101 places to go – Hastings

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There are more than enough historical sites in England to fill countless location guides. But since we’re approaching the halfway mark in our series of ‘101 Places to Go in the UK, Ireland and France’, we’re trying to be very selective in our choice of historic hotspots!

Thankfully, few people would dispute the choice of Hastings in East Sussex for this week’s entry. After all, it’s the fall of this location, 945 years ago, that was responsible for a sea change in English culture.

As history buffs – and those who stayed awake in GCSE history – will tell you, it was the fall of Harold II at Senlac Hill that saw the Norman conquest of England in 1066. From there a new system of government, a new language and a new relationship with the French was born!

So it goes without saying that 1066 dominates our recommended locations in Hastings, but what else is there to see and do? Take a look below – and if you have your own suggestions for things to see and do in Hastings please leave a comment!

• In later years, Battle Abbey was built on the location of the Battle of Hastings on Senlac Hill. Now in a slightly ruined state, the Grade I listed site is now operated by English Heritage and offers a visitor centre with a film and exhibition about the battle, audio tours of the battlefield site and much more.

• Thanks to a prime coastal location, Hastings also boasts a rich maritime heritage that tends to focus on two types of industry: fishing and smuggling. Both are celebrated in Hastings at the Fishermen’s Museum and Smugglers Adventure, respectively.

• The Battle of Hastings is commemorated every October with an English Heritage reconstruction of King Harold II’s worst day. This year’s event takes place on the 15 and 16 October.

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