5 free things to do in... Hastings

Date Posted: 16/01/2013

With its maritime heritage, floral history, and renowned programme of festivals and special events, there’s plenty to enjoy for free in 1066 Country for those looking for group travel ideas.

1. A slice of maritime heritage

The Fishermen’s Museum is reportedly the second most visited attraction in east Sussex and entry is free. Learn about the centuries’ old traditions of the Hastings’ fishermen.

In season, groups can also join a volunteer walk around the fishing area that is Hastings Stade. Find out about the biggest beach launched fishing fleet in Europe and the fascinating black, wooden net shops, now with listed building status.

Group travel organisers can also arrange a visit to the Shipwreck Museum for the chance to learn of the numerous wrecks which lie off this section of the south coast.

2. Floral history and art

Hastings Museum and Art Gallery commemorates, among other illustrious local figures, television inventor John Logie Baird; ‘Concrete King’ Sidney Little; and Robert Tressell, author of The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

Visit the magnificent Durbar Hall and the Art Gallery’s collection of works, including JMW Turner’s Hastings Fishmarket. The museum offers a programme of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

You can also organise a group trip to the Flowermakers Museum, which holds the national collection of flower veiners and presses.

3. Spend some time in the great outdoors

The Green Flag Award-winning Alexandra Park is a Grade II Park of Historic Interest and stretches over 2.5-kilometres. Follow the Tree Walk, a one-kilometre stroll through this restored Victorian Park, which boasts some of the UK's rarest trees.

Lying within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, spend some time in Hastings Country Park. Much of the park has been designated a Special Area of Conservation, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a proposed Local Nature Reserve. 

4. A host of annual festivals and special events

Hastings has a growing reputation in the south-east for enjoying a good party and there are numerous annual large scale outdoor events which are free to attend.

These range from February’s New Orlean’s-style Fat Tuesday, May’s Jack in the Green Morris Dancing Festival, the Old Town Carnival Week in August, September’s Seafood & Wine Festival, Hastings Bonfire and Torchlight Procession in October, and the Hastings Herring Fair in November.

5. Stade Saturdays

Stade Saturdays is a programme of weekly free performances for the public, taking place on the Stade Open Space, next to the Jerwood Gallery in the Old Town.

The programme runs from May until the end of September and includes performances by nationally and internationally respected jazz performers, shanty singers and dance companies.

For further group travel information visit www.visit1066country.com.

Photo credit: Visit Britain / Tony Pleavin.

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