The market town of Hailsham, located in the Wealden district of East Sussex, used to be an agricultural centre. The population in 2010 was just over 20,000.
The largest of the five towns of the Wealden district of East Sussex, Hailsham is a small but growing town which serves as the local hub for some of the more rural parts of the county. Historically, Hailsham was a rope manufacturing town, even producing the hangman's rope for use in Britain and her Colonies.
The town is regularly served by buses from Eastbourne and the nearest Railway Station at Polegate
Almost everything in Hailsham (with the possible exception of Arlington Stadium and Knockhatch Adventure Park, which are on the opposite side of the dual carriageway), is within walking distance.
- 1 Herstmonceux Castle, Wartling Road Entrance, BN27 1RN (5 miles (8 km) from Hailsham. The Cuckmere Bus number 49 serves the Science Centre from Eastbourne), ☎ . Gardens & grounds: Mar & Oct 10AM–5PM; Apr–Sep 10AM-6PM (last admission one hour before closing). A 300 acres (120 hectares) estate including woodland, formal themed gardens and of course a 15th-century moated castle. Made from red brick it is one of the earliest examples of a brick built building in England. The castle operates as an international study centre for Queen's University in Canada. It is not freely open to the public and tours are scheduled around timetables and other uses including conferences and weddings. The tour lasts approximately one hour. The Observatory Science Centre a hands-on science experience set among the domes and telescopes of a world-famous astronomical observatory. It has regular events and open evenings throughout the season. Gardens & grounds: adult £6, child<16 or student £5, senior or disabled £4. Castle tour: adult, senior or disabled £2.50, child<16 £1. Gardens, grounds, and Science Centre: adult £13, child<16 or student £8.50, senior or disabled £10.50. Children <5 free. Family tickets available..
- The Knockhatch Adventure Park is set in 80 acres (32 hectares) of Sussex countryside and offers a range of outdoor and indoor activities including a large adventure playground, a reptile house, go-karting, laser games and an indoor soft play area. Other attractions include the Bungee Trampolines, the Demon Drop Slide and the Tractor Rides which provide a great way to see all the many different animals around the park, from deer to llamas. Another popular attraction is the children’s farm and the Birds of Prey Centre, which offers the exciting chance to view these impressive creatures either up close or in their daily flying displays. There are also refreshments available on site, if you feel peckish.
- Arlington Stadium in Hailsham features a raceway offering short circuit motor racing at its best. Speeding of hot rods and stock cars. Great family entertainment. The stadium is situated in open countryside along with catering and licensed bar facilities. The season runs from Easter to September.
- Hailsham Town Football Club play at the Beaconsfield, just off the Recreation Ground in Western Road. Matches are played on Saturdays and, often, Tuesdays under floodlights during the season (August–April). Afternoon games kickoff at 3PM, and evening games at 7:30PM - the club website offers fixture information. Hot and cold drinks, including alcohol, are available at all games, with hot food (burgers, hot dogs etc.) for First Team matches. Most locals stand, although the club have opened a 100-seater stand for those who prefer to sit. The four courts of Hailsham Tennis Club are visible from within the ground, and often, at the immediate start and end of the season, you can watch three sports at the same time, as the various teams of Hailsham Cricket Club play on the Recreation Ground.
- The Cuckoo Trail is an acclaimed route through the Wealden countryside. It follows the route of the former railway line, the Cuckoo Line, linking Polegate, Hailsham, Horam and Heathfield. Excellent for walking, cycling, horse riding and people with disabilities. This 13 mi (21 km) surfaced path through the Sussex countryside is mostly traffic free and a safe route for walkers and cyclists of all ages, with bridle sections of the Cuckoo Trail accessible for horse-riders. There are benches and picnic tables en route providing visitors with places to rest.
- England’s Medieval Festival, Herstmonceux Castle, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Great Britain’s largest and most authentic celebration of the colourful Middle Ages – held annually over the three days of the August Bank Holiday Weekend (last weekend in August) since 1992. Dogs on leads are welcome. Medieval Banquet £55 adults and £35 for children. Adult £20, senior £19, student £19, child (5-12 yrs) £10, child (under 5 yrs) free, family (2 adults & 2 children) £58, small family (2 adults & 1 child) £41.
Hailsham has a wide range of shops and is the centre for many of the surrounding villages. Visit the High Street and the precincts of Vicarage Field and The Quintins, which provide all of Hailsham's needs. On Saturday mornings a weekly market is held in Vicarage Field, with several stalls offering a variety of foods and crafts from local producers.
Hailsham offers plentiful options for eating, from sit-down to takeaway venues, whilst the town centre boasts several takeaways, coffee shops and three bakeries.
- Callenders (at the top end of the High Street, opposite the Grenadier Pub). A very highly regarded restaurant serving modern British food.
- Diplocks Cafe (on the Diplocks Industrial estate). M-F 7AM-2PM; Sa 7AM-noon. A true Hailsham institution, serving traditional fried breakfasts.
Like many small towns, Hailsham has seen various pubs close over recent years, but a variety of options still exist.
- 1 The Grenadier ('The Grenny'), High Street. 11am-11pm. Traditional Sussex pub, with a public bar and lounge bar. Owned by Sussex brewers Harvey's, known for their range of real ales. 'Sussex Best' is a perennial favourite
- 2 The George Hotel, George Street (opposite the Pavillion cinema). 8am-11pm. Cheap drinks and adequate food. Part of the popular 'JD Wetherspoon' chain. Despite the hotel name it has no bedrooms.
- The Corn Exchange (The Corn), High Street (opposite Costa Coffee), ☎ . Two bars in one - A relaxed, traditional back bar with a more stylish bar opening onto the high street. Offers accommodation.
- Chapter 12 (lower part of High Street). Open all day. Selection of bottled and draft beers, comprehensive wine and cocktail selection. Live and varied music weekend evenings.
- The Railway Tavern (The Railway), Station Road. Traditional back street boozer. Not the best reputation but has been recently spruced up. Beer garden in summer.
- Cleavers Lyng, Church Road, Herstmonceux, East Sussex (2 miles from Herstmonceux Village, 5 minute walk from Herstmonceux Castle.), ☎ . A dog-friendly bed and breakfast in a 16th-century Grade II listed country guesthouse of considerable charm and character. Set on a secluded and quiet country lane with panormic views over the Pevensey Levels towards the South Downs. Private parking. All rooms en suite. Non-smoking. £75 upwards.
- Battle - the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.