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Hastings is a seaside town in East Sussex in southeast England. It's run down, but has budget accommodation and several sites of interest. Hastings is most famous for the battle that took place there in 1066 between King Harold's English and William the Conqueror's Normans. 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 acres (270 hectares) Nature Reserve with woodland glens, beaches and cliff-top views.

Understand

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View of Hastings from East Hill

The town lent its name to the 1066 battle, although the battle took place nearby Battle (these were imaginative times…). The Normans made Hastings one of the Cinque Ports responsible for England's maritime defence, but in the late Middle Ages, its harbour was swept away by the sea.

The town grew from its medieval origins into a Victorian seaside resort, and the majority of the town's 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.

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 investment in regenerating the area, parts of the seafront have seen better days. In 2022 the population was 92,340.

More recently, it was the setting for the World War II-era detective TV show Foyle's War.

Visitor information

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Get in

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Narrow passageways in old Hastings

By plane

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From London Gatwick (LGW IATA) take the hourly direct train. From other airports travel into the London city centre for the train from Charing Cross.

By train

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  • 1 Hastings railway station. In the town centre, 200 yards back from the seafront. It has a staffed ticket office and machines, a coffee shop and toilets, but the waiting rooms remain closed. There is step-free access to all platforms. Hastings railway station (Q2556633) on Wikidata Hastings railway station on Wikipedia
  • 2 St Leonards Warrior Square station. On the line from Charing Cross is a mile west of Hastings railway station. St Leonards Warrior Square railway station (Q3047264) on Wikidata St Leonards Warrior Square railway station on Wikipedia
  • 3 West St Leonards station. A further mile west of St Leonards Warrior Square station. West St Leonards railway station (Q2335526) on Wikidata West St Leonards railway station on Wikipedia

Trains from London Charing Cross run every 30 min and take 1 hr 40 min via London Waterloo, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Robertsbridge and St Leonards. The last train leaves at 23:45.

Trains from London Victoria run hourly and take 2 hours via Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Lewes, Eastbourne, Bexhill and St Leonards.

Trains from Ashford International run hourly and take 40 min via Rye and Winchelsea. Ashford has fast trains from London St Pancras, but Eurostar no longer stops there.

Trains from Brighton run hourly and take 75 min via Lewes, Eastbourne, Bexhill and St Leonards.

By bus

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National Express and Megabus don't run to Hastings, and there is no direct service from London.

Stagecoach Bus 99 runs every 20 min from Eastbourne, taking 75 min. Bus 100 / 101 runs every 20 min from Rye, taking 45 min.

There isn't a bus station. Buses may stop at the railway station, at Priory Meadow one block south, or along the sea front.

By car

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From London and M25 follow A21 south. From Dover and Folkestone follow A259 via Rye; this continues west to Eastbourne.

Get around

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Map
Map of Hastings (England)

Buses 20, 22, 22a and 26 run along the seafront every 5-10 min between Hastings castle and St Leonards.

Bus 304 / 305 runs hourly via St Leonards and takes 30 min to Battle station and abbey. It continues to Robertsbridge and Hawkhurst.

24 / 7 taxis (+44 1424 247247) used to be reliable but went to the dogs in 2022.

See

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  • 1 Hastings Castle, Castle Hill Road, West Hill, TN34 3AR, +44 844 549 9088. Hastings Castle (Q5680295) on Wikidata Hastings Castle on Wikipedia
  • Pier.
  • 2 Hastings Country Park, 148 Martineau Ln, TN35 5DR, +44 1424 451050. 660 acres of woodland glens, and cliffs falling within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Hastings Cliffs to Pett Beach (Q5680297) on Wikidata Hastings Country Park on Wikipedia
  • 3 The Stade (in the old town). The home of Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet, and the historic net huts. The Stade (Q7766162) on Wikidata The Stade on Wikipedia
  • 4 Smugglers Adventure, St Clement’s Caves, TN34 3JJ, +44 1424 422964. 10AM-5:30PM. A set of caves (St Clements Caves) in the hills above the town.
  • 5 Blue Reef Aquarium (previously Underwater World), Rock-A-Nore Rd, TN34 3DW, +44 1424 718776. 10AM-5PM. An aquarium.
  • 6 St Mary in the Castle, 7 Pelham Crescent, TN34 3AF, +44 1424 715880. A grade II listed former Georgian church beneath the castle in the Regency Square - Pelham Crescent. The space is now used as a gallery, theatre and performance venue.
  • 7 Hasting Contemporary Gallery, Rock-A-Nore Rd, TN34 3DW, +44 1424 728377. M closed, Tu-Sa 11AM-5PM. A contemporary (but controversial) charity run art gallery on The Stade. Adult £9, discount for locals. Hastings Contemporary (Q6185311) on Wikidata Hastings Contemporary on Wikipedia
  • 8 Fishermen's Museum. A museum in a former church on the fishing industry and maritime history of Hastings. Daily 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Hastings Fishermen's Museum (Q15223257) on Wikidata Hastings Fishermen's Museum on Wikipedia
  • Shipwreck Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road (next to Fishermen's Museum). Museum of artefacts from shipwrecks in the English Channel. Shipwreck Museum (Q24993793) on Wikidata Shipwreck Museum on Wikipedia

