Eastbourne, East Sussex, is only an hour’s drive from where I live, however, I don’t find myself there very often. Usually, I go there to do a bit of shopping in the main part of town, and very rarely make my way down to the seafront, which is madness really as it’s a wonderful place to go.
I arrived in Eastbourne at around midday with my friend Krissy, and despite it being a typically cold British winter, it was delightfully warm and sunny there. We found a handy car a stone’s throw from the pier, then took a walk down there and onto the beach.
The plan was to have a quick walk on the beach, then to find somewhere to eat, before checking out the pier. Finally, we planned to head into town and do some shopping in the Arndale Centre before heading back home.
Walking along the beach gave us a chance to appreciate just how striking the pier and its surroundings are. The sky was clear and bright blue, there were gentle waves making their way to the shore, and the beach was empty enough for the atmosphere to feel quite serene. Krissy and I headed onto the stony beach to take a quick look at the underside of the pier.
Viewing the pier from underneath was quite an experience. It’s amazing to think that such a huge structure can balance so steadily over what can often be very choppy waters. The complex arrangement of the pillars and the shadows that were being cast from them by the bright sunshine made for some great photographs.
After satisfying our artistic urges, it was time to find somewhere to eat. We did hope to get some fish and chips on the pier itself, but the queue was out the door. Instead, we crossed the road, deciding to try out the famous Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips restaurant. I’d never eaten there before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. It was definitely more “restauranty” than I’d have liked (compared to a traditional fish and chip shop), but the food was good and not too expensive. The staff there were really friendly and attentive and made us feel welcome, which made the dining experience even better.
Once we’d eaten, it was time to check out the pier properly. I’d say it’s definitely one of the most attractive piers I’ve visited (there are a fair few in my area) and there is enough on there to keep you entertained. There are places to eat, a slot arcade, a gift shop, bar, and plenty of other little shops and attractions to wander into. One thing that impressed me was how inexpensive the gifts were in the gift shop. I like to buy at least one souvenir when I go anywhere, and I ended up buying two things in the gift shop – a fridge magnet and a snow globe, both of which were really cheaply priced.
Further along the pier, we found ourselves in the Blues & Jazz Bar, which I believe is a fairly new addition. We were blown away by its cool design and vintage feel. We didn’t stay for a drink, but we took the opportunity to snap a few shots inside as it was so well decorated and put together.
By the time we reached the very end of the pier, it was starting to get darker, and a beautiful blueish, pinkish glow was starting to spread across the sky. I could tell that the sunset was going to be stunning, so we stuck around to make the most of it.
On our way off of the pier, we stopped and bought some freshly made donuts from a little shop near the entrance. I honestly could not describe to you how delicious they were. Even though we were still fairly full from our lunch, we happily munched through the donuts, savouring every sugary mouthful. I’m craving to eat some again already!
By this time, we’d pretty much given up on the idea of doing any shopping, but that was okay! The sunset was so pretty that we wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, and although it was starting to get really chilly, we walked all the way along to beach until we reached the famous Eastbourne Bandstand.
I’d never actually been down as far as the Bandstand. In fact, I can’t say I knew it was there previously. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture, and amazingly, you can actually climb up a small flight of stairs and stand on it. Krissy and I took some silly photographs, then headed on to catch some more of the sunset.
The true highlight, photography wise, was reaching a point where we could see the cliffs at Beachy Head, which now were silhouetted against the orange glow of the sky. It was a magical sight, and so was whole day really. Eastbourne seafront is one of the most attractive and enjoyable in the area, and I believe quite underrated compared to other seaside towns and cities. Krissy and I felt at times that we were in a more exotic location; when viewing the coast line from the pier, we could have been in Italy, and once the sun had set and the street were lit up, there was a definite city-esque feel to the town as we headed back towards the car.
I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Eastbourne, especially the seafront and pier. There’s enough to do that you could even spend more than a day there. For me, Eastbourne epitomises everything great about British seaside towns. I will certainly be going there more often in future.