Just over an hour from London by train, Eastbourne or ‘Ebo’ as the local kids have coined it, has a mood of nostalgia and coastal heritage familiarity about it. You should never resist the obvious; the stroll along the seafront and visit to the bandstand and pier. The ‘Sheikh’ of the pier, known locally as ‘Goldfinger’, recently painted its dome and ornamental lions gold – well worth a look. But the town’s beauty lies in its ability to charm and surprise with its modern cultural offerings, and natural outdoors.
For eye candy, The Towner Art Gallery offers exhibitions that resonate with contemporary tastes. Camilla’s Bookshop in town is a cavernous shop for the literary explorer, complete with £1 gems on its outdoor library wall. While ‘How We Lived Then’, aka Museum of Shops, is an uber-kitsch attraction that transports you to a time devoid of current digital excesses.
For a breath of fresh air The Beachy Head costal walk out to Belle Tout Lighthouse is one the UK’s finest. The marriage of the sea and sky, with the white chalk cliffs as its aisle, you realise such beauty really does exist. No wonder Sherlock Holmes chose this place for his twilight years. Be sure to have halfway ales at The Beachy Head Hotel perched at the top.
Poised as an alternative English seaside destination, Eastbourne is now pulling its weight against the likes of neighbouring Brighton and Hastings. So much so that it celebrates its Bonfire night a month ahead in early October. A local explains it’s so that punters would actually come, as opposed to competing with Lewes in November!
P.S. Cycle or train it to Bexhill-on-Sea. You’ll find the architectural beauty that is The De La Warr Pavilion exhibiting outstanding international contemporary art.