As you’re all aware the past year has made it very difficult to be able to visit the places on our bucket lists’ but as we return to normal a British holiday becomes more and more appealing!
This is one thing I took full advantage of as I ventured South towards Eastbourne!
Eastbourne is no stranger to me at all. The majority of my Summer holidays as a child were spent on the ‘sunshine coast’ and I have previously written a post about this stunning coastal town, which can be found here.
This time however, was as just as, if not more special than the previous visits! After the past year and a half that we have all experienced, a week away to the seaside was just what I needed!
One thing that you can be sure of when visiting Eastbourne is that you’re not short of quality places to eat and drink. I am therefore going to take this as an opportunity to review my favourite bars and restaurants in the town:
- The Belgian Cafe
Situated along the seafront, merely a 30 second walk away from the pier, the Belgian Cafe is truly a gem of a place! Don’t let the name fool you though, this isn’t just a cafe! The Belgian cafe serves a range of different food dishes, including mussels, burgers, spaghetti and fish and chips to name a few. Luckily we got the chance to sample some of their delicious food! The Crab and Vodka Spaghetti and the Seafood Risotto were our choices… 10/10 for quality and taste! We also tried a number of items off their Tapas menu which again, didn’t disappoint! They also brew their own beer on site! From someone like myself who wasn’t too keen on beer prior to my visit, there really is a beer for everyone on the menu… it’s fair to say that the Belgian Cafe has converted me into a beer drinker!!! I would highly recommend trying the Mango Unchained or the Raspberry beer if you’re not usually a beer drinker, however if you are a seasoned beer drinker then the Saison is definitely the pint for you!
- Little Italy
As you guessed by the name, Little Italy is a fantastic Italian restaurant located on Carlisle Road. This is somewhere that I have dined in on numerous occasions throughout the years and the quality of both the food and drinks still remains extremely strong. The restaurant itself has expanded since the last time I visited… cocktails have been added to the menu too! The Pina Colada was always going to be my first choice!!! The food was superb as expected! Pizza was always going to be my first choice, however it was a case of which one I should choose. Pepperoni, BBQ chicken, Hawaii, Capri, Pollo, Padrino, Diavola, Paesana, Tuna… so many to choose from! In the end I opted for the BBQ chicken, which turned out to be a great choice. Obviously with being an Italian restaurant, pasta dishes are on the menu too. You can choose from Spaghetti meatballs, spaghetti bolognese, penne arrabiata, penne giardino & penne mamma mia to name a few. Lasagne and risotto dishes are also included within the menu. If you like Italian food then you should definitely consider visiting Little Italy!
- The Lamb Inn
The oldest pub in Eastbourne! The Lamb Inn is a traditional country pub selling a range of different food and drinks. The pub is owned by Harvey’s Brewery which happens to be the oldest independent brewery in Sussex (dating back to 1790)! Therefore the Lamb sells a number of Harvey’s award winning beers and also sells a varying range of lagers, ciders, spirits and soft drinks. The food is also top quality at the Lamb, with traditional pub classics being the focal point of the menu. Steak, burgers, fish and chips, pies & sausages and mash all feature on the menu, however I would recommend the chicken, mushroom and tarragon pie!
Located right in the centre of the town, Bill’s, which was formerly an old pub, is a bar and restaurant with seating inside and out. There is something about Bill’s that makes it different to any bar/restaurant I have ever visited… It has a certain style and charm about it that makes it so wonderfully unique! Bill’s sells a number of different cocktails such as espresso martini, bloody mary, aperol spritz & passionfruit spritz to name a few. Wines, beer, cider, gin & juices and smoothies make up the rest of the drinks menu. Like with the Lamb Inn, Bill’s serves a number of traditional pub classics including fish pie, steak, sea bass, macaroni cheese & burgers. I must admit the buttermilk chicken burger was to die for! This would be a great place to visit on a weekend night to enjoy a few drinks and a meal.
