The historic town of Hastings is nestled in what is nicknamed ‘leafy Sussex’ on the seafront, and is one of the sunniest places in all of the U.K- Shocking that such a place exists isn’t it? Hastings itself is filled with many different attractions, and whilst I may be biased as it’s my hometown I can promise you it won’t let you down.
What to do:
Hastings is home to the modern shopping centre filled with corporate chain favourites and also some smaller own business, not to mention the many, many fish and chip shops- I mean what seaside town would be complete without that aroma of salt and vinegar in the air? Contrasting this modern area is the old George Street in the Old Town, this is where you can find the good ol’ archades, local family businesses and your stereotypical seaside town feel with the promenade overlooking amazing mini golf courses with themes of pirates and adventure (this was even where the world championships for crazy golf was held a couple of years ago- yes there really is such a thing). The beach itself is extensive, you can walk along it to the neighbouring town of Bexhill and is predominantly pebbles however, come down here for a picnic tea in the evening and you will be blessed with sand and rock pools! Come and count all the crabs! Hastings station, in the heart of the town, provides you direct access to London, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and many other cities and towns of interest in the south east of England. This truly is a hearty, beautiful town rich in character and history.
A short 20 minute drive from Hastings is the famous village of Battle, this village is small and quaint with mainly just family run, small businesses and a delicious array of cafes, sweet shops and mouth watering restaurants. Best of all, at the very end of the highstreet standing proud is the centuries old Abbey built in commemoration of the Death of King Harold in the infamous 1066 Battle of Hastings. Owned by English Heritage, this huge monument hosts a variety of themed events such as the reenactment of the famous battle itself with costumed actors selling goods popular in the middle ages and fun activities such as princess school for all the children. Even on a day with no events, the abbey is impressive and makes for a great day out, seeing the very spot where King Harold was killed and you can even walk the trail that the Normans took themselves after anchoring at Pevensey. The town is often decorated in cheerful flowers and knitted flowers and bunting by the many different local artists hidden around the area making Battle not only welcoming for new visitors but the social hub for a community stretching out for miles all around.
Ahhh, the smugglers caves. The darkness keeping hold of the shadows once belonged to the many smugglers who used this labyrinth of tunnels that stretch far into the cliffs of Hastings hundreds of years ago. A fun, mysterious and educational experience that will not be one that you will forget… especially if you are there when some of the ghostly chills and phantom sounds can be heard from the tunnels that have yet to be explored. However, these tunnels that were formed during the last known ice age in 14000 BC have not just been used as smugglers caves but also as air raid shelters, hospitals and even a ballroom which even the royal family have enjoyed! Book a ticket back in time today to explore the mysteries of the caves… keep your wits about you now.
Take a stroll along the seafront to Bexhill, the neighbouring seaside town along the south east coast. You may be thinking that once you have seen one seaside town you have seen them all, well that is not always the case as each town often has its own unique experience on offer. Bexhill is home to the De La Warr pavilion, an architectural monument built in the 1930s by the 9th Earl De La Warr. Nowadays, you can find it hosting many events such as the outdoors cinema in the summer, seafood and wine festivals, art exhibits and live music. Other than this, Bexhill town tends to be quiet and peaceful with a multitude of shops and eateries to keep you happy throughout the day.
With the nickname ‘leafy Sussex’ its not hard to find a wonderful trail for you to walk, from historic paths that the Normans took to woodland walks through the swathes of Bluebells in spring. There are so many types of walks available here that there is something perfect for all types of activities such as a family adventure, a peaceful couples stroll of the crazy antic of a bounding dog chasing after a squirrel. Take advantage of this lush green area and reconnect with nature for a stress free holiday.
Where to stay:
Stunning beach view holiday suite:
This apartment offers its guests panoramic views of the deep blue sea and seafront, with direct access to the promenade and only a short 10 minute walk from the centre of hastings town. The interior is modern, clean and beautifully designed with the seating allowing you to sit almost anywhere and watch the gorgeous sunset over the water. Many cafes and restaurants are only minutes away and with such a diverse array of food available, you will have a lot of decisions to make.
This small B&B is only 0.7 miles from the beach and 1.3 from the famous white rock theatre, Its a charming house with character and boasts an expansive garden out the back for guests to enjoy. Guests can also enjoy the fishing facilities nearby and everyday wake up to a delicious full English/ Irish breakfast prepared by the lovely couple who own the B&B. Previous guests have commented that the room was clean, tasteful and would definitely stay again if given the chance.
Where to eat:
Ahh the good ol’ chippie. If you want something fancy, book Maggies, but make sure to do it in advance as places fill up VERY quickly as it is renowned for its delicious and unbeatable fish and chips. If you are more of a ‘take out and sit on the beach to eat your chips’ kind of person then I would personally have to recommend The blue dolphin, located at the end of George Street in the Old Town. It’s a favourite amongst locals who have (and i speak from experience) tried and tested all of the chippies in the area. Beware of the seagulls mind you, they are known for swooping down and stealing the food in your hands!
This steakhouse is marvellous, with portions you will not even be able to finish! They sell a range of food outside of the famous steaks and burgers for those a little less adventurous or with certain dietary requirements. The steakhouse can be found opposite The Blue Dolphin at the end of George Street and is definitely a good place to go for a special treat on your last evening here with the welcoming staff making the atmosphere wonderful.
Ice cream is never in shortage in a seaside town with practically every other shop selling it but this gelateria stands out from the crowd for sure. Everyday the gelato is made fresh in the onsite kitchen with a huge variety of different flavours from your basic (but glorious) vanilla to a more exotic range of passion fruit, green apple and, my favourite, tiramisu. Alongside ice cream, you can have cake, smoothies, milkshakes and affogatos, all of which can be enjoyed inside in the bright and spacious parlour or taken out to be eaten whilst strolling along the seafront.
Who doesn’t love Pizza? Not me, that’s for sure! Rustico offers one of the best pizzas in England and as it is a traditional neapolitan pizzeria, the pizzas are all thin, crispy and just perfect. Pizza not your thing? Don’t worry, they offer a selection of neapolitan treats such as cannoli as well, ‘leave the gun, take the cannoli. The pizzas here are affordable and they even offer a slice for you to take out for a light lunch whilst exploring all that Hastings has to offer.
With many more exciting eateries from buffets serving all types of cuisine to independent quirky cafes serving indulgent iced hot chocolate, hot pasties and any cake or tart you can think off, I urge you to eat as much as you can whilst here because with such great food available it would be almost criminal not to!