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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > England > Eastbourne beaches, Sussex

About Eastbourne beaches, Sussex

Eastbourne, on the Sussex coast, is like Brighton’s maiden aunt, all prim lawns and cream teas, attracting a more elderly, tranquil and less eclectic crowd. A classic seaside resort, favoured as a retirement haven, with a wonderful frontage of wedding-cake Victorian buildings, it’s the ideal place to head if you’re not in the mood for the trendiness of Brighton. The town lies close to some dramatic coastline, including the dizzying cliffs of Beachy Head.

Beach:

Eastbourne is fronted by a grand sweep of shingle beach and an elegant pier. For a more dramatic beach, head 6km (4 miles) west to Birling Gap, which is a wonderfully wild, empty, shingle stretch, backed by white chalk cliffs, that was a landing place for smugglers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Beyond the beach:

The views from Beachy Head have to be some of the most awesome in the UK, a jewel-green headland above dizzying white cliffs. The soaring cliff tops appear at the end of The Who’s cool, era-encapsulating film Quadrophenia.

Family fun:

Strolling along the 19th-century elegance of the seafront and gorging on cream teas best fits with the sedate Eastbourne vibe, though you can indulge in more dynamic sports at Spray Water Sports Centre (Royal Parade), which teaches sailing, windsurfing and canoeing.

Exploring further:

Head down the coast to the area of Brighton and Hove – which together form one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the UK, with world-class arts and culture, a world-famous music and club scene, an incredible nightlife, great shopping, top-class restaurants and a deep-seated tolerance of alternative lifestyles. Brighton is well known for its gay scene, and the city’s bohemian traditions are alive and well.