History of Hastings

Hastings has been a fishing village since the 8th Century, when it was called ‘Hastingas’ meaning Haesta’s People. There is evidence of prehistoric settlements with findings of Bronze Age arrowheads and Iron Age forts. In Roman times the area was well known for its iron deposits and was the third largest Iron Works in the Roman empire.

In Medieval times, the Battle of Hastings and invasion of England by the Normans took place in 1066 and you can still visit the site of the battle today. Hastings Castle was then built after the battle, probably using the earthworks of an earlier Saxon Castle. Hastings then became an important sea port for a time (one of the original Cinque Ports) although by the 13th Century much of Hastings was washed into the sea, and the rest raided and burnt by the French, ending its days as a port.

Hastings still has a fishing fleet today, but they pull their boats up onto the stony shingle beach. Around 1900 Hastings was well known for smuggling (bringing goods illegally into England without paying tax on them) and you can visit St Clements Caves where smuggling often took place. Later the town became known as a seaside resort, particularly once the railway was built in the late 19th Century. Two Victorian railways straight up the cliff have been restored and still carry passengers today (The West Hill Cliff Railway and The East Hill Cliff Railway).

Some things to do in Hastings:

  • Hastings Castle
  • Smugglers Adventure (St Clements Caves)
  • Bluereef Aquarium
  • West Hill Cliff Railway
  • East Hill Cliff Railway
  • Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
  • Old Town Hall Museum
  • Hastings Fishermen’s Museum
  • Shipwreck Heritage Centre
  • White Rock Theatre
  • Stables Theatre
  • Priory Meadow Shopping Centre
  • Silver Screen Cinema
  • Hastings Railway Station

For more information, click here www.visitsoutheastengland.com

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