Head to Hastings in East Sussex for a getaway filled with exploration and relaxation, our guide to Hastings will show you all the best bits of this wonderful South Coast destination.
Enjoy walking and cycling along tranquil lanes as you get to know this enchanting region, take in the spectacular view from the top of the funicular railway and Hastings Castle, and uncover a grisly yet fascinating history of smugglers and pirates at the town’s wonderful local attractions. Hastings shops are bursting with treasures while the pubs provide traditional, atmospheric, history-infused settings in which to refuel after all that adventure.
Continue reading to begin planning your holiday to Hastings or start browsing through our collection of cottages in Hastings to find your ideal retreat.
Scenic walks in Hastings
Hastings’ magnificent country park is criss-crossed with winding walking routes to explore on a day out with family and friends with the circular route being the most popular. Overflowing with biodiversity and a wealth of exquisite and eye-catching habitats to roam, from gorse wood to sandstone cliffs, Hastings Country Park is the place to begin any walking adventure. If you’re searching for dog-friendly Hastings, your canine companion will love park rambles along the circular path that winds around this natural space, and there are countless spots for picnicking or playing games on the grass. Stop by the Hastings Country Park Visitor Centre for information on this tranquil natural space.
A 12-mile walk that begins with steep coastal sections taking in serene sea views; you’ll soon reach Pett Level, a delightful seaside location with a quaint beach where you could end your walk or grab lunch before continuing along towards Rye. You’ll have the chance to gaze out over Romney Marsh and the Kent Downs beyond along this second stretch before reaching your destination. The entire Saxon Shore Walk is 153 miles, stretching all the way to Gravesend in Kent so you may be tempted to trail another section of this path on your next holiday, but we think Hastings to Rye is a delightful place to start.
This moderate walking route near Hastings winds past the glistening waters of beautiful Ecclesbourne Reservoir before looping round to return to bustling Hastings. It’s a 4.5-mile trail with occasional steep slopes to conquer and lots of ups and downs, but one of the top sights has to be the view from East Hill; it’s a remarkable panorama taking in the idyllic coast and country that surrounds you.
Cycle routes in Hastings
The Hasting Park circular path welcomes cyclists to ride along its traffic-free trail and take in scenic views of this beauty spot. The National Cycle Network Route 2 runs through the park and it is a short ride from Hastings. Take your own bicycle along or hire one from Hastings seafront before heading out on two wheels through this idyllic landscape.
This family-friendly cycle route runs along an old railway line, providing relatively flat terrain for beginners to enjoy. Stretching just 3.6 miles along the seafront, it is perfect for a morning’s cycle-ride out to Bexhill-on-Sea where the De La Warr Pavilion, a park and museums provide the chance for fun afternoons. There’s a host of places to eat in Bexhill before you return along the route or hop in the car to get back to your Hastings holiday cottage.
Other things to do in Hastings
East Hill Lift
If you’ve got a head for heights and love an impressive view, a trip up East Hill Lift may be in order – it’s one of Hasting’s top attractions and is believed to be the UK’s steepest funicular railway! At the top of East Hill, you’ll be overlooking Hastings Old Town, Rock-a-Nore and the sea beyond; it’s a remarkable sight to admire as you get to know this beautiful resort town. A trip up this funicular railway will also bring you to the much-loved Hastings Country Park, so you could begin a morning’s walking on arrival at the top of the cliff.
Overflowing with history and heritage, step back in time at one of the intriguing Hastings museums in this ancient coastal town. If you’re wondering what to do in Hastings, the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery offers up insight into this region’s past alongside a collection of impressive artworks to gaze on, Hastings Fisherman’s Museum is an independent museum where you can uncover the fishing industry and maritime history of the area, while The True CRIME Museum is a fun and grisly place to see crime exhibitions.
If you’re searching for things to do in Hastings with kids, Hastings Castle may be just the place as it is home to Smuggler’s Adventure, an attraction of underground caves and passages with life-sized smuggler characters to pass along the way. There are interactive displays and activities to try; look out for the chapel, the most haunted area of the tunnels. Back up on the surface sits the magical ruins of Hastings Castle, built in 1067 by William the Conqueror; a stunning place for a breath of fresh air with wonderful coastal views.
The real reason anyone goes on holiday is for the beach, right? Well, Hastings Beach is a top choice with wonderful amusements for all the family and wide-open spaces when the tide is out for long windswept walks along the pebble shore. Miniature Hastings Railway, crazy golf and a pleasure pier can all be enjoyed here. Dogs are welcome on the beach, with restrictions during the summer, so you can take the entire pack with you on your Sussex coastal break.
This vibrant coastal landscape hosts a variety of festivals with a fantastic programme throughout the year that includes Hastings Old Town Carnival Week, Jack in the Green Festival and Tulip Festival. If you’re a true foodie, then head to Hastings for the Midsummer Fish Festival, Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival or Rye Bay Scallop Week. Music lovers will have a great time at either the International Piano Concerto Festival or the International Jazz Festival. Pirate Day, Hastings Week and England’s Medieval Festival celebrate the area’s rich heritage, while other highlights on the calendar include Cycling Week and Rye Arts Festival.
Pubs in Hastings
Best known for what they call ‘proper pies’ handmade in the pub, it’s the perfect place for good pub grub and a warm atmosphere. This traditional inn is set in Hastings Old Town, right on the seafront and has roots dating back to 1730, truly a traditional old English pub. They host music and special events and are dog-friendly too!
Set further inland, on the edge of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this elegant family pub embraces a Hastings restaurant style with contemporary country furnishings and a great selection of food and drink. Sit out in the garden of this cask ale pub and sip on a real ale or sit inside with your family pet at your feet, this is a dog-friendly pub after all! Best of all for families searching for a child-friendly pub, there’s an indoor play area where kids can burn off steam while waiting for their dinner to arrive.
Priding themselves on being one of Hastings most haunted pubs, the Hasting Arms offers up a delectable selection of homemade pub classics, often mixed up with special foodie events such as curry nights and tapas nights. This 18th
-century smugglers pub is tucked away in the backstreets of Hastings Old Town and provides a relaxed vibe for anyone looking for a traditional setting to unwind with dinner and drinks after busy days out and about.
Places to stay in Hastings
Holidays in Hastings
Staying in the heart of wonderful Hastings itself is top of our list! With cobbled streets full of history, a beautiful beach, and a wealth of attractions, holidays in Hastings are hard to beat. Browse our stylish houses in Hastings town centre, wonderful cottages by the beach and rural farmhouses that the whole family will love.
Where to stay in Hastings:
Escape to Rye
Whether you’re staying down by Rye Harbour or a cottage hideaway in the surrounding countryside, this ancient town provides a wonderful place for a holiday 13 miles from Hastings, East Sussex. Medieval, half-timbered houses line the streets and beautiful Camber Sands, which boasts the only dune system in East Sussex, offers a superb choice of coastal adventure and town exploration for your next break.
Where to stay in Rye:
Retreat to Bexhill-on-Sea
Just 6 miles in the opposite direction from Hastings, East Sussex, sits the beautiful coastal resort of Bexhill-on-Sea, known for the delightful cycle route that connects the two towns. Not as well-known as Hastings and Rye, but providing a great base for holiday travel, Bexhill boasts a beautiful beach and Art Deco promenade, leisure centre, golf courses, and many shops and restaurants too.
Where to stay in Bexhill-on-Sea:
Take a trip to the fantastic town of Hastings or one of the wonderful towns and villages nearby and discover all that the East Sussex coast has to offer. Start planning your next getaway to the South Coast by browsing our collection of cottages in Hastings.
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