Beachy Head - The Cliffs
The cliffs here are so precarious! Liable to crumble into the sea at any moment, the hapless walker/tourist may inadvertently go over the edge on occasion. The Coastguards have erected warning signs but still accidents happen. Don't be tempted to get too close to the edge. Even so... if you are in the area this is a place you should visit, the most beautiful, scenic and at 530 ft, highest chalk cliffs in Britain.
Hanging with the Glider Guys
A stroll up to Beachy Head from Eastbourne will take a couple of hours. It is very windy on most days but the views are stunning. Hang gliders are often seen here as it is a well positioned spot to leap off of cliffs!
- Family Travel
Paragliders are here too!
I don't know if this is a "must see" activity - it is pretty stunning to watch these guys just leap off the cliff and out over the ocean... I think it is more of a "Must Do" activity!!
More info about hang gliding or paragliding in Sussex can be found at the website below.
Cliffs and Hang-glider
There were so many of these guys, of all nationalities, just floating around the cliffs! What a fabulous way to spend a bright and sunny Sunday morning.
If you are interested in trying hang gliding or paragliding for yourself, check the website!
To the Lighthouse
Beachy Head Lighthouse. A well known land (sea?) mark of the Sussex coastline.
This has more information than anyone could possibly need (or at least more than I am able to give :))
Eastbourne Town Hall
Eastbourne's grand and elegant Victorian Town Hall was built between 1884 and 1886 to house the Borough Council of the rapidly expanding town. Interestingly this was not the first choice of site for the town hall but was eventually picked because it was cheaper than the other options and the Duke of Devonshire (who was the major local land owner) provided this site at a fair price. The location had been the location of the village stocks in the past, where criminals would have been punished.
The Borough Council has a very detailed account of the history of the building on their website.
The building is usually only accesible to the public if attending a meeting, a wedding or registering a birth or death. You could try contacting one of the Borough councillors or the local democracy team to arrange to see the inside if you so wished.
Eastbourne Borough Council are changing their ways of working and have a view to stop using most or all of the Town Hall as office space in the near future so that it can become more available for community use. This may mean it becoming more accesible to visitors.
Visit the Eastbourne Heritage Centre
I've never actually been inside this place but I know it is all about the history and heritage of Eastbourne.....a town apparently created *By gentlemen... for gentlemen*. Hmmmm... no wonder it's never been my favourite place!
Still, it's somewhere to go to pass an hour on a wet afternoon.
Eastbourne's Pier is one of it's most memorable images and has been used as a film set on a number of occasions in recent years - most recently in the film "Made in Dagenham" when it 'played the part' of Brighton Pier becuase Eastbourne Pier looks more like what an English seaside town pier should look like in it's heyday.
It is much better maintained (and cleaner) than many other piers are now around the English coastal resorts and has all the traditional English seaside things on it - fish and chips, Victorian tea rooms, souvenir shops, amusement arcades and of course (and most importantly) the wonderful views both out to sea and back across Eastbourne's elegant Edwardian seafront.
I like to visit the pier on a Sunday afternoon, get a portion of chips covered in salt and vinegar, and then go to the end of the pier and eat them whilst taking in the view and watching the people go by.
The Towner Art Gallery
The Towner Art Gallery is the home for Eastbourne's collection of contemporary arts as well as a wide variety of temporary exhibitions which include some big names in the world of modern art.
On the first floor is the collection gallery which shows off items from the Towner's own collection, usually with a particular theme. The second floor has temporary exhibitions. This is a vast open space full of light and so allows a wide variety of different exhibitions to take place here.
Many of the staff are local volunteers and often are very enthusiastic about the exhibitions and will be pleased to give you as much background information as they can if you ask.
Entrance is free although donations are appreciated.
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- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Sea Front Gardens
Eastbourne Council are always taking good care of the the flower beds on the seafront - they colours do look lovely but it's such a shame the whisk them all out so quickly to be replaced with something else more seasonal.
And what IS it with those ornamental cabbages they seem to love planting everywhere in the winter??? Horrible things! I don't want to see cabbages amongst the pansies and petunias!
- Road Trip
Airborne over Eastbourne
Every year in August, there is a three day air show in Eastbourne, "Airbourne" when thousands flock to the beach to see fab aeronautical displays by all kinds of aircraft, from the old Spitfires to the Red Devils. On the last evening there is a big fireworks display too. The show is free and is the largest of its kind in SE England. It can be seen from all along the coast and up on Beachy Head. Some of the planes can be heard in neighbouring towns too - so if you are coming to Eastbourne with young children you might want to bring earplugs or headphones for them as the noise was deafening at times!!
It's great fun and there are loads of stalls selling refreshments, drinks, icecream, hotdogs, candyfloss etc as well as plenty of things to interest the aircraft enthusiast, including flight simulators!. There was an excellent running commentary giving enormous descriptive detail about the aircraft, pilots and the acrobatics they were performing - some of it real show stopping stuff! The viewers had no time to get bored as the planes came and went in very quick succession with only a few minutes wait between changes.