Do

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Hill Street in Old Town
  • 1 Alexandra Park. A 109 acres (44 hectares) Grade II listed Victorian park including lakes and landscaped gardens, perfect place for a walk. Alexandra Park (Q15179172) on Wikidata Alexandra Park, Hastings on Wikipedia
  • 2 Hastings Adventure Golf, Hastings Old Town Seafront, TN34 3AJ, +44 1424 437227, . Play crazy golf on the seafront.
  • Funiculars: Take the East or West Hill Lift up the cliffs above the town.
  • Cinema: Odeon is on Queens Rd near the railway station. Electric Palace is an independent arthouse at 39a High St. The Regal in St Leonards remains closed.
  • Golf: Beaufort Park GC[dead link] is north edge of town, visitor fee £28.
  • Old Town Carnival Week[dead link] is probably next held 28 July - 6 Aug 2023, tbc.

Buy

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  • Pearl & Queenie, 16 George St. Beautiful jewellery. A Victorian styled boutique which showcases the work of more than 30 top British designers, handmade in all manner 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 (London) 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 1940s dress, to little treasures – £15 for a vintage Laura Ashley maxi-dress.

Eat

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Fishermen's museum and net huts on the stade
  • 1 Hollypark Organics, Hollypark, North La, +44 11424 812229. Organic food shop.
  • 2 Trinity Wholefoods, 3 Trinity St, +44 11424 430473. Organic food shop.
  • 3 Blue Dolphin Fish Bar, 61B High St, Hastings TN34 3EJ, +44 1424 547150. 11:30AM-10PM.
  • Goat Ledge is a beach hut on St Leonards promenade serving seafood and ice cream, open 8AM-9PM.
  • Farmyard, 52 Kings Rd, St Leonards TN37 6DY (in front of Warrior Square station), +44 1424 420020. M-Sa noon-3PM, 6PM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. Excellent little bistro and wine shop in St Leonard.

Drink

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  • 1 The Jenny Lind Inn, 69 High St, TN34 3EW, +44 1424 421392. Try the Jenny Lind when it's got local strong cider.
  • Albion is a grand trad pub at 33 George St facing the Ferris wheel. It's open Su-Th noon-11PM, F Sa noon-midnight.
  • 2 The Crown, 64 All Saints St TN34 3BN, +44 1424 465100. Daily 11:00-23:00. Atmospheric free-house pub, gets great reviews for food.
  • 3 The John Logie Baird, 29-31 Havelock Rd, TN34 1BE, +44 1424 448110. A typical Wetherspoons pub. Named after the inventor of television.
  • Brewery: Brewing Brothers "The Imperial" is a microbrewery on Queens Rd. Their main outlet is The Courtyard on the central beachfront, open Su-Th noon-10PM, F Sa noon-midnight.

Sleep

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North Lodge, Burton St Leonards

Town centre

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Many hotels are on the seafront.

North

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Ecclesbourne Glen

North-west

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Connect

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As of May 2022 Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill have 4G from all UK carriers, and you might get 5G with Three.

Go next

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  • Bexhill is the large resort east of Hastings.
  • Battle is where the battle of 1066 was actually fought.
  • Rye is the most attractive of the "Cinque Ports" that defended medieval England.
  • Robertsbridge is a pleasant village near must-see Bodiam Castle.


Routes through Hastings
LondonRoyal Tunbridge WellsBattle  NW  SE  END
END  SW  NE  TenterdenAshford
EastbourneBexhill  W  E  RyeFolkestone



This city travel guide to Hastings is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.