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Eastbourne Pier: Petr Kratochvil

The historic county of Sussex is probably best known for its seaside places. Brighton and Hove and Eastbourne in particular are embedded in the national consciousness, evoking a certain cheeky charm alongside Victorian elegance.

Sussex has plenty of varied accommodation, including self-catering holiday cottages, and plenty of choice when it comes to things to see and do.

 

Brighton and Hove’s Seaside Mix

Brighton and its smaller, immediate neighbour Hove are full of character, combining the traditions of the British seaside with both a quirky and cosmopolitan air of individuality.

Mixing the city with the coastal resort, Brighton, beach bohemia actually has a wide appeal, because there’s something here for everyone.

Brighton has been a fashionable resort since the Regency period, and its Royal Pavilion dates from the time that the future George IV, then the Prince of Wales, made Brighton his home. Visiting the museum and art gallery at the Royal Pavilion, you can see a confluence of tastes, from Regency to Oriental, all housed within a magnificent architectural folly. The museum also hosts exhibitions of 20th century art, design and fashion.

Out an about in Brighton, you’ll find a wide range of places to eat and drink, including independent cafes and bars and notable restaurants, such as the Coal Shed, the Regency Restaurant and Terre a Terre.

The Lanes in Brighton is a great destination for the unusual and the unique when it comes to shopping. This is the historic quarter of the city, a maze of alleyways where you’re always sure to bump into something intriguing.

The Brighton Beachfront is lined with restaurants and bars and is the epicentre of the city’s nightlife. It’s not just about being cool and hip though; you can also let yourself go with traditional seaside entertainment such as fortune tellers, rides for thrillseekers and candyfloss.

Hove is Brighton’s smaller, more laid-back neighbour, but its relative quietness belies a charm all of its own.

There are plenty of Regency buildings and elegant mews houses to feast your eyes on, and the town centre has plenty of independent shops, cafes and restaurants of its own.

Hove Art Museum and Gallery has a fine collection of contemporary craft on display, including textiles, glass and ceramics.

 

Elegant, Cultural and Spectacular Eastbourne

Combining Victorian design with seaside relaxation, Eastbourne has experienced dynamic growth in the past twenty years without losing its inherent character. It has a wonderful pier and seafront, and the contemporary Towner Art Gallery.

The Towner is at the heart of Eastbourne’s Cultural Quarter, set back from the seafront. It hosts exhibitions and has its own permanent collection, including work by 20th century artists such as Paul Nash and Henry Moore, alongside contemporary artists like Grayson Perry and Julian Opie.

As a resort, Eastbourne offers typical seaside attractions alongside unique places to see, such as the nearby Beachy Head and the South Downs National Park.

Beachy Head itself is spectacular: it’s the UK’s highest chalk sea cliff and a famous location featured in many films and television programmes. You can also visit the iconic lighthouse and ride the waves on a boat trip to take in the view of the cliffs from the sea.

Close to Eastbourne is Bateman’s, an historic writers’ retreat dating from the 17th century. This large house is set in beautiful gardens and was where Rudyard Kipling loved to stay. The house retains its feel from this time, resplendent with oriental rugs and the artifacts Kipling brought back from his travels.

Eastbourne may feel a little less brash than Brighton, but it more than holds its own as a fascinating, entertaining holiday destination.