Top 5 Things to do in Hastings

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Most commonly known for its spectacular fishing heritage and the famous battle of 1066, the coastal town of Hastings is much more than the site of the Norman Conquest. Dubbed as the ‘next Brighton’, recent development in Hastings has turned this quaint seaside town into a vibrant, eclectic hub of culture, traditional seaside frivolity and history. Whether you are looking for a trip to the seaside with a twist or a fun family day out, Hastings has a wealth of attractions on offer. Here’s our run down of the top 5 things to do on your break in Hastings.

1. Hastings Fisherman’s Museum

Image credit: DJ Damien/ via Flickr

The Hastings Fishermen’s Museum is located on a stunning corner of Hasting’s shingle coastline on the Stade. Sheltered by the towering cliffs and surrounded by a cluster of tar black fishing sheds, this lovely independent museum does a fantastic job of portraying the overwhelming importance of fishing culture in Hastings. Opened in 1956, this former mission chapel served the community until 1854 before becoming the exhibition space and museum it is today. Inside the Museum visitors can explore the deck of the last Hastings sailing lugger the ‘Enterprise’. A large display of photographs, pictures and models illustrate the techniques behind Europe’s largest fishing fleet. The museum also provides excellent guided walking tours of the Stade Fishing Quarter of Hastings Old Town. Tours come highly recommend and are run by local experts from the museum, lasting around 90 minutes. Donations very much welcome and the tour meets outside the museum at 11am.

Hastings Fishermen’s Museum can be found at 21 Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW

2. Jerwood Gallery

Image credit: Nick Hidler/ via Flickr

Just round the corner from the Fisherman’s Museum is the artistic hub of Hastings - the Jerwood Gallery. Not to be mistaken for a fishing hut, the gallery has been thoughtfully designed to fit in with the surroundings of Hastings Old Town. Covered in 8,000 black tiles, the exterior was designed to evoke the tarred boards of the nearby fishermen's net huts. Having recently celebrated it’s 5th birthday the Jerwood Gallery has swiftly become an award winning home to an exceptional collection of 20th and 21st century art. Venture inside to explore works by Stanley Spencer, LS Lowry, Walter Sickert and Augustus John. If you are planning a winter trip to the coast, we would highly recommend catching the Paula Rego: The Boy Who Loved The Sea and Other Stories exhibit before it ends on the 7th Jan 2018. Once you have finished your trip around the gallery you can take in the stunning panoramic views of the coastline and the Stade in the Webbe’s café (which has a wonderful afternoon tea!)

Jerwood Gallery can be found at Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW

3. The Smugglers Adventure

Image credit: Smugglers Adventure/ via Facebook

The Smugglers Adventure is a great family attraction that illustrates how the St Clement’s Caves (formed around 14,000 BC!) were utilized by artful smugglers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Led by notorious smuggler Hairy Jack, visitors are guided through the thrilling labyrinth of secret tunnels and passages that were used for illicit dealings by the Sussex smugglers. More than 70 life-size characters, interactive displays and dramatic recreations bring to life the world of smuggling in its heyday. Informative and fantastic fun for all the family, your journey into the caverns will leave you with a few surprises along the way!

The Smugglers Adventure can be found at St Clement’s Caves, Hastings TN34 3JJ

4. Hastings Pier

Image credit: Alison Johnstone/ via Flickr

Hastings Pier has undergone a monumental £14.2m redevelopment since the devastating fire in 2010. Fondly nicknamed by locals as ‘The Plank’ this brand new design has recently won the RIBA Stirling prize for its outstanding architecture and is well worth a visit. The new pier is a fusion of traditional seaside fun and modern, refined design. A modern, neutral stretch of wood (using some reclaimed timber form the fire) is adorned with traditional cafes, attractions, pop ups and community spaces, with a generous staircase leading to a rooftop belvedere (which doubles up as seating for concerts and sea-side shows). The pier is perfect for those looking for typical seaside treats but also caters for those with an interest in design and the local history of Hastings. A visit to the pier’s Memories Room showcases interactive, multi-touch tables with pictures, postcards and posters from the pier’s vibrant history. When not entertaining a lively programme of events, the pier is a profound and epic place to take in the amazing panoramic views of the Hastings coastline. If you begin to feel a bit chilly, pop into The Pavilion for some excellent, locally sourced fish and chips!

Hastings Pier can be found at 1-10 White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JU

5. East Hill Cliff Railway

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Down by the East Hill is Britain’s steepest funicular railway! Hop on board for some excellent views of Old Town and the English Channel. You can travel in the original wooden Victorian coaches, through a man made tunnel running right through the cliffs. Once you make it to the top you can embark on a cliff top walk through the Hastings Country Park and Nature Reserve. The park is 600 acres of ancient woodland, heathland and grassland, and perfect for those wanting to explore the local wildlife and landscape.

East Hill Cliff Railway can be found at Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW