What happened to Spring? Despite the cold, my bulbs are tentatively starting to surface and reach for the sunshine.
Early Saturday morning we found ourselves driving to Hastings, a mere 2 hour drive from where we live. Hastings Old Town has long been an attraction to anyone remotely interested in history, the battle of Hastings, 1066 and the Norman Invasion and for me, the history of our family started which all began when we came over with William the Conqueror from France and settled in Horsham, West Sussex. One of my uncles has researched our family genealogy which dates right back to 1617 until today. Hastings was first mentioned in the 8th century and used to be an important fishing port and today still has the largest beach based fishing fleet in England. I’m not going to rattle off a history lesson, but if you’re interested in reading more about Hastings read here
Although cold and windy and without camera as this drive was quite unintentional, I managed to snap a few photos with my iPhone. The Old Town high street is full of beautiful and quirky home store shops, antiques and vintage finds and some lovely quaint places to eat.
Our first stop was a deli serving the most delicious lemon drizzle cake I have ever tasted and a good cup of leaf tea. If you are ever in Hastings Old Town, it’s at the top end of the High street, away from the beach front, and it appears to be the only deli in this area, sorry I didn’t take down the name!
Wanting to investigate we walked up several steps and found ourselves atop the hill overlooking Hastings Old Town. The walk reminded me that I need to get out more and definitely climb a few more stairs to get my heart beat racing! The Old town is situated in the valley between two hills giving it plenty of shelter from sea winds. You can tell it was cold because there was hardly anyone about on the hill...
We visited a few really interesting and beautiful shops, one of them Warp and Weft, where I briefly chatted to one of the tailors who makes these exquisite but slight eccentric English country gentlemen clothing, once again no pics because quite honesty I didn't think my iPhone pics would do the old world interior any justice, but I should probably just confess it was so cold I didn't want to take my gloves off!
The high street boasts a few antique and vintage stores. I fell in love with a pair of 1950s European chairs with polished wooden arms reupholstered in fine Scottish wool. Once my hubby sat himself down on one of these chairs, he didn't want to get up. Unfortunately having driven with a small car, we couldn’t take them with us, and the price tag of £750 for one chair was a little too steep for my pocket! But they were beautiful. Christine at thekula.com specialises in modernist chairs and a few other elegant mid-century pieces.
Another little treasure is Vintage Bird run by Claire, a tiny store packed to the ceiling with fabric and unusual and beautiful wallpaper. I left with a sample of Sanderson wallpaper and thinking of a room in which to hang it.
One of the most beautifully styled stores was A.G Hendy & Co Homes Store, stocking home ware pieces, all lovingly crafted and made and amongst other things, a collection of glass cloches. The shop itself is a museum piece and worth popping in even if only to buy a pastry brush or an old fashioned feather duster!
If you like visiting churches, then you’ll love St Clements. Tracing its origins back to 1080, it is an historical landmark in Hastings Old Town. Dante Rossetti married Elizabeth Siddell here in 1860. The stained glass windows are beautiful, two of which were replaced by Richard Cole after they were bombed out in WWII. He apparently depicted himself in the window wearing yellow. They have recently renovated and modernised part of the church, and if you’re lucky to visit on a Saturday morning you can enjoy cake and tea for a few pennies.
Usually I'm straining under the weight of my many purchases, but surprisingly I came home with only a few beautiful cards and two succulents, which I am kind of in love with…
I’d love to go back to Hastings when it’s a bit warmer and take a few photos with a decent camera but I hope you've enjoyed the brief excursion and a little peek into this coastal town.
Until next time!