Eastbourne, yes I've heard all the jokes, gods waiting room, cemetery with Lights , but it doesn't phase me. It is true that the population in Eastbourne is Older than the national average of almost 98,000 ,60% of residents are in fact pensioners.You only have to look at the figures of centenarians living in the town to realise that maybe Eastbourne in some way extends these peoples lives.It was thought in the early 1800's that fresh sea air was beneficial to the health.Today it holds the coveted title of sunniest place in the UK...I'd like to know where all the sun is because my fingers are turning blue ..
A Little about the Town
Eastbourne was given its name from the small river that runs through one of its many parks .The Bourne river starts in Motcombe park which is in the one of the oldest parts of the town called appropriately Oldtown. Also featuring in Oldtown and a site I strongly urge people to visit is St Marys Church, This church has stood proud in the town since the early 14th century, There are fantastic stained glass windows and the church is still used for worship today .Not only is it informative it makes you feel like you are part of the fabric when you can touch the pews and brickwork that were sat on and laid years in the past.
A few yards from the church you will find the Lamb Inn built at around the same time as the church, this is a public house with an intriguing past, used as a smugglers pub for years, the tunnels running under the ground to the coast can still be seen although it is no longer possible to try them out because of the danger of collapse.The Lamb Inn also holds the coveted title of the Oldest Pub In the Town, and sells some the best local ales ( I don't actually drink Ale but have been told its Ambrosia.)
A Little known Fact about Eastbourne is that it belongs to the Duke of Devonshire, he still retains rights on all of the seafront properties, which means that most of the properties running the length of the promenade will remain either private residences or hotels ,there will never be a shop opened on the promenade .This in my view isn't a bad thing as most of the seafront buildings are Victorian it would be a travesty if they were pulled down to make way for ugly glass eyesores, like the TGWU headquarters.
What sites in Eastbourne
There are numerous parks in Eastbourne ,Devonshire Park being the most well known , every June female Tennis players come for the Tournament and people flock to the Town to watch the play at Devonshire Park.Devonshire Park is situated in the Town centre.
Then there is Gildredge Park, this was the original Manor House and grounds,Alas no more the 'Towner Art Gallery' used to be situated inside of the Manor house, but was moved last year to a more central location.The Park is wonderful with lots of things to see , great open areas which fill very quickly in the summer when the Tourists are at their peak.
The most memorable part of Gildredge Park for me has to be the Peacock house , walking through the park on a summers day you suddenly hear a great squealing and on further investigation you will find that the Peacocks are calling to their mates , It never ceases to amaze me when I see these proud birds Displaying their feathers in all of their Glory.
Further to the east of the town there is another park opposite to the seafront called Princess Park, this has a small lake where , in the summer months you can hire a pedalo and pedal to your hearts content, in the winter months model power boat enthusiasts use it for their shows.
On The more residential side of the town There is Hampden Park, this park has everything you expect wildlife ,lakes ,adventure playgrounds and Tennis courts.Situated in the centre of Hampden Park is the David LLyod centre and Ten pin Bowling alley, In the summer months my husband and I often pop to the park for a quick game of Tennis, although this time of year it is generally overrun with foreign exchange language students.( this is one thing Eastbourne needs to change as they do not cater for the resident community as well as they do visitors.)
Along the entire Length of the seafront there are places of interest from the far east The new Sovereign Harbour ,running southwards there is the Redoubt Military museum ( This also used to house one of Englands best miniature villages, but it was closed down in the early 80's)The museum boasts of Eastbournes military contributions throughout the ages, with a Victoria cross on show from one of the Towns well known Military leaders.
Moving further south there is Eastbourne pier, not as well known as the one at Brighton, but is a major attraction in th town, in parts of the pier old tyme Tea Dances are held during the day and a nightclub and function rooms for the evening entertainment.During the summer period there are speedboat rides available to anyone willing to pay the £8 for five minutes, and also there is fishing from the end of the pier.
A five minute walk up the promenade and you come to the nationally famous Bandstand which has been restored in recent years , during the summer season there are concerts there almost everyday.
If you are interested in History, there is the Wish Tower , this was originally one of the Martello Towers built across the south coast to ward off invasions, now it has been turned into a restaurant, sitting high on the hill with beautiful views of the western lawns, this is also the location of many Radio 1 roadshows and the world famous Airbourne.
Next comes Hollywell a beautiful spot and the end of the 6k of promenade and shingle beaches , to the right of Hollywell you see the chalk of the sheer cliffs of Beachy Head.
