I hope you aren’t getting tired of seeing random towns around England. If you are, this blog probably isn’t for you as I’ll never really stop! I mentioned on Thursday, that after leaving Battle, we hopped on the train to Hastings. Again, a place I’d never been to, so I had no idea what to expect.
Even though it’s fairly close to Brighton, the two are completely different – other than being seaside towns, they have little else in common! I found parts of Hastings absolutely beautiful, but like many seaside towns in England, it seemed as though its golden years were behind it.
I first insisted that we head to the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, which had a small but incredibly curious collection. It reminded me a lot of the Horniman Museum in SE London. I think you could explore the museum in about an hour. Afterwards, we wandered down to the seaside and along the shore to Hastings Old Town.
My biggest recommendation for Hastings is to head over to Rock-a-Nore Road, which joins the Old Town to The Stade. That’s where you’ll find the iconic Net Shops, the tall, thin, black wooden sheds that are used to storing fishing gear. They are absolutely unique to Hastings and you won’t find them anywhere else in the UK. (You might also recognise this area from Foyle’s War.)
By this point in time the weather was just starting to turn, and there was a chilly breeze in the air. We ducked into the Jerwood Gallery for warmth and saw a surprisingly vast collection of modern and contemporary British art. While I was there, I had the good fortune to see their special Lowry exhibition “Lowry by the Sea”. I was less familiar with Lowry’s seaside works and I loved them! (In fact, I preferred them to his more famous industrial city works. )
It’s hard nowadays to imagine William the Conqueror’s massive Norman fleet landing here along this coast! If you’re interested in English history, Hastings is a “must” for you to visit. Learn more about the Battle Festival in general here – it goes on until October 31st. But if you can’t get there soon, pencil a trip in for Sept/Oct 2016 for the 950th anniversary battle.