Perfectly located on the edge of the glorious South Downs National Park, the coastal town of Eastbourne is the perfect place for a great traditional beachside holiday. Home to the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain which rises to 530ft above sea level, it is also known for its landmark red and white lighthouse way below in the sea which has warned ships off its rocks for many years. Situated on one of the most spectacular stretches of beach in the south, there is ample opportunity in Eastbourne for fantastic brisk sea walking, or if you prefer, a gentle evening stroll along the promenade.
The area is not only surrounded by beautiful countryside - you are also on the doorstep of various historic towns and villages so there is always something to do. If you want to stay in the town, there is ample opportunity for shopping, as well as a huge selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from. With an up-and-coming art scene, five theatres, two cinemas as well as a selection of independent art galleries, you will be sure to find something special to tantalise your taste buds in Eastbourne.
Surrounded by beautiful beaches
The beaches in and around Eastbourne are brilliant for not only lovely long walks but also sunbathing, rock pooling at low tide and fossil hunting. Try Holywell Retreat, which also has beach huts and chalets for hire, a great café and the pretty cliffside Italian Gardens. This is also the starting point for the renowned white Dotto land train that runs to the Harbour, as well as Eastbourne Pier and the Sovereign Centre. The award-winning Grand Parade Main Resort Beach, located between the Pier and the Wish Tower boasts excellent water quality and of course has the best views in town!
If you are a watersport enthusiast, then you must try the Royal Parade Beaches which have their own watersports centre and welcomes well-behaved dogs to its shores. The Marine Parade Beaches are also a popular spot for watersports and have wonderful views towards the harbour. If you prefer to get away from it all, try the King Edward beaches which not only give you the most spectacular views of the chalk cliffs but are also much quieter than the other beaches in the town.
The most popular pier in Britain
There is nothing better on a seaside holiday than a traditional British pier and the majestic Victorian landmark jutting out from Eastbourne’s famous seafront has been voted the most popular pier in Britain. Packed with typical pier attractions such as a fish and chip shop, a waterfront café/bar and Victorian tea rooms, you can also just amble down past the resident fishermen, and enjoy an ice-cream, drinking in the breath-taking views across the Channel towards France.
If you fancy a bit of a boogie, then the Atlantis Nightclub on the pier is open on both Wednesday and Saturday nights and is the perfect place to feel the sea breeze if things get too hot inside!
The perfect place for shopping and restaurants
A great way to see the sights is to take the two-mile walk along the promenade, starting at Beachy Head and finishing at Sovereign Harbour for a well-deserved bite to eat. Packed full of contemporary restaurants, cafes and bars, you can sit and watch the sailing boats gently bobbing about in the marina breeze while planning what to do that evening. Perhaps pop into the Cineworld cinema in the harbour to catch an afternoon film - after all, you are on holiday! You can stay here to do some shopping or head into the town centre where you will find major retailers as well as smaller shops offering a variety of local produce and souvenirs, as well as a great variety of restaurants. The Enterprise Centre is also worth a visit – packed to the brim with independent and quirky shops, it is also a brilliant place to take a break for a coffee and a scrumptious piece of locally-made cake.
For an artier vibe, head to Little Chelsea, where antique shops and art galleries compete with modern interiors shops and designer boutiques in the vibrant shopping and dining quarter of the town. If you have children, take them to Princes Park which is a Green Flag winning space with two children’s playgrounds, one of which has a summer splash pad and a boating lake. Here you can also spot local wildlife while walking around the scented rose garden – there is buggy and wheelchair access on surfaced paths around most of the park. If you like a bit of history on your travels, head to the Redoubt Fortress where you will discover more than 200 years of history within its walls. Originally built to keep Napoleon’s armies away from our shores, it was garrisoned by troops until the early 1900s, and then again during World War II. Recognised as being of national importance by English Heritage, it is very much an architecturally interesting building.
Nestled in the heart of the South Downs
Eastbourne is surrounded by a whole host of fabulous villages and towns just waiting for you to visit them – the nearby Cinque Ports towns of Rye, Tenterden and Hastings are all within driving distance, and there you can visit the various historic castles and monuments of the area. As well as magnificent houses with beautiful gardens and romantic follies wrapped in ivy, you are also only 20 miles away from Battle Abbey where the 1066 Battle of Hastings took place in one of its ancient battlefields. There and indeed in most towns of the area, you can also browse specialist antique and book shops, as well as popping into one of the delightful cafes for a delicious cream tea. Often made with local jams and cream, and attached to either a deli or little shop, you will be sure to find lots of lovely things to take home.
Of course, you can’t leave without visiting one of the gorgeous country pubs in the South Downs for lunch; boasting lovely gardens overlooking spectacular countryside to sit in during the summer and roaring log fires to snuggle up to in the winter, you will be sure to receive a warm welcome and recommendations for the best local ale! It's also the perfect location for dog-friendly holidays, with plenty of beautiful dog walks across the National Park to be had from the doorstep.
Home to exciting events
If you can, try to visit when one of the popular events of the Eastbourne Calendar is on. The prestigious International Tennis Week is held each summer and is attended by world-class tennis players as well as thousands of visitors from all over the globe.
The Airborne Festival is also a really popular event, attracting huge crowds to its military and civilian airshow, and of course, Glorious Goodwood is only a two-hour drive away if you want a really special day out. If culture is more your thing, Glyndebourne is just 15 miles away and perfect for an evening at the opera during a romantic break. Don’t forget Cowdray Park in Midhurst for a spectacular afternoon of polo – it may take a little while to get to, but it is the perfect excuse to take a long lazy drive over the rolling hills and forest of the South Downs.
If we have inspired you to visit this lovely town, why not take a look at our full collection of holiday cottages in Eastbourne ?
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please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.