Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My kinda' town - Eastbourne is!


There's something about Eastbourne which keeps drawing me back. For a large part of my life I’ve lived in or near it here - a sort of constant - somewhere I feel I belong.
‘Change your View of Eastbourne‘. That’s the current slogan currently being seen in London’s underground stations, in airports and the larger Northern cities. You see, everyone has heard of Eastbourne, but it has an unfortunate image. It’s thought of as God’s Waiting Room!


It’s true to say that the town has afairly high number of elderly people. Most didn’t live here before retirement. It’s the climate, the long level promenade and famous gardens that bring them here.




But the town does have a rapidly growing population of young families, and the facilities and attractions are increasingly aimed at a younger demographic.

So forget the image, and let me take you around my beautiful town!


We are fortunate here, because we consistently record the highest number of sunshine hours in the UK. This is mainly due to proximity of the South Downs which seem to have a deterrent effect on clouds! So our seafront is our greatest asset.





Anyway, let’s start at the Marina - or Sovereign Harbour as the council prefer us to call it.









It’s a massive development - the biggest of its kind in Europe. There are two enormous basins where modest yachts and floating gin palaces, bob up and down, as the fishing boats bring in their catches of plaice, bass, crabs and lobsters.













There are no less than 4000 homes around the marina from studio flats at exorbitant prices, to mansions with private berths and landscaped gardens. So many young families live here that a new school has been built to cater for the huge number of children that live here.
A constant stream of tourists comes here to enjoy the restaurants, bars, the multiplex cinema and enormous shops.
As we go along the seafront we pass the leisure centre and swimming pool, children’s adventure playgrounds and the beautiful Princes Park. We pass fishing huts and sailing clubs, sailing dinghies and speedboats.
Then we come to the crowning glory! Eastbourne Pier! This remarkable Victorian creation sticks out into the sea and offers visitors everything from amusement arcades and bars, to fish and chips and a nightclub!















Eastbourne’s most photographed feature has to be the carpet gardens. Three time a year they are replanted to ensure a constant blaze of colour the like of which you’ll find nowhere else in the country.



A little farther on, another relic of the Victorian era - the bandstand! At one time it was just military bands that played here but today they have to share the stage with rock bands and tea dances!




As the promenade heads west, it splits in to three levels connected by steps. The lower paths stay level with the sea whilst the second offers a wonderful walk, where the ocean can be glimpsed through the trees. At the top the road begins its climb to Beachy Head.
The ascent to the cliff top is made by a steep road with zigzagging hairpin bends. It climbs 600 feet and when you emerge from the trees that line the road you are offered a truly breathtaking view of the town below.


Beachy Head is the first of seven white cliffs that take you on to Brighton. They are known as the Seven Sisters. It’s not a good place for those afraid of heights. There is no fence at the cliff edge, just the a beautiful view of the most photographed lighthouse in the world! And a 600 foot drop!
Beachy Head also has a far more sinister record. It’s the most popular place in the UK for suicides. Between twenty and thirty go over the edge every year. The Samaritans have a free call box up there, and there is a resident chaplain who constantly drives along the cliff in his red and orange 4X4 looking for anybody in need of a friend at their hour of need.
Further along, and perched on the cliff edge, is Belle Tout Lighthouse. It’s now a home and has been the setting for many a TV programme or film. It was never successful as a lighthouse due to the fact it was often above the clouds in bad weather! Not much use to sailors in distress!
In the dip between the cliffs is Eastbourne’s little beach! Birling Gap. The coastal erosion has been alarming here with many of the small cottages having been claimed by the sea. The steps take you down to a stony beach where the view of the white cliffs on either side is spectacular.
However, in high summer, you are more likely to notice boobies and dangly bits - this is a naturist’s paradise!
Eastbourne isn’t just about the sea. The town is thriving. There are three theatres, hundreds of restaurants (I have an interest here as I had one myself) and a pretty good shopping centre. Most of the big names are here and others are lining up to grab a piece of the action when a suitable shop becomes available. A vacant shop in Eastbourne is a very unusual thing!
So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my whistle stop tour!

5 comments:

  1. omg I wished I would have looked at this the first time around. It is breath taking. The one of the flower gardens in the beginning reminds me of Windsor Canada, they have a garden much like that one, people are always getting married there. These pics are spectacular.

    Miss

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  2. That's a very beautiful place! Someday, if I get the chance, I'll come and visit you.

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  3. Hey,

    I love the pics but I have told you that before just beautiful.

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  4. WoW! These photos are absolutely breathtaking! What an enchanted place to reside. I am, oh... How can I say this without sounding covetous? ENVIOUS! No, that just won't do. What about BEGRUDGING? Nah, still a bit over the edge. (giggles)The lady is merely teasing Keith.

    What awe inspiring surroundings! It's no wonder that you write with such ease. Your atmosphere must truly 'move' you. The old English rendering of the word 'moved' likens it to a ship being carried along by the waves of the sea.

    I do have one question though. What on earth are you referring to when speaking of (boobies & dangly bits?) I know it has nothing to do with the anatomy, but I am none-the-wiser because of it. Do explain if you will.

    ~awe struck~

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  5. Thank you Keith - that was just what I needed to see. It is truly beautiful and I am SO relieved to hear that, purely by chance, we have picked the town with the best weather in England! :)

    Never mind Ambre - you can come and visit me anytime :)

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