Eastbourne, a quintessential seaside town, offers more than just its iconic pier and sun-kissed beaches. Situated on the edge of the majestic South Downs National Park, it is a gateway to a world of rolling hills, panoramic vistas, and ancient landmarks.
Eastbourne’s Victorian streets echo tales of its storied past, while the heart of the South Downs beckons with its serene countryside allure. The melding of coastal elegance with the rustic beauty of the hinterlands creates a tapestry of experiences waiting to be explored. Dive with us into the captivating realms of Eastbourne and the South Downs National Park.
Things to See in Eastbourne
Eastbourne sits almost directly south of London, east of Beachy Head. It’s easily accessible by train as you can board in the center of London and disembark within two hours. On the other hand, you might prefer to go by road. Take the A22 south from junction 6 of the M25. Here are some things to do and see in Eastbourne.
Eastbourne Beach and Pier: A visit to Eastbourne would be incomplete without strolling along its clean, pebbly beach. The iconic Eastbourne Pier, with its Victorian boardwalk, offers a nostalgic seaside experience with arcade games, candy floss, and stunning coastline views.
South Downs National Park: Just a stone’s throw away from Eastbourne, this national park boasts rolling hills, breathtaking vistas, and many trails perfect for hiking and cycling. It’s also the starting point for scenic walks to iconic sights like Beachy Head and the Long Man of Wilmington.
Towner Art Gallery: Art enthusiasts will appreciate this renowned gallery, which showcases a diverse collection of modern British and international art. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions and events, making it a cultural hotspot in Eastbourne.
Beachy Head: These dramatic white cliffs, rising over 500 feet above the sea, offer panoramic views of the English Channel. It’s a popular spot for photography and provides a romantic backdrop for couples visiting Eastbourne.
Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum: Delve into Eastbourne’s military history at this 19th-century fortress. The museum displays various military artifacts, including weapons, uniforms, and equipment.
Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway: A treat for families and train enthusiasts, this miniature railway offers a delightful journey through the countryside, providing picturesque views of the South Downs.
Victorian Gardens: These beautifully landscaped gardens, complete with flower beds, fountains, and statues, offer a tranquil, relaxing space. The adjacent boating lake and children’s playground make it a family-friendly attraction.
Eastbourne Bandstand: Renowned for its summer concerts, the bandstand hosts a variety of musical performances, from jazz to classical, against the backdrop of the sea.
Sovereign Harbour Marina: One of the UK’s largest marinas, it’s a hub of activity with restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. Whether you’re keen on boat-watching, dining by the water, or engaging in water sports, the marina has something for everyone.
Little Chelsea: This creative hub in Eastbourne, nestled between Grove Road and South Street, art supply shops, independent restaurants, and laid-back cafes. It’s a must-visit for shoppers, foodies, and history buffs.
Exploring the South Downs
Just a stone’s throw away from Eastbourne, this national park boasts rolling hills, breathtaking vistas, and many trails perfect for hiking and cycling. It’s also the starting point for scenic walks to iconic sights like Beachy Head and the Long Man of Wilmington.
Those looking to make a longer trip on foot (or on a bicycle) might consider the South Downs Way, which stretches more than a hundred miles to Winchester, in Hampshire.
Of course, no trip to this part of the country would be complete without a visit to the Seven Sisters and
Birling Gap. The former is a group of chalk cliffs, which stretch between the mouth of the Cuckmere in
Seaford, and Beachy Head. The latter is the point of entry for coastal walks in the region.
This is among the longest undeveloped coastline in the South, and it’s often packed with
hikers. You can go for a picnic on the clifftops, or on the rocky beaches. Just be aware that the
coastline is constantly changing, thanks to erosion. Stay away from the edges!
The nature of this part of the country means that it can sometimes be closed, and often at very short
notice. If you’re staying in Eastbourne, it pays to plan a visit early on. That way, if there is a closure,
you can shuffle your itinerary around, and visit later in the week instead.