In Reviews

Could it be that…it’s just an illusion? And if you’re not singing that 80’s song by band ‘Imagination’ you’re stronger willed than me. If you are, you’ll probably have it running through your head for the rest of the day. I’m sorry about that.

Brighton boasts a plethora of Instagramable people (just check out the #visitbrighton AWARD WINNING! #nevernormalbrighton campaign video to spot a few favourites). And Brighton is bursting at the seams with Instagramable places. There’s the Upside-Down House on the seafront, BAi360, Brighton Palace Pier and Brighton Marina is the most Instagramed location outside of London. Ooooh! Who knew? I did. And now you do. That is how this works. 😉 So, I was excited to hear about a new, social media-friendly attraction opening in the North Laine. Behind a veil of smoke and mirrors (or, until recently, scaffolding & banners) appears….

*Big lightning effect* Behold! Paradox Place – House of Illusions! From the people who brought you Escape Room ‘Pier Pressure’ Paradox Place is from a special place of fun and silliness. With four separate galleries filled with multiple illusions for you to submerge yourself in, it is one of those things that older guests will get a kick out of ‘Well, I never!’ and young visitors will squeal with delight because they’ve never seen anything like it before. Everyone in-between will be filling their social media boots with more silly snaps than they can shake a stick at. Sticking with the cliches and alliteration – I’d also like to add that it’s ‘fun for all the family’ and ‘an all-weather attraction’.

Let’s look at a selection of highlights:

  • Skydiving at 2 ft above ground level. Yep. No need to throw yourself out of a plane. Far less terrifying and loads more fun.
  • Sat in the pub. Oh my, how we have missed this in the past year or so.
  • Dolls talking & moving. This one really tickled me. But also, they could really tickle you! (This joke only makes sense if you see the dolls moving. If you don’t have access to watching them right now – trust me, it’s funny.)
  • Kitesurfing. Less water. Fewer neoprene-clad bodies. 
  • Seagull ate my chips. Then recreate the exact same picture by going to Riddle & Finns on the seafront, treating yourself to a Lobster roll and getting comfy on the pebbles. “Why you #@!...”
  • Dangling for your life from The Grand, Brighton. From ‘Agh!!!’ To ‘Haha!!!’ Don’t recreate this one.
  • ‘Brighton’s Circus of Nature’s Curiosities & Paradoxes’ Fan’s of Ru Paul’s Drag Race will be familiar with the ‘How’s the head?’ joke. However, this is a family show (or family attraction at least!) so I’ll leave that thought there.
  • The toilets. Apart from the toilets in ‘The Ivy’ it’s not normally an area that gets a lot of screen time. But these toilets are probably the most exciting I’ve ever encountered. To start with - the floor is lava. I’m not sure you’ve got the full urgency of the situation - I repeat: ‘THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!!’ Don’t just stand there - step from ‘rock to rock’ to make your way across. Phew. That was close. Within each cubicle is a different illusion floor including peering down from a skyscraper. And all three the toilet roll holders are unique. ‘It’s a dinosaur!’ yells out one of my kids. ‘Mine’s an elephant!’ pipes up the other one. ‘This one is a Polaroid Camera!’ I say to confused silence. Kids today, eh

You would think that’s all I had to say about the toilets, but, surprisingly, I still have two more points to make. Firstly, ‘Who gives a Crap.’ Not being rude – just drawing attention to the fact the owners have chosen to source toilet roll from this awesome company. Starting life as a crowdfunder campaign, they donate 50% of their profits to charities improving sanitation across the world, which, in turn, saves lives. And you thought it was all about clean behinds!

My final, but kinda cool, point about the toilets is that they have street art on the wall ‘lav-art-tory’ if you will. Glimmertwin provided the artwork and has literally just completed a rain paint illusion by the Paradox Place exterior entrance. If you’re up for more - walking around the neighbourhood is a street (art) treat. You’ll find Cassette Lord (also featured in #nevernormalbrighton) The Postman, Minty, Snub 23 and Sprite (Fabulous Female graffiti artist!)

Check out the Gallery Names:

  • The Grace Eyre Gallery. ne of the oldest and most innovative charities in the UK committed to supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and/or mental health issues.
  • The George Montague Gallery. The oldest Gay in the Village is 97 years old. He’s a huge part of the Pride Parade every year. I must admit, his name was not familiar to me, despite having the Brighton & Hove Calendar up in my kitchen with his picture grinning at me every time I make myself my morning porridge with goji berries and chia seeds. Yes, I do live in Hove, actually. What made you ask?
  • The Anita Roddick Gallery. In the North Laine you can spot the blue plaque that commemorates the first ever ‘The Body Shop’ on a bungaroosh made building. #funfact Bungaroosh is a building material only found in Brighton. Mainly because it’s commonly known as the worst! Basically, a George’s Marvelous Medicine approach to house building because it’s made from ‘hydraulic lime and a variety of other miscellaneous items.’ How reassuring!
  • The Disco Pete Gallery. Brighton’s Oldest Raver. Sadly, Disco Pete passed away recently, but his legacy lives on in our dancing hearts…and Paradox Place… and Pride Parade.

Keeping it local and independent is key and this is clear from everything above, but also when you find out that the illusion carpet in the hallway was commissioned from a local supplier, and everything in the gift shop has been sourced with a love of local and supporting small businesses – it makes you feel good.

It’s rare that I find myself in a unique venue without saying to whoever will listen ‘Wouldn’t this be a FANTASTIC location for a private drinks reception?’ This is no different. Paradox Place is available for Private Hire. If you are indeed looking for unique, special and professional places for your next meeting or event – contact the VisitBrighton events team and maybe I’ll be the one showing you around the city and pointing out the crumbling bungaroosh! conferences@visitbrighton.com

Lucinda

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Paradox Place
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Paradox Place

Step inside the magical world of Paradox Place, Brighton’s House of Illusions and Wonders! A collection of mind-bending optical illusions, interactive artwork, ancient and new magic tricks and all things wonky and wonderful.

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