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Eastbourne, East Sussex

Eastbourne

Eastbourne enjoys a sunny micro climate and is officially the sunniest place in England. It has been a Mecca for holidaymakers since 1849 when the railway was built. Eastbourne is only 65 miles south of London, 24 miles East of Brighton and 55 miles west of Dover. It is well connected by trains, London 1 hour 30 minutes, Ashford International just over 1 hour, Brighton around 30-40 minutes, Portsmouth Harbour and museums around 1 hour 45. Buses to all directions in Terminus Road.


This traditional Victorian resort is a visitors' delight with 3 miles of Promenade, theatres, famous Bandstand, Pier and the colourful Carpet Gardens. Save your legs by taking the Dotto train! It also hosts the August Airbourne show (one of the biggest free shows in the country). International lawn tennis events are just a short walk away at Devonshire Park. Other events include regattas, croquet and bowling. Take part in the October Beachy Head Marathon or relax at the Eastbourne October Beer Festival instead. Or if you are really up for it, join us for the Extreme Eastbourne events.


The town lies on the edge of the gently rolling chalk hills of the South Downs and with the 185m white Beachy Head cliffs to the West, is perfect both for the easy walkers and the more adventurous. There are also dozens of historic places to visit, all within easy drive, for example Pevensey Castle, Battle (the site of England's most historic 1066 battle), Alfriston, Herstmonceux Observatory, Sheffield Park, Sissinghurst Gardens etc etc.


The Sovereign Harbour complex, 2 miles east of the town, offers eating & drinking with a Cosmopolitan feel as well as a 600 berth Marina with 24 hour twin sea locks, making it the biggest of its type in the UK. Great for a leisurely stroll with friends or family.


BEACHES


Eastbourne's lifeguard patrolled beaches are award winning for cleanliness and quality.  Deckchairs and loungers are available for hire and to assist parents, there is a Kidzsafe Wristband scheme. The seafront at Eastbourne has a pebbly beach where soft clean sand is exposed at low tide.  To the West below the cliffs are rock pools, lots of fun for the children. Near the Sovereign Harbour at the Eastern end is a popular venue for water sports.


SEAFRONT AMUSEMENTS


Along the Promenade (going East to West) you will find the Sovereign Harbour leisure pool with flume, wave machine and various pools for serious swimmers and divers. Children's parks: Fort Fun with a new Aqua Water Park (first in the South East) Rocky's and Treasure Island, Eastbourne Pier, a skatepark, parks and gardens behind the seafront, including mini golf.  There is the Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum, built to deter Napoleon's armies, then the Pier itself, built in Victorian times and with a wealth of amusements including arcade, glass making studio, pub and nightclub at the end.  Walk further along and you will come to the Bandstand and then the Wish Tower slopes and gardens, and then on towards Holywell with its beach front cafe.


AROUND THE TOWN


Eastbourne is home to the Congress Theatre, the Devonshire Park Theatre, the Winter Garden and the Hippodrome, so there is an ever changing cornucopia of productions large and small to choose from; something for everybody.


The new Towner Gallery is fast becoming a centre of culture and art, with free exhibitions changing monthly.  It is a centre for local artists, notably Eric Ravilious, and the recent Queen's Jubilee Exhibition 2012 featured two giant pictures of Queen Elizabeth made up of thousands of photographs of local people, widely reported in the News. Adjacent to The Towner is the new Birley Performing Arts Centre.


One of the best views and a recorded talk about the sea front, history of the town and local architecture can be enjoyed from the top deck of the open top bus tour which takes you on a round trip going from the Pier in Eastbourne to Beachy Head where you can enjoy a meal (and the walk to enjoy the views to Brighton to the West and Hastings to the East) at the Beachy Head Pub which is a short walk from Beachy Head itself with the cliff and famous red and white striped Beachy Head Lighthouse.  The tour also passes the Seven Sisters, Birling Gap, and the Tiger Inn, at East Dean. Another place worth stopping at!


Small children (and large!) will enjoy a fun day out at the Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park where you can ride on top of a 1/8th scale coach behind a tiny train around the lake, eat in the station themed cafe, enjoy watching the miniature working models of trains of all descriptions, and picnic and play in their adventure playground.


PARKS IN EASTBOURNE


Eastbourne is full of beautiful parks and gardens one of which is Princes Park in the East near the Sovereign Swimming Pool which has the benefit of two children's play areas, an outdoor splash pool, a lake for ducks and boats, and a sensory garden and restaurant open in the summer.  Gildredge, Hampden and Motcombe Parks are also worth a visit.


Holywell at the West end of the Promenade deserves a special mention for its Italian Gardens, beachfront restaurant and the Spring along the beach which bubbles up fresh and cold water from an ancient glacier underground.  It's a pretty place to spend an afternoon with the family (and the ice creams here are considerably cheaper than by the Pier!).  If you are fairly fit, you can walk along the beach and climb over the groin then up some steep steps leading up the cliff to the 'Sugarloaf' an artificial structure believed to have been cut out of the chalk by ancient mariners to signal fresh water below... don't worry, a tea shop at the top and also one at the nearby Helen Gardens will supply much needed rest and refreshment at the end!  You can even have a game of mini golf here if you have any energy left!


EASTBOURNE RESTAURANTS


Every kind of eaterie exists in Eastbourne!  From the 5 star restaurants at the Grand Hotel, to a selection of Italian, French, Indian, Chinese and Greek restaurants. You can visit historic public houses such as the Lamb in Old Town or The Tiger in East Dean. You can also enjoy some great coffee shops and traditional fish and chip restaurants in the town. Many have seating outside or in gardens behind for customers to enjoy al fresco dining and soak up the sunshine.


WALKS AROUND EASTBOURNE


There are plenty of walks marked out along the South Downs way. From Butts Brow to the North of Eastbourne you can walk either to Jevington for a refreshing pint of ale in the 8 Bells pub, or straight to Beachy Head over the golf course.  Seek out the ancient Iron Age mounds and stop at the high spots for a breather and brilliant view all around - you can see for miles on a clear day.


Along the cliff top via Foxhole Bottom is reputedly one of the best walks in the region between Cuckmere Haven and Eastbourne.  But for rock pools and a hidden, sandy shore at low tide, you cannot beat going along the beach from Holywell to the Falling Sands to view Beachy Head and the famous red and white lighthouse from the beach.  It's a bit of a scramble but you will be rewarded by the stunning views and wildlife and some very tired but delighted children. You may even catch sight of a cormorant fishing on the rocks by the seashore.  Leave plenty of time, take a net and basket, and catch shrimps for your tea, but remember to get back before the tide comes in!


Shinewater is our latest Country Park, home to some ancient Bronze Age settlement remains, fishing sites around the lakes, and a skatepark and adventure playground.


Hampden Park, with its Decoy Lake which was originally used to attract wildfowl on the Ratton Estate, is now a popular space with locals and visitors alike, with its Lakeside restaurant, water features, ducks, woodland walks and gardens. What a relaxing day out for all the family.


Going towards Brighton, The Seven Sisters Country Park (named after the chalk cliffs nearby) on the way to Seaford is a great place for a shady walk, and a sunny walk can be enjoyed along the estuary of the meandering Cuckmere River at Cuckmere Haven, which is also popular with canoes.  A much photographed and painted view of the Seven Sisters can be had from here; view it also from the other end at Birling Gap and the old timber framed tea rooms on the cliff edge.  You can also see the sad results of a row of houses succumbing to cliff erosion here, and nearby is the Belle Tout Lighthouse which has already been moved once, in 1999, but the cliff edges are creeping ever nearer again due to erosion from the sea.