Hastings is still one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Until now, that is. Hastings is filled with all the charm you’d expect from a typically British seaside town, with plenty of fish ‘n’ chips to go around. But what about the more unique sights and experiences in this corner of the country?
If you’re ready to uncover the more unusual side of Hastings, you’re definitely in the right place! This guide is crammed full of the weird and wonderful days out that Hastings has to offer, whether you’re trying to keep the kids entertained in half term or are just looking for some family-friendly weekend activities. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get going…
1. Hastings Aquarium
Fascinated by what’s under the sea? Well, you’re in luck! Hastings Aquarium is home to marine life from oceans all over the world. Pay a visit to the Blacktip Reef Sharks and South Pacific sea life swimming overhead in the immersive Ocean Tank tunnel before slithering down to the Jungle Room to meet the mesmerising snakes and lizards. It’s an experience you’ll never forget!
There’s plenty of opportunities to soak in all the facts and stories about all the animals living at the Aquarium. From the smallest to the biggest, and even down to the most unusual. You can also learn about aquarium therapy and how fish can have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing!
Glide over to the Hastings Aquarium website to plan your upcoming visit.
2. Smuggler’s Adventure
Did you know that below the peaceful coastal town of Hastings, there’s an underground network of tunnels once used by smugglers to store illegally traded goods from overseas? It’s true!
At Smuggler’s Adventure, you can explore these same ancient caves, caverns, and tunnels. Pretty cool, right? Although there’s no danger of bumping into any actual smugglers today, you can still be on the lookout for the life-like sculptures of the pirates and bootleggers that would have been sneaking around.
Become a smuggler for yourself at the interactive displays and hands-on games, where you can really get a sense of their lives and stories. Visitors can even smuggle away some of their own souvenirs from the gift shop. Having paid for them, of course!
Start your smuggling journey by visiting the Smuggler’s Adventure website.
3. Hastings Castle
Most famous for being the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, there’s lots of history to uncover at Hastings Castle. Come rain or shine (but hopefully the latter), the castle is a great day out for all the family to learn about its journey from the 11th Century right up until today.
Not only can you explore the ruins of Britain’s first Norman castle, but you can also see the remains of the old chapel and dig deeper into the dungeons. Plus, there are beautiful views of Hastings town and coastline from where it perches on the West Hill. It was once the perfect vantage point for protecting the surrounding land way back when the castle was first built by William the Conqueror!
A special showing of the 1066 story is shown daily in the medieval siege tent-style theatre, along with a fun retelling of how the Battle of Hastings unfolded.
Why not buy our 3 in 1 ticket and experience Hastings Aquarium, Smuggler’s Adventure and Hastings Castle? Click here to find out about our discounted rate when you visit the trio of attractions!
4. The True Crime Museum
Itching to learn more about the ugly truth behind some of Britain’s most grisly crimes? The True Crime Museum in Hastings unlocks the door revealing all about some of the most shocking and spine-chilling crimes committed over the years.
From the tales behind the notorious Krays to killer confessions in the surround sound cinema cave, the museum is jam-packed full of the most unusual attractions. There’s even a genuine lethal injection death bed to see, which would’ve been used on the worst-of-the-worst criminals sentenced to death for their actions. Gruesome!
Before you leave, get your picture taken at the Hall of Shame for a chance to be their monthly mug. Don’t worry though, it’s not a real mugshot!
To book tickets or find out more, head to their website.
5. East & West Cliff Railways
A fun-filled day out can be hard on foot, but these two historic railway lines can even make the journey between attractions more exciting. While the western line was built way back in 1891, the eastern line was finished in 1903. That’s more than 100 years ago!
Of course, both are safe to travel on and have been powered electrically since the 70s, so there’s nothing to worry about there. All you have to do is buy a ticket, climb on board, and enjoy the spectacular views of each side of Hastings on the climb upwards (and, of course, back down).
6. Shipwreck museum
Finding free attractions for you and the kids to do at the weekends or during half terms can be a big ask. Luckily for you, we’ve found the perfect free day out to enjoy in Hastings.
The shipwreck museum is home to a super unique and rare collection of artefacts from (you might’ve guessed it) shipwrecks. Here, you can learn all about the history of ships wrecked close by in the English Channel, and even become a canon-loading expert with the help of Captain Pete’s demonstration!
Are the kids budding archaeologists? If so, they’re guaranteed to love the fossil exhibits. Some date back as far as 140 million years ago! The display cases are filled with dinosaur tracks, bones and rocks telling the tales of the biggest and smallest creatures that once dominated the planet.
Find out more about the museum and its great exhibits here.
Enjoyed our guide with the most unusual things to do in Hastings? We hope it helps solve any worries about how to keep the whole family entertained throughout the year!