A small but action-packed seaside town, Eastbourne is home to art galleries, food and music festivals, museums and more.
Culture in Eastbourne
Start your gallery tour at the Towner Art Gallery, the largest gallery on the south coast and an imposing white structure designed to reflect the nearby chalk hills. Attracting over 100,000 visitors each year, the gallery is home to over 5,000 works of art spanning historic, modern and contemporary and even has pieces by Picasso and Henry Moore. As well as regular events, tours and exhibitions, the gallery also screens regular leftfield, art-house films. And located near the Winter Garden and the Devonshire Park Theatre, it’s easy to take in several other nearby cultural attractions.
Launched in 2004, Mason Emma specialise in original prints and, as well as their own impressive range of work, now represent more than 60 printmakers from across the region. The gallery is a great place to discover local artists and perhaps pick up your own unique print.
An award-winning contemporary art space, Nigel Greaves Gallery is home to some seriously striking artwork. With a relaxed atmosphere and welcoming hosts, it’s easy to get lost in the contemporary art on the walls, which can often be abstract and figurative.
The Henry Paddon Contemporary Art gallery near the War Memorial offers a wide range of art and craft, including ceramics, glass, metalwork, textiles, wood, jewellery and stained glass. Exhibitions are held every March and October, while there’s always a wide range of art to look at and purchase around the year.
Towner Art Gallery
Held at the end of June at Princes Park near the seafront, Eastbourne Feastival is a two-day celebration of food, music and community. The music consists of street artists, tribute acts and international guests, while the food comes from across the world, with stalls and food trucks representing dozens of different cuisines, including Thai, Spanish, African, Mexican and French. There’s also a children’s area with soft play and bouncy castles, and local brewers and wine sellers helping keep the 48-hour party lubricated.
With miles of amazing coastline on its doorstep, the Beach Life Festival celebrates sand, extreme sports and good times every July. A fun-packed weekend for families and outdoor types, it brings together live music, food trucks, skate parks, BMX riders, stand-up paddle boarding, bungee trampolines, a funfair and more. And best of all, it’s all free to enter!
An all-day party that winds its way through the town, Eastbourne Pride is a riotous mix of sound systems, DJs, live music and fancy dress that culminates in a great party at Princes Park featuring dancers, live music, beer, wine and Prosecco tents and Eastbourne’s LGBTQ community.
Dancing of the Morris kind can be found at the Lammas Festival, a historic festival that denotes the wheat harvest. Running for nearly 20 years, the Eastbourne event has everything you could hope for, including a parade, live music spanning folk, jazz and rock, food and drink tents, arts and craft stalls and more. Held on the Western Lawns and Eastbourne Seafront, it’s a fun family day out.
Held on the same location is the Eastbourne Beer & Cider By The Sea festival. The three-day party at the end of May celebrates the finest pints in the region, with a soundtrack of local live music, kids’ entertainment and local food stalls.
Take a trip down memory lane at the Eastbourne Heritage Centre and discover how the town went from a quiet seaside retreat to leading Victorian seaside resort. The centre uncovers the rigorous planning involved for the town set up including the Pier and Bandstand, while the videos showing in the cinema will transport you right back into the heart of the action 100 years ago.
Alternatively, find your seafaring legs at the Eastbourne Lifeboat Museum, a fascinating museum dedicated to the boats and volunteers that have kept the seas safe for generations.
Finally, discover more than 100 hands-on exhibits at the Observatory Science Centre, which is around 10 miles north of the town centre and a short drive from our Eastbourne Polegate hotel. The domes and telescopes will give you an amazing view into the heavens, with the open evenings highly recommended.