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Hastings: Sussex towns and villages

PUBLISHED: 10:37 27 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:38 27 June 2013

Hastings

Hastings

Archant

The Battle of Hastings wasn’t actually fought in the town, but on Senlac Hill, some six miles away

No battle here

The Battle of Hastings wasn’t actually fought in the town, but on Senlac Hill, some six miles away. Harold chose his ground well, forcing the Normans to attack uphill; but eventually the Saxons gave in to the temptation to chase a supposedly fleeing enemy, abandoning their advantage and ultimately their victory.

Plenty more in the sea

For centuries, Hastings was an important fishing port. Nowadays the industry is much reduced, but the town still retains the largest beach-based fishing fleet in Europe, based at the Stade. It has recently won accreditation for its sustainable methods.

It all came out in the wash

Much of the town was washed out to sea in the 13th century. Then, during a naval campaign of 1339, and again in 1377, the town was raided and burnt by the French, and went into a decline as a result. Since the natural harbour was destroyed, various attempts have been made to replace it with a sheltered harbour. A stone version was attempted during the reign of Elizabeth I, but the foundations were destroyed by a storm. The last project began in 1896, but failed when structural problems and rising costs exhausted all the available funding.

An Englishman’s home

Hastings Castle was built in 1070 by the Normans, four years after the invasion. It is on the West Hill, overlooking the town centre, and is a Grade I listed building. Little now remains of the castle, except the arch of the chapel, part of the wall and some of the dungeons.

Go

Hastings Miniature Railway

This operates along the beach from Rock-a-Nore to Marine Parade, transporting tourists since 1948

www.miniaturerailwayworld.co.uk/Hastings.html)

Eat

The Wild Mushroom

Fine dining in the chic surroundings of a converted Sussex farmhouse. Foraged local food

01424 751137; www.webbesrestaurants.co.uk/the-wild-mushroom

Drink

The Filo

Filo stands for first in, last out. Five ales are brewed on the premises, roaring fire and regular live music

01424 425079; www.thefilo.co.uk)

Sleep

Swan House

A fabulous 15th-century bakery transformed into a stylish seaside getaway. Wander down to see fishing boats tucked in for the night, or find an antiques bargain nearby

01424 430014; www.swanhousehastings.co.uk

***

Notable neighbours: pop star Emma Bunton, and music mogul Simon Fuller

Getting there: Hastings has its own railway station. The A21 and the A259 meet in the town

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