A Victorian hotspot, the town is full of impressive buildings, grand piers, churches, stunning gardens and more. Our guide details the best Eastbourne tourist attractions and sightseeing opportunities in town.
Attractions in Eastbourne
Historically a strong coastal defence point, Eastbourne has several impressive forts and towers left over from the Napoleonic conflict. The Wish Tower located near the Towner Gallery is one of 74 Martello Towers – essentially squat brick-built defensive forts – on the south coast, and was built in the early 1800s. There are guided tours to take you through the building and delve deeper into the reasons for French war.
Further north, the Redoubt Fortress and Pavilion is a Georgian fortress again built and used to repel attacks from Napoleon and his fleet. Open daily from March to November, the fortress is packed-full of exhibits, including a recreated Victorian school, and puts on regular film screenings, guided tours and remembrance services.
The focal point for any coastal town, Eastbourne Pier is a 300-metre long structure originally built in 1870. Restored in 2014, the pier is now home to a variety of shops and cafés, including a tea room, fish and chip shop and regular fishing outposts.
One of the best recognised landmarks in the region, Beachy Head Lighthouse was built in 1902 to protect boats from white chalk cliffs. Set 165 metres into the sea, the lighthouse was manned by three keepers every 20 seconds for 80 years, while Beachy Head is a well-known film and TV location, with James Bond, Brighton Rock, Harry Potter and Quadrophenia making use of the dramatic 160m-tall cliffs.
Originally a stunning 19th-century nunnery and more recently an NHS building, All Saints Chapel has become one of the UK’s most in-demand wedding venues, mixing incredible architecture and period detail with a modern tech touch.
Equally as impressive is Christ Church, a working Anglo-Catholic place of worship that was built in 1859. Staying in the religious world, the Michelham Priory House & Gardens is an impressive 13th-century house and gardens with a working watermill, surrounded by a moat. With a museum, café and large grounds to explore, it’s a fun family day out, which is closest to our Eastbourne Polegate hotel.
Beachy Head Lighthouse
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, head to our Seven Sisters Country Park page to find out more about the stunning chalk cliffs and their rich history.
One of the most popular parks in town, Gildredge Park is near the Old Town and a large space full of sports facilities, including tennis courts and bowling greens, as well as a café and kids’ playground. The nearby Manor Gardens is a great place to get some peace and quiet with a rose garden, sheltered lawns and herb borders.
Down near the coast, Princes Park is an excellent open space, which is home to a boating lake, two playgrounds – including a mini summer waterpark – and a scented rose garden.
Overlooking the sea, Helen Garden is a carefully maintained green space offering stunning coastline views, as well as an 18-hole putting green, lawn bowls and petanque. Another popular garden with a bowling green is Motocombe Gardens, a small open space with plenty of well-manicured lawns and a good looking pond where the Bourne Stream originates.
The newest and best-equipped park, Shinewater is home to an excellent playground, a BMX and skatepark, a large field for kick-arounds and picnics, an all-weather sports court, as well as excellent wheelchair access. Located to the north of the town centre, the park is a five-minute walk from our Eastbourne hotel.
Currently playing in the Conference South Division, effectively the sixth tier of English football, Eastbourne Borough play their home games at Priory Lane. With a record attendance of 3,770, it’s a small ground with four main stands housing several bars, a café and parking for 400 cars. Games are played from August to April, and the ground is located a short drive from the Sovereign Marina and our Eastbourne hotel.
The home of motor-racing in Eastbourne, Arlington Stadium is a 320-metre long concrete oval track that hosts a variety of alternative races, including banger cars, three-wheelers, speedway stock cars and more. Busy on Bank Holiday Mondays and their Wednesday night sessions, you can take in the action from the grassy banks, their licensed bar, hot dog and burger stands.