The East Sussex coastline is the perfect place to engage your creative senses on a short break to England's Creative Coast. Here you’ll see the dramatic South Downs National Park cliffs and can venture along the historic 1066 trail. Discover unspoilt beaches, leading contemporary art galleries, Victorian seaside heritage, and exciting annual events and festivals.
Start your cultural adventure at Hastings Contemporary, nestled between the iconic chalk cliffs and the pebbled beach. Inside this striking and award-winning building set in heart of the ancient Old Town, you’ll see work by some of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, alongside historical works and those created by international artists in the gallery’s changing programme of temporary exhibitions, just a stone’s throw away from the shore.
Explore East Sussex on two wheels
One of the best ways to experience East Sussex is by bike. The coastal cycle route takes you all the way from Hastings Contemporary to Towner Gallery and is traffic free from Hastings to Bexhill - so grab your cycle helmets!
Farmyard, St Leonards on Sea
Once you've finished perusing what exciting exhibitions Hastings Contemporary has on display, grab your bike and enjoy a slow cycle along Hastings' seafront stopping for a relaxed lunch at Farmyard Restaurant & Wine Bar in St Leonards on Sea. Here, enjoy the freshest fish, creative veggie and vegan dishes, cured meats and fantastic local cheeses. This lunchtime hotspot takes sustainability seriously, and is the perfect place to fuel up ahead of an afternoon adventure.
Farmyard Restaurant & Wine Bar
Hastings Smuggler's Adventure and Country Park
Once you've eaten lunch, go on a Smuggler’s Adventure in West Hill where you’ll step back in time to uncover the deep and dark secrets of the smugglers. You’ll discover the stories of the pirates, smugglers, and bootleggers who used the tunnels of Hastings to stash their treasures. Next, take the cliff-side East Hill cable lift to Hastings Country Park, where you’ll be greeted by 660 acres of ancient woodland across 5 miles of cliffs and rugged terrain – perfect for absorbing the fresh British air and beautiful coastline.
Bannatyne Spa Hotel
After a busy day, whet your appetite and rest your head at Bannatynes Spa Hotel. Set in 38 acres of formal gardens and woodland, a night at Bannatynes will make your stay in this beautiful South Coast resort town even more memorable. Overlooking the hotel's stunning formal gardens, the unique Maxine's Restaurant is the perfect venue to enjoy freshly prepared dishes, using the best local and seasonal produce.
Bannatyne Spa Hotel
De La Warr Pavilion
After a fresh start to the day, head west along the coast to the elegant resort of Bexhill-On-Sea where'll discover the stunning De La Warr Pavilion, offering free exhibitions from internationally renowned artists such as Cy Twombly, Bridget Riley and Alison Wilding, music, comedy and film, and dynamic outdoor events in the summer, giving all the variety of a festival in one building. Built in 1935, the Pavilion is a signature of modernist architectural design, and with the English Channel as its backdrop and infinite views out to sea, provides hours of entertainment.
De La Warr Pavilion
This afternoon, make sure to take a trip to Towner Eastbourne, where you’ll discover exhibitions of modern and contemporary art alongside a collection of nearly 5,000 works including work by Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Duncan Grant, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anya Gallaccio, Julian Opie and Tacita Dean. Towner holds the most significant body of painter Eric Ravilious’s work, for whom the Sussex landscape was a constant inspiration, which you can see on one of the gallery’s outdoor tours. Enjoy a varied programme of cinema and events, as well as behind the scenes tours of the Collection.
The Hydro Hotel Eastbourne
Complete your trip with a relaxed evening meal at one of two restaurants situated at The Hydro Hotel, just a gentle 10 minute stroll from Towner Eastbourne. Choose from the Crystal Restaurant serving modern British cuisine, or perhaps you'll be tempted by the Conservatory Restaurant with its sea views offering lighter bites - lunches and dinner. What's more, if you're looking to extend your cultural adventure, this homely hotel has 82 bedrooms for you to rest your head for the night!