Hastings Area Guide
The most sought after area of Hastings is the old town. The Elizabethan and Georgian properties offer the close-knit community of a small town but with a lively atmosphere, filled with bars and restaurants. The town centre itself was constructed in the Georgian and Victorian era.
The iconic townhouses and architecture of the period give the seafront its distinctive appearance and further north in Elphinstone Valley, old Victorian country mansions have been converted into grand apartment buildings or have made way for smaller housing estates. Neighbouring St Leonards, developed between 1760 and 1880, provides extensive terraced housing at an affordable price attractive to young families.
The Hastings borough has a total of eighteen primary schools on offer. One of the most sought after is Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, which achieved an Outstanding OFSTED rating on their interim assessment in 2010. Guestling Bradshaw CofE on Rye Road is another good option, along with Westfield school, which also achieved a good rating in 2009.
Hastings has four secondary schools with academy status to choose from. The St Leonards Academy has campuses on Darwell close and Edinburgh Road, Hastings Academy on Rye Road, Ark Helenswood Academy and nearby Ark William Park Academy. They all boast OFSTED inspection ratings above Satisfactory and are quickly improving. There are 6th form courses, apprenticeships and part-time courses available through Sussex Coast college and The University of Brighton also has a campus in Hastings which delivers more than 30 undergraduate courses.
Last year Hasting´s reopened the iconic pier which had burnt down in 2010. The project received more than £14.5 million in investment and there are still plans to build restaurants, cafes and fish and chip shops around the new pier to finish the development project. When completed the revitalised pier will host open air shows and there is even talk of a big top circus.
There is discussion of a new high-speed train station to link the town with London. The current journey time to London is around close to two hours, which is not really commutable. But with a high-speed station on the Ashford to London line, the journey would be significantly quicker, making the town an attractive prospect to city commuters.
Stagecoach buses operate town routes around Hastings including longer distance routes to Eastbourne, Folkstone and Dover. The town is serviced by a number of A roads heading to Eastbourne in the west, Ashford in the east and Tunbridge Wells in the North.
The fastest trains into the capital reach Charing Cross station in an hour and a half or Brighton can be accessed in an hour. The Eurostar also connects nearby Ashford to the continent. Gatwick airport is the closest to the town. It is situated just 54 miles away to the north west.
Eating and Drinking
Hastings has some of the best fish and chips available in all of Britain and you will be hard pressed to find better than Maggies on Rock-a-nore road. The town´s pub scene is thriving. The First in Last Out offers a traditional beamed public house with good food and their own microbrewery. The Dragon Bar represents new Hastings, overflowing with young people like its counterpart in Shoreditch. For local, organically sourced vegan flavours, Moose´s Kitchen on King´s road in St Leonards serves excellent meals and also provides vegan cookery courses. Locals favourite, St Clement´s, also offers fresh fish and meat from the surrounding area.
Things to Do
The Jack in the Green Mayday celebrations are the annual highlight and should not be missed. The controversial Jerwood Gallery caused a stir when its modern sleek black architecture arrived in the towns Museum quarter, but it showcases excellent local artists and has led to the arrival of several smaller independent galleries. The Fisherman´s Museum and the Shipwreck Museum also provide a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.