Exploring Eastbourne’s Coastal Heritage: A Guide to Historic Landmarks

 

Eastbourne is a city just dripping with historical and cultural legacy. You don’t need to look far to see layers upon layers of influence stretching from the 1066 Norman conquest right through to the modern invasion of creativity and culture.    

Most of the important landmarks can be seen within striking distance of the beautiful seaside promenade, which runs for 3 miles (5 km) between the Sovereign Harbour all the way to the base of Beachy Head.

Along the way you will find various spots to explore that tell a story about Eastbourne’s past, present and future, from battle fortifications to Victorian gardens and its aspirations to be a cutting edge for creativity.

We have listed the most important landmarks here, in order, from east to west.

The Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum (22 mins)

The Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum is…closed!

Unfortunately, the decision was made to close it to the public in 2019 due to safety issues in the electrical system which have not yet been resolved. Items from the museum’s collection have been put in storage or returned to various owners or museums.

However, the outside is still interesting to visit while on the seaside walk and worth a stop. It was built in 1805 to defend aganist the threat of Napoleon and was used as a defence point during both WW1 and WW2.

Eastbourne Pier (8 mins)

Eastbourne Pier is an iconic landmark that has been attracting visitors since it was built in 1870. The pier has undergone numerous renovations and refurbishments over the years, (especially following a devestating fire in 2014) but its Victorian architecture and timeless charm remain intact.

Visitors can stroll along the pier and enjoy panoramic views of the English Channel. The pier is also home to a range of attractions, including arcade games, cafes, and restaurants. Be sure to check out the Victorian tea room, where you can enjoy traditional English tea and scones while taking in the stunning sea views.

Eastbourne Bandstand (3 mins)

The Eastbourne Bandstand is an iconic landmark that has been entertaining visitors since 1935. The bandstand hosts a range of events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and cultural festivals.

Visitors can enjoy traditional British music, including brass bands and classical orchestras, while taking in the stunning sea views. The bandstand also hosts a range of food and drink vendors, making it the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon.

Wish Tower (6 mins)

One of the best preserved Martello towers remaining is southern England, it was built along with the Redoubt Fortress to defend against a Napoleonic invasion that never occurred.

Now surrounded by the Peace Garden, one of the UK’s largest ferris wheels and a cafe with some of Eastbourne’s best views (Bistrot Pierre) it is a wonderful place to spend some time. Check locally for opening hours as it varies.

Italian Gardens (20 mins)

Secret garden alert!! We probably walked by them 50 times before venturing down, and it really felt that we have discovered a hidden world.

Cut out from from an old chalk quarry, the Italian Gardens are a wooded ampitheatre overlooking Holywell Beach. Open air theatre is performed here in the summer and it is a wonderful location for a picnic.

Helen Gardens (22 mins)

Opened as a public park almost 90 years ago, Helen Gardens is a sloped open area with stunning views of the English Channel and the Eastbourne coastline. With picnic areas, mini golf and lawnbowling, it is a popular spot in the summer time.

Pevensy Castle (BONUS spot!)

Ok, this is a cheat as it is not along the actual sea front and it would be too far for most people to walk there at 5 miles away.

It felt like a list of Eastbourne’s coastal heritage wouldn’t be complete without this wonderful landmark, however. Over 1600 years old and the landing spot of William the Conquerer, it is a great place to spend a few hours.

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pevensey-castle/

 

 

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