Bexhill on Sea (England)

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Bexhill on Sea (England)

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Review of "Bexhill on Sea (England)"

published 15/02/2009 | ilusvm
Member since : 08/09/2004
Reviews : 267
Members who trust : 307
About me :
Will do my best to return all the reads that I can. Give me a nudge if it looks like I've forgotten you. :)
Super
Pro peaceful, pretty, the beach, interesting history, reasonable weather
Cons not great for shopping, not much to keep young people there
exceptional
Value for Money
Sightseeing
Shopping
Nightlife
Ease of getting around

"Oh I do like to live beside the seaside...."

car on the seafront

car on the seafront

PLEASE NOTE - MANY OF THE PUNCTUATION MARKS SEEMS TO HAVE TURNED INTO QUESTION MARKS - NOT SURE WHY THIS HAS HAPPENED - MUST BE A CIAO BUG.

I have refrained from writing a review on Bexhill for a few years now as although it is the place I have lived all my life, I didn?t want to encourage a whole bunch of mad axe murderers, stalkers, general crazy people etc from the internet to track me down and find me! But going against my better judgement I have decided that I do have a fair bit to offer on this topic and will therefore share it with you as long as there is no tracking me down and certainly no murdering or stalking.

There are potentially quite a range of sections I can include in this review so I will give the headings so that you can skip to those which are more relevant or of most interest to you.

Location


Bexhill-On-Sea is situated on the south east coast of England. It is 30 miles east of Brighton, 20 miles east of Eastbourne and is 10 miles west of Hastings. I go to University in Brighton and it is a reasonable distance for me to commute. Hastings and Eastbourne are easy to get to by car, train or bus and both have large shopping centres so these would the normal location for my spending sprees.
It is also only just over an hour away from Gatwick airport and the chanel ferry ports making it quite a good location to travel from.

The Beach


Having grown up the sea right on my doorstep (not literally so no need to go searching for me along the prom!) I never really appreciated it until I got older. I loved going to the beach when I was younger, but it was only when I moved to Brighton for my first two years of Uni that I saw people who were genuinely excited to see the sea. This made me realise that it was quite a privilege to have been able to visit the beach whenever I wanted all through my childhood. Bexhill beach itself is nothing too special but its simplicity it what makes it such a relaxing place. The sea water is obviously never going to be crystal clear like you get on holiday and the beaches aren?t spotless, but they are pleasant. There are plenty of spots to choose from and beachhuts to hire for a year if you are planning on being a more regular visitor of the beach. When the tide is out there is plenty of soft sand to play in and rockpools to explore.
There are beaches that do and do not allow dogs so if you want some peace and quite without being disturbed by a wet hound then you can choose those areas but if you wish to walk you dog it is very enjoyable to stroll along the sand at sunset. For dog walking there is also the sea wall ? here the promenade is separated from the main road by a wall and then fences belonging to houses, this means that you can walk along meeting fellow dog walkers safe in the knowledge that your dog wont accidentally run in to the road.

The promenade itself is an enjoyable walk and you can go along the whole stretch from the Cooden Beach hotel, along the sea wall and then right along to Galley Hill and onwards. There are plenty of cafes along the route as well and some interesting sights to see, such as the De La Warr Pavilion and the sailing club.

The Weather


The weather in Bexhill is nothing particularly spectacular although on a sunny day (and we do tend to get quite a few of them) it makes perfect beach weather. Whilst no one is going to be overly enthusiastic about rain ? on a stormy day the tide can be very high and crashes up onto the promenade and the roads. Not the best time to be driving on those roads but it is quite spectacular to see the tide that high. The last few years a lack of rain during the summertime has resulted in hosepipe bans although this will hopefully not be the case this year!

The People


When asked about the people in Bexhill most people will instantly mention the huge elderly population ? I don?t mean that they are all huge, just that there are lots of them!
It does seem to be one of those towns where people come to retire in the peaceful seaside town and the young move away to pastures new. This older generation do present some problems in that there is perceived hostility towards the youths that choose to hang out in the town and in recent years there have been a lot of dispersal orders given by police. Some people aren?t as cheerful as they could be although there are enough that are jolly and kind people.

Whilst there are some very good youth facilities in the town, there is not yet enough to cater for all tastes and as a result there have been quite a few issues with drunk/disorderly behaviour by young people who are simply bored. Having worked with a lot of the children in the town, they are generally ok but a couple areas of poverty and deprivation in Sidley village are beginning to cause problems.

