Seaside resorts aren’t just about fairgrounds and seagulls stealing your chips. Eastbourne in particular is a lively town boasting local Sussex charm and healing waters and surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the UK. Dive into our curated list of the best places to stay in Eastbourne.
This seafront Lansdowne upholds a quintessentially English tradition, serving a three-tier afternoon tea every day on delicate, floral-patterned china. The best rooms here are the high-ceilinged superior doubles, in which double-aspect views of the ocean and Beachy Head pour in through huge sash windows. Dogs are welcome, even in the restaurant (on designated tables), where the menu centres on good old British classics such as shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and Bakewell tarts for dessert. It’s a 10-minute stroll down the promenade from here to the pier.
With wrought-iron balconies gracing its grand white facade, the Pier is one of the best hotels in Eastbourne for a seaside getaway with everything you need on site. Foodies will love the nautically coloured restaurant, which pairs pier views with a reinvented version of the classic prawn cocktail and a fish stew laced with Sri Lankan spices. Within easy reach of the hotel are the Emerald Bar, the smartest Irish pub in town, and a vintage cafe serving milkshakes made with premium Italian ice cream.
Owners Chris and Caroline offer a warm welcome at the Ravilious Hotel, a chunky Victorian townhouse with eight ensuite rooms. Doubles feature a pale aesthetic, high ceilings and large sash windows, and some have views of the championship tennis grounds; and there are two striped attic rooms at the top of a flight of 60 stairs. There’s also a walled patio and garden where you can make the most of sunny days.
For a weekend on the South Downs with your four-legged companion, check into this dog-friendly B&B in Willingdon, said to be the real-life version of the village in George Orwell’s 1945 novel Animal Farm. Each of the ensuite doubles wows with unique features: the Seven Sisters suite boasts French windows opening onto a private patio, and ostrich heads on either side of the tufted headboard, while the Royal Pavilion has a gilded bed and a rainfall shower. Breakfast features eggs laid by the resident hens.
The Grand Hotel has many faces, but we like to think of it as the Palace of Pampering. The spa features eight treatment rooms where you can get massages, facials, reflexology and salt scrubs. The real jewel in the crown, however, is found outside. Open to hotel guests only, the outdoor pool, set against a backdrop of white stucco Victorian terraces, wouldn’t look out of place on the French Riviera. This is one of very few Eastbourne hotels with an outdoor pool, so lap up those rays in the sunniest town in England before taking the stress out of dinner at your choice of two elegant in-house restaurants.
In a category all of its own, the modern building of the View Hotel makes a bold statement in a town known for its Victorian architecture. The contemporary design gives the hotel a unique selling point and offers the ultimate sea view from its panoramic windows and balconies. Choose a front-facing executive room for endless vistas, and don’t forget to book a table on the sun-filled terrace at the Artisan Restaurant for modern British cuisine.
An Eastbourne icon since 1913, the Langham Hotel is brimming with local Sussex charm. Found on the Royal Parade, right on the seafront, the hotel is family-run and offers a warm welcome and classic interiors. With a thriving lunch club, guest speakers and jazz lunches, the Langham has established itself as a place where guests can rub shoulders with locals and delve deeper into the real Eastbourne.
Eastbourne may be known for its sunshine and Victorian pier, but many once flocked to the town in search of healing. In Victorian times, the health benefits of sunshine and sea air were widely accepted. The Hydro Hotel began its life as a centre for hydrotherapy at the end of the 19th century and is still a place of relaxation and rejuvenation today. The heated outdoor pool offers views across the expansive South Downs, and the extensive landscaped gardens provide a respite for body and soul.
The York House Hotel takes pride of place among the historic Victorian terraces adorning the Eastbourne seafront. Wake up to the sounds of the sea in the traditionally decorated rooms with magnificent, unobscured views of the beach and beyond. Try not to lose yourself in that horizon, and don’t leave without taking a dip in the heated indoor swimming pool.
For a boutique hotel in Eastbourne, you can’t do much better than the Devonshire Park. Housed in a traditional Victorian terrace with family at the centre of its ethos, it offers all guests a warm Sussex welcome. Ample breakfasts with local, seasonal produce set you up for a day exploring Eastbourne and the coastal walks beyond. Follow the tips of the staff, many of whom grew up in the town and have the inside track on the best places to visit.
Mark Nayler contributed additional reporting to this article.
For more great places to stay in Eastbourne, check out our pick of the best bed and breakfasts in Eastbourne, bookable on Culture Trip .
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