream.

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