A daytrip to Hastings

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

You can view all my Hastings photos in this handy little Flickr set.

On Monday, Phil and I had a very wet 'n' windy daytrip to the seaside town of Hastings, in East Sussex. Hastings is one of those towns that I always reckon I've been to, but if I'm honest I don't think neither a trip when I was four and a fleeting drive-through in 2009 count at all. So when we were rattling our brains for somewhere to visit on our days off, and trying to come up with something a bit different than our usual Brighton, we thought 'why not Hastings?'.

The truth is, I'm always a little bit skeptical about seaside towns. The best cases I've found are in places like Brighton where there are plenty of things to do; the towns themselves quite done up but not over the top, so they still retain a bit of their oldtime charm. The worst cases are (no names here) where the coastal towns are completely dilapidated and forgotten about, with a few mid-range high-street stores thrown in amongst the closed-down arcades and tat shops to make it seem more than they are. They're not, they're just not. In the back of my mind, for some reason, Hastings was a town of the latter description and I was a bit wary of going there. Still, because it was a daytrip with my fella (soppy), I knew we would have a fantastic time.

And a fantastic time we did have! Hastings actually surpassed all my expectations. Not a glimmer of the half-wrecked buildings I'd imagined in my mind were witnessed. Hastings is actually kind of cool. It reminded me of a slightly less touristy St. Ives (Cornwall), with it's winding lanes full of pubs, grub and vintage shops of every category. It hosts an Old Town, situated right by the seafront where a fisherman's port is, with lots of seafood huts and little museums - one of which was The Fisherman's Museum, a free-to-enter former church which now has nuggets of history in the form of photos, words and delightful dredged-up findings adorning it's walls. Of course there's amusement arcades and of course there's a high street with all your usual suspects, but there are also plenty of independent places to make Hastings feel like it really has got its own two feet.

I can't wait to be able to go back in the summer and enjoy it in all it's glory; of course, with it being winter and also a weekday and all, a lot of attractions were shut, such as the East Hill funicular lift. The town plays host to a lot of festivals in the summer (also a half-marathon and a five-mile run, the latter of which I'm very tempted by) so you're never without something to visit for. I would absolutely recommend it to everyone... just make sure you check the weather before you go!

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