Things to do in Eastbourne
- Credit: Archant
Forget the tired jokes about God’s waiting room – Eastbourne has been both a thriving tourist centre and popular place to bring up a family for decades. Duncan Hall finds out the reasons why.
Southern Head Fishing Co
Opened by fisherman Bob Page in 1982, Southern Head Fishing Co’s fresh fish shop has been serving the finest seafood for more than 30 years. The Royal Parade shop is stocked by more than 30 fishing boats who are all part of the Responsible Fishing Scheme.
Open Tues to Sat 8.30am to 4pm, Sun 8.30am to 2pm. Visit www.southernheadfishing.com or call 01323 646366
Eastbourne’s Redoubt Fortress dates back more than 200 years. The circular structure was built as part of a massive defensive project along the south coast during the Napoleonic wars. It was used by military police during World War I and by Canadian troops preparing for D-Day. Now it hosts displays on military history ranging from the Crimean to the Gulf wars – with a focus on the reality of war this summer.
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With seating for 1,400, Eastbourne bandstand provides seafront live music and performance throughout the summer. The semi-circular bandstand, which was built in 1935, hosts between 140 and 150 concerts each year.
When the arcade on Eastbourne Pier caught fire in August 2014 it looked like the end for the town’s landmark. But entrepreneur and hotelier Sheikh Abid Gulzar bought the Grade II listed pleasure centre just before Christmas with the promise to give it some much needed care. The pier had already been reopened after essential works, but visitors can expect more changes – which could include the re-opening of the Victorian theatre and, controversially, an entrance fee.
The Arndale Centre
Offering both national and international chain stores, The Arndale Centre is within easy walking distance of the railway station, and has two car parks offering a total of 1,300 spaces.
Devonshire Park Tennis Club
The women-only competition the Aegon International Eastbourne is at Devonshire Park Tennis Club from Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2016. Coming to play are former world number two Agnieszka Radwanska, double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and last year’s tournament winner Belinda Bencic. Last year Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta reached the quarter-finals for the first time, but there are always town residents in the finals, as the ball boys and girls come from nearby Cavendish School and Moira House.
The Winter Gardens
The Grade II listed Winter Garden dates back to 1875 making it the oldest performance space in the town still in operation. The Compton Street venue is also a popular wedding venue. Regular visitors through the year are the monthly Screaming Blue Murder Comedy Club, organist John Mann and the summer tea dances with live music from Chris Mannion.
Visit www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk for the full programme
Towner Art Gallery
The free contemporary art gallery on College Road hosts a range of exhibitions, both drawn from the Towner archive, including works by Eric Ravilious, and visiting displays. The recently extended Recording Britain features landscapes by modern artists commissioned at the outbreak of World War II to capture the home front before it was changed forever.
Anyone feeling footsore during the summer can hop on Stagecoach’s Dotto Train which runs between Holywell and the Sovereign Harbour. Fares cost £2/£1, with trains running every hour on Saturdays from 28 May to 26 June, and daily from Saturday 2 July to Sunday 4 September.
The 13x Brighton and Hove bus and the open-top buses from Eastbourne Pier take visitors to one of the most breathtaking sea views in the country.
Beachy Head’s iconic white cliffs are more than 500ft above sea level, making them the highest chalk sea cliffs in the UK. The country park provides the entrance to the 99-mile walking route the South Downs Way.
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