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Hastings is a city in the south of England most usually remembered for the Norman invasion of 1066 and that famous battle that ensued. However, the actual battle took place at a location five miles north of the town at a site now called Battle, a rather unoriginal name. Hastings then grew to prominence as one of the ‘Cinque Ports’ of William the Conqueror, and subsequently went from strength to strength as popular tourist resort during the days of Victorian steam travel. Today, the town boasts excellent facilities, warm hospitality and superb access to the surrounding coast and country. Road travel is made easy by Hasting’s position at the intersection of the A21 and A259 major arterial routes.
Who to Book With
There are a few options to choose from when it comes to booking a car in Hastings, with most rental firms located to the west of the centre of town, near St Leonards Railway Station. This includes the top rental agency of Avis, although there is also a specialist Volkswagen Campervan rental firm in town. To find your most convenient location and to grab the best deal, it is recommended that you book online beforehand.
Best Time to go
For the best weather, head to Hastings during the great British summer. Sunshine is not guaranteed, but jolly times at the seaside are. Hastings tends to get busier during Bank Holiday weekends and school holidays. So, if you are not traveling with children, you may wish to visit outside of these times to benefit from cheaper accommodation rates.
Need to Know Essentials
To pick up your rental car, you must provide the following documents:
- A valid EU driving license or International Driving Permit
- A secondary form of photo ID, such as your passport
- Your credit card details used to make your booking
- A printed receipt of your booking, if possible
Driving around Hastings is made easy by the good roads and appropriate signage. The A21 is the main road that comes all the way north from London and then terminates in Hastings by the railway station. From there, an easy-to-follow one-way system exists to get you around the centre of town and down to the seafront. The A259 runs east-west along the coast, going past the pier and castle and connecting with Bexhill and Rye. To get to Battle, take the A21 north and turn off at the A2100.
You will find some on-street parking around Hastings, but a safer bet may be to seek an off-street spot in a car park. The council-maintained car park at Priory Street, which is next to the train station and just a few minutes’ walk to the beach, charges £1.30 per hour on a pay-and-display basis. The maximum fare for this car park is £6.50 on a 24 hour basis. Most hotels will offer guest parking free of charge.
Hastings has an adequate public transport system, making it easy to get around the town and to the neighbourhoods of St Leonards and Bexhill to the west. Getting to other places in East Sussex becomes a bit more difficult, although there is a decent train service heading to Brighton. There is another train line going direct to London, which takes an-hour-and-a-half.
Hastings has a useful connection to London Charing Cross Station, taking just one hour, 30 minutes on the express service. There is also an east-west route going through Hastings and connecting with Brighton and Ashford. At Ashford, you can connect with the Eurostar international rail service to reach France and Belgium. For UK train travel information, check the National Rail Enquiries website.
There are dozens of taxi companies operating in Hastings and the neighbouring suburb of St Leonards. Travel is convenient, although fairly expensive. You can call Hastings Taxis to book on 01424 866866.
There are more than a dozen bus routes taking passengers around Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill-on-Sea. To reach other places, you’ll need to use other transport or arrange your own car. Buses are operated by Stagecoach, and you can plan your route on the map.
Hastings is conveniently located at the end of the A21, which gives it access to London and the surrounding country. The famous battleground of the Norman conquest of 1066, which shaped the history of Britain, is located off this road. The spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells can also be easily reached a little farther to the north, and makes for a great day out. The A259 route is extremely useful for getting to Glyndebourne, a well-founded cultural attraction.
Battle - This is the site of the famous 1066 conquest between the troops of the invading forces headed by William Conqueror and the defending English army. As it happens, England lost; c’est la vie. Battle is just five miles north of Hastings, and you can complement your day by visiting Hastings Castle in town.
Royal Tunbridge Wells - This is about half way to London from Hastings. The town is a true icon of picturesque Britain, with a history dating back centuries. By the time of King Charles I in the 1630s, the town had got a name for itself as a spa resort, with visitors flocking from all over to bathe in the mineral waters. To get here, take the A21 north for 50 minutes.
Glyndebourne - This is one of the finest opera venues in the country, set just 45 minutes away from Hastings by car. The 1,200-seat opera house was built in 1934 and now hosts the annual Glyndebourne Festival, attracting classical music buffs from all over the country.