Friday 12 February 2016

3 East Sussex Seaside Towns to Visit with the Kids in Half-Term

I know some people are put off visiting the seaside when the weather is not so good but actually, we just go for it. Of course, it helps that we are only 20-30 minutes from numerous beaches nowadays but even when we lived further afield we used to take a day trip and enjoy the fun of the seaside whatever the weather. The big pull of visiting in the Winter of course is that there aren't any crowds and you really can enjoy all that space with your kids.

There are loads of great seaside towns to visit in our home country of East Sussex and you can take your pick but the three I am giving a shout-out to today are Bexhill-on-Sea, Eastbourne and Hastings.

Bexhill-on-Sea - Park Play and Gelato
This is probably my favourite local seaside town, it is really quaint and old fashioned but so well maintained and the promenade is a joy to walk (or skate if you are my kids) down. There are small play areas all along the prom and this makes it very easy to walk along with children. You can visit the Sovereign Light Cafe that Keane sung about in 2012, or a bit further down there is the architecturally acclaimed De La Warr Pavilion which hosts theatre productions, cinema showings and fabulous art and creative exhibitions. Entrance is free as are visits to many of the galleries and exhibitions.

One of our favourite places to visit in Bexhill is Edgerton Park, a fabulous big space just a stone's throw from the seafront where the children can run free, play football, skate around, enjoy some tennis, use the outside gym equipment or just play on all the superb play equipment.

Of course, once you build up an appetite doing some hard play then fish and chips might be in order and I can highly recommend Minnie Berthas where you can take-away a meal to eat in Kerry's cafe. Or if you just want something lighter head along to Di Paolo's for the best home-made gelato we've ever tried.

Hastings - Cable Cars and Penny Arcades
I think Hastings sometimes gets bad press, I know that before we moved here I assumed it was a nasty run-down town and it really isn't. The main town centre isn't anything to write home about but it does its job and has the major shops that you might need but as you walk down to the sea-front the magic starts to unfold.

The stone beach is a lot of fun in itself, especially when the tide is out as you can find all sorts in the rocks pools and crevices down by the old pier (that is just being re-built at the moment). Then further along towards the old town, you get all the fish and chip shops and there isn't really a bad one between them - my personal favourites are the Blue Dolphin or the Old Town Fryer. Across the road are the cheesy British seaside attractions, like penny arcades, mini funfair, crazy golf, kids play park, trampoline and so much more. It is a children's delight to be allowed there with a bag of 2p's for the machines and a couple of pound coins to have a ride and perhaps candy floss too.

If you fancy a bit of culture, the old town is gorgeous to look at with loads of quirky shops and excellent cafes and restaurants. Keep an eye out for special events and the Jack in the Green festival is really worth a visit in early May. We always like to ride one of the two cable cars and enjoy the views out to sea and over Hastings from the cliff top

Eastbourne Swim and Cycle the Seafront 
We often park at the far end of Eastbourne seafront by the Sovereign centre. This gives us a nice long stretch to either cycle, skate or take a leisurely walk into Eastbourne. You pass all sorts of interesting places along the way that you may want to stop at, places like Fort Fun, Treasure Island and the Redoubt Fortress before getting to the iconic pier.

Sometimes we also have a swim first and I notice that the Sovereign centre have some great fun days going on in half-term for the kids to enjoy. mine are already pestering me to allow them to go on the Aqua challenge, a massive inflatable assault course in the water!

Eastbourne has a little of everything you need and the town centre is really easy to access from the seafront and to move about. There is a good selection of large branded shops as well as smaller 'seaside' type shops. Miss M and I are heading there one day in half-term for a girls day for some shopping a nice cake treat at Patisserie Valerie.

I hope I might have helped you to consider the great British seaside as an option for half-term, even when the weather is not so good.

If you are looking for some more recommendations of fun things to do in half-term with your kids, then check out these posts from some friendly bloggers -

Helen gives you three unusual days out with kids at half term if you're in and around London, plus a bonus craft activity for a pyjama day!

Becky has 3 thrifty and simple ideas for half term happiness

Cass shares her favourite three ways to have fun at half term without spending a penny!

Emma has three ways to enjoy half term on a budget

Sarah showcases five different ways you can entertain the little ones in Norwich this half term

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