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Hastings offers nostalgic charm and the coast, and it's only about an hour from London. Best known for the battle in 1066, this fashionable Victorian holiday hotspot has reinvented itself as an arty destination for seaside weekenders, and today most of the best places to stay in Hastings lean towards the boutique variety.
Hasting's Old Town is the pretty bit of town. There are some charming medieval houses and plenty of small boutiques and independent interior design shops and art galleries. Much of the rest of Hastings was built during the Victorian era, so there are some lovely seaside squares, some very nice parks and some elegant Victorian facades.
Hastings also has a notable Georgian Church, St. Mary's in the Castle. And a Norman castle. One of the best things about the castle is that the easiest way to get to it from Hastings is on a late-Victorian funicular railway.
The now ruined castle was built by William the Conqueror, and there's an excellent exhibition in the grounds which will supply you with plenty of information and begin to tell you the story of 1066. To learn more you should visit the visitor centre in Battle, about six miles away, this is where the battle actually took place.
The old pier, where big bands thrived in the 1930s, and The Clash, The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones played in the 60s and 70s, was burned in an arson attack in 2010. So the view from the front is now a little more dilapidated. But the opening of the Jerwood Gallery, home of contemporary British art, has hipped the town up. So the burnt out pier seems more like an installation, or a sculpture in its own right: British Seaside Holiday Town thy name is Phoenix.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Hastings offer options for all from hip B&Bs to country house style sophistication, to "olde worlde" charm.
For a room with a sea view
- The Zanzibar International Hotel ticks all the boxes if you're here for a special occasion. Right on the seafront, the Zanzibar has just eight, individually decorated rooms - each themed around a different country, but all with luxury in mind. Some rooms have massage showers and steam cabins, some sea views, all have generous sized beds, and a champagne breakfast is included in the price.
- Hastings House is also right on the promenade, a Victorian stucco charmer on the outside, turned funky B&B on the inside.
- The Printworks occupies a fabulous Victorian building, once home to the local newspaper, and it's been decked out very stylishly by the owners. There are only four rooms, but all of them are packed with detail and original-features-loveliness. Rooms start from just £80 per night.
- Swan House occupies an even older building - built in the 15th Century, this was originally the local bakery. Part timbered and right in the medieval heart of town, this four room B&B has been tastefully decorated to make the most of the wonderful original features - including an old pulley used to move bags of flour.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Hastings for you? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Hastings, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Alternatively widen the net and check out all our East Sussex recommendations.
Best Hotels in Hastings
The Printworks 2 rooms from $104Hastings, East Sussex
Hip seaside haven housed in an old printworks once home to the local rag. The property combines cosy comfort with loft style interiors to provide an upmarket bohemian sleepery an hour from LondonSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.
The Old Rectory, Hastings 8 rooms from $130Hastings
Elegant guest rooms provided in an eighteenth-century building. Guests can enjoy sitting rooms, beautiful gardens and the nearby town of Hastings. Freshly cooked breakfasts on offer, including locally caught fish and free-range eggs.Restrictions on children - Children from 10 and up onlyGreat walks - Good for walkers.
The Cloudesley 5 rooms from $143Hastings
An excellent, eco-friendly guesthouse in the East Sussex town of Hastings. The rooms are spacious and elegantly appointed with stylish furnishings and tasteful artwork. Indulge in a range of spa treatments including reiki, deep tissue massage, Thai hot compresses and reflexology. A seaside charmer.Local exploring - Just a ten minute walk from the beach, it's perfect for exploring Hastings and the surrounding East Sussex countryside.Total relaxation - The ideal relaxing country escape with comfortable rooms and a hearty breakfast as well as massages, shiatsu and reiki!Sights nearby - History enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the nearby site of Englands most famous battle.Birdwatching - East Sussex is a great area for watching seabirds.Recommended by - Sawdays
Zanzibar International Hotel 8 rooms from $150St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex
Contemporary and stylish romantic refuge on the seafront. Impeccably decorated in whites and nudes, large light rooms, sea views. Fish restaurant.Restrictions on children - No children under 5 years.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide
Swan House 4 rooms from $150Hastings, East Sussex
Former 15th century bakery. Stylish B&B in the heart of mediaeval Hastings. Tasteful interiors - original features complement contemporary designs. Guest lounge, breakfast room, courtyard.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
Black Rock House 5 rooms from $156Hastings
A bijou property located on a residential road in the coastal market town of Hastings. Its contemporary decor and clean lines makes this hotel a refreshing place to stay. This manager owned property has a much talked about and locally sourced breakfast menu. A perfect coastal weekend break!Sights nearby - Visit historic properties of Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Bodiam Castle and Battle Abbey as well as their beautiful gardensGreat walks - Travers Country or Alexandra Park or Britain's steepest East Hill funicularLocal markets - Old Town and Norman Road have collection of independent and craft shopsRestrictions on children - Above the age of ten acceptedRecommended by - Good Hotel Guide