Hastings proudly boasts a rich maritime history and diverse culture -understatements to say the least! Not only is Hastings a cosmopolitan town even by 21st Century standards, but it also happens to be home to the first castle in England to be built by William the Conqueror, Europe's biggest beach-launched fishing fleet, an enviable local arts community and one of the most picturesque Old Towns in the UK.
Often described as three towns in one, Hastings makes the ideal retreat for a short break or extended holiday for visitors of all ages. Its economy is driven by tourism, but it is still home to Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet, as well as engineering, catering and construction businesses in the small industrial estates dotted around the outskirts of the town.
To the east of Hastings is where the Old Town can be found, with its charming cobbled streets, traditional merchants and echoes of the past at every turn. To the west you'll find the fashionable St Leonard's area, which is world famous for its unique architecture and reputation for being akin to London's Portobello Road by the sea.
Right down the middle is where you'll find the cutting edge shopping and recreation district, which serves up an abundant dose of modern conveniences for those preferring their affairs on a more contemporary level. Sporting activities include the energetic (football, cricket and the annual half marathon) to the cerebral - the Hastings International Chess Congress is an annual event that attracts some of the world's top chess players.
Must-see attractions include the nearby historic town of Battle, where the battle of Hastings took place in 1066, Smugglers Adventure in St Clements Caves and any number of stunning beaches, while the surrounding Hastings Country Park is home to some of the UK's most awe-inspiring ancient woodland.
Those with a head for heights should also check out the East Hill Lift - officially the UK's steepest funicular railway.