Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Beaches in Hastings have been recognised for their high quality.

Marina beach in St Leonards has been awarded both the coveted Blue Flag and the Seaside Award, and Pelham Beach in Hastings has received the Seaside Award. The awards recognise and reward beaches in England that achieve the highest standards of beach management and, in the case of bathing beaches, meet water quality guidelines.

Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for regeneration and culture at Hastings Borough Council said “I am very proud of our popular beaches and the hard work and commitment of our staff and our partners that keeps them at such a high standard. I am delighted that for the second year running we have received these prestigious awards . The Seaside Award and Blue Flags will be flying high along our seafront this summer reassuring residents and visitors that our beaches are clean and offer the best facilities.”

To find out more about beach facilities in Hastings and St Leonards please visit http://www.hastings.gov.uk/coastlinebeaches/

 

Hastings enjoyed another great May Day bank holiday, as the unlikely mix of Morris dancers and motorbikes packed the town.

Kevin Boorman, Hastings Borough Council’s marketing manager, explained :- “Both the revived ‘Jack in the Green’ festival of Morris dancing and the annual motorbike mass ride to Hastings have become firm favourites in our event calendar. Whilst other places may say that the May Day bank holiday hasn’t really caught on, that certainly can’t be said here, as Morris dancers and motorcyclists fill the whole town.

“This year of course the bank holiday actually fell on May 1st, which meant that there were far more Morris dancers and spectators ‘dancing at dawn’ on our West Hill this morning.

“We opened our West Hill lift – a 126 year old funicular railway – at 0430 this morning, and it was great to see dozens of Morris dancers and spectators taking advantage of the early morning lift.

“And although rain fell during the Jack in the Green procession this morning, the threatened thunderstorm held off all afternoon, and an estimated 5 000 spectators on the West Hill enjoyed the spectacle of different Morris sides dancing against the dramatic backdrop of a rough English Channel.

“The Jack in the Green Festival is organised by a group of volunteers, and we are very grateful to them for what they do to put on one of our most popular, and unusual, events. We are well known for being quirky and different, and today showed why!’

A new kiosk has opened for business on Hastings promenade, as part of the Foreshore Trust’s plans to improve the seafront. The Foreshore Trust is a charitable trust which looks after the foreshore in Hastings.FT Source Kiosk 2 200317 lores

Cllr Colin Fitzgerald is chair of the council’s charity committee, which manages the Foreshore Trust. He said :- “We know our seafront is incredibly popular with visitors, and we are keen to improve the range of facilities it has to offer.

“This new kiosk, near the Source skate/BMX park, is ideally situated for those walking from the town centre or the Old Town towards the pier, and I am sure it will be very busy.

The new kiosk will be operated by The Source, and Rich Moore, co-owner, said :- “We’re excited to be opening the new seafront kiosk at White Rock. It sits right above our skate park so made perfect sense for us to take it on; the building looks beautiful, it has one of the best views in Hastings and it really complements our food and drink offer inside the Park. Our amazing team in the cafe are enjoying the idea of serving locals and tourists whilst enjoying the sunny sea views.

“We aim for the kiosk to be a positive addition to Hastings promenade and offer excellent products at reasonable prices; with ice creams, slushes and teas/coffees from just 99p”

Hastings Borough Council is looking for expressions of interest for an operator to develop and manage Hastings Castle.

Cllr Kim Forward, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, and lead member for tourism explained :- “Hastings Castle is one of the only direct links we have with the Norman invasion. It was the first Norman castle to be built in England, and is featured on the Bayeux Tapestry.

“But it does need more investment to provide an even better visitor experience there. Unfortunately our Heritage Lottery Fund bids to improve the castle weren’t successful, and we don’t have the resources ourselves to invest in it.

“So we are inviting expressions of interest from prospective operators a longer lease on the castle, the terms of which would include significant investment to improve access to the castle, and the visitor experience there. We are working with experts ‘GVA’ who will help us manage the process, and make the castle the ‘must see’ visitor attraction it deserves to be.”

2016 was one of the best years ever for tourism in Hastings, as it marked the 950th anniversary of the battle that has made it the most famous town in the world.

Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for marketing at Hastings Borough Council, explained :- “Tourism is vital for Hastings :- it supports over 5 000 jobs in the town, and generates over £266m for the local economy.

“I am very grateful to our marketing team at the council who work so hard to promote the area. They have recently been congratulated by independent experts Blue Sail as providing ‘some of the best tourism PR in the country’, as well as for their captivating copywriting.

