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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Brighton 2012 arrow Brighton's Victorian Sewer Tours
Brighton's Victorian Sewer Tours
Published on Saturday, 14 April 2012


Arch 260, Palace Pier (venue website)
1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24 May, 6:30pm-7:30pm; 5, 12, 19, 26 May, 9:30am-10:30am, 11:00am-12:00pm

You’ll need to move quickly if you want to book this one: among the most remarkable attractions on the whole South Coast, it always sells out early for its Fringe-season run.  It’s near-unique, it’s strangely magnificent, and it’s educational, too.  And yes – it really is a walk through a sewer.

Far from a sanitized “experience”, this informative tour runs through the historic tanks and pipes under Brighton’s seafront, ending with a torchlit foray along the main storm drain and a climb through a manhole onto Old Steine.  The tours are led by real Southern Water engineers, whose patter focuses on the system's practical curiosities: the natural spring water which seeps through the walls, the sea-borne barnacles which stud the tunnel roof.

The technically-minded will most appreciate the Victorian engineering, but the elegant splendour of the century-old design is plain for all to see.  Yes, it does smell a bit, and we fully realise it won’t be for everyone.  But if you're at all tempted, don that hard hat – and enjoy the kind of experience money can rarely buy.

This slightly adventurous tour requires an average level of mobility.  Many of the passages are low and narrow, and if you’re afraid of heights you may find some short stretches challenging.  There is one ladder to climb at the very end, but it's possible on request to avoid this by returning the way you came.  Don't let these warnings put you off this unique experience, but do mention any worries to your tour guides.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.