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The Frugality’s guide to Eastbourne

A budget break in Eastbourne, East Sussex, doesn't mean you have to compromise on style, fun things to do or great food. Alexandra Stedman makes the most of a seaside mini-break without breaking the bank. 

1

Free and cheap things to do in Eastbourne

Eastbourne Pier

You can't visit Eastbourne without enjoying its most famous sight, the Edwardian pier. Take a stroll along the beach promenade and up along the pier for sea views. I also don't believe you've been to the seaside unless you've eaten fish and chips in the fresh sea air while sitting on the pier watching the world go by. Both Dolphins and Qualisea are good choices. 

To get a feel for the town, try the Eastbourne Seafront Walking Treasure for just £4, where you can discover plenty of interesting facts about Eastbourne. You'll pass famous landmarks as you discover the town's connections to Rome and the Titanic.

More things to do in Eastbourne 

Beachy Head's iconic cliffs are also a must-visit in Eastbourne. You can take a bus or drive to Beachy Head Story to look at the free exhibition on the area's history. Follow that with a walk to see the cliffs (featured in the likes of Harry Potter and Luther) and the famous red and white lighthouse.

If you fancy going further afield, there is an 18-mile Coastal Culture Trail you can do on foot or by bike along the English coastline. The route goes from Eastbourne, via Bexhill, to Hastings, and you can visit three different art galleries along the way.

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2

Budget restaurants in Eastbourne

GrEat

There are lots of small, independent restaurants offering affordable meals. I loved the atmosphere at GrEat serving Greek cuisine. I went on a Tuesday night and it was already bustling. I tried the Moussaka which was delicious and there were also lots of vegetarian options (the halloumi kebab was another favourite). A main would set you back roughly £16 for a generous portion.  

More cheap eats in Eastbourne

For brunch, try Beanzz or To The Rise for incredible homemade pastries and bread. Skylark is a bustling place for lunch or grabbing a coffee on the go, as is Nelson's Coffee. Serving mussels and frites, an extensive selection of craft beer and an affordable tapas menu, the Belgian Café is another great lunch option. 

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3

Free and cheap attractions in Eastbourne

The Towner Gallery

The Towner Gallery has been a public art gallery since 1923. Nowadays, it's a modern space with free exhibitions, a cinema, cafe and has a totally Instagrammable exterior (painted by artist Lothar Götz). It's also the host of the 2023 Turner Prize.

Here, you can see modern and contemporary works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious, who lived in Eastbourne and studied at the Eastbourne School of Art. 

More places to visit in Eastbourne 

The nearby Rathfinny Wine Estate offers a free self-guided tour for wine lovers – pick up a map and audio guide from the Cellar Door. Thirsty? You can do the free 10-minute wine tasting session whilst you're there. The vineyard is based near the charming town of Alfriston, which is well worth a wander with its independent shops, bookstores and sweet cafes.

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4

Cheap drinks and bars in Eastbourne

Dew Drop Inn

There is a plethora of pubs in Eastbourne, and one of my favourites is the Dew Drop Inn on South Street which is full of character, dog-friendly and makes a mean burger. 

More affordable nightlife in Eastbourne

Local favourite Cru has an affordable, high-quality wine selection, while the Port Hotel's bar is the perfect place for sundowners and offers local pints from £5 and two cocktails for £15 from 4 to 6pm during the week. The Beachy Head pub is another great spot to watch the sunset on a clear day. For rainy days, get cosy at the cinema at The Towner, showing independent films, modern screenings and timeless classics.

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5

Cheap and budget hotels in Eastbourne

The Port

I stayed at The Port, a boutique hotel on the beachfront which also has a great bar and restaurant. The breakfast was superb (try the seasonal vegetable hash!), and the staff were very accommodating, too, helping with recommendations for my trip. 

Find more places to stay in Eastbourne
27 Mar 2023(last updated)

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  • 1

    Eastbourne Pier

  • 2

    GrEat

  • 3

    The Towner Gallery

  • 4

    Dew Drop Inn

  • 5

    The Port

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