The famous town mixes medieval history with a sleek modern gallery and a newly redone pier.
Located on the southeast coast, Hastings has earned its place in the history books thanks to its fascinating past. It’s perhaps most famous for the 1066 Battle of Hastings and the ancient Hastings Castle, once home to William the Conqueror. During Hastings days out, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in some of the most iconic places in British history.
But it’s not just history enthusiasts who will rejoice here. There are plenty of things to do in Hastings – from enjoying traditional seaside fun to singing along at live music concerts and exploring areas of outstanding natural beauty. Read on for more information on how to get there and the must-do activities.
Getting to Hastings
We want to make getting to Hastings as stress-free as possible. That’s why we operate a direct service from London Victoria that will get you there in a little under two hours. You can also travel direct to Hastings in around an hour-and-a-half from London Bridge. Coming from Brighton or Ashford International? Hop on the Coastway East line and you’ll be enjoying this historical town in no time.
The station is located just outside the centre of Hastings, around a 15-minute walk to the cafés, restaurants and independent shops of the old town. And under five minutes on foot in the other direction is the town’s stunning pier, where there’s a good choice of places to eat and drink and a museum where you can find out all about the history of the area.
We strive to make Hastings days out as wallet-friendly as possible; offering several ways to save money on the cost of your journey. For example, we offer a range of Railcards which offer you up to 1/3 off if you’re disabled, over 60 or regularly travel with another person, among others. Alternatively, those travelling in a group of 3-9 adults at quieter times will save a huge 34% off with GroupSave. You may also be able to enjoy a significant discount if you travel at Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak times.
Things to do in Hastings
With so many fantastic things to do in Hastings, there truly is something for everyone. Those interested in taking a deep dive into the town’s rich history must visit the atmospheric ruins of Hastings Castle. You can discover the story of William the Conqueror while exploring the remains of the dungeons and chapel. Plus, perched right above the town’s dramatic coastline, it offers great views of the surrounding area.
Another must-see during Hastings days out is Battle Abbey – the location of the famous Battle of Hastings. This English Heritage site is the very spot where thousands of men fought for the future of their country. Explore the battlefield, admire original artefacts and see if you are strong enough to carry a real Norman shield.
You can also take a trip back in time at the wonderful Smugglers Adventure. Once a bustling port, Hastings has a fascinating history of smuggling that is brought to life here. Head down into the winding caverns of St Clements Caves where the town’s smuggling stories are told through more than 70 life-sized characters, lights and sound effects. There’s also plenty of hands-on activities for kids to get involved with, as well as some fun games.
Do you love nothing more than exploring an art exhibition? Then you must venture behind the historic fishing beach to the black brick walls of the Hastings Contemporary (previously known as Jerwood Gallery). Inside you’ll find some of the very best modern and contemporary British art. When you’re ready to refuel, the gallery’s café features fresh local produce and seafood from the town’s famous beach-launched fishing fleet. If you cannot get enough of art, make sure to head over to the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery as well.
Searching for the best things to do in Hastings with the kids? Head to the wonderfully reimagined pier, with wide-open views and a rotating set of events, from a circus to festivals to specialty markets. There is also heaps of fun to be had at the Blue Reef Aquarium, where you will spot shark, fish, reptiles and more!
For a longer trip, head up the East Hill lift to Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve and explore miles and miles of the great outdoors. Another beautiful outdoors area is Combe Valley, that you can reach by bus. Looking for a good countryside walk? Go on the 31-mile 1066 Country Walk - a relatively easy, low-level route from Pevensey to Rye.
With so much to do and see, why not book your trip to Hastings today?