Approximately a ninety minute drive from South East London, Hastings, one of the South coast’s historical Cinque Ports is also Europe’s largest ‘working beach’ with fishing boats being launched right in front of you from the beach, providing fresh fish and seafood to the many fish and chip shops and fishmongers.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
My family visit Hastings whenever we fancy a bit of sea air without hassle. We have never failed to find a parking space, there are never traffic jams to get in or out of the town, it has a huge amount of bargainous, child friendly cafes, enough to do indoors if it rains and genuinely something to make sure every generation and personality finds something of interest.
Address: Hastings, East Sussex.
Sand / pebbles: There are stretches of sand, especially at low tide, but the beach is mostly pebbles.
Cafe: Plenty of family friendly cafes offering cheap and tasty food near the beach.
Toilets: There are 5 public toilets along the promenade, all of them have baby change except Warrior Square. They are well maintained, and while still ‘public toiletty(!), they are clean and perfectly usable. The fact that there are so many mean you are never far away from one- a godsend when we were potty training!
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: The beach itself is pebbles and much of it is a working beach with boats etc so not at all buggy/ wheelchair friendly but the seafront and promenade is all flat walkway with ramps etc to access all the entertainments, although at the Rock a Nore end and much of the seafront, the pavements are cobbled and sometimes narrow Buggies can be folded/just taken on the mini train and the East and West funiculars.
Parking: Yes (there are several pay and display parking areas throughout the town and along the seafront. The Rock-a-Nore car park at the far end of the seafront tends to be the most reliable for spaces.
Train: Hastings – 10-15 minute walk to the beach.
Phone: 01424 451111.
Email: Contact Tourist Information via a form on their website: www.visit1066country.com/contact-us.
Alongside all the classic seaside features (crazy golf, children’s funfair, rock shops, miniature railway…), Hastings has a strong arts culture, quirky vintage shopping and one of the richest histories in the UK. There is something for every member of the family, with two funicular railways, fish and seafood in the original tall, black Net Huts, a sea life centre, free maritime history museums, Jerwood Gallery and masses for children, indoors and out. Hastings features the remains of William the Conqueror’s first English castle and a well preserved old town.
There is both busy mainstream shopping in the town centre and a rich offering of boutique, antique, bric a brac and vintage stores in the Old Town’s alleys and passageways, known as the Twittens. Hastings Country Park, a 660 acre open space atop the cliffs can be reached by the East Hill funicular railway and its mixture of heathland, woodland and exposed cliff will get the sea air into your lungs.
Review by Shea Hollis