The town of Hastings is well known for the Battle of Hastings (1066), even though it took place on a field in the town called Battle (one could call it a "Battle field," yuk yuk yuk). While our original plans included going to visit the actual battlefield, we had such a great time in Hastings that we were exhausted and decided we'd go tomorrow.
Hastings is an extraordinarily unique place, and it's kind of difficult to explain. There's thousand-year-old buildings, and you can tell the city has been there for a very long time, but it also has newer sections with tall, modern-looking constructions. On top of that, the whole place has a sort of misfit feel to it. Like I said, it's tough to explain, but I kind of felt like I was in a modern version of an 18th-century port because of the wide variety of people there. From the wealthy and well-to-do to the people you wouldn't want to bump into on the street, Hastings has them all.
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By the time we left the house (two small kids are never easy to travel with) and got to Hastings on the train, it was midday and time for lunch. Luckily Tiff and Chey knew a great place to get fish and chips, so we sat down amidst the seagulls and had some lunch.
After walking to the sea with my cousin, we all walked East along the shoreline towards the activity areas. I highly recommend going to Hastings for a day because of the abundant activities for kids of all ages. There were at least three mini-golf courses, two go-kart tracks (for 2 different ages of kids), paddle boats, a small train, trampoline area, caged in soccer pitches, carnival rides and games, and many different places to eat. They also have something called a "Funicular."
Incidentally, the tall spiky thing in the picture above is one of the beacons constructed along the coast of England to signal the spotting of the Spanish Armada.
While we were content to stay at the top of the hill looking towards the city, I did a little more exploring and found what I consider to be the quietest place on Earth (besides some of the Oxford libraries). It was so quiet, all I could hear was the sound of the grass crunching like snow under my feet. The older of my cousins had fallen asleep by this point but the younger one had a ball scooting around on the soft grass. By a mile, Hastings was one of the coolest places I've been yet on this tour, and we hadn't really even gone into the city itself yet...
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After descending on the funicular, we decided to go into the older part of the city, which proved to endear me to Hastings even more than I was already! Victorian/Tudor buildings were interspersed with 13th century buildings that looked like they were about to fall down and really cool little alleyways, and one resident was nice enough to stop and explain the history behind one of the houses. In fact, it looked as though there were buildings wherever there was space, crammed in on top of each other and piled helter skelter. A great example was the building shaped like a piece of cheese, shown left: they had a gap that size, so they filled it appropriately!
All-in-all it was a great day out and I had a lot of fun hanging out with family. Definitely a place worth visiting if you come to England!