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Eastbourne: Sussex towns and villages

PUBLISHED: 15:53 21 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:53 21 June 2013

Eastbourne

Eastbourne

Archant

Eastbourne is an elegant resort at the foot of the South Downs in Sussex

Getting defensive

A survey of coastal defences was conducted in 1793, concluding that infantry and artillery should be installed to defend the bay between Hastings and Beachy Head from the French. 14 Martello towers were constructed, several of which still survive, including the Wish Tower at Eastbourne. Between 1805 and 1807, a fortress known as the Eastbourne Redoubt was built as a barracks and storage depot, armed with 10 cannons.

Evacuation station

Children were evacuated to the town at the beginning of World War II, but following the fall of France in 1940, it was feared that Eastbourne would be a target and they were removed. As visitor numbers were restricted, most hotels closed, and were taken over by the armed forces – the Royal Navy set up an underwater weapons school, and the RAF operated radar stations at Beachy Head, and on the marshes near Pevensey.

Bright and breezy

Eastbourne holds the record for the highest recorded amount of sunshine in a month. (383.9 hours in July 1911). As a result, it still describes itself as The Sunshine Coast.

Staying that way

The seafront at Eastbourne has few shop fronts opening onto it, in comparison to many coastal resort towns. This is because much of Eastbourne has traditionally belonged to the Duke of Devonshire, who retains the rights to these buildings and does not allow them to be developed.

***

Go

Sussex Voyages

Take a boat down the coast from Sovereign Harbour. The most popular trip is the one-hour guided tour to Beachy Head, with live commentary

01293 888780; www.sussexvoyages.co.uk

Eat

The Conservatory at Langham’s

An AA Rosette is testament to the great quality of the food. Enjoy commanding sea views whilst trying the three-course dinner menu

01323 731451; www.langhamhotel.co.uk

Drink

The Beachy Head

Enjoy a pint at this award-winning pub, while looking out at the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs. The building was a listening post during World War II

01323 728060; www.vintageinn.co.uk/thebeachyheadeastbourne

Sleep

Ocklynge Manor

Bright, sunny bedrooms look out over a charming garden. Hilltop positioning means that its always peaceful. The bread and jam are homemade and utterly delicious

01323 734121; www.ocklyngemanor.co.uk

***

Notable neighbours: Lewis Carroll used to holiday in the area. Prunella Scales and Douglas Bader went to school here

Getting there: Trains run directly from London. Eastbourne has its own station, and is just off the A27

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