International Study Centre

Explore the UK with a trip to Hastings

Ruins in Hastings

If you've explored Brighton and Hove, and the surrounding area, you may be thinking about exploring other towns and cities in the UK. The nearby town of Hastings is the perfect place to start exploring the south of England.

Where is Hastings?

The town of Hastings is located on the south coast of England, just 50km east of Brighton. The town has a long and fascinating history, and it has been a famous fishing port for centuries.

Why is Hastings famous?

In 1066 William the Conqueror traveled from France to the coast of England with a fleet of 700 ships. William took his troops to Hastings where the Battle of Hastings took place, one of the most important events in British history that marked the start of the Norman conquest. William defeated and killed Harold Godwinson, the last Saxon King of England, and was later crowned as the new King of England.

What is there to do in Hastings?

There are many fun and inspiring things to do in Hastings. Here are our top six:

1. Hastings Castle
William the Conqueror built the castle in 1066. It was first made out of wood and later rebuilt in stone. Today, the castle is a ruin, but you can go on a tour to enjoy beautiful views of the town below, explore the whispering dungeons and see the remains of the chapel. Find out more

2. St Clement’s Caves
The caves were formed in the last Ice Age, around 14,000 BC. Over the last few hundred years they have been a home, a hospital, and even a ballroom. You can explore the caves to discover the story of smuggling along the Sussex coast during the 17th and 18th century. Find out more

3. Cliff Railway
You can enjoy Hastings from a different perspective with the cable railway where original Victorian carriages take visitors up the cliffs to enjoy stunning views. The East Hill Lift provides access to the Hastings Country Park, while the West Hill Lift provides access to Hastings Castle and St Clement’s Caves. Find out more

4. Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
First established 125 years ago, the museum has collections that include 97,000 objects about local history, natural sciences, fine and decorative arts, and world cultures. Top things to see at the museum include the interactive dinosaur gallery and the Native North American Collection. Find out more

5. Blue Reef
You can visit the aquarium to learn about sea creatures that live in the sea around the UK, such as lobsters, seahorses, sharks and rays and discover unusual tropical fish such as the giant octopus, pufferfish and lionfish. Find out more

6. Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve
The nature reserve extends along the coast, east of Hastings. You can explore ancient woodland, heathland, grassland and farmland, as well as 5 kilometres of dramatic sandstone cliffs and coastline. On your walk you may also see unusual birds, rare insects and beautiful Exmoor ponies. Find out more

What is the best way to travel to Hastings?

The easiest way to travel to Hastings is by car or train and the journey time is just over one hour. The return ticket by train costs £21.80. For more information about train times, please visit