Seven miles from the battleground of 1066 with which its name will always be associated, the East Sussex seaside town of Hastings boasts enough attractions to demand your attention in its own right.
The most conspicuous of these, high above the town and reached by the West Hill funicular railway, is the ruin of the Normans’ first stone castle, which flies a replica of William the Conqueror’s flag each year on the anniversary of the battle.
In addition, Hastings is blessed with a picturesque Old Town, based around its High Street and All Saints Street, just north of the fishing beach. This district has changed so little since the Second World War that it has been used as a setting for five series of the popular wartime television drama, Foyle’s War, check here for more.
Wartime difficulties were part of the Hastings experience from 1066 up until the end of World War II. Some of William the Conqueror’s men found time in the run-up to the battle for the English crown to set fire to a Hastings house or two. Then, in 1377, during the Hundred Years War, a French fleet plundered and burnt the town; in 1643, as part of the English Civil Wars, Parliamentary troops occupied All Saints Church in the Old Town; and in July 1690 French ships under the Comte de Tourville attacked Hastings in an assault that led to the g of the English warship Anne. The Anne’s story is retold in Hastings’ shipwreck Heritage Centre on Rock-a-ore Road, a street crammed with sites of maritime interest. And the joy of Hastings for history lovers is that these, and the adjacent fishing beach and Old Town streets, are all easily explored on foot, with Hastings Castle accessible from George Street via a series of quaint alleyways.If you want to visit this amazing places check the best website.
During the main tourist season, from 2nd May to 12th September, two-hour guided walks of the Old Town run every Tuesday, starting at the clifftop station of the West Hill railway at 2.30pm; tours are free, but donations to the Old Hastings Preservation Society are welcomed.
The producers of Foyle’s War were no doubt attracted to Hastings because the town was on Britain’s front line during World War II.Two thirds of the population was evacuated, and down on the seafront barbed wire barriers, gun emplacements and tank traps were installed.
In May 1944, Winston Churchill, when visiting the town to inspect the D-Day troops, squeezed in an unofficial trip to the anti-aircraft battery beside the castle, whose crew included his youngest daughter Mary, now Baroness Soames.
During the war, three fishing boats were blown up by mines, 17 people were killed in an air raid that destroyed the Swan Inn in the High Street, and the town lifeboat rescued troops from Dunkirk. St Clement’s Caves, beneath the castle and now home to a Smugglers Adventure theme park, were used as air-raid shelters.