15 Best Things to Do in Hastings, England

15 Best Things to Do in Hastings, England

By will

Are you looking for a new destination to explore?

Then, Hastings, England is the perfect place for you!

This small yet vibrant town by the sea has been welcoming visitors since 1066 and offers plenty of exciting things to do.

From its unique historical attractions to its lively nightlife, Hastings has something for everyone.

Let’s take a look at the top 15 best things to do in this charming English city.

1. Hastings Pier

Hastings Pier
Photo by N Chadwick

Hastings Pier is an iconic landmark that should not be missed when visiting England’s south coast.

This pier was built in the late 19th century and has been beautifully restored, providing visitors with a stunning view of the harbor.

Walking along the pier and admiring the views can give you a sense of freedom and relaxation.

You’ll also find plenty of attractions to enjoy on the pier, from amusement rides to outdoor cafes and restaurants.

There’s something for everyone at Hastings Pier, making it an ideal spot for a day out with family or friends.

The atmosphere is one of carefree fun and adventure, allowing you to soak up the sun while taking in some of England’s most beautiful scenery.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an adrenaline-filled day, Hastings Pier has something for everyone!

2. Hastings Contemporary

Hastings Contemporary
Photo by N Chadwick

Moving away from the iconic Hastings Pier, another must-see experience in Hastings, England is Hastings Contemporary.

This modern art gallery is situated in an old brewery and was recently opened to the public in November 2019.

It showcases a variety of works by both established and emerging artists, featuring paintings, sculptures, prints, photography, and moving image work.

The gallery’s mission is to bring an exciting range of art to the area and make it accessible to all.

With this in mind, they have created an enjoyable space for visitors which includes a café, a shop, and regular events like talks and workshops that allow people to connect with art while socializing with others.

Hastings Contemporary offers something for everyone; from experienced art enthusiasts to those who are just starting out on their artistic journey.

If you’re looking for inspiring artwork that celebrates creativity and individuality, then this charming gallery should be at the top of your list when visiting Hastings!

3. Smugglers Adventure

Entrance to Smugglers Adventure
Photo by Oast House Archive

If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity, then Smugglers Adventure in Hastings is a perfect choice.

Located at St. Clement’s Cave on the East Hill, it offers a unique insight into life along the southeast coast of England over two centuries ago.

Here, you can explore a network of tunnels and passageways that were used by smugglers to hide their goods and escape capture from customs officers.

The attraction itself is full of interactive displays, including sound effects and projections that bring history to life.

You can also learn about the myths and legends surrounding smuggling in this part of England, as well as its role in local culture.

After your visit, you’ll come away with a richer understanding of what life was like during this period – an experience that’s sure to stay with you long after your trip has ended.

4. Hastings Old Town

Next on the list of great things to do in Hastings is exploring the Old Town.

This charming area, nestled in the heart of Hastings, offers a picturesque glimpse into a bygone era.

The cobblestone streets and historic buildings will transport visitors back in time as they wander through this wonderfully preserved part of town.

The Old Town is home to some of Hastings’ most iconic landmarks, including the beautiful St Clement’s Church and Fishermen’s Museum.

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St Clement’s is an impressive example of Norman architecture and it features stunning stained-glass windows and intricate carvings.

Meanwhile, the Fishermen’s Museum offers a unique insight into what life was like for fishermen during the 19th century.

Visitors can also browse through a range of local shops selling traditional crafts and souvenirs, or enjoy some delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants located along the waterfront.

With its rich history, delightful atmosphere, and captivating charm, Hastings’ Old Town is definitely worth a visit!

5. Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey is a must-see when visiting Hastings, England.

It was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The abbey is a great place to learn about the Norman Invasion and see the remains of this important historical site.

The grounds are beautiful and full of interesting features, such as a reconstructed Norman chapel and a 14th-century gatehouse.

Visitors can also explore the ruins of an old hospital and take in stunning views from the abbey’s walls.

The Battle Abbey Experience is one of the best ways to explore this fascinating site as you are guided through its history with an audio tour and multimedia displays.

There are also interactive exhibits that bring to life this key event in English history.

With its numerous attractions, Battle Abbey offers something for everyone, making it one of the top things to do in Hastings!

6. Alexandra Park

Leaving Battle Abbey, we cross the road and enter Alexandra Park, a beautiful green space that captivates visitors with its serenity.

This stunning park first opened in 1882 and is named after Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII.

It’s easy to see why this is such a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

There’s something magical about being surrounded by lush greenery while listening to birdsong in the background.

The park features a picturesque lake, an 18-hole golf course, bowling greens, tennis courts, and plenty of grassy areas ideal for picnics or leisurely strolls.

Kids will love exploring the playground area with its slides and swings.