As with almost all towns, Bexhill is not without its crime, although often thefts are from people who have been found to travel into the town thinking we are all rich! In my 21 years of living in Bexhill and infact in my parents 42 years we have had our house burgled once by a chance burgular who quickly found we had nothing good to steal but that is the only crime we have come up against.

History


Clearly it would be inappropriate and unnecessary to include the whole history of Bexhill-on-Sea but there are a few key events, places etc that are worth mentioning in this section.

Bexhill-On-Sea is an Edwardian seaside resort. Although there has been a lot of development in the town, it still manages to retain much of its Edwardian and Victorian architecture. Since Victorian times Bexhill has been known for its clean healthy air. Whilst on a busy day in the town this wont always be apparent, strolling along the beach or out in the countryside will give a refreshing change to the polluted air of the larger towns and cities. Another interesting historical fact about Bexhill is that it was the first town in the country to allow mixed bathing!

The festival of motor racing first took place in Bexhill in 1902. This has since been celebrated on a yearly basis in the town until recently. Unfortunately funding and other reasons mean that this event no longer takes place which is a shame as it used to be a brilliant event.

In 1804 the Kings German Legion from Hanover were stationed in Bexhill. They had come to escape Napoleons army in their own country and ended up fighting as part of the British army protecting us from the French! There are some features from their stay that remain in Bexhill to this day. I became more aware of these when doing GCSE history at school and we walked up through Bexhill old town and found Hanover House, the grave stones of Kings German Legion soldiers and various other things that they had added to the town. During this time smuggling was rife and Bexhillians were actively smuggling with the enemy! One famous consequence of this was the Battle of Sidley Green in 1828.

The first railway came through Bexhill in 1846 which has since been moved but on a sunny day, the walk along the old railway line is a very pretty and enjoyable one that I would fully recommend.

There are a great many more historical features in Bexhill, many of which near the seafront such as hotels, manor barn etc. Having grown up and been able to explore more and more places it has made me realise that Bexhill really does have a lot of reminders of the past and it?s quite an interesting town to look around and explore its history.

Places to stay


There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs in Bexhill and the surrounding areas, but perhaps the most iconic hotel is the Cooden Beach which isn?t cheap but it?s a lovely hotel situated right on a really pleasant part of the seafront. This hotel is very well equipped and is also a great place to stop for lunch. I have been to several functions their including my school prom and friends weddings and it really is a lovely place for events like these.
There are three main campsites in Bexhill which are all just a short distance away from the main town and the beach. On the basis that I live in Bexhill I have never had to stay in any of the hotels etc so cannot personally recommend any although most have a very good reputation, particularly those along the seafront.

Places to eat


One thing that Bexhill is certainly not lacking in is cafes and restaurants. Most of them are quite small and there is plenty of choice depending on what sort of food you are looking for. Most of the cafes and restaurants along the seafront have outside seating and only the other week I sat outside in the sun with a friend for coffee and realised just how lovely it is to sit beside the sea! There seem to be quite a lot if Italian restaurants in the town although there are plenty of other choices around too.

The larger pubs are situated back in from the seafront and are spread out right across Bexhill so no matter where you live or are staying you will never be too far away from one! Some are better than others but I would particularly recommend the Hungry Horse Rose & Crown as their food is brilliant value and delicious. Another strong recommendation would be the Lamb Inn which is situated on your way to Eastbourne along the marsh road as it is a really nice building and the food and service is fantastic. Also, if you are in the area, do not miss out on the £3.50 carvery at the Kings arms in Ninfield as it is probably the freshest most delicious food I have ever had in a pub and for £3.50 you really cant beat it!

The only place that I would recommend against is the De La Warr Pavillion café/restaurant. This used to be a lovely place to go for a coffee or lunch but since refurbishing it someone has decided to make the menu ridiculously expensive with very limited choice and the food that is there comes across as snobby and pretentious. It is a shame as their café gives great views of the sea but I really cant recommend it at the moment.

Transport and Parking


The station is in the centre of Bexhill and gives good access to all the local shops and is just an eight minute walk to the seafront. Trains go in both the hastings and Eastbourne at a reasonable price. The buses from the town centre are quite good and will get you all over the town although they aren?t as frequent as they could be. The best way to travel round the town is by bike, on foot or by car. Parking in the town centre is not as good as it could be and the two carparks charge you quite abit to use them, however if you have the time to scout around the smaller roads there will always be parking just a few minutes walk from the main highstreet.

Places to visit


* De La Warr Pavilion ? the most famous landmark building in Bexhill which was built in 1935 in a international modernist style. It was re-opened in 2005 after refurbishment as a national centre for contempory arts. The auditorium hosts a wide range of events and performances (I performed in a pantomime there one Christmas!) and the building is certainly worth taking a look. There is excellent wheelchair access throughout the De La Warr.

