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Best things about living in Eastbourne

PUBLISHED: 15:18 19 September 2016

Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne

Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne


In the past it was derided as God’s waiting room but there is much more to Eastbourne today


A Roman villa was discovered in 1712 just north of Eastbourne pier which is thought to have been occupied between the first and third century. There was a significant settlement in medieval England too, but the real history of Eastbourne began in the 19th century when William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Burlington and later 7th Duke of Devonshire began an extensive development programme of Eastbourne as a seaside resort. His influence and that of later architect Henry Currey can still be felt in the fact that the majority of the seafront is made up of hotels rather than shops. The pier, designed by great pier-maker Eugenius Birch, dates back to 1870. Towards the end of the 1800s the town grew in popularity, becoming the fastest growing town in Sussex as its population doubled several times between 1861 and 1891. The Sovereign Harbour to the east of the town is a relatively recent addition. Opened in 1993 it consists of four separate harbours as well as a retail park and several housing estates of both permanent and holiday homes.

Annual festivals and events

Every summer eyes turn to the sky for the annual Airbourne festival. More free annual festivals include Eastbourne Extreme which each July features a line-up of land and water-based activities for adrenaline junkies, and the folk-infused Lammas Festival.

Prior to Wimbledon, Eastbourne hosts the Aegon International Eastbourne WTA Tennis Tournament in Devonshire Park. Next June will see some of the top men coming down to join the cream of international women’s tennis. 

What to do

There is no shortage of entertainment in Eastbourne, with four live performance venues: the council-run Devonshire Park Theatre and Winter Garden in Compton Street and Congress Theatre in Carlisle Road, as well as the independent Royal Hippodrome in Seaside Road. Between them they offer a mix of live music, comedy, spoken word, theatre and musicals. The Towner Art Gallery displays a range of contemporary art from its collection and regular visiting exhibitions. The seafront bandstand hosts live music throughout the summer. Following a potentially devastating fire in 2014 the pier is open again to visitors.


As befits a tourist town there are plenty of restaurants and watering holes, as well as a mix of independent and chain shopping. Sovereign Harbour has an out-of-town shopping and dining area. As well as the beach there are green parks and beautiful Beachy Head nearby. 


Primary schools - Roselands Infants’ School, Woodgate Road, 01323 726764, Ofsted rating outstanding.

Rated good by Ofsted:

Pashley Down Infant School, Motcombe Infants’ School, Langney Primary School, Haven Voluntary Aided CofE/Methodist Primary School, St Thomas A Becket Catholic Junior School, St John’s Meads Church of England Primary School,St Andrew’s Church of England Infants School,Shinewater Primary School, West Rise Community Infant and Junior School, Parkland Infant and Junior School, Ocklynge Junior School, Tollgate Community Junior School, and Willingdon Primary School.

Secondary Schools

Rated good by Ofsted:

The Eastbourne Academy, Ratton School, Willingdon Community School, Causeway School, and Bishop Bell Church of England Mathematics and Computing Specialist School.


• Detached houses: £230,000 to £1,895,000

• Semi-detached/terrace: £140,000 to £795,000

• Flats/apartments: £75,000 to £790,000

Getting there

Eastbourne can be reached by car off the A22 or A259. It has its own railway stations at Eastbourne and Hampden Park which have half-hourly trains to London Victoria, Ore and Brighton, and hourly trains to Ashford International.

Stagecoach runs local buses to all parts of Eastbourne as well as Hailsham, Lewes, Battle and Bexhill. There are also longer distance Stagecoach bus services to Hastings, Rye, Tunbridge Wells, Dover, Canterbury, Newhaven and Brighton.

Brighton and Hove Buses run route 12 from Eastbourne and Beachy Head to Brighton. And National Express coaches also call in at Eastbourne.


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