When I told people that I was visiting Hastings for a few nights, almost everyone had displayed an expression of “oh really, why go there?” I can understand why because it’s not really a tourist place where people flock to (no offence to anyone from Hastings). So why was I choosing to go there? Well, my best friend and I love castles so when we were planning a trip away together we wanted to visit Bodiam Castle. Hastings was only a thirty-minute drive away so we decided to use Hastings as a base to drive from.
I found a lovely flat through Air B&B in a central location close to the seafront. The narrow street leading to the flat wasn’t very pleasant but the flat was awesome.
I had been to Hastings when I was really young. It was a community trip with families from our estate. We travelled by coach and had a lovely time. What I remember most about it was playing crazy golf on the seafront. It was my first experience of crazy golf so as soon as we decided to stay at Hastings we had to do that.
Sad to say but Hastings Castle is very much a ruin now. It is the thing you think about when you hear Hastings, the battle of 1066 and the first Norman Castle. Erosion from the cliff edge and damage from storms and wars has left only small pieces of the castle.
Reading the plagues of information around the site you start to imagine what was actually in the place where you were standing. A Grand Hall, a Chapel, a Keep, they were all once there and it leaves a mysterious feeling. It is such a shame that all there is now are ruins but as long as they are preserved it will always be remembered.
You can go down into the dungeon with your ticket. The information I read said that this area down below might not have been a dungeon but simply a storage area. It did feel a little claustrophobic with no natural light. I definitely would not have liked to be down there for too long.
The views of Hastings from the Castle ruins are incredible. The weather was so ideal and really enhanced the experience.
- Less than half of the original structure of the stone fortress remains
- During the 13th century, severe storms put Hastings into decline. The destruction of the harbour declined the town into a fishing village. Large areas of the castle fell into the sea leaving the castle to decay
- A replica of Williams’ flag, the Gonfalon, is flown at the castle on October 14th each year
West and East Hill Lifts
The West Hill Lift was very close to where we were staying. For a small price of £2.70 for adults and £1.70 for children, you get a return ticket and it is open from 10 am – 5 pm. Using the west lift is the quickest way of getting to the Hastings Castle ruin. Upon reaching the top you’ll see a swiping field where the locals can be found relaxing taking in the beautiful views of the sea front.
East Hill Lift is close to the harbour area and leads up to Hastings Country Park. The distinct differences between the two lifts are that in West it is long and goes through a tunnel, whilst East is steeper, a shorter distance and has no tunnel. I can imagine that taking the east hill lift and going for a long in the Country Park would be the perfect thing to do on a beautiful spring day.
I had never used a cliff lift before. It felt like a traditional thing to do. Being an outsider to it all I think made it appreciate it a bit more. I had that excited energy when you experience something new.
- East Hill Lift is the steepest in England
- The West hilltop is where the inventor of the television, local John Logie Baird, made his first radar experiments
Golf by the seafront is a very popular attraction. From morning till evening it is full of people. We decided to play very late because that’s when it was mostly quiet. It is open until 10 pm and between 7pm-9pm you can play two courses for the price of one. This was definitely an appealing offer. There are three courses to choose from Pirate Golf, Adventure Golf and Crazy Golf. This provides plenty of opportunities for you to have fun, whatever your preference. By the way, watch out for the spitting statues.
Hastings Pier was reopened in April 2016 after extensive renovation. It has been voted the best pier in the UK. On the face of it, I thought why? It’s not what you would find in a normal seaside town pier. There are no fairground rides and no arcades. Walking along the pier began to change my mind. I like the stripped down simplicity of it. I’m definitely not a fairground or arcade lover so that I didn’t miss. There is The Deck Visitor centre to explore. The Upper Deck platform has a restaurant and provides amazing views. At the end of the pier, the views are incredible.
At the start of the pier, there are shops in huts that look very cute. The pier is host to live music concerts, open cinema screenings and a summer circus. I even saw that you could book weddings there.
A pleasant surprise
After being quite hesitant about what Hastings had to offer, we were pleasantly surprised to find some wonderful attractions that were worth discovering. Mini golf, castle ruins, epic views and the best pier in the UK, Hastings wasn’t too bad after all.
Have you been to Hastings before?
What are your memories of this seaside town?
No need for postcards, feel free to leave a comment…