There’s also an aviary where you can get up close to some amazing birds.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an action-packed day out, Alexandra Park has something for everyone to enjoy!

7. Hastings Castle

Hastings Castle is a must-visit destination when in Hastings, England.

This impressive 11th-century castle stands majestically atop the East Hill of the town, offering stunning views across the town and out to sea.

As you enter through the castle gates, you’ll be taken back in time to a period of history that’s both captivating and inspiring.

The castle itself is an impressive sight, with its two stone gatehouses still standing tall despite years of wear and tear.

You can explore the large inner courtyard or wander through the ancient passageways and stairways which were built to protect those inside from attack.

There are also several displays throughout the castle providing an insight into its past as a fortification for William the Conqueror during his conquest of England in 1066.

You can take a step back in time at Hastings Castle, where you can find freedom from modern life and lose yourself in the sights and stories of this incredible place.

Take your time to explore all that it has to offer; from its remarkable history to its breathtaking views – there’s something here for everyone!

8. Hastings Country Park

Leaving the majestic Hastings Castle, travelers will find themselves immersed in Hastings Country Park.

With over 600 acres of diverse and wild terrain, this park is perfect for outdoor adventurers.

From forests and meadows to sandstone cliffs and beaches, there are plenty of sights to explore.

Visitors can take a stroll along the beach and admire the stunning views of the English Channel or wander through the woodlands filled with wildlife.

A stroll along the boardwalk passes by an array of unique flora and fauna, providing an unforgettable experience.

For those looking for more than just a walk in nature, Hastings Country Park also offers activities such as horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, and cycling.

Horseback riding is particularly popular – with several trails leading through some of the most scenic parts of the park.

Kayaking allows you to explore some of the hidden gems within this natural wonderland whilst fishing provides a chance to relax and unwind by one of its crystal clear lakes.

Bikes are also available to hire from nearby locations so you can discover even more of this magnificent area.

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Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Hastings Country Park offers something for everyone!

Whether exploring on foot or two wheels, visitors will be spoilt for choice when it comes to discovering all that this beautiful landscape has to offer.

So why not come down and enjoy all that this picturesque part of England has to offer?

9. Smugglers Adventure

For those of us looking for a thrilling adventure, Hastings has just the thing.

Smugglers Adventure is an interactive experience that takes you through hundreds of years of smuggling history.

You’ll learn all about the daring exploits of the smugglers who braved treacherous waters to bring in contraband and evade the authorities.

Set within a network of secret caverns and tunnels, you’ll be taken on a journey into a world of danger and deception.

The experience includes an underground boat ride, a life-size waxwork display, and other interactive exhibits that will bring this dark chapter in British history to life.

If that wasn’t enough, Smugglers Adventure also features displays on local flora and fauna, as well as birds of prey demonstrations.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon – exploring the caves and discovering what lies beneath Hastings’ streets!

So if you’re looking for something different during your stay in Hastings, why not take the plunge and go on your very own smuggler’s adventure?

With its immersive experience and stunning views, it promises to be an unforgettable day out!

10. Blue Reef Aquarium

Continuing the journey of exploration and adventure, the Blue Reef Aquarium is next on the list.

Home to a wide range of sea creatures, it’s a great place to get up close and personal with some interesting inhabitants.

From tropical sharks and rays to fascinating jellyfish and seahorses, there’s something for everyone in this awe-inspiring underwater world.

The aquarium also features interactive experiences such as ‘Meet The Sharks’ where visitors can join an experienced guide to learn more about these amazing creatures.

There’s also a wide variety of educational activities designed to help visitors understand more about the environment and how we can all play our part in protecting it.

The Blue Reef Aquarium provides an opportunity for visitors to escape from their everyday lives and explore a unique underwater kingdom in Hastings.

With its captivating exhibits, educational talks, and interactive experiences, the aquarium is sure to be an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your visit has ended.

11. Hasting’s Stade

Hastings’ Stade is the perfect place to experience a unique slice of history.

This area was once an important part of the fishing industry and is now a lovely spot to explore and learn about its past.

You can stroll along its pebbled beach, take in the views of the English Channel, or take a leisurely walk along its historic streets.

The area also features plenty of interesting shops and galleries, as well as great places to eat and drink.

If you’re into history, the Stade offers plenty to discover.

From ancient fishing boats found buried in the sand to the ruins of Hastings Castle, there are plenty of opportunities for exploration.

The Hastings Fishermen’s Museum is also worth a visit; it tells the story of how this area was once an important hub for fishing fleets from all over Britain.

For those looking for outdoor activities, there are plenty on offer too!

From kayaking and paddle boarding in the bay to cycling around town, these activities are sure to invigorate your spirit and provide an unforgettable experience.

