Friday, 27 March 2015

old town hastings and the sea

Hastings is a town of two halves. There's the new town. Ubiquitous chain stores, slightly-scary-but-probably-just-bored-and-fed-up-of-the-down-from-Londoners teenagers hanging about smoking fags and kicking cans, and that slight sense of   hopelessness that often hangs around old seaside towns.

But there's the old town. It's been likened to "shoreditch-on-sea". I think that doesn't do this part of Hastings justice. It's better than that. It's got bags of character, old Tudor buildings mixed in with Victorian all vying for space up and down this hilly part of town. Junkyards sit side by side with kiss-me-quick seaside shops selling beach balls and rock. Artisan bakeries and a shop selling tea, spices and herbs next to an old fashioned bicycle shop. Regulars and locals say hello to each other. A dreadlocked tie dye wearing hippy looks just as in place as an old codger with flat cap and stick. It's trendy yet unpretentious.My only moan would be that there isn't that many child friendly caf├ęs. It caters more to an evening crowd with dingy pubs and trendy bars.
That said it's still a great place to visit with small people. George Street and the High Street (the two main roads) are pedestrianised and have a relaxed, easy feel about them. It's a bustling place but it's not rammed so it's easy to cart a pushchair about or let your kids run around a bit. Unfortunately some of the junk shops are too crammed full of goodies to fit in a pushchair but you can't have everything.
Not only is there the fabulous high street, there's the sea! There's also an aquarium, a mini steam train, working fish shacks, an art gallery and two funiculars - one takes you to Hastings castle, the other to Hastings country park, containing acres and acres of heather-filled chalklands overlooking the English channel
On this visit we only had time to visit the sea,pick round the shops and take a trip up one if the rickety old funiculars to the park. The little guy loved the sea. Sometimes you forget that small people don't need whistles and bells and plastic cramp or £20 entry play farms. They are happier playing with (and trying to eat) the stones by the sea.
He also loved the funicular trip. A funicular is basically a train carriage that is hauled up and down the cliff face. I'm sure it is safe! 
Next visit (I'm sure there will be many) we'll visit the aquarium and the art gallery.

Do this trip if you like:
Unpretentious cool
Heights
Fish and chips
A dip in the sea
Junkyards

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