Review: Paradox Place

June 12, 2021

Paradox Place

Attraction & Experience

Gloucester Place, Brighton

It’s a curious place Paradox Place, but then deliberately so. Describing itself as a ‘House of wonder with optical illusions, immersive art and magical trickery.’   The space houses a  collection of physical illusions based around trick perspectives, tricking the brain, confusing the eyes and the deliberate inverting of expectations.  It’s a rather charming analogue experience, where all but one of the interactive exhibits are physical illusions built in the style of carnival sideshows and Edwardian amusement arcades, just brought up to date with a modern twist. It’s very very silly, but also educational, surprising, and delightful.  And it’s been a long time since I’ve taken so many photo’s and been delighted by so many of them.   There’s a lot of ohhhhing and laughing to be done here. This is high grade selfie territory and one of those rare Brighton attractions that you can enjoy on a sunny day or in the rain.

It’s set over four floors of a large space in the North Laine, with a few sets of stairs and no lift, so you may want to consider that if you can’t manage stairs.  Works well for a couple or better with a small group.  There are free secure lockers for rucksacks or shopping to leave you to roam freely throughout the installations. The building is bright and airy, has the most extraordinary eye-popping carpet running through it, which puts the old 3D Queens Head carpet to shame…

This is a superb attraction with a great deal of care put into the experience, from the attentive staff who are trained in discreetly being around for suggestions on how best to enjoy the illusions or to take the best photo’s for you.  The lighting is pretty good and there’s markings on the floor for folk to know where to stand to capture that perfect image.   There is also a lot of attention paid to hygiene, with a  vigilant member of staff entering each room after we’d left to sanitise and clean the attractions, they are also all covered in ZOONO, some Sci-Fi sounding anti-viral treatment.  We felt Covid safe which helped us to relax and enjoy the fun.

You move from space to space, which are all named after famous city residents and they each have a few large-scale perspective illusions along with lots of classic optical illusions displayed on the walls.  Each illusion is accompanied by an info panel telling you about how the effect works (if known and understood), its name and some history. I love a good info panel.  The top floor has a few larger painted dioramas that you slot yourself into to get some silly pics.

We tried everything out, all the illusions are convincing, some are more successful than others, but looking at the way we split in what caught our attention, I’m guessing this is one of those personal taste things.  We blinked our way out into the bright sunny day, through the gift shop, which is stocked with quality illusion merchandise, some quirky local Brighton themed gifts, cool T-Shirts I’d not seen anywhere else,  including lovely ‘Gull Power’ badges and a good selection of board games for all ages.

Paradox Place is sure to delight all ages with its hands-on fun, which intrigues, delights, and educates and even the most hardened screen addicted teen or Kween will leave with a host of Insta/social ready images to delight their friends & followers.  It’s all about the visuals here, and a timely reminder in our time of fakenews, photoshop and deepfakes that you shouldn’t always believe your eyes or what your brain is telling you.

Reasonably priced, mostly inclusive (apart from the disabled access issues) and with such a friendly helpful staff Paradox Place will leave you smiling, laughing at your photos, and wondering where on earth they got that carpet from.

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