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10 hidden gems in Eastbourne

Laying claim to the UK’s sunniest town, Eastbourne’s expansive beach, wide promenade and famous pier are well worth a visit. But to truly get to know this elegant seaside town, you’ll need to get off the tourist trail. Spend your days kayaking, walking, sipping, reading and dancing your way through our guide to Eastbourne’s best hidden gems.

1. Eastbourne Borough Market

Every Wednesday and Sunday, the Eastbourne Borough market pops up in the town center, with hundreds of stalls offering local produce, artisan breads, sweet treats, arts and crafts. They even have a dedicated vegan section on Sundays. The Christmas market is especially charming and offers plenty of handmade items that make perfect presents for loved ones back home.

2. Kayaking along the Seven Sisters

While the spectacular Seven Sisters chalk cliffs might be less of a hidden gem and more of star attraction, hit the water to take in their beauty from a different vantage point. Hire a kayak from the team at Buzz Active and paddle your way down the gentle Cuckmere Valley until it meets the sea, where you’ll be rewarded with a stunning vista of the iconic coastline and countryside.

3. Summer bandstand

Eastbourne’s seafront is the place to be in summer, when the ‘world’s busiest bandstand’ hosts pop, rock, jazz and tribute shows every evening, culminating in a weekly firework display. This historic outdoor bandstand can seat 1400 guests and has been hosting concerts since 1935. Tickets are cheap, ranging from £3.50 to £8.95 for adults, and they even host free Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Easter performances.

4. Alfresco Shakespeare

One of the region’s best kept secrets, the Italian gardens are filled with carefully manicured gardens, secluded walkways and rock pools that appear at low tide. Pack a picnic and relax under the pergola or wander along the cliff-side trails and take in the picturesque views.

In summer, the gardens host outdoor Shakespeare plays in the natural amphitheater, with the moss-covered ornate pergola serving as the stage.

5. Stargazing at Beachy Head

The region’s dark skies make it a popular place for stargazing. In fact, nearby South Downs National Park has official Dark Sky Reserve status, one of only 18 in the world, thanks to its exceptionally dark, starry nights. The Eastbourne Astronomical Society hosts free monthly public viewing nights at Beachy Head and other sites around town. They supply the telescopes, cameras and expert advice – all you need to bring are some warm clothes!

6. Fusciardi’s Ice Cream Parlour

This family-run local favourite, tucked just off the main road, has been serving ice creams since 1967, and with 16 flavours to choose from, you won’t be disappointed. Grab a coffee or an ice cream and step across the road and stroll along Eastbourne’s towards the historic pier. On a cool day, their rich hot chocolates are a real crowd-pleaser.

7. Hundred Acre Wood

Five Hundred Acre Wood is the magical forest that inspired A. A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, in his classic novel Winnie the Pooh. Just 30 miles from Eastbourne, this woodland is a refreshing day trip to immerse yourself in the enchanting English countryside. Don’t forget to pay a visit to Pooh Sticks bridge, the wooden footbridge where the fictional game was first played. (The game is simple – drop two sticks over one side of the bridge, and whichever one pops out the other side first wins.)

8. Printers Playhouse

You can’t beat the atmosphere at The Printers Playhouse, a popular live music venue just 10 minutes walk from EF’s Eastbourne campus. Sip a beer in the rear courtyard, or take in a show in the intimate theater upstairs. Downstairs hosts live music or entertainment such as quiz nights most evenings, with Wednesday’s open mic night offering up a great chance to discover local artists, comedians, poets and musicians.

9. Camilla’s bookshop

Stepping into Camilla’s Bookshop is like entering Aladdin’s cave. The second-hand bookshop is spread over several floors and is bursting with over 500,000 books. Books spill over from the shelves and floor stacks, making it a mission to find a certain book. Instead, explore the shelves, and pick up something that catches your eye for a bargain price. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a friendly welcome from Archie the talking parrot who calls the shop home.

10. Movie locations trail

Eastbourne is a popular filming location, featuring in British and Hollywood cinema classics such as Harry Potter, Diana, Little Britain and Pearl Harbor. Discover more of Eastbourne as you follow in the footsteps of stars like Dame Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Eastbourne’s TV and Film Map plots all the top spots so simply download it, and start the adventure!

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