Discover the Twittens, Funiculars and Rock-a-NoreA look around Hastings
When you think of Hastings, you may immediately envisage King Harold and William the Conqueror engaging in a brutal skirmish on the harsh battlefields in 1066. However, I don’t want to disappoint, but the conflict actually took place in Battle, some 8 miles away.
Nonetheless, Hastings has so much more to offer for a day out, there’s something for everyone in this East Sussex seaside town. Historic streets, an active fishing quarter, adventure golf and the nostalgic aroma of fish and chips by the sea.
Not only is it perfect for a day out with the family but, it is also ideal for weekend break from London.
Where is Hastings?
How to get to Hastings
- By Train
Catch a highspeed train from St Pancras Intl, London and change at Ashford Intl. Or alternatively, catch a direct Southeastern train from London Bridge Station.
- By Car
It's a country route along English 'A' roads to Hastings, so you will need to be patient. There's pay & display car parking dotted around Hasting, but it can get busy on sunny days in the summer months.
A little bit of history about HastingsSo where did it all start?
Planning your visit
A walk around HastingsFishing Quarter and The Stade
All the while, squawking seagulls soaring overhead, looking for their next innocent victim who doesn’t have a firm grip on their fish and chips.
Ahh, you definitely know you’re beside the English seaside and all within a day trip for London. Grab the kids and let's visit the coast.
Dotted all around are fisheries tempting you with their catch of the day, or you can just grab yourself a pot of jellied eels or cockles and sit and watch the tide lapping across The Stade.
The Stade is the landing area for the colourful working fishing boats. When the fishermen have finished their haul for the day head in amongst the vessels, it’s like a pebble graveyard for huge rusting chains, buoys and weather-worn fishing nets.
We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.
Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England. It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.
Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.
A little bit of old HastingsRock-a-Nore
There’s plenty to keep you amused all along Rock-a-Nore. From the East Hill Funicular railway and the Hastings Contemporary to the aquarium, Fisherman’s Museum and the Miniature Railway.
That’s before you have a rummage around the antique shops or a quick refresher in one of the socially distancing seafaring pubs.
The net shops have been an integral part of Hastings fishing fleet for centuries, in 2010 the 39 remaining net sheds were granted Grade II* listed building status.
Another unique element of Hasting’s seafront is East Hill Lift, one of two funicular railways in Hastings. East Hill opened in 1902 and transports you effortlessly 81 metres to the country park above. The funicular railway originally operated on the water balance principle; however, this was upgraded in 1976 to electricity.
The Rock-a-Nore and Stade is such a fascinating part of Hastings and full of so much history. With the Shipwreck Museum and the Fisherman’s Museum, you’ll be kept amused for hours with all the salty-sea-dog tales.
For a little bit of nostalgia hop onto the Miniature Railway which winds its way from Rock-a-Nore by the pebbly beach to the bustling amusement park.
Yes, you're right Hastings is a fun day out for the family.
Is Hastings worth visiting?Let's look at Hastings Old Town
When you manage to drag yourself away from The Stade, head up through the lanes of the Old Town.
Oh, and keep an eye out for the Winkle Club sculpture, yes, it is a giant mollusc.
Things to do in HastingsI bet you didn't expect the High Street
The High Street in Hastings is not quite how you would envisage a typical town High Street. Perhaps it’s because this one dates from centuries ago.
Predominately lined with quaint higgledy-piggledy homes, with tiny doorways and diamond leaded windows. Interspersed with antique yards, A G Hendry’s home store and shops where you can have a good old rummage.
Where to stay in Hastings
Take a stroll down some of the hidden alleys, as not only are they used as cut-throughs, they are so often hiding little cottages or pretty floral courtyards.
Keep an eye out for Church Passage along the High Street, this scenic lane leads up to Croft Road. For any Foyle’s War fans, you may recognise ‘St Just’ house from the detective TV drama.
This is a delightful area of Hastings to get lost in, there are so many quaint homes and intriguing little lanes to roam around.
Weave you way down past St Clements Church and onto Swan Terrace to rejoin the High Street.
A family day out from London
What could be better than a fun day out with the family by the seaside? Jump on a train from London and the English coast awaits. Candy floss, crazy golf, amusements and spinning teacups.
With Raileasy catch a highspeed train from St Pancras Intl, London and change at Ashford Intl. Or alternatively, catch a direct Southeastern train from London Bridge Station.
The best of Hastings?George Street
Few of the shops along here are uniform, centuries of time have left its imprint along this pleasant pedestrian lane. Lined with charming boutiques, antiques, curios, bookshops and independent stores. And so many tempting pubs and eateries.
A street musician was keeping us entertained, all the while a couple of locals were playing a game of giant chess.
Escape for a few days
Are you in search of a tranquil hideaway to relax and unwind in, while you discover the beautiful British countryside?
Take a peek at the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.
A bit more history from HastingsAmerica Ground and Trinity Triangle
This small region of Hastings has a fascinating past. Centuries ago the triangular area around Robertson Street, Carlisle Parade, Harold Place and Claremont was once part of the sea.
The great storms of the 13th-century lead to Hastings harbour being destroyed and gradually the area silted over. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that merchants and ne’re-do-wells, occupied the land. Paying no rent on their ramshackle dwellings and creating the area to become almost self-sufficient, primarily ‘No Man’s Land’.
A form of independence was declared against the Corporation of Hastings, by raising America’s ‘Stars and Stripes’ becoming known as America Ground.
By 1850, the land was transferred to the Crown.
Map, guides and more
When you’re nurturing the seed of a road trip, plotting your destinations across a paper map just brings the adventure to life. Whether it’s the touchy-feely aspect of the map or the rustling sound of mastering the art of origami while trying to fold it away, I’m not too sure. Nonetheless, the good old Ordnance Survey guys and gals always come up trumps.
Take a look at the vast array of maps you can choose from.
Hastings BeachOff to the seafront
There are so many beautiful regions to discover around the UK. From the delightful Kent coast in the southeast to the stunning Highlands of Scotland in the north. The UK is bursting with historical landmarks, castles and palaces.
Grab a copy of the latest DK Eyewitness guide to ensure you don't miss all those incredible sights.
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