* Manor Gardens ? Situated in Bexhill old town the gardens show the ruins of the old manor house of Bexhill. The gardens are particularly pretty and peaceful during spring and the summer and are worth a walk around. In the summer evenings there are often open air performances by the local theatrical groups. There is a car park with toilet facilities and as far as I can remember there is wheelchair access to the grounds. This is also the location of Bexhill Museum of Costume and Social History which is also worth a visit.

* Bexhill Museum ? Not the biggest of museums but it is still worth a look as it gives a great insight into the history of Bexhill with both local artefacts and more exotic ones.

* Galley Hill ? A drive of a walk up to the top of galley hill gives some lovely views out to sea and there is a small enclosed playpark, a skate park for older children and it is generally quite a pleasant place to walk as long as it isn?t too windy. Up Galley Hill you can also see the remains of the World War II military bunker. This bunker is mentioned in ?Adolf Hitler ? my part in his downfall? by Spike Milligan who was posted to Bexhill in 1940.

* Egerton Park ? The park is the perfect place to go for a picnic in the sunshine. The gentle walks around the park, the boating lake (great fun!), the large childrens play park, tennis courts, putting green and indoor bowls will give you plenty to do.

*Golf courses ? there are two golf courses in Bexhill ? The cooden beach golf course and the Highwoods golf course. If you are looking for something requiring a little less skill then there is also the putting green and crazy golfcourse along the seafront next to the De La Warr Pavilion.

* Bexhill Leisure Pool & Bowling ? Both are situated next door to each other at the Ravenside retail park. Tescos, Boots, Halfords and various electrical shops are also in this retail park so buses are frequent to the area although there is a very large carpark for you to use. The leisure pool is not the largest of swimming pools but is great fun if you want to go with children and has a flume and wave machine. At certain times they have lane swims and water aerobics etc so its worth picking up a timetable. The ten pin bowling is right next door and is a great centre with a bar and café as well as various arcade machines.

* The Highwoods ? My favourite place to walk my dog as there are so many trail options, including a wheelchair trail for the less able. With three ponds, one of which was an old swimming pool it is a great place to exercise a dog (especially if they are like mine and love to swim). The woods itself is very pretty and rope swings and camps tend to get built throughout it by children which means that it is a lovely place for children to play and explore nature.

* Broadoak Park ? another place that I walk the dog ? this one is a series of fields with a rather murky looking pond! The fields are great to walk through when its dry and sunny and is a popular location for dog walking. The fields lead onto the main field which has tennis courts and is used for cricket and football. There is an enclosed play park for children with toilets right next to it. Further up into the part there is an obstacle course designed for slightly older children.

* Bexhill Leisure centre ? hosts a large gym, climbing wall, health suite, 3 squash courts, bar, exercise studio, crèche, soft play area, function room and a large sports hall which is used for all sort of activities from trampolining to karate.

Shopping


Unfortunately the shops in the town centre do seem to be struggling at the moment in the financial crisis. Woolworths was always the key feature of the main shopping street and this has now gone. The remaining shops tend to be more local ones and the majority seem to be charity shops or cafes. It is not the sort of place that you are going to be able to spend the day shopping as there just isn?t that much here ? if you want some retail therapy then you would be better of visiting Hastings or Eastbourne. However there are some clothes shops, some antique shops etc. There are some interesting craft shops including one where you can go in and paint your own pottery. Bexhill isn?t a hive of activity and I have noticed that on weekdays lately the town has been very quiet. I suppose much of its business if from tourists and we need some more!

Overall


As I have got older I have begun to appreciate my home town more and more. Its not perfect but it is generally quite peaceful and I love being able to head to the seafront and just sit on the beach or in the car watching the sunset. It isn?t the liveliest of towns but it is near enough to Eastbourne, Hastings and even Brighton which can provide the bits that are missing. I am currently looking for teaching jobs and am not sure whether il stay in Bexhill but am certainly looking for local jobs as I do like living here! If you are in this direction then it is definitely worth paying Bexhill visit, particularly if you have a car and can travel around the town and local areas.

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Comments on this review

  • TheHairyGodmother published 09/05/2011
    E!!
  • py106 published 31/03/2009
    Looks like a very nice place to visit. I'd love to be there!! Anan
  • alienduck published 16/03/2009
    Here with my promised E! Really good review, as always! Sounds quite nice!
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Product Information : Bexhill on Sea (England)

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Listed on Ciao since: 30/04/2001