We know, we know, we are Londoners and that is not in London. Sometimes we want to show you interesting places to visit, and things to do are a little further away. For more information about places to visit near London, see Day trips from London.
Hastings. If you went to school in the UK, the name probably reminds you of your history lesson. Here's how William the Conqueror and his French-Norman fleet stormed the Channel in 1066, England's last Anglo-Saxon king.
While the Battle of Hastings actually took place a few miles north of Hastings, traces of historical significance have been preserved, from the ruins of the castle, built on behalf of the new king, to a grubby mural depicting scenes from the Bayeux tapestry The underpass shows that connects the old town to the new. But the connections of this coastal city to the Norman Conquest are anything but the most interesting ...
It's a breath of fresh (sea) air
Get off at London Bridge on a Hastings train and you could be sitting on a pebble beach in an hour and a half, assuming you're in the southeast. And the city has a gritty charm on the sea.
The pier He was once attracted to The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, who set his Stratocaster on fire both metaphorically and literally. A storm, and later a devastating fire unrelated to Hendrix's outrageous appearance, may have destroyed the original structure of these superstars, but their current, more minimalist incarnation has recently been awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize and is one Worth a visit. The fishermen's huts in candy colors sell ice cream, the locals practice yoga on giant wooden boards, and in summer live music and open-air film shows attract people.
If you prefer to be out in the ocean than staying in, you can rent a kayak and get out on the water. Of course you can swim too, but it can get pretty cold. Further east along the coast there is a small amusement park and a few arcades. With more 2p machines than you can manage with a rockfall, these are worth a visit if you have children who want to entertain you.
It is a mini golf hotspot
Did you know that minigolf has its own world championships? Well, it does. And since 2003, every summer takes place in Hastings. At other times of the year, professionals and amateurs can use the supposedly largest miniature golf complex in the world, open all year round. Choose between your standard windmills, a pirate version and - my personal favorite - the Polynesian adventure golf course with snarky-talking tiki statues.
Where to eat and drink in Hastings
Hastings offers more than fish and fries, though this classic dish is worth a try. Come early to town and treat yourself to a delicious breakfast at Pelican Diner or head straight to Di Pola for some real ice cream (hey, you're on vacation!)
At lunchtime, you can prepare a green curry and a few crispy treats from the phenomenally low-priced Eem Sabai, a small Thai takeaway connected to the mall. Further east, Radley's Bar & Bistro is praised for its 100% gluten-free menu.
For dinner, you are spoiled for choice, especially if you're a Pescatarian. Experience the day's catch at the White's Seafood and Steak Bar or sample a bowl of cockles and prawns directly from one of the fisherman's cabins and enjoy a sunset dinner on the beach. If you are looking for something special, visit the Boulevard Bookshop and the Thai Cafe. During the day an antique shop, in the evening an incredible, family-run BYOB Thai restaurant. You can rummage through the shelves while your dreamy 2-course menu is being prepared (that's how I found this wonderfully dated Time Out guide to London).
Also worth a visit is Farmyard in the area of St. Leonard & # 39; s. The restaurant and the natural wine bar focus on local and sustainable products, specializing in fresh fish and tapas. Look out for different offers on different days of the week or stop by on Sunday to enjoy a fantastic Sunday roast.
It has its own castle ...
Okay, so it's not exactly the Palace of Versailles, but the ruins of Hastings Castle are worth wandering up the West Hill cinema room of the castle. While up there, you can visit Smugglers Adventure, an underground network of caves once used by smugglers to hide their smuggled goods. Today, it still houses a really annoying array of pirates, but at least these wax figures.
... and two funicular railways
Thigh muscles do not feel like walking up a massive hill again? Try the funicular instead. The East Hill Lift is the steepest in the UK and dates back to 1902. The summit offers excellent views of the city. As you walk far enough across the gorse-strewn grass, you'll reach Hastings Country Park, a nature reserve within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that stretches all the way to Fairlight Fire Hills.
There are bizarre old buildings that you can google
Nestled between the hills of East and West is the Old Town of Hastings. This is the part of the 19th-century city - a mix of medieval, Tudorian and Georgian buildings - and it's damn charming.
George Street, one of the Old Town's main thoroughfares, is full of quirky shops, cobbled streets and lively pubs, while the quieter All Saints Street houses buildings dating back to 1450. My own grandmother lived at number 135, a crooked merchant's house from the 16th century. When the house was sold, it received a dramatic rustic refurbishment with grooved oak floors, a lead-lined wooden bathtub, and a somewhat confusing mix of antique furniture. You can stay here yourself when you feel red, or wait for one of the occasional open house days to sniff a nose.
There are many reasons to dress up
The people of Hastings love a good party, so there are many crazy and wonderful festivals throughout the year. For me, Jack in the Green is the best, an old English folk tradition that revived the city in the 1980s, where everyone does a bit of Wicker Man (minus the human sacrifice). There is Morris Dancing; drink a lot during the day; and perform a parade through the Old City and West Hill, culminating in the killing of Jack, a huge image of leaves to set the spirit of summer free.
Then there's Pirate Day, Carnival Week, the Old Town Pram Race and a big campfire parade in the fall.
They never have very little waterholes
There are some great pubs in the Old Town, including The Albion (good live music), The Stag Inn (excellent beer garden), The Crown (if you feel like it). Downtown, it's a bit meager, a reflection of the frankly miserable lack of investment in the region - but that's another article. The Imperial is great, as is the gay-friendly cabaret pub The Fountain.
If you are late, you have a limited choice, but The Printworks hosts some great parties, and The Brass Monkey's monthly silent discos always laugh.
... or cultural enrichment
The Hastings Museum & Art Gallery is a good destination for anyone interested in the social history of the city. The permanent collection covers the entire heritage of smuggling and skirmishes between mods and rockers in the 60s.
Film fans can miss the ODEON in favor of arthouse films and old classics at the Electric Palace Cinema, while theater lovers will love the White Rock Theater and smaller venues like St Mary in the Castle.
There is also a flourishing local art scene and the former Jerwood Gallery, which has recently reopened as Hastings Contemporary and currently features works by Tal R, Roy Oxlade and Hastings local Sir Quentin Blake.
After all, it's not Shoreditch-by-the-Sea
... and that makes it so great. In Hastings, there is plenty of community spirit, as well as real eccentricity and the kind of unbridled creativity that can thrive in a (relatively) affordable community.
For the residents it is absolutely important that this unique character is preserved. And that's why projects like the £ 4 million Jerwood Gallery can lead to controversy. In a city where 38% of children live below the poverty line, rents have risen by more than 23% in the last six years. The steady increase in tourism has boosted the local economy, but in a time of rogue and AirBnB landlords, not everyone can benefit from the benefits. If the well-being of the community is not placed at the center of such a renewal project, it is merely gentrification through obfuscation.
The good news is that a number of projects have been launched to mitigate this. Run by three social enterprises, Rock House offers affordable housing and office space at top rental rates. In early 2019, a group of economically disadvantaged and otherwise marginalized locals gathered in Organization Workshop to reshape part of the abandoned Observer building in a similar fashion. while getting education and support to grow as an entrepreneur.
If you're planning a visit, you can make a donation to the Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust, which ran the organization workshop. In addition to avoiding ruthless seagulls and getting dressed, it's all about driving innovation at the grassroots level as fast as possible.
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