St Leonards on Sea Area Guide
An original seaside Regency New Town, beautiful St Leonards-on-Sea just west of Hastings has a wonderfully vintage feel about it today with its Designers and Makers Fairs, and its mile-long promenade affording magnificent coastal views. The town was a purpose built resort, one of the first, built by the famous Regency architect and planner James Burton who worked alongside the great John Nash on projects such as Regents Park. Burton's son Decimus took over where James left off after his death. A magical mix of Regency buildings and gardens, St Leonards is a pretty, peaceful coastal town from which you can dip into nearby attractions in Hastings and Battle at your leisure.
When James Burton began developing St Leonards 180 years ago, he littered the area with elegant Victorian villas with awe-inspiring sea views and a grand, regency style. Many of these villas have since been separated into impressive Grade II listed flats boasting stunning views over the coastline. Further into the town, there are magnificent 3 bedroom townhouses and semi-detached properties from the Victorian era. Heading out of the town past the artist’s quarter, there are also excellent properties dating from the 1800s steeped in history and charm with original oak features. With the recent influx of visitors to the town, and more people making the move to St Leonards, it’s a great time to invest in property in the area.
We understand how important your child’s education is to you. If you are new to the area, we can advise you on properties which are in close proximity to schools. Robsack Wood on Whatlington way is the most popular primary school in the area, thanks to its “Outstanding” OFSTED rating. Christ Church CofE on Woodland Vale Road is another good choice. It has around 460 students and received an OFSTED rating of “good” in March of 2015. West St Leonards Primary Academy on Harley Shute Road also received a “good” rating in 2016. St Pauls Church of England Academy is also a “good” school, according to their 2011 OFSTED report, with around 24 pupils per teacher. St Mary Star of the Sea is the local mixed Roman Catholic primary school. The school has around 220 students but received a “requires improvement” rating from OFSTED in October of 2016.
St Leonards has two secondary schools on offer with “good” ratings from OFSTED. The St Leonards academy is the largest, with almost 1300 pupils. They received their inspection rating in early 2017. Saxon Mount school also achieved a “good” rating. It caters for children with special educational needs and is situated on Edinburgh Road.
There is currently discussion of nearby, Hastings constructing a new high-speed train station to connect the town with London. The journey time at the moment is close to two hours but with a high-speed connection to the capital the journey time would be almost halved, attracting commuters to Hastings and neighbouring St Leonards.
There are also plans for a new multimillion pound sports complex to be constructed in St Leonards. The plans include a 3,000-capacity stadium for Hastings United Football club and a home for Hastings and St Leonards Priory Cricket Club. The proposed site is on the Bexhill road playing fields. The plans include four indoor sports halls and a new 120-station gym which would be open to the public.
Stagecoach bus services operate within the St Leonards and Hastings area. They run regular services around the town and connect the town centre to the surrounding villages. There are also regular services to nearby Hastings and Eastbourne.
St Leonards is served by St Leonards Warrior Square train station, which is connected to London on the London to Hastings line. Trains run regularly to London Victoria station and take around 1 hour 45 minutes.
Eating and Drinking
St Leonards features a wide selection of gastronomic delights. St Clements, at Mercatoria, is a local favourite. Try the locally sourced fresh fish. Pier Nine at the International Zanzibar Hotel offers an excellent fine dining option. For something a little unusual, Alastair Hendy´s Homeware Shop is a cosy restaurant jammed full of vintage furniture and quirky kitchen utensils. They also offer culinary courses for seafood and fish lovers. Pop into the Horse and Groom, St Leonards oldest pub, for good pub food and beer.
The St Leonard is a good drinking option, winning the Observer Pub of the Year in 2014, with a wide selection of ales. For oenophiles, look no further than Phoenix and Plum. The owner, Mark Plummer, hosts tasting events regularly which should not be missed.
Things to Do
The surrounding cliffs provide impressive views over the sea. Taking Britain´s steepest funicular railway up West Hill is certainly not for the fainthearted, but the views towards Beachy Head make it worth the rickety ride.
The Jerwood Gallery has an extensive collection of British painters and often has guest exhibitions on from international artists. The building itself is worth seeing, winning the 2013 RIBA National award for architecture.