Visiting Hastings and St Leonards
This page has not been updated since the 2018 Litfest, so we apologise if some of this information is out of date. We’re working on it!
Southern Trains (from Brighton and Victoria) or Southeastern serve Hastings and St Leonards. Trains depart London Victoria, London Charing Cross, London Bridge, London Cannon Street. Journey time is approx 1.5 hours but please consult the carriers’ websites before departure. There are usually taxis available right outside Hastings and St Leonards Warrior Square Stations. Walking time from Hastings Station to the Opus Theatre is not more than 10 mins.
Hastings is at the southern end of the A21, signposted virtually all the way from the M25. From the directions of either Brighton to the West or Folkestone to the East the A259 is the main coastal highway.
Parking in Hastings and St Leonards: many streets are zoned “resident only”. You are advised to park in one of the town’s main car parks: the underground opposite the White Rock Hotel (for events at White Rock Hotel and Pier); the Rock a Nore Car Park (for Hastings Contemporary – formerly Jerwood Gallery) or the seafront car park. For Opus Theatre use the multi-storey at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre. All of these are pay-to-park. There is a small car park at the Stables Theatre and pay-to-park car park on The Bourne (for Stables Theatre and Electric Palace events).
Looking for somewhere to stay?
Please mention the LitFest when making your reservation! Number 46 – Affordable, stylish guest house located in the centre of Hastings offering LitFest visitors a choice of comfortable rooms or spacious apartments. Prices start from as little as £50.00 a night for a double room. Please call 01424 430080 or visit www.numberfortysix.com
Located in the heart of Hastings Old Town, The Laindons has always welcomed visitors and guests. Our gorgeous and impressive Georgian listed building began life as a coach house and we like to think we’ve continued the tradition of providing comfort as well as unexpected luxury to all who visit us. We’ve five luxurious rooms for you to choose from, all have beautiful high ceilings and filled with light and each have their own distinct character. You can check availability and book rooms online; if you need more information or have a special request, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: 01424 437710 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Swan House Hastings is an award-winning, Five Star B and B, providing elegant en-suite accommodation in the heart of idyllic Hastings Old Town. Built in 1490 in a charming, picturesque position Swan House offers LitFest visitors a haven in which to unwind, relax and discover the intricate charm of Hastings and 1066 Country. Call 01424 430014 or email email@example.com
The Abbey Hotel is a Grade II listed hotel, bar and restaurant in Battle, approximately 6 miles from Hastings. The hotel sits opposite Battle Abbey, gateway to the country’s most iconic battlefield – and while the area was once the scene for cavalry chaos, it’s now a relaxing place to dine, drink and stay. Recently refurbished, its seven bedrooms provide some of the finest accommodation in Battle, while the bar and restaurant promise local produce, first-class ales and a chance to soak up your historic surroundings in true comfort. A spacious garden borders the historic 1066 walk through the Sussex countryside. https://www.abbeyhotelbattle.co.uk/
Grey Owl Cabin, nestled in its own woodland glade, Three Oaks, near Hastings. Two rooms, sleeping up to 4 people, open plan living space, with a dining area, lounge seating and fully equipped kitchen. Car parking and secure bicycle storage. Reviews and booking.
Note: hotels listed are not affiliated with Hastings Litfest and the Litfest organisers cannot vouch for the standard or availability of accommodation. Prices may differ from those shown below.
Other hotels and guest houses can be found at https://www.visit1066country.com/accommodation) or try trip advisor https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotels-g186274-Hastings_East_Sussex_England-Hotels.html
Places to eat
Hastings and St Leonards is home to many fine eateries, from relaxed coffee shops to bars serving high-quality meals and real ales (often with live music in evenings/at weekends), to restaurants offering delicious food from around the world. And, of course, top-notch fish and chips!
It would be unfair to pick our favourites, so here are some suggestions of places you might enjoy and where we have found the food to be good, the service friendly, and the ambience appealing. Well-behaved dogs and children are generally welcome, but please check. Places are listed in alphabetical order. Opening times will vary. Enjoy!
Please mention that you found your restaurant on the Hastings LitFest website.
33 George St, Hastings TN34 3EA (www.albionhastings.com) 01424 439156
Pub with famous selection of excellent pies and high-end pub food. Guest beers and good wines.
Boulevard Bookshop and Thai Cafe
32 George St, Hastings TN34 3EA 01424 436521
Booking essential at this slightly mad combo of bookshop and Thai eatery. A bit limited for space, but service prompt and helpful, and food pleasingly authentic. Take a bottle (corkage charge).
64-66 All Saints’ St, Hastings TN34 3BN (www.thecrownhastings.co.uk) 01424 465100
Popular with trendy London crowd; can get very busy. Interesting modern menu.
14 Kings Road, St Leonards on Sea
Nice deli with a very pleasant downstairs cafe – great salads, wraps and soups – and the cakes aren’t bad either.
17 George St, Hastings TN34 3EG 01424 272030
Home-cooked Moroccan dishes including tagines and fabulous pastries made by Fatima herself. Teas & soft drinks only, or take a bottle & pay corkage.
The FILO (First In, Last Out)
14-15 High St, Hastings TN34 3EY (www.thefilo.co.uk) 01424 425079
Former coaching inn with restaurant at rear and own micro-brewery.
Half Man! Half Burger!
7 Marine Court St Leonards on Sea
Best burgers EVER (promise) and a great vegan and vegetarian menu to boot.
33 George St, Hastings TN34 3EA 01424 426969
Bookshop cafe offering coffee, cakes, milkshakes, sandwiches and light lunches. Relaxed place to meet and chat or just catch up with the newspapers.
21 White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JY 01424 426555
Surfer’s café- great for breakfasts – the bubble and squeak is utterly fab, but the portions are massive – you may not need any lunch! Does vegan and veggie options as well.
The Owl and The Pussycat Lounge
14 Robertson St, Hastings TN34 1HL (www.theowlandpussycatlounge.co.uk) 01424 720747
Hidden away from the main street, with a unique and quirky atmosphere, fresh, locally sourced produce and a wide range of cocktails designed by their in-house cocktail guru. Music and Comedy in the upper bar. Usually OK for drop-ins. Well set up for vegans and veggies.
56 High St, Hastings TN34 3EN (www.porterswinebar.com) 01424 427000
Wine-bar with restaurant. Efficient service and good choice of dishes. Can be noisy, but fun for groups.
23 Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW 01424 433764
Upmarket fish and chips and (mainly) fish dishes. Portions are enormous so we recommend sharing a starter. Chocolate Torte to die for.
31 Robertson St, Hastings TN34 1HL 01424 431431
Fabulous Italian street food – great service and very reasonably priced. Does vegan pizza. Has a good-sized downstairs seating area, but you may need to book on a Saturday.
The Stag Inn
14 All Saints’ St, Hastings TN34 3BJ (www.staghastings.co.uk) 01424 438791
Hastings old town’s oldest surviving pub, complete with mummified cats. Garden at rear, changing menu, watch out for Morris dancers.
3 Mercatoria, St Leonards on Sea (next door to The Horse and Groom).
Delicious, locally sourced food – the fish stew is particularly good. You may get lucky and get a table without booking, but it’s probably best to book in advance
Two Bulls Steakhouse
61C High St, Hastings TN34 3EJ (www.twobulls.co.uk) 01424 436443
Unpromising-sounding but spacious restaurant, offering simple steaks and grills, good quality and reasonably-priced. Good option for groups.