BRIGHTON beach plays a starring role in a major new exhibition about the UK coastline.

The Great British Seaside, held at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, consists of pictures from the 1960s to the modern day and seeks to capture the unique appeal of a trip to the seafront.

Three photographs of Brighton feature in the display – two by photographer Simon Roberts, who lives in the city – along with a snap of Eastbourne.

One of Simon’s pictures shows revellers on a sunny day with Brighton Palace Pier in the background, while another sees paddlers enjoying themselves in front of the West Pier.

Simon has been capturing seasides for his entire photography career and said the subject could tell us a lot about the national psyche.

“For most British people there is a nostalgia about the British seaside,” he said. “It’s a place to escape to in terms of leisure.

“Particularly as a Brightonian there is a sense that people come here to escape something and use it as a playground, and for me that creates these scenes that I can photograph.”

The other shot of Brighton appearing in the exhibition was taken by Tony Ray Jones in 1967. He also took the only photograph of Eastbourne that features in the display.

Mr Jones’s most famous collection of photos, A Day Off: An English Journal, was published after his death from leukaemia at the age of 30.

His depictions of the seaside and British landscape in general have been a big influence on Simon and also Martin Parr, whose work is showcased at the Greenwich show.

lThe Great British Seaside runs from March 23 to September 30.