Cultural Guide to Eastbourne

Eastbourne, in East Sussex, lies on the south coast of England. It takes around 90 minutes to reach Eastbourne by rail from Victoria Station in London. Eastbourne’s  packed events calendar ensures plenty to do and see at any time of year. Outdoor lovers can enjoy coastal or inland walks, in beautiful countryside with pit stops in pretty villages.

Coastal Culture Trail

The Coastal Culture Trail stretches for 18 miles from Eastbourne, heading east to Bexhill and then on to Hastings. You can walk, cycle or take the train along the route.

You could start the Coastal Culture Trail at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne. The gallery was originally a collection of 22 paintings in a manor house in Eastbourne’s Old Town, donated by Alderman John Chisholm Towner. As the collection grew, it needed a new home. The new Towner, designed by Rick Mather Architects, opened in Eastbourne in April 2009.

As you start to head east, you’ll pass Eastbourne Bandstand, which was built in 1935. Events here include the 1812 Fireworks Concert, traditional afternoon concerts and a Eurovision Party.

In another few hundred meters, you’ll pass Eastbourne Pier, which is home to a Victorian tearoom, the 1901 Jazz Club and the Atlantis Nightclub.

In Bexhill, you can visit the De La Warr Pavilion. At the eastern end of the Coastal Culture Trail is the Hastings’ Jerwood Gallery.

Devonshire Collective

The Devonshire Collective comprises of five venues in Seaside Road and Seaside, all close to the Pier. At DC1, there is a cafe and a gallery. The other venues are studios and workshops.

Eastbourne Theatres

There are three theatres in Eastbourne; the Congress Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre and the Winter Garden. Forthcoming performances include the comedy ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ and ‘Forever Eagles’, featuring the music of the US rock band.

Beachy Head

If you enjoy walking, you can head west from Eastbourne towards the chalk headland at Beachy Head. The village of East Dean, where you’ll find the Tiger Inn pub and the Hiker’s Rest tearoom, is close to Beachy Head. You can also sample some local ales, such as Legless Rambler and South Downs Ale, on the taster tours at Beachy Head Brewery.

Herstmonceux

You could have a great day out in the Herstmonceux area. The 15th century red brick Herstmonceux Castle is now the International Study Centre for Queens’ University in Canada, so tours of the interior are only available at specific times.

But the grounds and gardens are open daily from March to October.

The Observatory Science Centre is located a ten minute walk from Herstmonceux Castle. The Centre was the home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory between 1947 and 1990. When the Observatory relocated to Cambridge, many of the telescopes were left behind and the Observatory Science Centre was developed.

Italian Gardens

The Italian Gardens lie at the western end of Eastbourne Prom.

The site of the Italian Gardens was formerly a chalk quarry, which was transformed into the Gardens in the 1920s.

From 26 July to 5 August 2017, there will be evening performances as part of the Alfresco Shakespeare programme.

Michelham Priory and Gardens

The Priory was founded by Augustian canons eight hundred years ago. The site is surrounded by the longest medieval water filled moat, dating from 1229. After the destruction of the Priory and the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII, it was rebuilt as a country home.  You can purchase the organic flour milled in the water mill in the grounds.

Redoubt Fortress

The circular Redoubt fortress was built in 1805 as part of England’s defences during the Napoleonic Wars. It’s free to visit the gun tower and parade ground. If you wish to visit the interior of the fortress, you’ll need to buy a ticket.

The Pavilion next door has a cafe and an exhibition. The current free exhibition at the Pavilion is ‘Living on the Edge 8000 years by the sea’.

Pevensey Castle

Pevensey Castle started life in the 4th century as a Roman Saxon shore fort. It also was the landing spot for the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066.

More Information on Eastbourne

You can find out more on the Visit Eastbourne website and the Eastbourne Holiday Guide.

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About Karen Bryan

Hello, I’m Karen Bryan, I created Europe a la Carte in 2002 to highlight the best places to visit in Europe with travel tips, photos and no fluff reviews.

I’m also an artist; my artworks are often inspired by my travels