Beachy Head is now part of England's South Downs National Park, Unfortunately better known for being a notorious suicide spot, it is the Starting point of the National parks nature trails which take you to the Seven Sisters and EastDean via the beautiful Birling Gap.The Belle Toute Lighthouse sits proudly at the top of Beachy Head although not as close to the Edge as it was a few Years ago thanks to the owners having it moved six feet.( This was televised on Tomorrows world )
Shopping In Eastbourne
There are Thousands of shops in Eastbourne, with its main shopping Centre , positioned centrally, This is Called the Arndale Centre, not as big as some in other towns , but then there are other shopping centres in the outer communities of Eastbourne, Including Hampden Park and Langney.
Culture and Entertainment
Eastbourne despite its image is a very cultural place it boasts Four Theatres which are full at all times of the year with wonderful productions from both local and national theatre companies.There is a film multiplex located at the Sovereign Harbour and a smaller Curzon cinema located in the town centre.
A thing I have to tell you about are the amazing Blue Plaque buildings to be found in the town these people lived Here so it must inspire as well as refresh the soul. with a special mention for Tommy Cooper a brilliant Entertainer lived in Eastbourne for 20 years, his family still live in the town and have their very own Emporium Coopers Joke shop located in the town centre.I had to mention this because he used to come to motcombe park when I was a child and help me feed the black swans .
MABEL LUCIE ATWELL (ARTIST) 1879-1964 holidayed here
LEWIS CARROLL ( WRITER ) 1832-1838 came back every year for 16 years
CHARLES DICKENS ( WRITER )1812- 1870 came for relaxation
SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON (ANTARTIC EXPLORER) 1874- 1922 holidayed
SIR CECIL BEATON 1904-1984 ST CYPRIANS SCHOOL
GEORGE ORWELL ( ERIC BLAIR) 1903-1950 ST CYPRIAS SCHOOL
TOMMY COOPER 1921-1980
CHARLIE CHESTER ( RADIO PERFORMER COMIC ENTERTAINER)
DOUGLAS BADER ( WWII PILOT )
you don't have to be half dead to want to visit Eastbourne , it holds something for everyone, whatever you are interested in you will be bound to find some interest .I'm biased because I live here, but the 250,000 visitors that return every summer must feel the same as me.
I have visited Eastbourne quite a few times recently and finally feel qualified to write a review on it.
Eastbourne is a seaside town in the South East of England. It has a bit of a reputation as being a place where older retired people go to spend their last few years, but I think it is much more than that.
The seafront of Eastbourne is very nice. There are many beautiful flower displays along the front which are very well kept and add some colour and prettiness to the town. The buildings along the seafront are also well maintained and their imposing Victorian exteriors add a sense of class to the vista. There is a lovely bandstand where there are often performances on in the weekend evenings, though you do have to pay for these.
There are lots of areas where you can get easy access to the beach either via steps or ramps. Unfortunately the beach is pebbles rather than sand which is a shame and means that paddling and sitting on the beach are considerably less pleasurable than at other seaside resorts.
Eastbourne also has a pier which is quite long and has an observatory on the end of it, though every time I have been this has been shut, perhaps because I have mostly been in off-season. The pier also has a club and amusements hall, a fish and chip shop and a few small independent shops. One sells glassworks, another sells silk flowers, and there is a sweet shop and a clothing store, although the latter two also seem to be shut whenever I go. The pier could do with a bit of a revamp in my opinion.
Shopping in Eastbourne is better than you might expect. There are two shopping centres and most of the major chains can be found in the town. There are also a lot of discount or pound shops if you like that sort of thing. The town centre is nicely compact and easy to navigate, and just a few steps away from the beachfront.
Eateries are easy to find in Eastbourne. There are a few chains, a number of independent places, and of course lots of fish and chip shops. The best of these in my opinion is Harry Ramsden's which is on the seafront and has some outdoor seating as well as indoor tables, so you can watch the sea whilst you eat. It is expensive but they do free chip refills which I think is a great idea!
If you have kids there are a few options with which to entertain them. There is a swimming baths, plus Fort Fun or Treasure Island which have soft play areas, etc. Princes Park is also nearby which has miniature golf and a lake where you can hire pedaloes. There is also of course a cinema.
Adults may like visiting the large harbour where you can walk round and look at all the boats, then have a drink or a meal in one of the restaurants or bars along the edge which overlook the water.
There are lots of places which are easy to get to from Eastbourne including the lovely little town of Lewes or the more well known city of Brighton. Various castles are also within driving distance, plus you can visit Beachy Head which is a lovely beauty spot on a cliff with a restaurant at the top.
Eastbourne is not somewhere I would choose to go for a holiday but you could do worse and it's certainly not a bad place to visit occasionally.
Eastbourne - God's waiting room - The land of the dead - Oh and my home town!
Its not all bad, I must confess - Although I now live in Manchester, I still hold memories of Eastbourne.
With the Arndale and the Enterprise shopping centres in town, you do have a fair selection of shops - Some a bit more unusual in forms floating around the Enterprise centre (which you cannot miss if you travel to the Bourne Via train), and also your general retailers around the Arndale and high street.
