If you’re looking for a British break with a difference this summer, sun-drenched Eastbourne has everything you could possibly desire for a fun, relaxing holiday. MoneyMagpie recently enjoyed a trip to ‘The Sunshine Coast’, – so whether you’re visiting Beachy Head, taking in an airshow or indulging in water sports, we’ve got all the info on getting the most out of your stay.
Whatever you do, don’t miss this fabulous MoneyMagpie exclusive – 20% off stays at one of the finest Eastbourne hotels!
Beachy Head is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain at 162 metres above sea level. The famous Belle Tout lighthouse was built using a cable car system from the top of the cliff and completed in 1834. Beachy Head offers the most spectacular views on the south coast and is simply a must if you’re visiting Eastbourne.
Eastbourne Pier was officially opened in 1870 and is 1,000 feet long although much of it was rebuilt following a storm in 1877. There’s something for everyone at the pier, with a tea room, kiosks, bars, a large amusement arcade and the Atlantis nightclub. Visit at dusk and you’ll be treated to the incredible sight of literally thousands of starlings circling the pier as they prepare to roost.
Sovereign Harbour is known locally as ‘Little Venice’ and is home to canals, shops, cafes and a huge marina complex which is among the biggest in northern Europe. Relax and spot the luxury yachts in this popular tourist destination.
The Seven Sisters are a series of dramatic chalk cliffs and have featured in many famous TV programmes and films, doubling for the white cliffs of Dover. Along with Beachy Head, the Seven Sisters provide stunning views over the English Channel.
Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park has been hosting an annual tennis tournament since 1974. The Eastbourne International is a traditional grass-court Wimbledon warm-up event and MoneyMagpie headed down to enjoy the action.
The first thing that strikes you at Devonshire Park is the lovely garden party atmosphere – it’s very relaxed and laid back, with only the sounds of seagulls and the odd player’s grunt heard over the tranquillity.
Laid-back stars wandered around, signing autographs for hordes of excited schoolchildren and generally enjoying the atmosphere.
Many people came prepared with a picnic basket but along with the brasserie serving delicious lunches were plenty of food stalls and a very busy ice cream vendor!
This year’s event has now finished, but keep your eye on the Eastbourne Tennis website for information about the 2013 tournament.
There’s so much going on in Eastbourne this summer and beyond, including plenty of free attractions and experiences. Here’s a selection of the best:
10 July: Eastbourne’s tea dances
Get your dancing shoes on for an afternoon at the Winter Garden tea dance. There’s live music to accompany you as you show off your best ‘Strictly’ moves! Tea and biscuits are included and the event costs just £5.
See Eastbourne Theatres or call 01323 415500 for more.
14 – 15 July: Extreme sports!
For thrills and spills, visit the Eastbourne Extreme sports festival. It’s free and features parkour, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, BMX, kitesurfing and more! If you’re a real adrenaline junkie you can even take part! However, the Moneymagpies are agreed that they’d be quite happy just to watch!
The event also includes the high-octane AquaX powerboating championships. This intense, high-speed sport is a world away from the normal peace and quiet of Eastbourne so if you fancy a change it might just be for you.
All the details can be found on the Eastbourne Extreme website. Alternatively call 01323 415442.
17 July: The Olympic Torch Relay comes to Eastbourne
A truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Olympic Flame as it makes its way through Eastbourne in the build up to the London 2012 Games.
9 – 12 August: Eastbourne International Airshow
The Blades (ex-Red Arrows pilots) will be thrilling the crowds on all four days of this free aviation festival with their high-precision aerobatics. Also performing at the 20th anniversary will be the daring acrobats of the Breitling Wingwalkers – you’ll get to see their full repertoire of loops, rolls, stall turns and inverted flight at speeds of up to 150mph!
There are also parachute and helicopter displays along with ground exhibitions if your neck starts aching! This fabulous family event will be rounded off with a firework finale to coincide with the Olympic closing ceremony.
Visit the Eastbourne Airshow site or call 0871 663 0031 for all the details.
Every Saturday night in July and August: Rock ‘n’ roll concert at Eastbourne bandstand.
The town’s iconic 1930s bandstand stages this weekly summer trip down memory lane, with tribute nights to a host of rock ‘n’ roll favourites including Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Chuck Berry.
Full details can be found eastbournebandstand.co.uk or you can ring 01323 410611.
4 – 6 October: Eastbourne beer festival
This is the biggest beer festival in East Sussex and is a must-visit for any ale aficionado. There will be over 150 real cask ales – many of
them award winning – on tap, along with a range of wines and ciders as the Winter Garden once more throws its doors open to this popular event.
The Eastbourne Beer Festival website has updates and ticket information or you can call 01323 412000.
Until October 31: Eastbourne walking tours
Breathe in the bracing sea air and enjoy a relaxing, fascinating walking tour of Eastbourne. You’ll discover the town’s heritage as interesting facts about Eastbourne’s landmarks are revealed. The 90-minute walk takes place four times a week, with afternoon and evening strolls available. The tour costs just £5 and can be booked in advance from the Tourist Information Centre and Seafront Office or you may simply turn up and ‘pay as you go’.
For more info, visit the Eastbourne Walks website or call Harry Pope on 01323 734107.
Eastbourne has a range of hotels, guest houses and self-catering apartments to suit any budget, but if you’re looking for luxury and style at a reasonable rate you should try the Hydro Hotel. With a magnificent view overlooking the seafront, the Hydro is a truly grand hotel dating back to 1895.
Check in is quick and easy and a comfortable, spacious room awaits you along with sumptuous food in the hotel’s restaurant. Breakfast includes a wide continental selection plus a full English for the big appetite. Unlike so many hotels these days there’s no impersonal buffet system when it comes to the cooked breakfast – it’s served to your table by friendly, efficient staff.
Whether you’re travelling by train, bus or car, Eastbourne is accessible wherever you’re coming from.
Eastbourne is just 44 miles south of the M25, with key approaches being the M23, A27 and A22. For a scenic route, the A259 through the South Downs offers stunning countryside views. From London, the 72-mile journey should take you around two hours, while from Birmingham it’s three and a half. Allow five hours from Manchester and eight and a half from Edinburgh.
If you’re travelling quite a distance then you’ll probably want to arrive by train. Southern Railway has a regular service from London Victoria with trains every 30 minutes – it’s a nice relaxing journey through lovely countryside and takes just an hour and a half. If you want to avoid fighting through central London then you can pick up the service at Gatwick Airport or Haywards Heath.
Alternatively, you can travel on a modern, comfortable coach with a National Express ticket. National Express operates three buses a day from London Victoria Coach Station, with tickets from £5.50. There are also plenty of local services throughout Sussex.
MoneyMagpie has been on its travels before! Take a look at this fascinating article on beautiful York – the city of chocolate!
If you’ve already discovered the delights Eastbourne has to offer, or you’re planning a trip there after reading this article then let us know by commenting below!