Most people visit historic Hastings and never bother with St Leonards-on-Sea – but they’re missing a quirky treat! By national standards the town is hugely deprived and yet, because of its seaside position and fabulous light, a wonderfully bohemian artistic community has developed, and there are plenty of thriving small businesses if you look closely.
The fun begins on Norman Road – a short street packed full of interesting shops. There’s Love Market with its French cheese seller, fresh fishmonger and bric-a-brac stalls, and opposite is Xanadu – a vintage clothing cornucopia for lovers of all things second-hand. I recommend stopping for a tasty home-cooked lunch at The Little Larder where they serve a mean steak and kidney pie with heart-shaped puff pastry.
Next head uphill, stopping at Lucy Bell’s gallery, as well as McCarrons of Mercatoria who sell lovely contemporary gifts. Wayward is a fabulous haberdashery and its owners trawl auctions and French markets for vintage ribbons, buttons and bolts of fabric…it’s a real dressmakers treasure trove.
Of course, a visit to St Leonards would not be complete without a stroll along the prom. Soak in the sea air and play on the shingles before heading to Coastal Café on King’s Road to buy a huge slab of cake and a pungent cappuccino…the perfect end to a perfect day at the English seaside.
Image courtesy of Exfordy on Flickr
What: Beaches & Coves, Coffee, Tea & Cake, Eat & Drink, Escape & Explore, Lunch, Places to Potter, Potter & Shop, Scenic Walks, See & Do, Shops: antiques & collectables, Shops: clothing & accessories, Shops: food & drink, Shops: home & interiors
Where: East Sussex
Who with: Family, Friends, Just Me, Kids, The One I Love
When: Autumn, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekends, Winter