Hastings - And the Battle to keep the kids happy!

 Putting the weekend trip to the vote!

Putting the weekend trip to the vote!

I am obsessed, obsessed with all things Interiors, design and creativity! I could sit on Pinterest for hours looking at beautifully curated homes and Instagram has given me the opportunity to peak inside equally obsessed interior enthusiasts like me! But, I have another passion. I love travel, adventure and exploring the UK and further afield. Thing is, I am also hugely indecisive and very lastmintue.com which doesn’t bode well for getting the family out of the door on new adventures! So, I decided to put it to the public vote every week on Instagram where we would visit, using the hashtag #wheretonowthen (I’m Cornish, it makes sense down there 😊) and for the first vote we decided on Hastings vs Eastbourne. Hastings (unlike in 1066) won!

I don’t want this to be a travel blog as such, my obsession with Interiors is far too strong! More of an overview of the places we visit with (hopefully) beautiful scenery, architecture and the omnipresent “how to keep the kids happy”. Because I am a Mum foremost! And Hastings did not disappoint.

 Where are we now?

Where are we now?

As soon as I told Mr B that Hastings was the favourite, you could see his face light up with glee! Next thing I know, he’s on Amazon, ordering Knight outfits for himself and the kids and it’s a whole different trip to the one I had planned! We were going via Battle so we could re-enact the famous combat of 1066! An Abbey was built on the site of the original battle and the Benedictine Abbey still partially stands today. We spent a few hours walking around the English Heritage site, getting stuck in the mud (and the kids losing their wellies) and had a picnic in the drizzle, overlooking the hills where the actual battle took place. A truly British day out! 😊

 The entrance tower to the Battle Abbey

The entrance tower to the Battle Abbey

 A Tutu Knight!

A Tutu Knight!

 Is it Maid Marian?? Haha, no! It's Mel!

Is it Maid Marian?? Haha, no! It's Mel!

 An old Tudor house in Battle

An old Tudor house in Battle

We made our exit through (as all parents will know) the dreaded gift shop and when my Son started having a complete melt down because we wouldn’t let him have a lollipop the size of his head, we knew it was time to head to Hastings. We parked down by the sea front and could already see there was plenty to do for all the family, including an Aquarium, Tate Gallery, Cliff lifts, fun fair and museums. I left Mr B with the kids at the entrance of the Aquarium and hotfooted it away. I wasn’t here to see fish, I wanted to see the Old Town, complete with ancient architecture, narrow alleyways and most importantly, the amazing vintage, antique and homeware shops. It did not disappoint! 

 Boaty McBoatface

Boaty McBoatface

 The Grade II listed Net Shops which were originally used to keep equipment for the fishing fleet

The Grade II listed Net Shops which were originally used to keep equipment for the fishing fleet

 New Apartments (which you can see at the top right of this picture) were built recently in keeping with the Old Net Shops

New Apartments (which you can see at the top right of this picture) were built recently in keeping with the Old Net Shops

 Hansel and Gretel's house... sorry! Pulpit Gate on All Saint's Street, Hastings

Hansel and Gretel's house... sorry! Pulpit Gate on All Saint's Street, Hastings

 So many pretty Doorways 

So many pretty Doorways 

 135 All Saint's Street - you can stay in this House as it were back in the Tudor times - visit www.aghendy.com/house

135 All Saint's Street - you can stay in this House as it were back in the Tudor times - visit www.aghendy.com/house

 Quaint little alleyways

Quaint little alleyways

I headed into the heart of the Old Town and stumbled across All Saint’s Street. Here you can find beautiful timber framed buildings, some dating back to 1450 and some of the oldest surviving homes in the Old Town. I then carried on through the little alleyways until I came to High Street and what a delightful place it was! Full of bric-a-brac, antique, vintage and (my new favourite kind of shop) rummage shops, with cafes, restaurants, old pubs and clothing stores thrown in. Some of these shops have probably been in the same families for generations and I had a wonderful conversation with an elderly owner who told me how surprised he was how business had picked up in recent years. This was after he nearly hit me with an antique broom because I was taking photos of his fascinating shop, shouting “I’m fed up with people treating this store like a joke!”, and I had to explain to him, on the contrary Sir, I think your shop is amazing and want to share!

 High Street Tea Rooms and Grocery Stores

High Street Tea Rooms and Grocery Stores

 A rummage shop

A rummage shop

 55p! Not going to get much tea in it though!

55p! Not going to get much tea in it though!

 A beautiful little garden shop

A beautiful little garden shop

 A tea room and delicatessen selling local produce

A tea room and delicatessen selling local produce

 High Street

High Street

But, my absolute favourite shop had to be A. G. Hendy & Co. It came highly recommended, but I did not expect what I found inside. It was like walking into a different world, a world that existed centuries ago when a scullery, broom cupboard and pantry were just as important as a kitchen. The store belongs to Alistair Hendy, a famous Chef, food and travel photographer and an author. His Grandparents lived just outside Hastings so he spent many weekends and holidays staying near the town. He has authentically restored the old Georgian building into a beautiful Homeware Store where you can shop, eat and even enrol on one of the many food, travel writing and styling photography courses. The shop itself sells everything from brooms to teapots, toilet brushes to apple corers and is pure vintage heaven.

 A. G. Hendy & Co. 

A. G. Hendy & Co. 

 Kitchenware

Kitchenware

 Fabulous Styling

Fabulous Styling

 I nearly walked out with all the brooms!

I nearly walked out with all the brooms!

 A Chair

A Chair

 Office furniture - need this phone in my life

Office furniture - need this phone in my life

 Most definitely a unique shopping experience!

Most definitely a unique shopping experience!

I spent so long in A. G. Hendy, it left me little time to run around the other parts of the Old Town and so I made a quick dash down to George Street, a pedestrian area with even more delightful stores, restaurants and pubs, before heading back to meet Mr B and the kids. I walked past a memorial garden where the old Swan Inn used to stand until it was destroyed with considerable loss of life by a German fighter-bomber in 1943 and a beautiful blossoming tree stood in its place. I popped into Butlers Emporium, another exquisite shop where their products were displayed on rustic vintage and antique furniture. I wanted to nip into a pub for a quick pint, but alas! Mr B had the kids on the miniature railway which runs along the sea front and they were heading my way, so my time was up! 😊

 The blossom tree and memorial garden. 

The blossom tree and memorial garden. 

 A close up of the blossom. Sorry... but it is pretty?

A close up of the blossom. Sorry... but it is pretty?

 A quaint little cycle shop - but hang on! Look at those baskets 

A quaint little cycle shop - but hang on! Look at those baskets 

 Butlers Emporium - George Street

Butlers Emporium - George Street

 How much vintage charm can I take in one day?

How much vintage charm can I take in one day?

 The one thing I wanted and the only thing not for sale? The chair!!

The one thing I wanted and the only thing not for sale? The chair!!

 Hastings and vintage homeware, like peas in a pod!

Hastings and vintage homeware, like peas in a pod!

I loved every minute of our visit to Hastings and we only touched the east side of the city, but it had it all! Architecture, quaint little pubs and restaurants, amazing homeware stores that you wouldn’t expect to see outside of London and of course, a funfair, beach, aquarium and the smell of fish and chips following you around like a moth to a flame! Well, it is a seaside town and I would have been disappointed not to see an amusement arcade or crazy golf pitch backing onto the beach. We shall definitely go back... now what date is the Guinness World Record for the most pirates in one place being held this year?

 Hastings sea front

Hastings sea front

 The best painted boat in the town

The best painted boat in the town

 Seagul

Seagul