Eastbourne

Location

Down the A22 til you can go no further.

Eastbourne is a large resort mainly built about a century ago. Its mild climate has encourage many people to chose this town to retire to after years of toil in larger conurbations.

However, all in not ‘new’. The discovery of a Roman boat a few decades ago seem to indicate that this was a centre of population long before the Norman Conquest. The old town lies inland and to the east of the modern town.

The flint and stone St. Mary’s Church dates back to about 1200 and is particularly impressive inside. The Lambe Inn in the High Street is thought to be about 700 years old.

The major development of the town in the 19th century was due to a desire on the part of the major landowners, particularly the Duke of Devonshire, to create a resort of splendour. Eastbourne was however already a fashionable resort even before this development. The desire to outshine other resorts is obvious from the array of impressive buildings especially along the seafront. The pier and town hall are particularly grand. Devonshire Park plays host to the pre-Wimbledon Ladies Tennis Tournament each year.

The care taken by the Town Fathers with regard to the development of the town has paid great dividends. Unlike many southern resorts, Eastbourne has retained an aura of splendour and shows little signs of the decay obvious in other lesser resorts. The pier is over one thousand feet long and full of life throughout the year.

One of the most delightful features of the sea front is the esplanade which is on three levels and runs for over three miles. The floral arrangements and gardens are particularly fine and a source of great local pride. The bandstand plays host to many concerts throughout the summer. Pick a deckchair and enjoy! The views over the sea from here are wonderful. You are unlikely to find a grander promenade in the whole of southern England.

At the west end of the promenade is another Martello tower, now in use as a Coastal Defence Museum. Just beneath this is a Lifeboat Musem, the first of its type in the country and well worth a visit. The shop is also a great chance to buy your Christmas cards and presents!

(a Martello tower built to help repulse any Napoleonic invasion) is now a museum for the Sussex Combined Services. It is situated on the front.

There is a Butterfly Centre is just back from the sea front. It is an enclosed climate-controlled area with exotic plants, gardens and waterfalls where the many different species of butterflies fly around the visitors.

For children Treasure Island, once again on the front, is an ideal opportunity to play to their heart’s delight. A wide range of playground activities and much else besides will keep them amused for hours.

The modern aspects of Eastbourne should not be ignored either. The shopping is good and there is an antiques market every day. It is now a popular conference venue too.

Beachy Head

Just around the corner from Eastbourne lies the magnificent Beachy Head. One of the finest headlands in the land, it rises over 500 feet and the views on a clear day are simply superb. It has been said that the cliffs Open topped buses go from the centre of Eastbourne to enable visitors without cars to experience the splendour. Don’t go too near the edge of the cliffs as they are crumbling. Further along the coast is Birling Gap where a number of houses have already fallen into the sea and recently a lighthouse, converted into a private home, was moved several hundred feet back from the cliffs to protect it from danger (hopefully – a magnificent engineering feat!)

This is also where the South Downs Way begins, it ends 130 miles away in Winchester. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty , prolific in wildlife (in fact too prolific where rabbits are concerned!) and with spectacular views over sea and rolling downland for miles around. On no account miss this if at all possible!