Beside the sea
Bexhill-on-Sea retains much of the charm and style that made it a favourite of the Victorian and Edwardian aristocracy. It has a wealth of locations to visit and things to do with regular events taking place throughout the year, historic attractions and places of interest for all age groups.
Bexhill was a small rural village, transformed into an exclusive seaside resort by the 7th Earl De La Warr during the 1890s. The remodelling included the luxurious Sackville Hotel (now elegant retirement apartments) known as the ‘Jewel of the South Coast’ and the fully refurbished Manor House.
1902 saw Bexhill become an incorporated borough by Royal Charter and to celebrate its new status, the first ever motorcar race event took place in the country, placing Bexhill firmly on the map both as a sought-after travel destination and as the Birthplace of British Motor Racing.
The grade I listed De La Warr Pavilion, was constructed in 1935, located just above the promenade on the seafront. Today, the iconic Art Deco-inspired building is one of the standout features of Bexhill, home to a large contemporary art gallery with a varied programme of exhibitions, entertainment and events.
Just a short stroll from the Pavilion is a treasure trove of stories, artefacts and history all housed in the Bexhill Museum: a small-town attraction with a world class collection. Amongst the impressive collection, items include Queen Victoria’s dress, one of the world’s largest crabs, a colossal hoard of dinosaur fossils and no less than a Lowry! With a team of knowledgeable, friendly staff, this is a fascinating place not to be missed.
Since Victorian times, Bexhill has had a reputation for promoting healthy-living not only for the breathtaking walks, or a jog, along the beach and the King George V Colonnade but located a few minutes walk from the seafront is Egerton Park. The park offers something for everyone from leisurely walks around the lakes to a more energetic workout in the outdoor fitness area. Tennis court, bowls and boating are all things to enjoy. There’s even a zip-wire and play area for the kids.
In the warmer months the seafront comes alive with beach huts occupied, bathers in deckchairs and families picnicking on the beach. Did you know, the resort held the first mixed bathing beaches in the UK? A visit to the seaside wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream, cream tea or fish and chips, which can be picked up from one of the many cafes and restaurants along the way.
You can find excellent examples of Georgian timber-framed buildings within the picturesque Old Town and Bexhill’s unique blend of character can be seen in its mixture of independent modern and vintage shops and plethora of cafes and restaurants, to sit and watch the world pass by.
With a Guinness World Record for the largest Charleston dance, Bob Marley performing his UK debut, Eddie Izzard, patron of the Bexhill Museum and many other notable figures who have inhabited Bexhill, including Fanny Cradock, Spike Milligan and John Logie Baird, it is certainly not a sleepy seaside town but a multi-faceted gem of the English coast.