Whether you just want some peace and quiet or an active day out on the water, Hastings’ Stade provides something for everyone.

12. Cliff Railway

Hastings’ Cliff Railway has long been a popular tourist attraction, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s Britain’s steepest funicular railway, with a gradient of up to 78%. Located between East Hill and West Hill in Hastings Country Park, this unique experience offers stunning views over the English Channel.

Grade II listed Cliff Railway as an essential part of Hastings’ identity and heritage.

Built in 1902, it was originally used to transport visitors from the beach to the top of East Hill, where there are many attractions and activities for all ages.

Today, visitors can still enjoy the journey on the funicular railway for a small fee.

The ride takes about four minutes each way and is an exciting way to get a bird’s-eye view of Hastings’ coastline.

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Visitors should take some time to explore the area at top of East Hill too; there are plenty of places for visitors to relax and enjoy a picnic or two!

The nearby Hastings Castle is also worth visiting – it’s one of England’s oldest castles and dates back more than 900 years!

With its spectacular views over the English Channel, Hastings’ Cliff Railway is definitely one experience that shouldn’t be missed while visiting this wonderful town.

13. Hastings Fishermen’s Museum

Those in search of a unique experience while visiting Hastings should pay a visit to the Hastings Fishermen’s Museum.

Located on Rock-a-Nore Road, this museum offers a fascinating insight into the lives of fishermen who have worked on the town’s beach for generations.

The museum is housed in several old fishing net stores and contains a wide variety of artifacts, including nets and boats, as well as photographs and documents that tell the story of life at sea.

The museum also has an impressive collection of model ships, which can be admired from the pier above.

There are also interactive exhibits and activities for kids to enjoy, such as crabbing and painting sessions.

The museum offers guided tours and talks throughout the year, which provide an even more detailed insight into life on the high seas.

It’s an ideal place to explore if you’re looking to get away from it all and experience some maritime history.

14. The Shipwreck Museum

Hastings’ Shipwreck Museum is a must-see for any visitor.

Located in the Old Town, this museum offers an impressive glimpse into the history of shipwrecks and trade along England’s coast.

It is home to many artifacts from both historic and modern vessels, as well as a wide variety of interactive exhibits.

Visitors can explore the fascinating stories behind these ships and their crews while discovering why they ended up in Hastings and what happened to them afterward.

The museum also boasts a huge collection of photographs, documents, and maps that will help visitors understand more about the region’s past.

There are even replicas of shipwrecks that can be viewed from afar or explored up close in a hands-on way.

With its engaging displays and informative staff, the Shipwreck Museum is an ideal place to learn about Hastings’ maritime history – one that inspired generations of sailors with its breathtaking landscapes and captivating tales.

15. Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Hastings, England.

Built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, this impressive castle was once home to the knight and his family.

Today, it’s a popular tourist destination, offering visitors the chance to explore its medieval walls and towers.

You can take a guided tour inside or wander around the grounds at your own pace, marveling at the magnificent architecture.

For those looking for something more intimate, there are also plenty of romantic spots on the grounds, such as the romantic water gardens and secluded terraces with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

At night, Bodiam Castle is particularly magical.

With its floodlit walls and towers illuminated against a star-filled sky, it makes for an enchanting backdrop for couples seeking romance in Hastings.

The grandeur of the castle only adds to the atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for those looking to rekindle their love or just enjoy some quality time together.

Best Things to Do in Hastings – Final Thoughts

I’ve had a wonderful time exploring all of the best things to do in Hastings, England.

It’s a beautiful destination with plenty to offer visitors.

From the iconic Hastings Pier to the romantic Bodiam Castle, the area has something for everyone.

I particularly enjoyed my visit to Smugglers Adventure and Hastings Fishermen’s Museum.

I was surprised by how much history is packed into such a small area – it was like stepping back in time!

And while I didn’t have time to explore Battle Abbey, I’m sure that if I visited again, it would be high on my list of must-see attractions.

Overall, my experience of Hastings was an incredibly positive one and I’d highly recommend it as a place for anyone looking for an enjoyable holiday.

There’s something for everyone here – from culture vultures to foodies – so don’t hesitate to book your next trip to this charming English town!


What are the best things to do in Hastings with kids?

The best things to do in Hastings with kids are visiting Hastings Fishermen’s Museum, Hastings Pier, and Splash Planet.

What to do during the day in Hastings?

The best things to do during the day in Hastings are visiting Hastings Country Park, Hastings Castle, and Alexandra Park.

Is Hastings worth visiting?

Yes, Hastings is worth visiting because of its brand new pier and the largest underground BMX skatepark. It also has a beautiful history and rich heritage.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.