Everything you need to know about moving to Bexhill
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From its cutting-edge Pavilion to vintage shops and contemporary culinary scene, the purpose-built Victorian resort town of Bexhill has shrugged off its sleepy seaside reputation and now boasts coastal charm in spades...
With its art deco buildings, iconic De La Warr Pavilion and quirky shops, Bexhill boasts more than its fair share of seaside charm. And as the birthplace of British motor racing – the eighth Earl De La Warr turned a 1km stretch of the seafront into a race track in 1902 – there's still plenty of reasons to race into this trail-blazing town.
It was the first resort in the UK to allow mixed bathing – a scandal at the time in 1901 –was the setting for Bob Marley's first British concert in 1972, and shimmied its way into the Guinness World Records in 2015 for the largest Charleston dance.
But you don’t need to shake a leg or soak with a beau to feel the warmth of this quaint Victorian seaside town – its maritime climate means balmy summers and mild winters, so you can enjoy that sunshine feeling all year round.
This racy past and modern coastal tranquillity makes Bexhill one of the country's best kept secrets – and the perfect beside-the-seaside place to settle.
Famous people from Bexhill
Bexhill has attracted plenty of celebrity residents who love its seaside location, laid-back attitude – there are no paps here! – and proximity to London and Gatwick Airport. Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard spent much of her childhood in Bexhill, where she even worked at the De La Warr Pavilion as a teen.
Other screen stars from the area include Gwyneth Strong, aka Cassandra Trotter, and Andrew Sachs who had his acting debut at the Pavilion.
In the 70s, you might have had a cookery book in your home from chefs Fanny and Johnnie Craddock – they lived in the very desirable Cooden Drive. If you watched them on TV, you have John Logie Baird to thank, as he created the first live television. He spent his later years living right by the station.
Sportsmen such as 1951 Open Champion winner Max Faulkner, snooker player Jimmy Robertson and strongman Oli Thompson have all also called Bexhill home too.
Where to eat in Bexhill
There are cafes, restaurants and eateries galore in Bexhill to suit most budgets and tastes. Indulge in steaks, hot dogs and burgers at Bentleys Steakhouse (bentleyssteakhouse.com) where you can also buy the local sauces to enjoy at home.
Catch up about your move with friends over breakfast, brunch or lunch at the pretty Wickham Bistro (wickhambistro.com), which specialises in French cuisine. Baked mushrooms with poached eggs, croque monsieurs and beef bourguignons are all on the menu but keep an eye out for seasonal rotations.
Enjoy a taste of South America at Sobremesa (sobremesarestaurant.co.uk). Anticucho de Corazon (grilled ox heart skewers), banana blossom Moqueca and more are all set to get you out of your comfort zone or simply keep it classic with fajitas and nachos with all the trimmings.
Where to go shopping in Bexhill
Forget the seen-it-in-every-High Street shopping experience in Bexhill. Independent and crafty shops are where it's at here. Start decorating your home with beautiful fabrics from Jacob’s Haberdashery (jacobshaberdashery.co.uk), to make fine table cloths, cushions or even bedding. Decorating with the Besides the Sea collection is a sweet way to bring the town into your home.
Shopping locally for presents is a lovely way to support your new neighbours, and Unit 4 + 2 (unit4plus2.me.uk) – with its range of carefully curated items – will provide something for everyone.
Pick up pretty trinkets at Hearts & Co (heartsandco.co.uk), which sell cards and gifts for all occasions, with elegant touches. You can also buy florals and candles to make your home look and feel extra luxurious.
Places to stay in Bexhill
Relax in one of six stylish yet modern rooms at The Driftwood (thedriftwoodbexhill.co.uk), a contemporary, boutique hotel. Each one has its own distinct character, as well as creature comforts such as plump goose down pillows and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Before you head out to explore, be sure to dine or breakfast at the in-house Michelin-guide-acclaimed restaurant.
For beachside glamour, head to The Cooden Beach Hotel (thecoodenbeachhotel.co.uk) which sits right on the water. It is currently undergoing renovations to become an upscale beach resort, with beach service for cocktails while feeling revitalised by the English sea air. Sea Breeze anyone?
Keep it traditional but sophisticated at The Northern Hotel (northernhotel.co.uk), a stunning example of the local Victorian architecture. If you really love your stay you can make it permanent by moving in. Retirement suites start at £2,498.
Essential information about Bexhill
Post office: The Windmill Post Office, Store and Café is located on Windmill Drive, and is open 7.30am-6pm Monday-Friday, closing 5pm Saturday and 1pm Sunday. The Delivery Office is located on Devonshire Square, and is open 9am-5.30pm, apart from closing 12.30pm Saturdays and being closed Sundays.
Transport: The town has three railway stations – Cooden Beach, Collington and Bexhill, and regular trains run to Brighton and London Victoria. Bus routes serve the surrounding areas, including Conquest Hospital, Eastbourne, and Hastings.
Healthcare: Doctor’s surgeries in the area include Old Town Surgery, Little Common Surgery and Collington Surgery. Bexhill Hospital on Hollier’s Hill is managed by the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
Schools in and around Bexhill
Bexhill has numerous schools that are rated Outstanding and Good by Ofsted, making it an especially fine choice for pastures new if you have little ones in tow. Outstanding primary schools St Peter and Paul CE, which has Christian values, and Little Common School. Secondary schools with a Good rating include Bexhill Academy and St Richard’s Catholic College.
The main independent school in the wider area is the Battle Abbey School, which has both the prep school for youngsters and a separate school for older students located in Battle. Just under 50% of all sixth formers head to Oxford, Cambridge or Russell Groups, making it the perfect place to set up your child for success.
What to do in Bexhill
Catch a show at De La Warr Pavilion
One of the most iconic buildings in Sussex, the De La Warr Pavilion sets a striking stage for artists from far and wide, priding itself on its vibrancy and versatility. Throughout the year it hosts free exhibitions, comedy sets, musicals, and more, which are carefully curated for accessibility and relevancy. dlwp.com
Learn about the town’s history at Bexhill Museum
If you’re thinking about moving, there’s no better way to get acquainted with Bexhill than learning about its past. Be sure to see the fascinating story behind the birth of British motor racing and authentic vehicles on display. Fashionistas can enjoy the Costume Gallery, which showcases 17th century all the way to the modern day. Or for wartime buffs there’s lots of artefacts related to Bexhill’s part in WW2, such as a maps, ration books and posters. bexhillmuseum.org.uk