This I can not hold fault at, as opposed to chain after chain (I.E Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia Etc Etc) You have refreshing independent Bistros, Cafe's and Restaurants. I Personally recommend Charlie Browns Diner - Which you can find on Seaside Road (The road adjacent to the actual seafront), Also Rico's which is yet another Italian/steak house themed restaurant - and almost opposite Charlie Browns.
Drinking - Bars and pubs -
Where to start - A small town it maybe, but there is most deffinatly no shortage of pubs! What do you like? What music do you want to hear? Theres something for everyone. A few personal recommendations -
The Greenhouse - Located in Mark Lane (A road hidden behind C&H fabrics) A up beat and lively Wine bar - Full of life and generally friendly.
The Gilldredge - Located opposite the train station - Somewhat more alternative -
Rocky yet sporty. The pub is almost split in half but everyone remains in the same room - Sports fans up one end - Rock enthusiasts the other end. But this is not a bad thing as everyone interacts and remains friendly - Providing England are still in the World cup/European cup at the time! And your bound to see a few live bands here too!
BN21 - A newer pub located at the end of the high street - Not my favourite by any means, but it does have its perks - The food is quite good, and drink is cheap! Its clean and comfortable and not a bad place to sit out in the sun shine at the front during those summer days.
NightClubs - OH DEAR!
Personally go to Brighton for this! But if you want to see what Eastbourne has to offer you have four main clubs -
Atlantis - On the pier - Personally the clientel gets younger and younger every day there! Ask I.D before you buy him/her a drink!
Kings - Pevensey Road - A couples club really but unlike Atlantis has two floors - one for the dance/hip hop fans and another for the pure cheese! Possibly the best out of the four in Eastbourne!
Funktion Rooms - Road behind Kings - 3 floors of everything general cheese and dance in the main roon - The downstairs sub room for the drum and bass/ breakbeat fan and upstairs for the hip hop generation.
Maxims - Can't comment on this too much as it was shut down a while ago and has been recently re-opened and refurbished. This club is located on the other side of town to Kings an Funktion rooms (apologies as i cannot remember the road name).
Family fun - Its there! But at a price - The swimming baths (Soverigen Centre) really could do with a refit, but with an upstairs gym and 4 pools there is something for everyone.
Fort Fun/Rockys & Treasure Island on the seafront located near the swimming baths - Worth a look if your on holiday here with the children.
Overall There is a few things to keep busy but sadly always at a cost! But other interest around the area are Beachy head (one of the countries most notorious points - But beautiful scenery!) Eastbourne Harbour, Pevensey Bay and Castle, Lewes town a short drive out the centre (Amazing bonfire nights here - By far the best in the country!)
This town is no longer just a place to see your last years! It's growing and steadil improving! And I strongly advise the 4 day Airshow (Airbourne) in August on the seafront!!!
Well I am not born and bred in Eastbourne, and chose to move here a few years ago, because I love this town. It is not 'God's waiting room', as people would have you believe (but don't tell too many people, as I love this town the way it is and do not want it to change). It is a very clean, tidy, typically Victorian seaside resort. Neighbouring towns of Brighton and Hastings are much dirtier and their buildings are a mish mash, here (mostly) the architecture is still very much Victorian (on the seafront). We have great theatre's, cinema's and a whole host of restaurants - Pommodoro Mozzarella being my favourite. There are so many events throughout the year that are worth coming down for, Airbourne, Victorian Festival, Extreme Sport but to name a few. It is like stepping back in time, to when the streets were safe, when life was good and the ice cream is FAB. Come and see us - you won't be disappointed.
I have lived near eastbourne my whole life. It is very close to towns such a lewes and brighton. Although very close to Brighton, it is a very different style of town. Eastbourne is cleaner and quieter which generally attracts the older generation.
The sea froont in eastbounre is so so vwell kept, with a lovely peir which has a couple of pubs and arcades and the deck chairs which everyone wants on the summer.
The Sea front has a lovely traditional bandstand and stunning flowerbeds and gardens, ideal for sitting in when the weather allows.
Shopping in Eastbourne isnt the best, there is a small shopping centre, but not with the best shops.
Eastbourne is ment to be the Sunshine Coast of the Uk, and attract the elderly generation for the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere!
There is something for the whole family, for crazy golf to a few clubs!
Eastbourne, the sunshine town with quiet dignity, fantastic shopping and no crowds. For the unusual why not try shopping at The Enterprise Shopping Centre, right behind the station. I got a fab fairy from Brightest Blessings on the first floor. The centre has food and gifts to delight every taste. I am definately going back for more fairies and dragons at much less than Brighton and without the crush.