Wish I had a zoom lens!!!
The pier continued
Either side of the Great War saw the shoreward end of the pier remodelled with a new entrance building being added in 1912 and the 'blue room' a 900-seater pavilion in 1922. This pavilion was predominantly used as a ballroom before playing host to the now modern favourite leisure facility of seaside piers, an amusement arcade.
"During the Second World War the wooden decking was removed and machine gun platforms were installed in the theatre providing a useful vantagepoint from where to repel any attempted enemy landings. In 1951, now back in peacetime, the entrance buildings were again replaced. The theatre was destroyed by fire in January 1970, a new Atlantis nightclub and bar being built in its place. Entrance buildings were again replaced in 1991. In 2003 the Camera Obscura, located in the dome above the 'Atlantis' nightclub, was reopened to the public. Restoration of this Victorian projector has provided Eastbourne Pier with a unique visitor attraction.
This is a charming pier, which although modernised many times still retains much of its Edwardian splendour. The gift shops, sweet shops, bars and restaurants still make it a very pleasurable place to wander on a pleasant summer afternoon, and at night the splendid illuminations cannot fail to impress the visitor."
Having seen it myself, I can only concur.
- Historical Travel
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When I first saw a picture of it, I was transfixed. A lighthouse in the middle of the sea, perched on a minimal rocky outcrop, beneath dramatic white cliffs. Thus it was I arrived at Beachy Head, a misnomer if ever there was one.
The sheer white chalk cliffs, so reminiscent of the more famous ones at Dover, provide a stunning frame for the barber's pole beneath them. Just walking along the cliff tops is such an enjoyable thing to do and then they throw in the lighthouse as well. The fact that you have to pay to park there irked me much but, since Rosemarie wasn't feeling well, I left her in the car and went off on my own, thus saving what I believe to be a blatant ripoff, common along the coastline in this area of England.
There's a restaurant to sate the many tourists who understandably flock here and, either side at some distance, there are other car parks, one of them free, but you'd spend almost half a day getting back again.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
The war museum
What about the war I hear you say. No? Oh well, it gets a guernsey here anyway. In a country that has been involved in its share of conflicts it can hardly be surprising that there will be relics somewhere and it must be remembered that this area of Britain was sort of at the pointy end of the last major conflict.
The facts are that it is South East England’s largest military museum with thousands of objects covering 300 years of conflict on land, sea and air.
It's actually housed in a Napoleonic era redoubt fortress and the museum itself is in the casemates (barracks) of the old fort. Amazingly, to some, it's situated right beneath the grass you see here.
Many other events taking place during the summer including 1812 (think overtures here) military band concerts and living history events.
If you're after the unusual in museums you could try the Wish Tower Puppet Museum or, and I suspect this would apply especially for the ladies, the Museum of Shops (I'll just wander over to the Military Museum dear, see you in an hour or two).
1st April to 5th November: Open daily 9.30am to 5.30pm (last entry to the museum 4.45pm).
1812 Concerts with Fireworks every Wednesday 11am and Friday evening from mid June to early September.
There's also a reportedly good RNLI lifeboat museum which I didn't have time to visit that you may consider in your itinerary.
- Museum Visits
- Family Travel
What is an English seaside resort without its pier? Unworthy, that's what. Yes, to get a name for yourself you have to have that ubiquitous thing sticking out in the ocean. Eastbourne's, in line with everything else in this town, had a squeaky clean appearance that bespoke of civic pride.
For the following information I am indebted to the "Heritage Trail". I found some of the information fascinating, I hope you do too.
"The first pile for Eastbourne Pier was driven into the seabed on 18th April 1866. Officially opened by Lord Edward Cavendish on 13th June 1870, the pier was not actually completed for a further two years. Designed by Eugenius Birch, the piles that supported the superstructure sat upon specially made cups, similar to those used on furniture to protect carpets from deep furrowing, that rested on the rock bed. This ingenious arrangement allowed the pier structure to 'move' in bad weather. Using two six-pound cannons, to test whether the superstructure could withstand such a force, proved almost insignificant compared with the adverse weather conditions experienced on this stretch of coastline over the last 128 years. The relatively unscathed Eastbourne Pier is testimony in itself to the substantial core of the construction.
At 1000ft (303m) long, this pier in common with most of that era was built purely as a promenade, with six small kiosks along its length, and a pair of tollbooths at the entrance. The shoreward end was washed away in a violent storm on New Years Day 1877 and was subsequently rebuilt at a much higher level. The domed 400-seater pavilion was constructed at a cost of £250 at the seaward end in 1888. A 1000-seater theatre, bar, camera obscura and office suite replaced this in 1899/1901. At the same time two saloons were built midway along the pier." Continued -
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