What it’s like to live in Eastbourne

PUBLISHED: 12:26 16 September 2019

View from the pier on the skyline of Eastbourne (HildaWeges/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

View from the pier on the skyline of Eastbourne (HildaWeges/Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Head to this resort town for breathtaking views, modern amenities and stellar events – Eastbourne ticks all the boxes

Getting there

Bursting with local colour and serene seaside views, Eastbourne is a great place to live. The town is well connected by all forms of transport. Eastbourne train station has regular services to Brighton and Hastings - journey times tend to fall between 30 and 40 minutes. If you are driving you're at the mercy of the A27 which will take you to Brighton, Hove and Hastings. The main arterial roads in and out of the town are the A22, which connects to London, and the A2270. Terminus Road runs broadly east-west through the town centre, connecting the train station with the seafront and Eastbourne's suburbs. 


For centuries Eastbourne was a large village with many bucolic pursuits and people depended on farming and fishing. In the 13th century it was granted its market charter. In 1851, Eastbourne had a population of less than 3,500 and it wasn't until the mid-19th century that Eastbourne changed dramatically. In 1849 the railway came to Eastbourne, making it easier for visitors to reach the town. Eastbourne grew as a fashionable resort thanks to the Duke of Devonshire. In 1859 he wanted to develop the town and appointed architect Henry Currey to design a street plan - after sending him to Europe for inspiration. The resulting architectural mix is typically Victorian, with a tinge of the Med, and gives Eastbourne its ambience of faded glamour. Currey's plans boasted new housing for visitors resulting in a population boom and by 1871 Eastbourne had more than 10,000 people.

Insider's view

Eastbourne native Steven Mortimer, co-founder of Spring Capital, shares his view on life in this historic town. Spring Capital is working on a new development of luxury apartments,

The Upperton. The new development is in the heart of the town and brings to it a feel of city life. "Eastbourne offers all the excitement of a large city while also offering an escape from the hustle and bustle," says Steven. "The Sussex Downs and the clean beaches are a great place to relax and enjoy the summer months and they are within walking distance of The Upperton.

"Eastbourne's Little Chelsea - home to many of the town's most popular independent retailers - was named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the country by a recent Sunday Times article. There's also the Towner Art Gallery which has recently been given a colourful makeover by artist Lothar Götz." When asked about his favourite thing in the town, he replies: "Of course, the stunning seafront and Sussex countryside is a bonus and events such as Airbourne, The international tennis tournament and an annual Beer and Cider by the Sea festival give Eastbourne an exciting events calendar." To unwind in Eastbourne, Steven suggests: "Nelson's Coffee Co, which serves great coffee and food. You also can't beat a walk along the seafront or to Sovereign Harbour in the evening for unwinding."


At its centre, the town is bursting with high street classics such as M&S, a few phone shops to keep you connected, a Primark, and fashion powerhouses H&M, Topshop and Schuh. If you are a shopaholic then Eastbourne won't disappoint. Alongside a good choice of chains, Eastbourne is jam-packed with independent businesses dotted around the town, offering a wide range of shops and services including various fashion boutiques, delicatessens, florists, butchers, bakers, interiors and kitchen shops, barbers and hairdressers, gyms and even a couple of country and farm markets. You name it, Eastbourne has it.

Eastbourne boasts great recreation potential: at the town's borders is plenty of countryside that's ideal for relaxing strolls. If you are an avid hiker, head to the white cliff trail for a very serene and beautiful hike across the South Downs Way with hilltop views of Beachy Head Lighthouse.

Take a trip down memory lane by visiting Eastbourne Pier. This seaside pleasure palace was built in the Victorian era and embodies the spirit of that age. If piers aren't your thing, you can enjoy an impressive show at Eastbourne Bandstand. This landmark has a sea-blue terracotta tiled roof and plays host to some of Europe's best tribute acts. Eastbourne is home to not one but three cracking Italian ice-cream parlours: Notarianni's, Macaris and the gorgeously over the top Favoloso.

Eastbourne is amidst a new wave of redevelopment, with the renovation and extension of the Beacon shopping centre. The Devonshire Quarter, home to the Nature Valley International tennis tournament, has also been undergoing renovation work to improve facilities for residents and visitors.


Every year, the Eastbourne calendar tends to get bigger and better. Airbourne is a long-standing air show showcasing the world's best air displays, while highlighting the UK's vital involvement in the aviation industry.

The Nature Valley International is another benchmark event for Eastbourne. This celebration of tennis is loved by the community, and has hosted the likes of Andy Murray and Johanna Konta in recent years.

Eastbourne is also a centre for culture, with the town's local theatres playing host to some of the UK's top talent including Alan Carr, Jimmy Carr and Harry Redknapp.

The Beer and Cider by the Sea festival boasts food and drink galore, accompanied by music and seaside people-watching - it makes for a great day out. Eastbourne truly has an event for every tastes.

Meet the neighbours

Other than being the birthplace of Theresa May and the home of tennis star Johanna Konta, Eastbourne hosts a range of sports celebrities during the tennis tournament each June. Actors including Andrea Riseborough, Sam Riley and Georgia Groome have filmed on location here. 


Eastbourne has its own borough council and comes under the patronage of East Sussex County Council. Eastbourne's MP is Stephen Lloyd, who became a Liberal Democrat MP in 2002. He was unseated in 2015 by Caroline Ansell, and reclaimed his seat in the 2017 snap election. 


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