Eastbourne's a town for old people! Sure it is, but it is also very much a town for everybody else too. If you haven't considered visiting, read on... perhaps I can persuade you. I must confess some bias. I grew up nearby, lived in the town for a long time and return regularly. It is true that the town is not perfect and that it has some problems but which town could say otherwise. What it does have is plenty going for it There can't be many large towns blessed with Eastbourne's surroundings, if you approach the town from Seaford on the A259 it is well worth stopping and taking in the view. If you arrive by car, in all likelihood from the A22, car parks are well signed and are the easiest option. Eastbourne has a delightful one way system that could entrap you if you spend time looking for free parking. If on the other hand you let the train take the stress, you'll arrive at the station, and for the purposes of this opinion, that is where I shall start. Don't linger in the train station too long, as there is not much to keep you (unless you are desperate for a drink - there is a pub). Instead the nearest attraction is the Enterprise Centre, which you can reach directly from the station. Inside there are over 50 small and interesting shops. Whether you are after crafts, fancy dress, gifts, cheese, sausages, a meal or just a coffee, you should find something here. Opposite the Enterprise Centre and past the library is Grove Road. This road, and South Street provide the backbone to an area known as 'Little Chelsea'. This is Eastbourne's most appealing shopping area and is where to look for antiques, old books, furniture - and for something a bit different, undertakers. If you need a break from shopping there are sandwich shops, bars and restaurants. The centre of Eastbourne 'shopping wise' is found in the area bordered by Terminus Road (household n
ames) , Cornfield Terrace (mostly estate agents, banks and restaurants - and the Tourist Information Centre!), South Street and Gildredge Road (mostly accountants and solicitors) and includes the Arndale centre (more well known retail shops). Terminus Road stretches all the way to the Seafront. That's enough on shops... If the weather is being kind (and there is a very good chance it will be as Eastbourne is consistently one of the sunniest places in the UK) and as you have just arrived at the seafront, the promenade is an excellent place be. It is 5 miles long and is perfect for a romantic stroll, running and rollerblading (although the occasional storm can make this difficult - stones cover the promenade and even the road alongside from time to time). There is a weather station half way along which I have always found interesting. If it's warm, what about swimming in the sea? I have never found anything unpleasant in the water, and although the beaches are stony once the tide is out there is sand for your feet to recover on. When the tide is in it does gets deep quite quickly. If that's all too much, buy an ice cream (in summer) and join the older tourists who like sit on the benches, and watch the world go by. Or perhaps listen to music at the bandstand. The pier is worth a walk around too, as you get to look back at Eastbourne's sea front which being free of any shops can look quite grand. The pier itself has small souvenir type shops, games, a burger king and, at the end, a pub and nightclub. At dusk you can watch the starlings flock to their roosts underneath the pier, surprisingly beautiful. If you hanker after a little culture, Eastbourne has a number of museums. The Towner Art Gallery and Local History Museum is fascinating and well worth the walk to Gildredge Park in Old Town. Alternatively you can see How We Lived Then, an interesting privately run museum that gives you a glimps
e of how shops were in the Victorian era. In addition you could choose to learn more about puppets (at the Wish Tower) or the military collections of the Royal Irish Hussars and the Royal Sussex Regiment at the Redoubt Fortress Museum on Royal Parade (Eastern seafront). For nights out there is great choice. There are four theatres catering for all tastes. The Congress and the Devonshire Park have the main touring shows, the Winter Garden is on a Comedy Club circuit - usually funny - and then there are traditional shows in the towns oldest, (120 years old) the Royal Hippodrome. The Winter Gardens is a good place to book tickets for any show. All this activity will no doubt have you in desperate need of good food. Don't worry. There are a wide range of choices to tempt you. My favourites include Yankee Doodles in Seaside for its Mexican food, Sereecha's in the same road for Thai or Solo Pasta in Cornfield Terrace for Italian. There are so many more than this, many of which do excellent food, and most of them are within easy walking distance of the town centre. For the special occasion try Mr. Hau's (Chinese) in Terminus Road or the Mirabelle at the Grand Hotel, both good with excellent food. Bonnicks, a new restaurant in Grove Road has quickly developed a reputation for quality. I haven't been a regular clubber for a few years (if I ever was) but I have been at times during the last 18 years and do know there are now five nightclubs. The largest is Atlantis on the end of the pier and is a fairly standard club. It takes a hardy soul to walk to it along the pier in bleak midwinter. Another, Tuxedo Junction (my favourite) has two floors, one which is more happening and one more for chilling. The others are much as you would expect. They do student nights during the week for the University of Brighton students (Eastbourne campus) who help to bring down the average age in the town. (As do the hordes of foreign students
