Eastbourne Pier is a beautiful example of a Victorian pier that was opened by Lord Edward Cavendish in 1870. It has been subject to much damage over the years, including rough storms in 1877, which resulted in it being rebuilt at a higher level. It also hosted machine guns during the Second World War, when an exploding mine again damaged the pier. In 2014, the Pier caught fire once more and it has since been restored where it is now home to the Victorian Tea Rooms, a chippy, and a nightclub. Take a stroll along the 300m pier and enjoy beautiful views across the English Channel.
Just a short distance from Eastbourne town centre is Beachy Head and Birling Gap. Birling Gap is owned by the National Trust and is located at the point where the South Downs meets the sea. There is a car park here and a café with toilets. From the car park, you can head down the steps onto the pebble beach. You can also take a short, approximately half a mile walk heading east to take you to the lovely Belle Tout Lighthouse, a lovely grade II listed building that was decommissioned in 1902 and replaced by the Beachy Head Lighthouse. If you fancy a longer walk, you can also walk from Birling Gap to The Beachy Head pub which is approximately 2.5 miles one way. Located next to The Beachy Head pub is The Beachy Head Story, which is an exhibition and gift shop which is also worth a visit.
If you’re looking for a way to see the whole of Eastbourne, then Eastbourne’s Open Top Bus is for you! You can pick up or hop off the bus at 16 different locations in Eastbourne, including Eastbourne Pier, Eastbourne Bandstand, the foot of Beachy Head, Beachy Head, Birling Gap, East Dean and Eastbourne railway station. Adult tickets cost £10 each and allow you to hop on and off as many times as you like in 24 hours. The whole journey from Eastbourne round to Birling Gap and back via East Dean is 50 minutes long. Buses normally run every 30 minutes from April to the beginning of September and every 45 minutes in September and May. The bus does not run from October to the end of April.
The South Downs Way is perfect for exploring by bike, where you can enjoy stunning views back across to Eastbourne, and across the English Channel. Eastbourne sits at the eastern end of the South Downs Way, and so from here, you can head West along the South Downs Way as far as you desire.
The South Downs Way is a notoriously challenging terrain to cycle so many choose to hire an E-bike allowing you to cover a longer distance and save the legs a bit! Cadence has a new hub in Eastbourne which is located opposite the Congress Theatre, ideally located on the west of Eastbourne not too far from the South Downs Way. Here you can hire an E-bike for between 2 and 6 hours. They have a range of different bikes in varying frame sizes and they will give you a quick demo before you set off!
Located to the west of Eastbourne, at the end of the South Downs Way, is Helen Garden, a public park that opened in 1935.
Helen Garden is home to an 18 hole mini putting green, children’s playground, Pétanque court and a kiosk serving drinks, ice creams and snacks. Perched on top of a cliff, with stunning views across the beach, Helen Gardens are also the perfect spot for a picnic. The putting green and Pétanque court can both be booked at the kiosk.
Located just a short walk west of Eastbourne Pier, on the seafront, is Eastbourne Bandstand. The bandstand was built in 1935 and is one of the UK’s busiest bandstands, which is particularly distinctive due to its bright blue domed roof.
The bandstand regularly puts on a range of live music, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Visit the Eastbourne Bandstand website for details on what’s on.
To the west of the main Eastbourne town centre is Sovereign Harbour Marina that consists of five harbours and over 800 berths.
The marina is lovely to wander around and explore each of the harbours. Also located at the marina is The Waterfront which is home to a number of eateries – perfect for a coffee with views across the harbour.
There are also a number of different boat trips you can take around the marina. Visit The Waterfront website for more details on these.
Each year, during June in the week before Wimbledon, Eastbourne hosts the Eastbourne International tennis tournament at Devonshire Park.
This tournament welcomes some of the highest-ranked tennis players in the world and the smaller courts in comparison to Wimbledon allow you to see the game up close!
The next event will take place from 20 June – 26 June 2022.
Herstmonceux Castle is a majestic moated castle dating back to the 15th century. It is located 9 miles north of Eastbourne, or approximately a 20-25 minute drive away. The castle is a beautiful demonstration of a brick-built castle, which also offers 300 acres of gardens to explore.
Within the gardens are a number of smaller, distinctive gardens, including a rose garden, Apothecary Garden and the Lower Garden, which is full of butterfly-friendly flowers. A short walk from the castle is a pretty Georgian folly and a lovely woodland area that is home to some impressive old sweet chestnut trees.
Also located at the castle is Chestnuts Tea Rooms, serving various lunch items and drinks and snacks.
The Cuckoo Trail is a 14-mile long trail suitable for walkers, cyclists and horse riders that runs along an old disused railway line. The trail links the market town of Heathfield in the north, to Hampden Park, a suburb of Eastbourne, in the south.
The route is largely traffic-free and passes through Horam, Hellingly, Hailsham and Polegate. The route is also well signposted and is fairly flat, making it suitable for all ages and abilities.
As the route passes through the East Sussex countryside, there is plenty of wildlife and nature along the trail. Keep your eyes peeled for cuckoos, dunnocks, orange tip butterflies, bullfinches, and lesser whitethroats.
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