Seeing Hastings on a Time Crunch

The Battle of Hastings and the year 1066 have been ingrained in my memory since studying British History at uni. But it was my friend Emily who inspired me to visit.

When I travel, I like to have a few ideas in mind, but I tend to like to wander around and let myself discover interesting things. There’s a certain sense of romance about England — everywhere you go feels like an adventure, everywhere is beautiful.

Maybe it’s from living in the states for my whole life that being somewhere brimming with centuries of history is more attractive. Plus, the right to roam — allowing people to explore the countryside at will — is so inspiring. Even the grey skies don’t bother me. I can handle rain better than snow. But I digress.

For my day trip I sought out to get a taste of 1066 country by seeing the place where the Battle of Hastings took place. Only when I got there, I found out that Hastings Castle and the place the battle took place are in different places (a 2 hour walk or 30 minutes by train).

So if all you have is a day for Hastings and Battle, here is what I recommend you see in Hastings:

Hastings Castle

My first stop was, naturally, Hastings Castle. The sun was out and the sky was blue. I knew I would get some fantastic pictures.

Ruins of Hastings Castle

Ruins of Hastings Castle

All that’s left from William the Conqueror’s fortress are ruins. There are several information placards around the grounds to summarise the history of the castle.

In short, a storm in the 13th century ruined the harbour and large parts of the castle fell into the sea. In the 16th century, the grounds were purchased by the Pelham family who used the land for farming, slowly becoming overgrown and forgotten. Thomas Pelham excavated the site in 1824 when his building work ‘discovered’ the ruins. Then, the Victorians ruined a lot of it by building up the seaside resort and removing some of the cliff-side.

View of Hastings

View of Hastings Pier and the city in the distance

Today you can wander the site and see some great views of Hastings below. It’s a beautiful and serene spot. It’s a shame that more of the castle didn’t survive.

Hastings Beach

After I finished lunch, I walked along the promenade heading back toward the old part of town. The sky began turning hazy. I was annoyed. It had been perfectly clear, and now this. All because I dared to be hungry. I cursed myself.

Luckily, my beach photos turned out decent enough.

I didn’t know it while exploring Hastings, but Ophelia was the culprit — the day Ophelia turned the skies orange. But before orange, they went cloudy and grey, and messed with my beautiful scenic shots of Hastings.

Old Town

By this point the sky was hazy grey, fairly common in England. I wandered around the Net Shops at Fisherman’s Yard.

For history lovers, check out this detailed list of places to see in Old Town.

All Saint’s Street

In the heart of Old Town is All Saints Street. Before going to Hastings, I searched WordPress to see what other bloggers suggested. I came across a post by SixPixx (who kindly said I could link to it here for anyone interested) about her walk down All Saints Street.

Her post inspired me to check it out. Such is the power of blogging — I can only hope one of my posts inspires someone else to experience it for him/her self.

It’s definitely worth the stroll. I had a lot of fun taking photos of all the old houses. I really loved how one side of the street was elevated while the other was street level. It reminded me of parts of Bath.

Old Houses on All Saints Street

Old Houses on All Saints Street

This street has loads of character. If you like old architecture then it’s a definite must. Some of the oldest surviving houses in Hastings are on this street.

It’s a lovely walk if you want to feel transported back in time.

Where to Eat

If you’ve been following my blog and read my post about Canterbury, you know I hate eating alone. I will travel alone but dining at a restaurant myself is the one thing I dislike.

Having lived through my solo dining experience in Canterbury I felt better prepared for lunch in Hastings.

Naturally, I consulted TripAdvisor. I picked Mungos because I saw they offer vegetarian options.

Lunch at Mungos

Veggie burger and tea

The place was really cute and, lucky for me, quiet — then again, it was a Monday. The owner, Liz, was incredibly nice. She took my order and we chatted a bit about how I was exploring to write up a piece on Hastings for my blog.

She provided me with a map and suggested I visit the Net Shops at Fisherman’s Yard. It hadn’t been on my radar before. Local advice is the best advice. I highly recommend getting lunch at Mungos and chatting wit Liz — she’s absolutely lovely.

Ultimate Insider’s Travel Tip

I travelled to Hastings from Clapham Junction. However, there is a better route to take. If you want to save time and money, take the direct train from Charing Cross to Hastings. It stops at both places; whereas, I had to buy a ticket to Battle then return to Hastings to catch the train to London. Both routes take about 2 hours.


Thanks for checking out my blog!

Be sure to tune back in to read about the second part of my day in 1066 country and my visit to Battle Abbey.

Until the next adventure,

Jenn

 

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