who arrive in summer). Out and about for this long and I am sure you will be in need of a bed. I haven't stayed in any hotels so don't feel able to make recommendations, but there are hundreds of beds in hotels, B&B's and guest houses to choose from so nobody should be without. The Tourist Information Centre can help or just walk along the seafront and take your pick. If you are looking for sport or leisure activities there is plenty to choose from. There are facilities that can cater for most tastes including three golf courses (none of them public), a golf driving range, tennis courts, a 33 metre swimming pool and one for kids, a David Lloyd centre (which has a ten pin bowling and laser quest site) and more. For the less energetic spectator sports include a top international tennis tournament, three semi-professional football clubs, a rugby club and (nearby) a speedway team. In the summer Eastbourne has two major events that are well worth seeing, Airbourne, which usually has a Red Arrows display, and Skate, an event for rollerblade addicts and novices alike. You probably won't want to shop for food if you are on holiday, but should you have to there are large Tesco's, Sainsbury's and Asda stores nearby and in the town itself a Sainsbury's and Safeway's. The larger stores have a good range of products and fruit and veg which is fresh and of good quality. While I'm back on the subject of shopping it is fair to say that Eastbourne is not the best place to for the quality retail shopping experience. As already mentioned there are some interesting individual shops, but most are 'any town' shops with standard product ranges. If you need to shop, Brighton and Tunbridge Wells are much better. Beyond the town boundaries and within easy reach there are a number of excellent activities or attractions to tempt. Walks up on to the South Downs and beyond along t
he Severn Sisters (seven white cliff peaks) to Exceat, a walk of two to three hours in beautiful surroundings There is a pub called the Golden Galleon at the end which does reasonable food. There are also mountain bike tracks for those with more energy, and while not up to the technical demands of tracks in Wales, still fun. Close by in Pevensey, there is Pevensey Castle, where you will find William's Norman castle inside remains of old Roman walls. Although a ruin it is in an interesting site to visit for history aficionados. I am sure I have missed bits out, both good and bad. One thing is certain, Eastbourne has plenty going for it, and it won't be as retirement orientated as you may have thought. There is nowhere in the town that is dangerous to walk around, so if I have succeeded in persuading you to visit I hope you enjoy it. For more information and maps try: http:// www.eastbourne.org or www.eastbourne-web.co.uk This is opinion is developed from a version I originally posted on Ciao. Thanks for reading ******************************************************************* If you want to take part, please include MY HOMETOWN in the title and include the following paragraph: This review is part of the HOMETOWN challenge where members are asked to write about any aspect of their hometown - or a town they'd like/not like to be their hometown. You can find all the participants by going to: http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/servlets/OpinionConnector?template=prd_opn_main&op inionID=426988&action=&action=removeSessio nID
I recently went on holiday to Eastbourne with my girlfriend. Possibly, if we were incredibly wealthy, we would have gone somewhere else. This did not stop it being perhaps the best holiday in my life. All along the coast of England there are places such as Eastbourne which stand as a testament to the faded Edwardian glory of the British seaside. Nobody really wants to go to the British seaside anymore because, if we?re honest, it?s shit. You go down onto the beach, picking up fag ends and dogs turds as you go, and you spread your towel on the cleanest bit of sand you can see. It will probably be a kind of yellowy-grey colour. You sit there for ten minutes, buffeted by the gales which incessantly stream along the English coastline, before you finally decide that some concession to tradition must be made, and you remove your t-shirt (...jumper, coat, long-johns, thermal underpants, boots...) to reveal a pasty body protected only by a bit of skimpy swimwear. That pastiness -- it is worth mentioning at this point -- will not change no matter how long you spend here. You leap to your feet before you have time to collapse in a wailing ball of self-pity, and start running towards the ocean. You are soon caught up with by a ferocious-looking dachshund who fixes his teeth playfully into your calf while its owner stands watching stoically, a faint smile of satisfaction playing on his lips. You beat off the dog with a handy plastic spade, to the outrage of the owner, and continue towards the water, where you plunge in headfirst. When you resurface you are kneeling on some particularly painful rocks, up to your neck in the icy water, your testicles have shrunk out of existence and you have seaweed in your mouth. It is at this point that you notice the sewage pipe... And so it goes on. Eastbourne is little different from any of these typical places. Some of them have funny counterweighted cars which take you up and down cliffs, but Eastbou
