Exploring Hastings

Exploring HastingsOutfit Details for a Similar Look
top | cape | trousers | bagboots | hat | nail polish

On Friday, Mum and I got up bright and early and met my friend Arthur at Waterloo East to catch the train to Hastings for the day. None of us had ever been to Hastings before, and really weren’t sure what to expect. The only Hastings I could picture was its representation in Foyle’s War, and I sensed this would be pretty far from the reality. I was in for a very pleasant surprise!

I love train journeys: they always give such a sense of adventure, and the 1.5 hrs flew by as we chatted away happily and ate the Pumpkin Cupcakes I’d brought along. On arrival at Hastings, we gloried in the beautiful weather that greeted us and decided to head straight for the sea. From recommendations I’d received from friends, I knew we’d find a lot to enjoy along Rock-a-Nore road, which offers a pleasing mixture of culture (in the form of the Jerwood gallery), lovely seaside views and some of the best fish & chip shops in England. It only took about 20 minutes to walk from the station, and as soon as we got to Rock-a-Nore road, I whipped my camera out and started snapping away. Hastings really is a seaside town, and there’s no better place to appreciate it then this stretch of road, where fishing huts and boats, antique shops and fisheries all jostle together against the cliff.

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Realising it was lunch time, I suggested we head to Maggie’s, which had been recommended as the place in Hastings to get fish & chips. I hadn’t booked ahead, which turned out to be a mistake, as they turned out to be completely booked (apparently, it’s wisest to book at least a week in advance), but happily a last minute cancellation occurred and we were given a table. It was clear that this place is exceedingly popular with local Hastings residents, and for good reason: we had some of the best fish & chips we’d ever tasted. I was a little overwhelmed at first by the portion size (one plate looked about enough to feed all 3 of us!), but manfully did my best, and it was delicious! The batter was thin and crispy, the cod wonderfully fresh and the chips exceedingly moreish.

Maggie's Hastings Maggie's Hastings

After eating as much as we could manage (I’m not sure anyone could accomplish a clean plate at Maggie’s!), we decided a walk by the sea to work off some of our lunch would be wise. Arthur and I certainly got in a bit of a workout as we negotiated our way down some rocks to a particularly pretty part of the coast. ‘What I don’t do for the blog!’ I thought, clinging to a rock as an avalanche of slippery pebbles disappeared from under my feet. Fortunately, Arthur came and rescued me, and we made it to the bottom all in one piece.

Although rock climbing will clearly never be my forte, the stunningly beautiful seaside was definitely worth the effort. We both exclaimed over the true blue of the sea (you can tell you’ve been in London too long when you’re far too used to water looking rather bleak and muddy), and it was lovely just to stand and breathe in the air.

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Returning to the main road, we were keen to get the funicular to the top of the cliff to admire the view of Hastings and the sea spread out below us. Wandering into the charmingly old-fashioned office, we paid for our tickets (£2.50 each) and were whisked away to the cliff top. The views were gorgeous, and once again I felt exceedingly thankful that the weather gods were smiling down on us. Blue sky met blue sea, and the pastel-shaded houses of Hastings spread out below us, making a pleasingly colourful landscape.

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The Old Town looked so inviting from above, we decided it was time to explore it from ground level too, and were whisked back down again in the funicular  to start our gentle ramble through the streets of Hastings’ Old Town. I have to say, I’ve seldom seen a prettier town: it felt like stepping back in time as we traversed the tiny alleyways and curving streets, flanked either side by many ancient and beautiful houses. My friend Arthur loves history and architecture so was on cloud nine and said too how his friends and relatives living abroad would adore Hastings. I completely agree: it offers a fantastic glimpse into a largely bygone England, and there’s also a largely unspoilt (and un-touristy) air to Hastings that is very special. I would absolutely recommend anyone visiting London for any length of time to take advantage of the easy train journey and make a day of it in Hastings.

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We soon came across busier streets filled with quaint shops and cafes and decided that a drink at Penbuckles Deli was a good idea. The Deli is a foodie’s paradise, stuffed to the brim with delicious cheeses, meats and other delicacies. We were still too full from the fish & chips to eat anything, but instead ordered some wine and tea to enjoy in the cosy backroom (note: you do have to order some kind of food if you’re having alcohol, but we were able to get some olives as a take-away, which we enjoyed later that night).

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Having refreshed ourselves, I was keen to head back to the Jerwood Gallery, of which I’d heard fabulous things. We were lucky to catch two excellent exhibitions that are currently being shown at the Jerwood: Lowry by the Sea and Horizons: Kettle’s Yard. Both were fabulous, but I especially enjoyed the Lowry exhibition. I’ve always associated Lowry so strongly with his urban artworks and had had no idea he’d done several seaside paintings as well. They are beautiful, and it felt so special to see them in such a lovely gallery right by the ocean. Having spent a fair amount of time exploring Jerwood, we stopped for another cup of tea in the gallery cafe which has a very nice terrace overlooking the sea and is well worth a visit.

