In partnership with Visit England
What a wonderful treat Eastbourne is! As you might have noticed, we have slowly been making our way round the British southern coastline and this break was an unexpected gem. The weather helped, of course, and made brisk cliffside walks and independent window shopping that little more sweet.
HOW TO GET THERE
A train from London Victoria to Eastbourne takes approx 1 hour 29m and brings you to the heart of Eastbourne, right by the great coffee shops and a 10 minute walk away from the glorious seafront.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at ‘The Port’, set on the beachfront it’s location was absolutely perfect and the staff were so accommodating, helping us with recommendations on our trip. They have great mid-week offers which make it more affordable and the rooms range from seaview studios to cabin rooms (which we stayed in, it was the perfect cosy room with everything you need, even a small coffee machine!) and if you can stretch, the breakfast is really worth it.
WHAT TO DO
The great thing about Eastbourne is that, whilst there is lots to do, you can easily do it in your own time. So I would start by wandering along the seafront, grab a gelato if the weather allows (Gelato Famoso is great), eat traditional fish and chips on the beach (we went to Dolphins but heard that Qualisea is also good) or walk along the Edwardian pier (playing air hockey at the arcade like we did is optional). You can even do the Eastbourne Seafront Walking Treasure Hunt (available for £4 via the VisitBritain shop) where you can discover history and amusing information about Eastbourne, taking you past famous landmarks as you find out about Rome and the Titanic’s connection to the seaside town.
Beachy Head and its iconic cliffs are a must-visit in Eastbourne if you can. You can take a bus or drive to Beachy Head Story for the free exhibition on the history of the area before walking alongside the cliffs and taking in the views of the famous red and white lighthouse (but keep your eyes peeled as we almost missed it!). The Beachy Head Inn is a great spot to watch the sunset on a clear day and there is also an 18 mile Coastal Culture Trail you can do (perhaps by bike!) along the English coastline from Eastbourne, via Bexhill, to Hastings and you can enjoy three different galleries along the way.
The Towner Gallery is a modern art gallery (the outside was painted by artist Lothar Gotz) housing free exhibitions, a cinema, cafe and is a great afternoon well spent, we loved finding out more about local artists Eric Ravilious, his friend Eric Bawden and saw work by Andy Warhol and Vanessa Bell (from May they will be showcasing a Barbara Hepworth exhibition). The Towner will also host this year’s Turner Prize 2023.
Take a walk through ‘Little Chelsea’, an area between South Street and Grove Road with lots of independent stores, coffee shops and eateries. We fell in love with Camilla’s Bookshop, bought some gifts from All Things Analogue and grabbed a coffee from Skylark.
WHERE TO EAT
There are lots of small, independent restaurants offering affordable, unfancy yet delicious meals – we loved our meal in GrEat (we had the mousakka and halloumi kebabs) and The Belgian Cafe for mussels and frites. To The Rise bakery is perfect for homemade pastries and coffee and Nelson’s Coffee is a great brunch spot. For something a bit fancier, try Cru wine bar (the menus are seasonal and all food pairs the local wines) or the restaurant at Port Hotel. The Dew Drop Inn on South Street is a lovely pub full of character and right by Skylark, too.
Just editing this city guide makes me want to go back, I really hope this guide will be useful if you do go – we’ll definitely be back (with kids next time!).