rne does not. It does, however, have a bandstand with a rather impressive band, as well as the typical fish and chips, rock, candy floss and batter doughnuts which constitute a seaside diet. Our hotel (Prince?s Hotel) served the worst food I?ve ever experienced (including in both my past schools), but did have a really lovely receptionist, who gave us advice about what to do, and endearingly told us to go and get ?mashed? on Sunday night. There was a huge amount of old people knocking about the place, which has the advantage of making you feel really youthful and cool. It rained the majority of the time. Basically it?s really naff. However, naff places are the best places to go with someone who is very important to you. With the right person, adverse conditions will lead only to a greater appreciation of each other, and the excellent comic material that shitty places provide results in some satisfying mutual entertainment, and some rather distinctive memories. I?d recommend a holiday in Eastbourne to people who really enjoy each other?s company, especially if you are in love enough to amuse yourselves in the hotel room whenever the outside conditions get too much. M
Eastbourne? What do you want to go the Eastbourne for? It’s just full of old ladies and flower gardens! That’s what I usually hear whenever I mention this splendid town which stands proudly on the south coast. But that perception is wrong! Yes, there are plenty of elderly people strolling along the promenade, but they aren’t alone. The residents of Eastbourne reflect the population of any other town; hence there are amenities to suit most age groups. The elegant promenade that overlooks the pebble beach is lined with magnificent samples of Victorian architecture, representing a time when Eastbourne was a seaside resort of the grandeur, built ‘for gentlemen by gentlemen’. The Marine Parade leads to the foot of the beautiful Downs, offering easy access to Beachy Head. Formed by glacial action during the Ice Age and rising 500 feet above the sea below, these chalky cliffs are perhaps best known for their popularity amongst the suicidal. Nevertheless, the area provides a outstanding range of views across the surrounding countryside as well as out to sea. Back down in the town, just a short walk from the central pier, also a fine specimen of Victorian architecture, is the town center. Here you’ll find all the popular High Street stores, lots of smaller independent shops and of course, being a seaside town, gift shops. The Arndale Centre houses plenty of popular shops. There are several smaller shopping areas dotted around the town, although not all of them are equally as attractive to the tourist. Langney is best left to the residents, but the Meads area and Old Town make for an enjoyable browse. If you enjoy swimming, The Sovereign Leisure Centre houses a very good pool with a wave machine, water flutes and lots more fun in one pool, along with a standard pool for the more serious swimmers. The facilities here are clean and modern, and non-participating visitors, like me, can sit
alongside the pool and enjoy watching others have fun in the water. I mentioned flower gardens as being one of the two things that most people associate with Eastbourne. Well they are there, no doubt about that, so why shouldn’t they be enjoyed? You’ve probably already heard about the Carpet Gardens, which are areas of floral design to be found centrally on the promenade, but if you walk, or take the Dotto Train, to the Eastern end of the promenade, you’ll find The Princes Park and Boating Lake. Why not join the kite flyers and frisbee throwers tend to gather here, or hire a pedaloe and relax for an hour or so on the lake? After all, relaxation is one of the main attractions of Eastbourne! Kids love the crazy golf and putting greens, the miniature railway with it’s eighth scale locomotives, The Treasure Island which caters for 1 – 13 year olds, and the pier amusements. There’s also speedboat rides available from the Pier, go-karts and, just out of town but within easy reach, stock car racing. The main drawback as far as the kids are concerned, and perhaps sun worshipers in general, is the beach. Although clean, it consists of large pebbles, which can be pretty uncomfortable if you’re not used to them. When it comes to evening entertainment, there are clubs covering most tastes, from Tuxedo Junction with it’s house and underground garage music, to Coisters, which caters for a more mature market, playing music from the 80s. Atlantis, which is sited at the end of the pier, is probably the most popular club, offering a mix of chart and dance music, along with regular 70s nights. Pubs and restaurants are many and diverse, whereas drunken yobs are scarce. Well, compared to most seaside resorts anyway! If you enjoy the theatre, you’ll find a variety of performances available. As in any popular seaside resort, you’ll find the comedians doing their summer season
s, but there’s also drama, opera, ballet and musicals, along with local amateur dramatics performances. Eastbourne’s also an excellent starting point for those wishing to see more of East Sussex. Flanked by cosmopolitan Brighton to the west and Hastings, with it’s fishing history, to the east, Drusillas Zoo Park, The Seven Sisters Country Park and Pevensey Castle are all within easy reach, as well as numerous picturesque villages that are well worth exploring. Conclusion: If you’re looking for an action-packed holiday, go elsewhere, but if you fancy a relaxing holiday that the whole family can enjoy, Eastbourne is definitely worth considering.