- Yoku Sushi
An absolutely fantastic Japanese restaurant! Before my trip to Eastbourne I had little exposure to Japanese food so I therefore thought I should try something new. Yoku Sushi is located in the town centre, between Bill’s and the Belgian cafe. Two things that make this restaurant stand out more than most is firstly the excellent service that we received and then secondly the fantastic value for money… The food was superb and there was just so much to choose from! Hosomaki, sashimi, sharing platters, uramaki, temaki, noodles, curry, teriyaki… you name it, it was there. The dessert menu was also Japanese style. We had a Japanese style coconut ice cream, however this wasn’t any normal ice cream, it was more like a bon bon on the outside with ice cream on the inside! This is definitely somewhere to visit if you love Japanese food!
Other bars and restaurants in Eastbourne and the surrounding area that get an honourable mention include The Rainbow, The Tiger (East Dean), The Ram Inn (Firle), The Sussex Ox (Polegate) & the Beachy Head Restaurant.
This then leads me on to discuss the five best things to do in Eastbourne:
- Visit Sovereign Harbour
Sovereign Harbour is situated at the eastern end of Eastbourne seafront and is northern Europe’s largest composite marina complex. The Harbour opened in 1993 and boasts four linked harbours and a number of top quality shops and restaurants. Shops include gift shops and sport and boat accessory shops. Within the harbour there is a pub, an Indian restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a fish and chip shop & the ‘Garden Bar’.
- Take a walk up to Beachy Head
Possibly one of the most famous landmarks in Britain! There are numerous walks that start from the centre of Eastbourne and take you to the top of Beachy Head. As you can imagine, the view from the top is absolutely superb… looking down onto the whole of Eastbourne and to Hastings and beyond! If you walk further along you will come to the Belle Tout Lighthouse and Birling Gap which is also a very popular tourist attraction and worth a visit!
- Visit the Pier & Beach
It wouldn’t be a true coastal town without a pier and Eastbourne pier certainly doesn’t disappoint! The pier first opened in 1870 and is 300 metres long. There are a number of shops along the pier, including a gift shop & a sweetshop. There is also an arcade and a nightclub too! Unfortunately in 2014, the pier suffered a terrible fire that destroyed a large amount of the central domed building. Two thirds of the pier were saved in the end, however it took many years to rebuild and restore the pier back to its original status.
- Visit the Congress Theatre
Eastbourne is lucky in that it is home to three different theatres… The Devonshire Park, The Congress and the Winter Garden! The Congress is arguably the most famous out of the three. The Congress is a Grade II listed, modern theatre that is one of the largest in Southern England. The seating capacity is 1,689 and as recently as 2019 the theatre underwent major refurbishment revealing a bright and contemporary look. Shows that are performed there include touring West End theatre, ballet, opera, comedy and live music.
- Shop at the Beacon
The Beacon, located in the town centre, is the equivalent of The Arndale centre in Manchester. Shops include Boots, Claire’s accessories, Clarks, Game, H&M, Jack Wills, JD sports, Lush, New Look, Next, 02, Primark, River Island, Schuh, Specsavers, The Works & Wilko to name a few. There are also a variety of different places to eat in the Beacon too, including Costa, Greggs, McDonalds, Nandos, M&S cafe & Starbucks. This is definitely the place to visit on a rainy day!
Other places of interest within Eastbourne include The Sovereign Centre, Princes Park, Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway adventure park, The Bandstand, Redoubt Fortress & Treasure Island.
If you’re planning a Summer holiday to Eastbourne then it is also worth knowing about places of interest outside Eastbourne, within East Sussex.
My top picks would be:
- A day trip to Brighton
- A day trip to Rye & Camber Sands
- A visit to Alfriston & the surrounding Cuckmere Valley, including Friston Forest
- A visit to Battle Abbey
- A visit to Pevensey Castle
- A trip to Drusillas Zoo (especially recommend if you have young children)
- A trip to Middle Farm (not just a farm, they also have their own farm shop and cider tasting barn!)
That brings to an end my most recent blog on Eastbourne. I hope you have found it useful and enjoyed the read!
Until next time,