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 (of all places).
The town grew from its medieval origins into a victorian seaside resort and much of the majority of the towns acrhitecture 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 towns main attraction is the medieval old town, with its narrow passageways, antique shops, boutiques, cafe's and europe's largest beachside fishing fleet. The town also boasts a hill-top castle, two funicular railways, the georgian church of st mary's in the castle, 18th century net shops, and access to Hastings Country Park - a 660 acre area area of glens, beaches and cliff tops.
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 remain faded and run down.
Hastings 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.
The nearest airport is Gatwick Airport. 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 1:30-1:37.
Hastings Castle - also Pevensey Castle, the first castle to be built in England after the Norman conquest. More at the website: .
The Hastings Country Park - 660 acres of woodland glens, and cliffs falling within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty .
The Stade - in the old town, the home of Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet, as well as the historic net huts.
Smugglers Adventure - a set of caves (St Clements Caves) in the hills above the town
Underwater World - an aquarium
Burton St Leonards - Elegant regency town and park designed in 1828 by James Burton
Alexandra Park - 109 Acre Grade II listed victorian park including lakes and landscaped gardens
St Mary in the Castle - Grade II listed georgian church located beneath the castle in the regency square - pelham crescent. The space is now used as a gallery, theatre and performance venue
Hastings from the cliffs - a view of Hastings up on the cliffs, travelled to on the cliff railways.
Take a walk in Alexandra Park.
Play crazy golf on the seafront.
Take the East and West Hill Lifts - two funiculars - up to the cliffs above the town.
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 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 40's dress, to little treasures – £15 for a vintage Laura Ashley maxi-dress.
Fish and chips - there are hundreds of fish and chip shops. The Blue Dolphin is very popular, and is considered to be one of the best in Britain.
Some very nice traditional pubs down in the Old town. Try the Jenny Lind when it's got local strong cider :-)