There is nothing at all like the traditional seaside ‘bucket and spade’ type of holiday – sticks of rock, ice-creams, fish and chips, sand in your cheese sandwiches and forgetting to pack an anorak just as the torrential downpour starts. Oh yes, these are the staples of any holiday on the glorious English coast, not forgetting paddling and playing a swift game of ‘dodge the faeces’ by the sewage outfall pipe. But what are the seaside resorts really like? I grew up on the border of Kent and East Sussex – my mum came from Sussex, and we used to visit the coast quite regularly – hopping on a train from Tunbridge Wells Central, change at St Leonard’s Warrior Square, and nip back some 17 miles westwards to the quaint and beautiful town of Eastbourne. In 1994 I moved to Eastbourne, and so I had the delight of seeing the town ‘out of season’, and becoming au-fait with its private parts, so to speak. Therefore I believe that I have sufficient knowledge of the town’s positive and negative aspects to be able to write an objective opinion on the resort. WHERE IS IT THEN? Eastbourne is a town with a population of around 80,000 people. It is located around 15 miles west of Hastings and 25 miles east of Brighton. It lies in a rain-shadow directly at the western edge of the South Downs, which have there highest westerly point at Beachy Head, 3 miles outside of town (it is, incidentally the world’s number one suicide spot, even beating the Golden Gate Bridge, but that is another story). The main roads that lead into the town are the A22 (from the North), A259 (from the East), and the A27 / A259 (from the West). If you come in on the A27 you will adjoin the A22 at Polegate, and just before you reach there, you will gain a glimpse of the largest chalk figure in the country, the Long Man of Wilmington on Windover Hill. Eastbourne does not have any dual
carriageways leading to it at the moment. The A22 Polegate bypass is supposedly under construction, but until it is completed, traffic jams are a mighty hazard – oh yes, I lived 2 miles outside town and it could take 30 minutes to reach the town centre! DO YOU WANT TO LIVE HERE? It’s not such a bad old place. There are some quite nice areas, (Meads, Old Town, Lower Willingdon), and some you would not dream of living in (Willingdon Trees, Shinewater, Pevensey Road). The major problem with the town is the fact that a lot of people do not have facilities that cater for their age group. The town seems to play on its fame for being in the centre of the ‘Costa Geriatrica’, and so young people are not so well catered for, apart from the usual clubs and pubs, and unfortunately there is a certain degree of animosity towards the foreign students who input so much money into the local economy. House prices are expensive, but not too pricey. A 3 bed house will cost around £120k, but don’t quote me. A pint of Harvey’s bitter costs around £2, and Council Tax is not too expensive. SO WHAT IS THERE TO DO? Well, it all depends on what your interests are. If you are into splashing the plastic and indulging in some serious retail therapy, there is a reasonable shopping area around Terminus Road, The Arndale Centre, and some out of town superstores on Lottbridge Drove. You can buy everything from a house to a suit, from a fridge-freezer to a personal computer – very much like any other town, in fact. Fancy a night on the tiles? Well, there are numerous pubs and clubs, some good and some bad. Live entertainment isn’t at all bad. The town has 3 theatres (Congress, Devonshire Park and Hippodrome) and some West End shows go on tour here. The restaurants are a mixture – some really nice food, some chain restaurants and some absolute rubbish. My favourite night out wa
s the infamous ‘South Street Shuffle’, a pub crawl covering a distance of 500 yards and involving 7 pubs! During the day there is plenty to do in the summer. There is the main pre-Wimbledon ladies’ tennis tournament every June, the beach is generally very clean (unfortunately in the name of preventing erosion it was made a pebble beach 3 years ago), and the pier is glorious and not too tacky, and it does not have an entry charge, unlike many others. Along the main coast road you will find Princes Park, with boating lake, putting green and the usual ice and tea stalls. Westwards you will find the South Downs, a glorious walking area that offers spectacular views, just be careful if you walk too close the edge – it isn’t fenced off!!! There are quite a few people who become unwilling statistics at Beachy Head! CONCLUSIONS It isn’t such a bad old place. If you want to do it, and it’s legal, you should be able to do it in Eastbourne (you should be able to indulge in illegal practices, but I wouldn’t know about that!). As with any place you either visit or live in – it is what you make of it. To paraphrase dear old JFK: ASK NOT WHAT YOUR SEASIDE TOWNS CAN DO FOR YOU, RATHER WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR SEASIDE
I hope you are not one of those people who tell other people that Eastbourne is only for the old / retired / boring. I have lived here since 1994, and the only reason I want to move is go somewhere quieter! Eastbourne's highlights are well documented. It competes with Jersey for the annually awarded "Sunniest Place in Britain" label and it is true that as you drive into Eastbourne (three options available to you here!) you will often move out of whatever fog / mist / overcastness you have previously been enveloped by, and into clear skies and bright sunshine. Geographers would no doubt have some fancy theory to explain this; something to do with the microclimate created by the Downs, which form a natural defence against the wilder weather of the rest of East Sussex. But I think it's because the town says it's the sunniest place in Britain, and who would dare to defy the unified voice of over 20,000 grandparents? Okay, okay, okay. This town does have a higher than average number of retired people (23,000 out of a population of 90,000). BUT, this would hardly be noticeable if it weren't for the coachloads, carloads and trainloads of oldies who visit the town every year and create major traffic jams along the seafront as they toddle weakly across one of the numerous zebra crossings which adorn the seafront. The other big visitor group is, of course, families - and there's loads to do if you are still in one of those - throw yourself into the fun at Treasure Island; exhaust the kids (and yourselves) with a trek up to Beachy Head (fantastic once you get there); take a dip in the usually very clean sea (it's been awarded the Seaside Award for the past eight years); go on a boat trip to see Beachy Head from the other side; play pitch and putt or crazy golf; waste loads of 2ps in the amusement arcades on the pier; visit the local swimming pool; have a go on the lake (more of a big pond really) at Prince's Park; go to s
