Visit Hastings and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Hastings, Sussex. An ancient town that became famous as the base from which William the Conqueror set out to fight the Battle of Hastings - although battle was not joined here, but at Battle, 6 miles north west. William landed at Pevensey, a few miles to the west, marched to Hastings and made his preparations. The town later became one of the Cinque Ports and prospered for a period in the Middle Ages, although suffering heavily, like other south-eastern coastal towns, from French raids during the Hundred Years' War. After the harbour had silted up its prosperity waned, but during the 19th century it became a popular watering-place and is now a leading resort.
Hastings has an extensive shingle beach and a long pier supplying the usual seaside amusements. A wide promenade follows the beach line and below it is a covered, all-weather promenade called Bottle Alley: its walls are ornamented with thousands of pieces of coloured glass.
The most interesting part is the Old Town, the fishermen's quarter. Fishing has been for centuries the main industry here, carried on in the typical beach boats of this part of the coast. For lack of a harbour, these craft are still hauled up on to the shingle, nowadays by motor rather than muscle-power. Several attempts have been made to build a new harbour, but have failed. The last was in 1893 when one arm was constructed which now acts as a breakwater.
High on the beach stand the net-lofts, usually three-storied and built on concrete bases about 8 ft square. Thrift ordained this tall, narrow shape: the fishermen had to pay ground rent and so built on the smallest possible area; they needed room for big nets and other gear and built high. Use of these tarred towers began in the mid-l6th century and some of those standing today are quite old.
Just above this stretch of sea-front, known as Rock-a-Nore, is a lift to the top of the East Cliff, which gives a splendid view. Nearer the town another, longer lift goes to the top of Castle Hill, where the ruins of Hastings Castle stand, overlooking the town and beaches. Little remains of this structure, built on the site of an earlier Norman castle, probably of wood, and said to have been brought from Normandy by William, ready to erect; nothing remains of it today. On the West Hill, an extension of Castle Hill, are St Clement's Caves, a series of sandstone caves which penetrate to 60 ft below the surface.
For those who like walks in the salt wind, the cliff-tops here are ideal. They stretch for several miles and present some fine views of the steep rock faces.
Another reminder of 1066 is the Conqueror's Stone, by the promenade near the pier. William breakfasted in Hastings, using, it is said, a great stone as a table. This is the stone, it is claimed, at which he sat.
Nearby towns: Battle, Bexhill-on-Sea, Cranbrook, Eastbourne, Rye, Sandy Cross, Winchelsea
Nearby villages: Crowhurst, Dungeness, Fairlight, Sedlescombe Westfield
Have you decided to visit Hastings or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Hastings bed and breakfast (a Hastings B&B or Hastings b and b)
- a Hastings guesthouse
- a Hastings hotel (or motel)
- a Hastings self-catering establishment, or
- other Hastings accommodation