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 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 station 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.
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 between 1hr 30min and 1hr 37min.
- 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, ☎ . 10:00am-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, ☎ . 10:00am-5:00pm. An aquarium.
- 6 St Mary in the Castle, 7 Pelham Crescent, TN34 3AF, ☎ . A grade II listed former Georgian church located beneath the castle in the Regency Square - Pelham Crescent. The space is now used as a gallery, theatre and performance venue.
- 7 Jerwood Gallery, Rock-A-Nore Rd, TN34 3DW, ☎ . Mon: Closed, Tue-Sat: 11:00am-5:00pm. A contemporary (but controversial) art gallery on The Stade.
- Hastings from the cliffs - a view of Hastings up on the cliffs, travelled to on the cliff railways.
- 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, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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 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
Fish and chips
There are hundreds of fish and chip shops, such as the Blue Dolphin.
- 3 Blue Dolphin Fish Bar, 61B High St, Hastings TN34 3EJ, ☎ . 11:30am-10:00pm.
Some very nice traditional pubs down in the Old town.
- 1 The Jenny Lind Inn, 69 High St, TN34 3EW, ☎ . Try the Jenny Lind when it's got local strong cider :-)
- 2 The John Logie Baird, 29-31 Havelock Rd, TN34 1BE, ☎ . A typical Wetherspoons pub. Named eponymously after the inventor of television.
In the central town
Many of the hotels are on the seafront.
- 1 Best Western Royal Victoria Hotel, Marina, TN38 0BD, ☎ . 3 star hotel
- 2 Chatsworth Hotel, 7-11 Carlisle Parade, TN34 1JG, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2 star hotel.
- 3 Hastings House Boutique B&B, 9 Warrior Square, Saint Leonards-on-sea, TN37 6BA, ☎ . 3 star hotel.
- 4 The Highlands Inn, 1 Boscobel Rd, TN38 0LU, ☎ . 2 star hotel
- 5 Le Chateau Japonais, 2 Linton Rd, TN34 1TN, ☎ . This is a 5-room Bed and Breakfast.
- 6 The White Rock Hotel, 1-10 White Rock, TN34 1JU, ☎ . 3 star hotel.
- 7 Sedlescombe Golf Hotel, Kent Street, Sedlescombe, TN33 0SD (6.1km from Hastings), ☎ . 3 star hotel.
- 8 The Brickwall Hotel, The Green, Sedlescombe, TN33 0QA (8.9km from Hastings), ☎ . 3 star hotel.
- 9 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 / night.
- 10 The Powder Mills Country House Hotel, Powdermill Ln, Battle, TN33 0SP (8.6km from Hastings), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. 18th century listed country house 3 star hotel in 150 acres of parkland, woods and lakes.
- 11 The George Hotel, 23 High St, Battle, TN33 0EA (9km from Hastings), ☎ . 3 star hotel.
- Visit the historical area surrounding Hastings, known as 1066 Country.
- Burton St Leonards - Elegant Regency town and park designed in 1828 by James Burton.