Eastbourne is one of Britain's more elegant resorts, enjoying a glorious location on the south east coast. With a relaxed atmosphere and excellent sunshine record, the resort has been a firm favourite with holidaymakers for decades. Notable features include its flat five mile promenade, lined with benches and decorated by Eastbourne's famous Carpet Gardens.
There is a small train that runs along the promenade, stopping at the various attractions, restaurants and cafés on the sea front. The resort boasts a good variety of sporting facilities for both participants and spectators, from bowls to international tennis. There are museums, cinemas and dancing at the Winter Gardens as well as all day concerts performed on Eastbourne's attractive Edwardian bandstand.
This stretch of coastline is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The breathtaking chalk cliffs of the South Downs mingle with the broad sandy shores ideal for bathing. Beachy Head, the most famous cliff of the Eastbourne downland, has spectacular panoramic views from Brighton in the west to Dungeness in Kent to the east.
The resort is close to the historical sites of Hastings and Battle and a short drive to Brighton, one of the country's oldest and most fashionable resorts. Inland, the picturesque Cuckmere Valley is a delight to explore and a visit to the nearby English Wine Centre for a tasting is a must. For those who wish to explore further afield, there are daily excursions to France which can be booked in the resort (passport required for trips to France).
Shoppers will find high street names amongst the town's flower-lined pedestrianised streets and its main indoor centre, the Arndale. For those looking for the exclusive and distinctly individual, the Little Chelsea Quarter sells antiques, hand-made furniture, jewellery and ceramics.
Beach and Gardens
Eastbourne has clean, inviting beaches, predominantly of shingle leading to sand at low tide, which offer excellent bathing. Its award-winning gardens range from the striking Carpet Gardens along the sea-front, to the rockery of Helen Gardens and the shingle based Sovereign Park with its 130 species of wildflowers.
Activities and Attractions
Tourist Information 01323 411400
Towner Gallery Tel:01323 434670
Eastbourne's award winning art gallery presents major exhibitions of contemporary and historic art alongside changing displays from the renowned Tower Collection.
Sovereign Centre Tel:01323 738822
Eastbourne's largest Leisure Centre with swimming, fitness and sports facilities.
Allchorn Pleasure Boats Tel:01323 410606
The cruise provides an excellent way to view the most dramatic seascape of the white cliffs and the famous 100 year old lighthouse.
Sovereign Harbour Marina Tel:01323 470099
Enjoy the views from the promenades and visit 'The Waterfront' for a wide selection of restaurants, bars, shops and other attractions.
Eastbourne Military Museum Tel:01323 410300
Includes collections reflecting the history of the Royal Sussex and the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars regiments and various exhibitions.
Beachy Head Countryside Centre Tel:01323 737273
Free exhibition into the history and ecology of Beachy Head and Eastbourne's downland with high quality exhibits and a presentation on coastal birdlife.
Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway
Travel for almost a mile around the beautiful country park in carriages pulled by one eighth scale miniature locomotives.
'How We Lived Then' Shop Museum
Featured on Channel 4's 'Collectors Lot', see collected exhibits shown on four floors of authentic Victorian style shops, room settings and displays.
Observatory Science Centre - Hailsham
A fascinating hands-on science and discovery attraction with themed areas such as 'Astronomy', 'Earth' and 'Optics', each with their own interactive exhibitions.
Eastbourne Theatres Tel:01323 412000
With four theatres to choose from, there is bound to be something to suit all tastes.
Eastbourne Air Show takes place over four days in August and is the biggest air show on the south coast.
Eastbourne Festival takes place in April/May and includes a range of concerts, workshops and comedy performances.
Bandstand Concerts Tel:01323 410611
A full programme of concerts and performances is presented throughout the year, including the weekly 1812 Firework concerts each Wednesday in summer.
Lammas Festival Tel:01323 735364
Traditionally held on the first weekend in August, the festival features a range of events from morris dancing to theatricals as well as a grand parade.
Hastings Old Town Festival & Carnival From the beginning of August this is a fortnight of festivities celebrating the traditions and myths of Hastings, from free beach concerts to a spectacular carnival.
Magnificent Motors One of the biggest free motoring spectaculars on the south coast takes place in May, with over 25,000 visitors expected to attend.
Medieval Festival Takes place at Herstmonceux Castle, Hailsham at the end of August. This is the country's biggest celebration of the Middle Ages and features entertainment ranging from court jesters and puppeteers to full battle re-enactments and costumed pageants.
Eastbourne Beer Festival is held in October and is one of the biggest beer festivals on the south coast. Events include tasting sessions and live entertainment.
For more events in and around Eastbourne see:
Places of Interest
Battle is the site of William the Conqueror's victory at the Battle of Hastings. The village is very picturesque and the famous abbey is a stunning piece of architecture.
Brighton is famous for its graceful Regency buildings such as the exotic iron-domed Pavilion, its two piers and its enticing series of byways known as 'The Lanes', with their intriguing antique shops and exclusive boutiques.
Alfriston lies in the heart of the delightful Cuckmere Valley and is the epitome of a traditional English village. From the village it is possible to walk along the Cuckmere River to the coast.
English Wine Centre Tel:01323 870164
Set in the beautiful Cuckmere Valley, the centre offers wine-tasting sessions and excellent regional food.
Kent and East Sussex Steam Railway
One of the UK's premier steam railways, passengers can enjoy dinner in one of the two historic Pullman cars dating from the 1920's, whilst travelling through some of the finest scenery the country has to offer.
Seven Sisters Country Park Tel:01323 870280
Set in and around the Cuckmere Valley, the park offers a wealth of outdoor activities, including walking trails along the stunning Heritage Coast.
Sheffield Park Gardens Tel:01825 790231
Beautifully laid out gardens with four lakes as its centrepiece provides stunning floral displays for every season.
Leeds Castle Described by Lord Conway as ...'the loveliest castle in the world', Leeds castle, which is listed in the Domesday Book, has been a Norman stronghold, a royal residence for six of England's queens and a palace of Henry VIII.
Penhurst Place and Gardens Located near Tunbridge Wells, the house has been the seat of the Sidney family since 1552 and features many exciting collections of royal and family portraits in the state rooms. The garden is one of the oldest in private ownership and remains much the same as it was when it was first constructed by Sir Henry Sidney in the Elizabethan era.
Newhaven Fort Tel:01273 517622
With its massive walls, ramparts, tunnels and gun emplacements, visitors can experience how life was in a Victorian fortress.
Hever Castle Tel:01732 865224
The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the castle is set in magnificent gardens which include an ornate Italian Garden and Topiary and a collection of trees which are more than a century old. The castle houses 16th century portraits, tapestries and furniture, as well as two Books of Hours which both bear Anne Boleyn's signature.
Hastings Tel:01424 781111
The castle was the first to be built after the Norman invasion and subsequent famous battle. The town's maritime connections are also celebrated, with the Fishermen's Museum and the Shipwreck Heritage Centre being two of the best attractions. The town is also the setting for the popular TV drama 'Foyle's War'.