“2016 was particularly busy thanks to the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and the ROOT1066 festival of contemporary arts. Our PR helped make sure these events captured the imagination of local, national and international audiences and will benefit Hastings for years to come.

“We regularly host visits to Hastings from journalists and travel bloggers, as we find this is more cost effective and has more of an impact than traditional advertising. Many journalists comment that they really enjoy their time in Hastings and add that the variety to be found further afield in 1066 Country makes Hastings very attractive for visitors.IMG_1951

“Extensive UK coverage of Hastings as a tourism destination in the quality and tabloid press included The Guardian, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Sunday Mirror, and The Times. We were covered in many overseas publications too, especially in Belgium and The Netherlands where we are extremely popular. And we’ve just struck a deal with EasyJet to publicise the town in their on-board magazine, bringing Hastings to a potential audience of four million passengers.

“Our events posters can be found throughout the year on Southeastern station platforms, thanks to our close working relationship with the train operating company.

“We are represented at travel shows in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, and in January we attended a travel show in the Netherlands which had over 100 000 visitors. Being able to provide our brochures in Dutch was an important selling point for visitors to our stand.

“We send out monthly e-newsletters to our database of over 38 000 people, and have nearly 12 000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. And our website visit1066country.com had an average of 45 000 unique visitors per month in 2016.

“No wonder tourism is booming here in Hastings!

“We’re very grateful to all of the tourism businesses and event organisers who make Hastings such a great place to visit. And we are always happy to talk to businesses wanting us to help promote what they have to offer to visitors, they should contact us at visit1066country@hastings.gov.uk

Rye Station is holding a small yet nostalgic exhibition of train and station memorabilia from the 20th February until 2nd April 2017

Local resident Stuart Searle has loaned the exhibits to provoke memories for travellers along the Marshlink line.

Kevin Barry, the Community Rail Development Officer for the Marshlink line said :- “ Stuart has been collecting train and station memorabilia for many years, he used to be work along the Marshlink line and is very knowledgeable of its history. The hardest part of organizing this exhibition was not what to put on display but what to leave out! With much more available it means we can hold these exhibitions on a regular basis.”

Kevin Boorman, the chair of the Marshlink community rail partnership, added :- “Rye is a lovely, traditional station, and Stuart’s memorabilia is just perfect here, and very nostalgic. We’re very grateful to Stuart for lending us some of his collection, and to Kevin Barry for the work he has done to put this fantastic exhibition on.

“At 1200 on Monday 20th February, the Mayor of Rye will officially open the display and we are hoping Stuart will be able to attend, and talk about his collection.”

 

Visitors travelling to Battle and Hastings for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings next month are being urged to travel by train.

Kevin Boorman, 1066 Country Marketing manager, explained :- “There is a huge amount going on in Battle and Hastings over the anniversary weekend of 14th/15th/16th October, and we would encourage visitors to travel by train to enjoy these. These include the various ‘Concorde 1066’ events in Battle on Friday 14th October, the battle re-enactment at Battle over the weekend of 15th/16th October, and many events in Hastings on Saturday 15th October which will include two large processions around the town, and extensive road closures.

“The number of people likely to be travelling to these events, particularly over the weekend, means that the roads are likely to be extremely busy. And the seafront closure in Hastings during the Saturday afternoon and evening will add to the congestion.

“We have been working with southeastern who are changing their timetable over the weekend of 15th/16th October so that all trains stop at all stations between Tonbridge and Hastings. This means that all of the stations, including Frant, Stonegate, Etchingham, Robertsbridge, Crowhurst and West St Leonards, will get a half hourly service throughout the day and evening on Saturday 15th October, and during the day on Sunday 16th October. And additional trains will run late Saturday evening from Hastings at 2239 and 2309 calling at all stations to Tonbridge too, for those who want to come into Hastings to enjoy our torchlight procession, bonfire and fireworks.

“We are very grateful to southeastern for accommodating our request, which will hopefully encourage many visitors from further away to park at Hastings line stations near the A21 and continue their journey to Battle and/or Hastings by train.”

Southeastern’s train services director, Richard Dean said: “We are really pleased to support the local communities in the Hastings and Battle area by providing additional services over the weekend for passengers to travel to the great events taking place. We know they have been very well attended before and we wish them every success this year round marking such a significant anniversary.”

 

Hastings 13th annual seafood & wine festival has been hailed as a huge success, attracting around 20 000 visitors to Hastings Old Town over last weekend (Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th October). The event is organised by Hastings Borough Council, and showcases the very best in local produce.

