Let’s go to … Hastings

There’s more to Hastings than groynes and medieval history: a wave of new openings and its megabucks pier are giving the seaside town a revamp
Let’s go to … Rye, East Sussex

Why Hastings?
Move over Brighton … With a new cookery school, artisan shops, gourmet food and modern art, the Sussex seaside town has gone cool. And this summer its pier, in the final stages of a £14m renovation, will add film festivals and farmers’ markets to the mix.

So what can I do?
A day out in Hastings once meant crazy golf and funiculars. While those options remain, visitors can now take seafood cookery lessons at Classroom on the Coast or take in the jet-black Jerwood Gallery, where Beside The Seaside, an exhibition by Chantal Joffe, is showing until 12 April.

Any decent shopping?
Not half. Linked by twittens (lanes), the Old Town has recently seen a clump of quality boutiques open. Try Shimizu for flowers, Penbuckles deli for cheese, Warp & Weft for chic clothes, and Butler’s Emporium for pretty much everything else.

Hastings' Old Town.
Hastings’ Old Town. Photograph: Alamy

Where should I eat?
The Rock-a-Nore Kitchen is particularly adept when it comes to calamari and Dover sole (lunch from £8.50). Elsewhere, beautiful homeware store Hendy’s hosts pop-up dinners.

And to drink?
Petit Fi offers good coffee and Wi-Fi. Grab a pint at First In Last Out – home to a microbrewery – or visit the Printworks Art Club (when it opens this spring around an existing B&B. Gigs, film screenings and installations will supplement two bars.

Anywhere to stay for under £100?
The Old Rectory (doubles from £99 B&B) has fireside lounges, a walled garden and eight chic rooms. Owner Lionel Copley is a fashion and interiors designer, and it shows.

Do I need a car?
Nope. Southeastern has direct trains from London Charing Cross (journey time 90 minutes), and there are regular trains to Brighton. The Old Town is a 10-minute walk from Hastings station.

Richard Mellor

The GuardianTramp

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