Hastings: My Top 5 Must Do Activities

We visited Hastings for my 30th birthday weekend and I wanted to give some tips of what to do.

We visited Hastings for my 30th birthday weekend and I wanted to give some tips of what to do. We found a lot of places were only open weekends / school holidays so bare this in mind when booking. I have tried to include as much detail as possible about each suggestion. 

Hastings beach and a sculpture

East & West Cliff Railways 

We were super excited to go on the cliff cars as it’s something Nick remembers from his childhood. There are two lifts the East and the West, both lead to different locations and we had planned to do both.

We didn’t realise the East Cliff Cars were shut for maintenance until further notice. I can’t seem to find a reopening date for the East Cliff. When it does reopen the East Hill Lift provides access to Hastings Country Park which overlooks the Old Town and Rock-a-Nore.

The West Hill Lift, (first opened in 1891,) has retained its original wooden Victorian coaches. It runs through a tunnel, which according to legend is unusual for a funicular railway!

The west lift’s lower station is in traffic-free George Street and slightly hidden between shops so make sure you look out for it.  The West Hill offers some of the town’s most remarkable views, stretching round to Beachy Head in the west and is the perfect way to reach Smugglers Cove and Hastings Castle (only open at weekends).

All tickets are return tickets so make sure you hold onto your paper ticket. The train does also shut for half an hour for lunch so make sure you plan that into your journey. 

If you like to collect pressed pennies, then you will find a machine at the ticket office but you will require a £1 and a 1p for. It is not card operated.

Please note: The West Hill Cafe is currently closed. There are public toilets around the back of the cafe and station. 

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult Return£4.20 per ticket
Child Return£2.60 per ticket
Concessions£2.60 per ticket
Family – up to 2 adults 3 Children£12.00 per ticket
3 Apr 2023 – 31 Oct 2023

Monday – Sunday10:00– 17:30Bank Holiday10:00– 17:30

* The West Hill Lift is closed on Christmas Day only.

Smugglers Cove

At the top of Hastings West Hill you will find the Smugglers Adventure. Smugglers Adventure is all about the thrilling history of the smugglers, bootleggers and bloodthirsty gangs. 

The idea behind the tourist attraction is that you can explore the labyrinth of secret tunnels and passages and learn about the dangers faced by the smugglers in the eighteenth century.

It is an interactive experience which is great fun and with more than 70 life-size characters, eerie lighting and sound effects as well as dramatic recreations it definitely brings history to life. 

Regarding admission prices, you can either pay for this on the day or in advance HOWEVER you can get a 3 in 1 ticket which allows you to visit this attraction, the castle and the aquarium with 25% off. We thought this was the best value for money. More information on this here: https://discoverhastings.co.uk and at the bottom of the post.

We also got a guide and torch for £5 which were good souvenirs, and the guide was full of information & photos. This offer was at the beginning when we were buying our tickets.

If you like to collect pressed pennies, then you will find a machine at the end in the gift shop, but you will require a £1 and a 1p for. It is not card operated.

This is not accessible for wheelchairs and it has in places got slippery flooring as well as small spaces so be aware of this at the time of booking/ planning.

Hastings castle

We couldn’t visit Hastings without visiting Britain’s first Norman castle – built by William the Conqueror in 1067. It was amazing to walk around and see the original structure and the views from the castle. 

The ruins that still stand today are only half of the original structure of Britain’s first Norman castle; the castle’s south wall and keep were lost to the sea whilst remains of the east gate and east wall – which served as the foundation for the two towers, can still be seen. 

It was also very cool to walk down into the whispering dungeons which were very cooling on the hot day we went. 

We didn’t see this but apparently there is also an educational 20-minute program called The 1066 Story, covering topics from the Conquest to the history of the castle through the centuries. 

No need to book. Card payments only on arrival. Under 3s go free.

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult ticket£6.25 per ticket
2 adults and 2 children£20.50 per ticket
65+ & student£5.75 per ticket
aged 3-12£5.00 per ticket

Di pola’s ice cream 

If you are looking for a great ice cream bar, then Di Polas is the way forward. They had so many flavours and it was a great place to grab a nice ice cream with generous portions and lovely staff. It quite often had a queue outside during the day, but the queue is worth it. One of the best ice creams I’ve had. 

Di pola's ice cream Hastings

Pelican diner 

When looking for food places in Hastings, I stumbled across pelican diner which is a brunch bar that is open Friday Saturday and Sunday and we are so glad we managed to get a table. The staff were lovely. The food was amazing and it was incredibly popular, so if you plan to go, I would advise booking ahead and probably booking inside to avoid the seagulls attacking your food.

I had the pancakes and I would 100% eat them again and again, they were brilliant and the potatoes which I think came under fries were amazing too, so get them as a side dish. 

You can find the Pelican Diner at: 14 Marine Parade, Hastings TN34 3AH England

3 in 1 Ticket Information

To buy your 3-in-1 Super Saver Ticket for Hastings Castle, Smugglers AdventureHastings Aquarium simply go to the attraction you want to see first and purchase it there. You then have 7 days to see the other two attractions. Not currently available to purchase online.

Junior (Aged 3-12)£18.19
Concession (Senior 65+ & Student)£21.38
Family of 4 (2 x Standard + 2 x Junior)£77.

We were recommended other places to visit:

  • The aquarium
  • bizarre but true museum
  • True crime museum 
  • Shipwreck museum (we did this it’s great)
  • Fishermen’s museum (also a great time)
  • Old town Hastings 
  • The pier (we didn’t enjoy this)
  • Lifeboat visitors centre (we couldn’t find this)
  • Flowers makers museum 

We also got a yorkshire wrap from “The Hut” and it was 10/10 amazing. Totally off the cuff dinner but I would eat have eaten it again straight after as it was sooo good. The mini golf on the seafront was also a hit and with the choice of 3 courses, it made it a lot of fun.

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