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 took place in 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 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 acres (270 hectares) 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 investment in regenerating the area, parts of the seafront have seen better days.
1 Hastings railway station is in 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.
St Leonards Warrior Square station on the line from Charing Cross is a mile west from Hastings railway station, and West St Leonards station is a further mile west.
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.
From London and M25 follow A21 south. From Dover and Folkestone follow A259 via Rye; this continues west to Eastbourne.
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.
- 1 Hastings Castle, Castle Hill Road, West Hill, TN34 3AR, ☏ .
- 2 Hastings Country Park, 148 Martineau Ln, TN35 5DR, ☏ . 660 acres of woodland glens, and cliffs falling within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- 3 The Stade (in the old town). The home of Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet, and the historic net huts.
- 4 Smugglers Adventure, St Clement’s Caves, TN34 3JJ, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 10AM-5PM. An aquarium.
- 6 St Mary in the Castle, 7 Pelham Crescent, TN34 3AF, ☏ . 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, ☏ . M closed, Tu-Sa 11AM-5PM. A contemporary (but controversial) charity run art gallery on The Stade. Adult £9, discount for locals.
- 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.
- Shipwreck Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road (next to Fishermen's Museum). Museum of artefacts from shipwrecks in the English Channel.
- 1 Alexandra Park. A 109 acres (44 hectares) Grade II listed Victorian park including lakes and landscaped gardens, perfect place for a walk.
- 2 Hastings Adventure Golf, Hastings Old Town Seafront, TN34 3AJ, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 is north edge of town, visitor fee £28.
- Old Town Carnival Week[dead link] is probably next held 28 July - 6 Aug 2023, tbc.
- 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.
- 1 Hollypark Organics, Hollypark, North La, ☏ . Organic food shop.
- 2 Trinity Wholefoods, 3 Trinity St, ☏ . Organic food shop.
- 3 Blue Dolphin Fish Bar, 61B High St, Hastings TN34 3EJ, ☏ . 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), ☏ . M-Sa noon-3PM, 6PM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. Excellent little bistro and wine shop in St Leonard.
- 1 The Jenny Lind Inn, 69 High St, TN34 3EW, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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.
- Many hotels are on the seafront.
- 1 Best Western Royal Victoria Hotel, Marina, TN38 0BD, ☏ . 3-star hotel
- 2 Swan House, 1 Hill St TN34 3HU, ☏ . Beautiful little B&B in timbered Tudor building. No children under 5 or dogs. B&B double £120.
- Moore House[dead link] at 57 High St earns great reviews.
- 3 Chatsworth Hotel, 7-11 Carlisle Parade, TN34 1JG, ☏ , email@example.com. 2-star hotel.
- 4 Hastings House Boutique B&B, 9 Warrior Square, Saint Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 6BA, ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 5 Zanzibar Hotel, 9 Eversfield Place, Saint Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6BY, ☏ . Quirky upscale hotel with 8 rooms on seafront. Each room has a different region's theme, the polar bear in "Antarctica" must have been well lost. No children under 5. B&B double £120.
- The Bank Hotel and Bistro is at 28 Grand Parade 100 yards west of Zanzibar.
- 6 The Cloudesley, 7 Cloudesley Road, Saint Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6JN, ☏ . Beautiful artistic B&B with five rooms and semi-wild flower garden. No children under 17 or dogs. B&B double £100.
- 7 The Highlands Inn, 1 Boscobel Rd, TN38 0LU, ☏ . 2-star hotel
- 8 Le Chateau Japonais, 2 Linton Rd, TN34 1TN, ☏ . This is a 5-room Bed and Breakfast.
- 9 The White Rock Hotel, 1-10 White Rock, TN34 1JU, ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 10 Old Rectory, Harold Road TN35 5ND (On A259), ☏ . Charming B&B in a Georgian rectory. No children under 10 or dogs. B&B double £110.
- 11 Sedlescombe Golf Hotel, Kent Street, Sedlescombe, TN33 0SD (3 miles from Hastings), ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 12 The Brickwall Hotel, The Green, Sedlescombe, TN33 0QA (5 miles from Hastings), ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 13 Abbey Hotel, 84 High Street, Battle, TN33 0AQ, ☏ . 3-star grade II listed hotel with en-suite rooms and views of Battle Abbey. £95 - £100 per night.
- 14 The Powder Mills Country House Hotel, Powdermill Ln, Battle, TN33 0SP (8.6 km from Hastings), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. 18th-century listed country house 3-star hotel in 150 acres of parkland, woods and lakes.
As of May 2022 Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill have 4G from all UK carriers, and you might get 5G with Three.
- 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|
|London ← Royal Tunbridge Wells ← Battle ←||NW SE||→ END|
|END ←||SW NE||→ Tenterden → Ashford|
|Eastbourne ← Bexhill ←||W E||→ Rye → Folkestone|