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Car-free around HastingsEast Sussex

Celebrating the relaunch of Hastings Contemporary, here are some car-free things to do in and around this colourful seaside town. You can get to Hastings by railway in as little as 80 minutes from London and prices on the train start from £5 (for advance tickets with Southern rail from London Victoria). The quickest journeys are from London Bridge with Southeastern and both lines showcase some lovely South Downs scenery. There are also trains and buses arriving from all over Kent and Sussex and beyond.

  1. 4. Coastal Culture Trail

    Two more fabulous galleries, with shifting exhibitions of contemporary art and imaginative cafes, are spread over the eighteen glorious miles of coastline west of Hastings. You can reach them by bike, bus, train or on foot. The railway is fast and efficient or the 99 bus offers a cheap and leisurely journey with views from the window of ruined Pevensey castle across the marshy levels. It usually stops right outside the De La Warr pavilion (ask the driver if you’re not sure). A Stagecoach day rider ticket is £7.30 for adults and accompanying kids under 16 are just £1 extra!

    • The De La Warr pavilion at Bexhill on Sea currently has, for summer and autumn 2019, a colourful exhibition of work by the Chicago Imagists and a cutting-edge creative space, with a book exchange and ping pong tables. To visit by train or bus, see Good Journey’s directions.
    • The vibrant Towner gallery in Eastbourne is celebrating ten years since it opened on the current site with a huge, bright, geometric mural that covers the towering façade.
    • Inside, this summer’s exhibition includes TEN an eclectic mix of art from the collection, chosen by people who have worked at the gallery since it opened. It’s a short walk from the railway station, heading for the sea.
    • Nearby, you’ll find the newly revamped Devonshire Quarter and a Napoleonic-era tower, with a seafront cafe opening later this year. Stroll along the shingle or promenade (lots more places to eat along the way) and soak up the sunshine in this golden corner of the country.
    • You can also cycle between the galleries. The flat promenades between Hastings and Bexhill make a particularly good bike route and Sustrans suggests lots more routes into the Weald and the undulating, green South Downs. Bell’s Bicycles is very close to Hastings Contemporary on George Street and rents out bikes (with helmets and locks) on a flexible tariff, from £10 for ac ouple of hours to £30 for a weekend.
    • If you’re starting from the Eastbourne end, Let’s Bike offers cycle hire from £16/day and will deliver/collect (for a fee) or you can take the bikes back on the train. Have fun exploring!
    • If you happen to be in Eastbourne between about October and February, look out for the starlings that nest in the pier. Every evening, they swirl and spread across the sunset sky as they settle down for the night.

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount

Visit car-free in 2020!