Get your fish fix in Hastings this month – Midsummer Fish Festival: 8 & 9 July
Hastings has one of Britain’s oldest fishing fleets, where boats have worked from the shingle beach known as the Stade (an old Saxon word for ‘landing place’) for over a thousand years. Today the fleet is made up of over 25 under-10-metre boats, making it Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet. Hastings has always been a sustainable fishery, and traditional netting techniques are still used.
When the boats come ashore, usually late morning, they are winched up the beach and the fish are unloaded into boxes and taken to the fish market, where they are sold wholesale. Cod, plaice, mackerel, dab, gurnard, scallops, sea bass, John Dory, turbot, herring, lemon sole, Dover sole, sprats and cuttlefish are landed, among many others.
Now in its fourth year, the Hastings Midsummer Fish Festival showcases the excellent quality and variety of fish landed by the Hastings fleet. The fishermen will be demonstrating their skills and their catch, while Billingsgate Seafood School and local chefs will be holding sessions on how to prepare fish and cook delicious seafood recipes.
Local restaurants will also be selling a wide variety of delicious summer fish dishes (as well as vegetarian and non-fish options), accompanied by fantastic locally made wines and beers. Plus there will be non-stop live acoustic music, craft activities for the whole family and face painting for children.
Tickets cost £1 from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre, or £2 on the gate, and cover admission for the whole weekend (children under 18 go free).
Stade Open Space, Hastings Old Town