Hastings is most famous for the battle that took place there in 1066 between King Harold's English and William the Conqueror's Normans. The town lent its name to the battle, although the battle actually took place in nearby Battle (these were imaginative times...).
The town grew from its medieval origins into a Victorian seaside resort, and the majority of the towns architecture dates from this period. Today, along with St Leonards on Sea, Hastings forms a fairly large urban area on the south coast of around 100,000 inhabitants.
Nestled between the rugged beauty of the East and West Hills, the town's main attraction is the medieval Old Town, with its narrow passageways, antique shops, boutiques, cafe's and Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet. The town also boasts a hill-top castle, two funicular railways, the Georgian church of St Mary in the Castle, 18th century net shops, and access to Hastings Country Park - a 660 acre Nature Reserve with woodland glens, beaches and cliff top views. Away from the Old Town, Hastings largely retains the character of a Victorian seaside resort, with seafront squares, grand Victorian facades, elegant parks and a pier. However, the town suffered from the post war decline in the seaside tourist industry in England and while there has been significant recent investment in regenerating the area, parts of the seafront have seen better days.
Hastings is at one end of the Hastings Line, which runs through Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks on the way to London Charing Cross. There is also a direct service via Eastbourne to London Victoria, but this takes 2 hours and 7 minutes, compared with 1 hour 30 minutes for the fastest Charing Cross services. There are also services to Ashford and Brighton.
The nearest airport is Gatwick Airport. After arriving, take Southern Train at Gatwick Airport Rail Station to the direction of Ore Rail Station directly to Hastings Rail Station. It will take 1:30-1:37.
- Pevensey Castle, Castle Road, Pevensey, BN24 5LE, ☎ . The first castle to be built in England after the Norman conques adults £5.00, children £3.00, concessions £4.50.
- The Pier.
- The Hastings Country Park - 660 acres of woodland glens, and cliffs falling within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty .
- The Stade - in the old town, the home of Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet, as well as the historic net huts.
- Smugglers Adventure - a set of caves (St Clements Caves) in the hills above the town
- Underwater World - an aquarium
- Burton St Leonards - Elegant regency town and park designed in 1828 by James Burton
- Alexandra Park - 109 Acre Grade II listed Victorian park including lakes and landscaped gardens
- St Mary in the Castle - Grade II listed Georgian church located beneath the castle in the regency square - pelham crescent. The space is now used as a gallery, theatre and performance venue
- Hastings from the cliffs - a view of Hastings up on the cliffs, travelled to on the cliff railways.
- Jerwood Gallery – a contemporary (but controversial) art gallery on The Stade.
- Take a walk in Alexandra Park.
- Play crazy golf on the seafront.
- Take the East and West Hill Lifts - two funiculars - up to the cliffs above the town.
- Walk around the Old Town, exploring its alleys and junk shops.
- Pearl & Queenie, 16 George St. Beautiful jewellery. A Victorian styled boutique which showcases over 30 top british designer work, handmade in all manor of materials from gold, silver, leather, glass, acrylic and even wood. A treasure trove of jewels with many featured in the UK's top fashion magazines. A must see shop if not only for the designs on show but for the interior which boasts bow fronted cabinets and saucy antiquities.
- Vintage clothes. This place is a bit of a hidden treasure. Lots of vintage clothes shops and brick-a-brack – some are run by people who also have stalls in Portobello road later on in the week. One of them has the flatmate of Peaches Geldof as an assistant at the weekends! Prices range from what you'd expect – £60 for a decent 40's dress, to little treasures – £15 for a vintage Laura Ashley maxi-dress.
- Little Treasures, 73 High Street Hastings Old Town, ☎ . Vintage clothes and funky furniture boutique. A little bit of Brick Lane in Hastings (without the price tags)! Rails packed with little gems waiting just for you to take home to love and have fun with. Kitsch cool and funky, a must see whilst in Hastings.
Fish and chips - there are hundreds of fish and chip shops. The Blue Dolphin used to be very popular, and was considered to be one of the best in Britain. It was taken over a few years ago and has gone downhill fast.
Some very nice traditional pubs down in the Old town. Try the Jenny Lind when it's got local strong cider :-)
In the central town
- One Life Escapes Holiday Cottages. Two beautifully finished luxury holiday cottages on the South coast of England, each stylishly presented with modern and contemporary finishes. Ideal for families or friends who want to get together on holiday in a five star finished property.
- Best Western Royal Victoria Hotel (***)
- Chatsworth Hotel (**)
- Hastings-House (***)
- Highland Inn (**)
- Le Chateau Japonais This is a 5 room Bed and Breakfast. (http://www.le-chateau-japonais.com)
- The White Rock Hotel (***)
- Sedlescombe Golf Hotel (***) (6.1 km)
- The Brickwall Hotel (***) (8.9 km)
- The York Hotel (7.0 km)
- Abbey Hotel (***) (8.9 km)
- Powdermills Hotel (***) (8.6 km)
- The George Hotel (***) (9.0 km
- The Place at the Beach, ☎ . Located on the outskirts of Hastings, this small luxury hotel is located on the coast with unique views over the Camber Sands. £70.
- Flackley Ash Hotel, Flackley Ash Hotel & Restaurant. Peasmarsh, Nr. Rye, East Sussex. TN31 6YH, ☎ . In nearby Rye, Flackley Ash Hotel and Restaurant offers luxury and comfort. £120.