UK breaks: 24hrs in Hastings

Head down south to this arty East Sussex enclave for super-cool galleries, cute boutiques, excellent coffee shops and superb sea views.

10am

Eat: Judges Bakery

Grab an espresso and pastry from this famousHastings bakery. Arrive early so you can nab an enormous Chelsea bun drizzled with icing or maybe a lime and sea salt brownie? There’s a tea room at the back if you want to sit and savour - just see if you can resist all the tempting treats displayed en route.

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Enjoy: Jerwood Gallery

Get your day off to an inspiring start at Hastings’ celebrated seafront gallery. The colourful town has always attracted artists, so it’s no surprise some of the biggest names in British contemporary art exhibit here, from Quentin Blake to Jake & Dinos Chapman.

Explore: The Stade

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What to do in Hastings? Take your camera for a stroll at one of its most photogenic spots: the brightly painted fishing boats juxtapose beautifully with the tall, black net huts. A fishing fleet still launches from the pebble beach, as it has since medieval times.

1pm

Gorge: Rock A Nore Kitchen

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When it comes to seafood restaurants in Hastings, you’ll sample some of the finest here - fresh off the boats a few yards away. The modern menu takes its lead from the catch of the day, from Dover sole with cockles and capers to an exquisite take on cod and chips.

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Gallivant: Bell’s Bicycles

Explore the town in style on one of Bell’s rather good-looking bikes. Enjoy a gentle spin along the promenade or go wild riding fast through Hastings Country Park. If you want to tackle Hastings’ notorious hills though, do yourself a favour and go for one of their whizzy electric bikes.

Gander: Hastings Pier

Check out Hastings’ recently reopened pier - minimalist, sure, but a building of architectural wonder. There’s all sorts going on - gigs, cinema screenings, yarn bomb galleries - but there’s nothing quite like the simple joy of walking out to the end of the pier and just admiring the ever-restless English Channel.

4pm

Revive: Hanushka Coffee House

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Settle into a comfy chair at this atmospheric book cafe and you may never want to leave - especially once you’ve tried one of their special rainbow coffees featuring pretty peacock-esque patterns. How do you like that then, Instagram?

Roam: Hastings Old Town 

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Exploring the Old Town is one of the ultimate things to do in Hastings. Follow the narrow ‘twittens’, or alleyways, to discover charming Tudor homes and hidden antique stores or join the throngs of alternative types shopping, eating al fresco or just hanging out on George Street.

Rummage: A.G. Hendy & Co Homestore

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Stepping into this candlelit store feels like travelling back in time, to a very chic version of the past. If you’ve never considered a household broom or feather duster art: think again. Book a table at the Kitchen found at the back of the shop where equal care and attention will go into the food on your plate.

7pm

Devour: Dragon Bar

Dragon Bar serves up a creative bistro menu to match its arty seaside location. Take your taste buds on a journey, with Spanish paella or Jamaican curried goat, or keep your feet firmly on these shores with succulent scallops adorned with edible flowers. One of the best restaurants in Hastings.

Drink: The Crown

This pub reigns supreme on every front, from the imaginative interior created by local craftspeople to the cool clientele (Jude Law was snapped here recently). The food and drink follow suit... think lush local craft beers and seasonal small plates. Oh, and why not pick up a loaf of sourdough on your way out too.

Dream: The Old Rectory

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Each of the eight bright and breezy rooms at this boutique B&B are named after Hastings streets. Luxuriate in All Saints, with its super-sized bed and hand-painted headboard, or tuck up in the cosy Rock A Nore, right at the top of the house.

Good to know

Venture a little further along the seafront to St Leonards for more interesting cafes, shops and pubs. And if the mood takes you, hop on a train to Bexhill (it’s a 10-minute ride) and visit the De La Warr Pavilion for art exhibitions, live music and rooftop pop-ups.

Get there

Train: 1hr30 from London Bridge
Coach: 2hrs30 from Victoria Coach Station
Car: 1hr30 from central London

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