Regretfully, it was then time to head back to the station to catch a train to London. We all agreed that we had the most fantastic day out and wanted to return to Hastings again soon. Much as I love London, it’s so fun to have a day away from the city every once in a while, and there’s really so much on offer nearby that it’s a shame not to go exploring more often. Have any of you been to Hastings before? What did you think of it? Have I inspired you to take any day trips yourself (I hope so!)? Also, it’s worth mentioning that if (like my friend Arthur) you’re a keen history scholar yourself, then you may want to book your calendar for September / October next year, when there will be a big arts festival in Hastings with contemporary interpretations of the Battle of Hastings, and a historical re-enactment.

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 I was given 3 train tickets to Hastings, as well as free entry to the Jerwood Gallery, by the lovely people of Visit 1066 Country and South Eastern Railway, in exchange for a blog post about the area. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own, and I wouldn’t have written about my trip had I not loved it and wanted to share it with all of you. 

  • A great guide to Hastings! We have good friends who live in Battle so I have been there a couple of times, but sadly not to the Jerwood. I see you found a feline friend en route. I love the train as a mode of transport too. Le chat noir xx

    • I hope you get to Jerwood sometime because it’s a super gallery! Yes, that cat was so sweet – it was just loving the sunshine! xxx

  • I have never been to Hastings but it sounds like you had a truly lovely day. How lucky were you to get that table in Maggie’s! I also love your outfit, one of my fashion goals is to wear hats more often this autumn/winter.

    • It was so very lovely 🙂 I hope you get to visit Hastings sometime! Thanks so much – I adore hats so am always looking for an excuse to wear them! xxx

  • Sherilyn

    It looks like the best british seaside town you could expect ! xx

  • Hastings looks amazing! I love a good seaside town and the weather looks fabulous! Hastings isn’t a place I have ever thought to visit but it is on my list now! xxx

  • I’m a huge Foyle’s War fan and although I knew they filmed in Hastings, I assumed there was some ‘artistic license’ as to where and how far into Hastings that was…but reading your post it’s clear it *was* filmed in Hastings and it’s just as stunning as it looks on screen! Oh my, I need to get myself there and location spot ASAP!

    • I adore Foyle’s War too – and I really wasn’t expecting Hastings to be as charming as it’s shown in the series, but the Old Town truly is gorgeous!! You must definitely book a trip 🙂 It makes the most lovely day out! xxx

  • Hatsings looks like the perfect place to get away from London Life I am going to have to take a trip the next weekend I have free.

    http://www.emmainks.com

    • Oh it makes the perfect little mini-break from London. I absolutely recommend making a day of it there whenever you next get the chance! xxx

  • Okay, so I’m now completely in love with Hastings, all thanks to this post. I had no idea it was so beautiful! I’m so glad you had such nice weather, your photos turned out fantastic. xx

    • I honestly had no idea either, until I went! It really is utterly charming. I was thrilled with how lucky we were weather-wise too – the perfect conditions to tour the town 🙂 xxx

  • I love train trips so much! Such gorgeous photos – those fish and chips, the rocky seaside, the blue, blue sea! The town looks lovely! And as always – your outfit was so chic Miranda 🙂

    Raashi
    raashiagarwal.blogspot.com.au

  • How good does that fish and chips look! And Hastings looks stunning. Sounds like you had an amazing time lovely lady 🙂

  • SO pretty, really want to go there now! What a lovely day out 🙂
    Rosie xx

  • I clicked this thinking it was “Exploring Hashtags”. This was better. 🙂

  • I have very faint memories of Hastings as a child. But it looks like a cute town I would love to explore!

    Saskia / girlinbrogues.com

  • Thought you’d like to know that I shared this blog onto my Hastings Facebook Page and Twitter feed. https://www.facebook.com/HAPP1066/posts/315571881900034 and https://twitter.com/HAPP1066/status/654334683321397248

  • I’d absolutely love to go to Hastings! It looks like such a charming, beautiful little enclave of a town and it’s wonderful that it’s not even that far away from London. Sounds like a great day out, especially with fish and chips involved! xx

    Tamsin / A Certain Adventure

    • You must definitely go Tamsin – I’m sure you’d have a really fabulous time. It is such a delightful spot. And yes, those fish & chips alone were worth the trip! xxx

  • Joe

    I’ve been to Brighton but not Hastings – really lovely. Nice to see the mix of seaside and leaves in Hammersmith kind of posts too!

  • Kristina Collins

    Oh this looks like the most marvelous day out! How have I missed out on Hastings all these years? Will definitely be adding to the to-visit list 🙂 xx

  • I love English seaside towns:) great photos!