Towns & Villages
Two Things dominate the character of the bustling East Sussex town of Hastings – the sea and 1066. One of the medieval Cinque Ports, Hastings has long had a close relationship with the ocean, and although its fishing industry has declined, it still has Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet.
As for the Norman Conquests, Hastings is not the actual location of the famous battle in 1066. That exact spot is just a few miles down the road at Battle Abbey. However, its legacy still colours the entire town. The remains of William the Conqueror's first English castle still stand today, though centuries of warfare and erosion have taken their toll.
Today Hastings offers a range of attractions for the short break visitor. From Britain's steepest funicular, to the meandering alleyways of the Old Town, it's a great place to explore for a few days.
Hastings also boasts a lively (and growing) arts scene. Every year the coastal Current Arts Festival brings a stunning variety of works and performances to Hastings. This innovative, creative side to Hastings comes out in unexpected places. The seafront is now decorated with several impressive light displays – including the wonderful Sticks of Rock!
Things to see and do in Hastings...
- Try the Shipwreck Museum for tales of souls lost at sea then head to the nearby Blue Reef Aquarium to get up close and personal with numerous sea creatures.
- Visit the nearby town of Battle and see the site of the famous 1066 Battle of Hastings at Battle Abbey.
- Take a look at the John Logie Baird Collection at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery - Baird was living in Hastings when he invented the television.
- Find out about the area’s links to 18th century smuggling at the Smugglers Adventure at St Clements Caves.
- The town of Rye is a 20 minute drive or train journey from Hastings and is reputed to be the best preserved medieval town in the UK. The cobbled streets of Rye citadel is a photographer or artist’s dream and the Rye town model and story of Rye is a great introduction to your visit to the town. Winchelsea is a precious gem of a town, built on a hill just five minutes journey outside Rye, and has the third largest network of medieval wine cellars in England, as well as the beautiful St Thomas the Martyr church and monastery ruins. C J Sampson based his fictional town of Shinglesea in the novel ‘Dissolution’ on the town of Winchelsea.
- In the other direction a five minute drive or bus journey takes you to the 7 mile stretch of dunes at Camber Sands, East Sussex’s biggest sandy beach and a dream for kite surfers, kite buggiers or sand castle builders.
- The Jerwood Gallery is home to the Jerwood Collection of 20th and 21st century art and an exhibition programme showcasing the best of modern and contemporary British art.
- Bexhill is just a short cycle ride or bracing seafront stroll from Hastings as far as elegant Bexhill, the birthplace of British motor racing. Visit the iconic De La Warr Pavilion, now a major arts centre. Bexhill Museum offers something for everyone from local history and archaeology to fashion and Bexhill’s motor heritage.
More Hastings Information.
Guided tours of the town can be arranged from Hastings Tourist Information Centre or from the railway station. Blue Badge Guided Tours are also available in Hastings (and a great way to get an insight into the history of the town).
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East Hill Lift provides easy access to the Country Park
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