The greater Brighton area has outstanding examples of Modernist architecture, including the recently reopened Lido at Saltdean, Embassy Court near Hove and the Furze Hill complex by St Ann’s Well Gardens. The most exciting larger structure is this, the oldest working commercial airport in the country.
Its terminal building and hangar date from the 1930s, but the flying fields were used as early as 1910, when local aviator Harold Piffard took off in his hand-built biplane, ‘Hummingbird’. Commercial cargo flights soon followed, and the airport played an important role during World War I.
Passenger flights resumed after the war and its official name is now Brighton City Airport. Not as substantial as Gatwick Airport, it has four runways and six helipads, and deals with around 50,000 flights per year. The airport welcomes visitors, even those with no intention of taking off.
You can watch landings and take-offs on the longest runway on a live webcam or marvel at the Art Deco interiors in the Hummingbird Café, which serves great traditional breakfasts, lunches and cake. There is a small museum, and guided tours can be booked. Events great and small take place at the airport all year round. If there is nothing special on, it is the most peaceful place for a cup of coffee and a dream.