ee some Hollywood escapism at the local "Crumbles" development; play croquet or boules: the list is not endless but it is quite long. In fact, Eastbourne is a much nicer place to live off-season, as with many seaside resorts. Sunday mornings in Autumn or Spring are a good time for a virtually deserted walk along the recently refurbished prom and a nostalgic dawdle in the bandstand, one of the best examples of its type left in Britain. If only the Tories hadn't wrested power from the (not much better) Lib Dems in the last local elections, you'd have been able to cycle along the entire prom (about 5km). The local politics of Eastbourne are one of its worst features. At least the dodgy Chief Exec is in the process of getting her comeuppance, but don't come here if you haven't got a thick skin about the types of opinions that Mail readers spout on about uncensored. Despite the thousands of students who visit the town from various European and other countries every year to sign up at one of the language schools, seeing a black face in town on a Saturday is enough to make you do a double take, or something worse if you're a strong Tory supporter or have otherwise not yet developed your basic human values sufficiently. There are other unrecommendable bits. Some of the areas of the town are really underfunded and have the misfortune to be regularly slagged off in the local press, run by a notoriously hypocritical bloke who gets his kicks out of hounding the local gay community even though he's gay himself. But Eastbourne is basically a decent place to live and to visit. The sun shines, the shops open on Sundays, the local countryside is fantastic and the sea sparkles. And I've never seen a "Kiss Me Quick" hat. Not yet anyway.
I have always understood Eastbourne to be 'God's waiting room', but after taking a holiday there a few years ago I now realise that this is simply not true. I can vaguely remember going there as a child and my parents having to tell me to be quiet and not bounce my ball along the sea front because of all these elderly people sitting in deckchairs frowning at us, so I was expecting pretty much the same atmosphere. I again went with my parents, on an organised coach trip and stayed at a lovely hotel just off the sea front. The average age in Eastbourne is higher than elsewhere but it isn't a place just for the crumblies by any means. It was a lovely (short) walk to the sea front where there is a beautiful beach. There are well-maintained gardens all the way along the promenade so it's lovely for a stroll or just to sit and watch the world go by. The lifeboat house is on the front but the lifeboat is moored some distance away in the marina so you can't get to see her. The man in the gift shop told me that she usually comes into the sea off Eastbourne on a Sunday morning to practice manoeuvres. Unfortunately the week we were there the crew had all been instructed to attend church instead! As those of you who know anything about me can imagine, I was seriously disappointed! All the slot machines etc that you would expect at a seaside resort are all together on the long pier so you don't get the tatty area in town which is often associated with this type of entertainment. Eastbourne itself is an elegant Victorian town planned by the seventh duke of Devonshire. It is a natural sun trap sheltered by Beachy Head to the west. There is a good, large, varied shopping centre with the usual department stores and lots of good gift shops - again no tat! There are also a lot of good restaurants and cafes. Eastbourne not only has it's own interesting sights but it is a good
base for getting out and exploring the surrounding countryside. There is a mile long cliff top nature trail on the cliffs of Beachy Head. This is a windswept headland with a 534 foot sheer drop down to the lighthouse below, so if you have children with you please take good care of them. I remember when I was about ten years old, my dad was taking my photograph on the top of Beachy Head and he kept telling me to step back a bit and my mom was virtually hysterical as she thought I would fall! I was still about 10 yards from the edge when he took the photo so I don’t think she need have worried! A good day trip from Eastbourne is to Battle, which is slightly inland and to the east of Eastbourne. This is where the Battle of Hastings was actually fought on the slopes below the town. On the site of the victory William the Conqueror built an abbey and the high altar marked the spot where Harold fell. Battle itself is a nice little town with plenty of shops and some lovely tea-rooms. Well you have to stop for a cuppa, don’t you? You can then travel back to the coast to visit Hastings, where there are fish stalls and the old net sheds contrasting with the modern pier and promenade. The ruins of William the Conqueror’s castle are up above the town. A day trip in the opposite direction, west, will take you to Brighton, where you can see the famous Royal Pavilion built in 1783 for Prince Regent. There is an interesting shopping area known as The Lanes where there are many antique shops. The Booth Museum in the town houses the bones of a dinosaur and there is an electric railway, promenade, piers and a sea life centre. Inland again, the carefully preserved little village of Alfriston is also worth a visit. It has a fourteenth century church and clergy house. The Star Inn built in the fifteenth century has a lot of carving including a ship’s figurehead. So, if like me, you thought Eastbour
ne was just for crumblies – think again!