So the sun is shining and we have a free day. There aren't that many free sunny days and the wish list is long so the obvious choice is to do it by bike.
There are perks to running Bell's and one is that we get to grab a couple of hire bikes every time we fancy a day out. We have bikes of our own but these are guaranteed to be clean, serviced, pumped up and if we get there early then we have the pick of the fleet.
If you're thinking of visiting hastings then there is no better way to view the town than on two wheels. On this day we slowly made our way from the most eastern part of the Old Town and followed the sea west where we finally cut up into St Leonards for a bit of in land exploration.
This isn't a tourist guide as such and it certainly won't cover all the sites of Hastings (we had a baby and we kept getting hungry) but it gives you a flavour of what ending up being a great day just pottering around the streets of Hastings on our hire bikes.
We started at the east of town early. If you are thinking of hiring bikes in Hastings I'd certainly recommend this as before 11am it's paradise, the beaches are empty and there are no cars. From around 1pm it can start to get conjested by which time you can have moved onto less visited parts of the town. This is Rockanore where the fishing fleet is launched and the cliffs loom over the beach.
Staying with the Old Town in the early light we cycled past the beautiful black fishing huts which now stand alongside the Jerwood gallery.
Leaving the Old Town behind (not before grabbing a pastry or two from Judges bakery on the High street) We made our way towards the pier and the elegant architecture that sits in the streets behind it. I'd recommend stopping off at Dyke and Dean which is one of the most interesting shop exteriors in Hastings.
I chose to hire one of our speedy Tokyobikes which is light and perfect for a stop/start kind of ride. Andy was carrying Ella in a front child seat so he went for the more sedate Bobbin Metropole which is great for carrying kids, luggage and picnics.
Try to squeeze in a look along Norman Rd in St Leonard's. It's mix of independent shops is incredible.
Time for a pit stop and where better to than in St Leonard's gardens which was designed by James Burton in 1826 and makes up the heart of the Burton "village". You can lay in on the grass which is dropped into a valley and look up at the villas surrounding it.
Keeping Ella happy with a contstant supply of snacks.
We continued our trip around St Leonards up through the gardens and into Maze hill where there are breath taking mansion blocks such as Highland Gardens. It was a steep climb though so a rest was needed before heading for a quick shandy on the way home.
There are a whole load of different routes to take in Hastings and St Leonards. You can cycle along the coastal path to Bexhill and take in an exhibition at the De La Warr Pavillion. You can scale the east hill and off road it over to the fire hills taking in the spectacular secret beaches. Or you can just see the town as we did on a lazy sunny Sunday.
If you'd like to hire a bike from us there is more info on rates here.