Battle, some might say is the beating heart of 1066 country, is seated deep in history as the town takes its name from the most famous conflict on English territory, the Battle of Hastings.
The place of Harold’s demise became the site of the famous Battle Abbey, constructed by the victor William the Conqueror. Little remains of the Abbey apart from the abbey gateway which commands the view to the south of the high street and housed within is the famous Battle Abbey school.
Battle today is a thriving town of eclectic boutiques, independent businesses, fine restaurants, pubs and cafes. It is one of the most picturesque market towns of East Sussex, steeped in history, with quaint twittens and a main square in which to take a seat and draw in the atmosphere.
The town is surrounded by historic green countryside just waiting to be discovered. Follow the Battle Heritage Trails, including a children’s and country trail, to experience the hidden history of Battle, take in the magnificent views of the countryside and significant landmarks.
There is a real sense of community within the town, resident volunteers manage the Battle Museum (re-opening in April 2022), which covers the history of the area from prehistoric to modern times and hosts a special exhibition each year. The lovingly tended tranquil gardens of the Almonry House have won awards thanks to a team of dedicated locals who give up their time to make Battle beautiful.
It’s the most magical time of the year and a visit to Battle this December will get you feeling festive. To experience the magic of the season, St Mary’s Church is host to the annual Christmas Tree festival, over forty trees will be decorated by local groups, organisations, businesses and individuals all hoping to win the coveted prize of the winning tree which is announced on Sunday 5 December. St Mary’s are also inviting visitors to join them for carols in the churchyard, with mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep you warm whilst you sing.
Also in December, a regular highlight to the Battle social diary is the Gala Night where a warm welcome awaits visitors for the late-night shopping evening. The shopping event takes place this year on Thursday 9 December with live music expected on the green outside the Abbey and the Bandstand in Market Square. It’s the perfect way to support local businesses and find the ideal gift this Christmas. It’s also an opportunity to see the traders in fancy dress and back by popular demand is Santa’s Tour!
© Sarah Fretwell