Council leader Cllr Peter Chowney, who opened the festival on Saturday morning with Hastings mayor Cllr Judy Rogers, explained: – “The event started in a quarter of the old coach park, and has grown ever since.

“Around 20 000 people came to the Stade last weekend, with visitors from across the UK and beyond joining local residents for the biggest seafood & wine festival we’ve ever had. The feedback has been fantastic, with stallholders describing it as ‘excellent’ and ‘tremendous’. One said it is the best event he does in the year, even taking into account the London shows he attends, and another, who increased his stock by 50% on last year, was sold out by mid-afternoon Saturday. He spent most of the night making more.

“It was Norman and Saxon themed this year, for obvious reasons, and it was good to see the stallholders joining into the spirit of the event. ‘Coast’ – the Sussex Coast College Hastings catering team – won the best dressed stall competition, and looked resplendent in their mediaeval-looking costumes.

“The event does cost the council a significant amount of money to put on, but we consider it a worthwhile investment because of the benefit it brings to our local economy. Few other resorts can have been as busy as we are on the third weekend in September!”

 

Plans are well underway in Hastings for the annual Seafood and Wine Festival and, this year in line with the local celebrations of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings the festival takes on a 1066 theme.

Organised by Hastings Borough Council, the event will be held at the Stade Open Space in the heart of Hastings Old Town, over the weekend of 17 and 18 September.

Up to 50 stalls will be offering festival visitors a mouth –watering weekend of delicious local seafood, wine and other foodie delicacies to suit all palettes, there will even be Saxons showcasing how they cooked and traded in 1066!seafood 2

The entertainment marquee on the beach will once again be home to a superb musical line up featuring many local bands including Thee Jezebels, Sister Suzie and Sam Calver and a selection of new acts to Hastings including Kat & Co; an eclectic blues and soul quintet from London and the Ilja Neve band from Belgium.

Local jazz legend Liane Carroll will be returning with her band for the Liane Carroll Jazz Breakfast on Sunday morning. Tickets are available from the Tourist Information Centre at Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings and the ticket includes coffee and a Danish pastry and an entry wristband to the festival for the whole weekend.

There will be an opportunity to make your own fish supper with the Billingsgate Seafood Training School at Classroom on the Coast during the festival. Billingsgate, famous for its London fish market and seafood training school will be inviting families or anyone who wants to learn to fillet and prepare local MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified plaice to take home and cook at a number of teaching sessions each day – an experience not to be missed! Tickets available on the day from the classroom.

Cllr Kim Forward the council’s deputy leader and lead member marketing and tourism commented:

“The Seafood and Wine Festival has been an annual event in the town’s packed calendar for well over ten years now. It’s grown to become a well-respected, popular event attracting thousands of residents and visitors each year and this year with its 1066 theme it’s sure to attract even more over the two days.

“There will of course be lots of stalls taking advantage of local produce and the famous musical entertainment but this year there will be the opportunity to have your photo taken with a Norman guard visit a Saxon encampment and try on some armour. There’ll even be a unicycling jester.

“So, why not come along and join in – come in 1066 costume and get a festival glass free!”

Entry to the festival is by admission wristband. These can be bought in advance from the Tourist Information Centre for only £1 or £2 on the day – a real bargain for a whole weekend’s entertainment and children go free!

Full festival details and ticket information can be found at here or telephone the Tourist Information Centre on 01424 451111

Journeys dance festival is an exciting annual, free festival offering a diverse programme of accessible dance events and activities for all.

Supported by Hastings Borough Council and as part of the free Stade Saturdays programme, the festival will feature the UK premiere of Myottian Dance from the archipelago of Mayotte in the Indian ocean.

Cllr Dawn Poole, the council’s lead member for culture explained:

“The festival takes place in locations across Hastings and Rother every summer and this year brings together forty dancers from the archipelago of Mayotte to perform for the first time. Their performance will fuse traditional Mayottian dance with contemporary western music and will also incorporate performances from local dance groups.”

This event, coordinated by 18 Hours Events in collaboration with the UK’s only Mayottian resident, Anyme Abdullah will also play host to Ghanaian born percussion master Afla Sackey and his band Afrik Bawantu.

“This will be a great evening. The fun starts at 7.30pm on Saturday 23 July at the Stade Open Space with something for everyone; even Mayottian face painting!” added Cllr Poole.

To find out more about the Stade Saturdays full programme of events visit: http://www.hastings.gov.uk/stadesaturdays or pick up a programme from the Tourist Information Centre.