Once in a while, you need a break from city life, and some much-needed time by the beach. While most people choose to jet off abroad in search for sun and sea, there is a little town on the South East coast of England that deserves your attention; Eastbourne.
I recently spent a weekend in Eastbourne and found it to be one of England’s hidden gems. Here is my guide on where to stay and what to do in this beautiful small coastal town.
How to get there
Eastbourne is incredibly easy to get to from London. It’s just 44 miles south of the M25, making it less than an hour drive from Gatwick Airport.
Eastbourne is on the Southern Railway network, with direct trains to London Victoria. On an average weekday, there are 39 trains travelling from London to Eastbourne, taking an average time of 82 minutes. You can be out of the city and by the coast in less than an hour and a half! For those coming from further afield (e.g. the North), my advice would be to take a train and change at London, or for a cheaper option, you can take National Express Buses that drop you off in the town centre.
Where to Stay
To make the most of your time at the seaside, you’d ideally want a hotel with a great sea view. That’s why I’d recommend staying at The View. The View is a luxury seafront hotel that offers stunning views of the Eastbourne coastline, and is the only hotel that can offer you the option of balcony rooms. It is located near a lot of the popular landmarks such as Eastbourne Pier, the Emma Mason Gallery, and The Wish Tower, and is situated only a 15 minute walk from the train station.
It offers buffet and a la carte menus for dinner, a breakfast the next morning, which you can enjoy on your seafront balcony, and a summer bar terrace where you can grab a drink and a light snack in the sun.
With 24-hour desk service, free Wi-Fi, and clean comfy rooms, the View is definitely a hotel I’d recommend you check out when looking for somewhere to stay in Eastbourne.
What to Do
Water Sports with Buzz Active
Take advantage of the water sports along Eastbourne’s coastline, by visiting Buzz Active; a non-profit organisation run by East Sussex Council that provides outdoor activities for all ages. You can choose from a wide range of water sports, including kayaking, raft building, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, dinghy sailing, and power boating.
Dan and I took part in windsurfing, which was amazing. It’s pretty easy to pick up, although quite difficult to control. I was able to “knee surf” pretty well, but standing up was a challenge – especially having to pull up the sail, and then control it through the wind. I’d recommend giving it a go though, as it was a lot of fun, and great to try something different, while learning a new skill!
The water sports run all year around as Buzz Active provide you with wetsuits, so the water is never too cold. We found the water to be quite warm and were able to stay in the sea for a long time and enjoy the activity.
Learn about Eastbourne’s history at The Fort
If you’re looking to learn more about Eastbourne’s history, you can visit the Eastbourne Redoubt Napoleonic fortress; one of the south coast’s most historic landmarks. It was built over 200 years ago to defend the south coast from Napoleon’s forces, and still stands today as a unique monument. Keep your eyes peeled on their website for events and exhibitions held there throughout the year.
Play a game of Crazy Golf
There are a variety of crazy golf courses along the seafront, to keep you entertained. We visited American Adventure Golf, which was a 19-hole mini golf area, offering fantastic views of the coast. The course is specifically designed to suit all ages and is both fun and challenging. I ended up getting a hole in one on one of the pars, which was an amazing feeling, although some were trickier than others, taking me a few more shots to pot the ball! We had a lot of fun playing this course and the best part about it…? I won!
Hike the stunning cliffs of Beachy Head
At 530ft, Beachy Head is the UK’s highest chalk sea cliff. It has been featured in many films and TV shows including BBC’s Luther, BBC’s Mitchell and Webb Look, Battle of Britain, and the Jane Austin classic ‘Emma’. This is a great place to hike, breath in some fresh air, and take in the dramatic views of England’s stunning cliff faces.
Take a stroll along Eastbourne’s Pier
Eastbourne’s pier is one of the more famous landmarks, having opened in 1870. It is a 1000ft ‘pleasure pier’ hosting many gift shops, bars, restaurants, amusements, and even a nightclub. It’s built on stilts, allowing the structure to move during rough weather, although I’m not sure if that’s something you’d want to experience! Whether you enjoy playing in the amusements, or having a walk along the sea, it’s definitely worth a visit. After all, a day at the seaside is the epitome of a British Summer.
Where to Dine
If you’ve taken my advice and are staying at The View, then you don’t need to venture out for dinner. The View offers both buffet and a la carte menus, as well as light bites and snacks at their ‘Vista Bar’, situated on their summer terrace. You can sit back in the comfort of your hotel, enjoying some incredible food, and looking out onto Eastbourne’s beautiful seafront.
If you would like to venture further afield, and happen to be visiting on a weekend, I’d recommend Bibendum Restaurant. They do the most amazing Sunday Roasts (and I’m from the North, so I know 😉 ).
I hope this has given you all an insight to Eastbourne and some tips for your visit. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment, and I can add it to my post 😊
I received a complimentary hotel stay at The View Hotel in exchange for a review, as well as complimentary tickets to Buzz Active’s watersports and Crazy Golf. Views are my own.