Looking for your next UK break? How about 48 hours in 1066 Country, taking in the stylish cafes and restaurants, pretty coastal paths and historical sights of Rye, Hastings and Battle? Call it a modern traveller’s three-for-one deal!
A staycation is a great way to explore your home country and an ideal way to maximise a weekend break. You can really eek out every last hour. You don’t have to faff with airport check-ins and transfers, you don’t have to worry about language barriers, and technically you shouldn’t have to worry about not knowing what to pack because of the weather, but if you’re also in England you’ll know that last point isn’t really true. The weather here in England really has a mind of its own!
I ventured off to 1066 Country for a weekend escape down by the seaside. You’d think that travelling in June would mean a fairly good chance of sunshine, or at least grey clouds, but nope. We had one mediocre day of decent weather and then it went downhill pretty quickly.
Luckily for us we were staying in a gorgeous (and I mean gorgeous) little cottage, so we didn’t really mind having to snuggle on the sofa with a blanket and a pile of chocolatey treats.
Where to Stay
We stayed in Ivy Cottage through Mulberry Cottages. It’s one of their newer properties so everything is shiny and pretty untouched. No expense has been spared, so although it’s geared up as a holiday cottage it feels well-loved and like a home.
Tucked at the rear of a modern barn home, next to a manicured lawn and nearby to two adorable Shetland ponies, Ivy Cottage is the perfect bolthole. It has one bedroom with the softest carpet. Our bare feet left prints in it like we’d walked on the beach and Nova pretty much gasped when he crawled on it for the first time!
The bathroom is huge with an equally generous bathtub and gorgeous charcoal tiles. It’s the kind of place you want to bring your best pampering supplies to.
It’s a faultless cottage and one that I’m sure will be booked up in no time at all.
What to See and Do
Hastings, Rye and Battle are within driving distance of each other so you really can make a weekend of it. Ivy Cottage is a perfect base for exploring these places. I’d recommend one day in Rye, a good chunk in Hastings and then an hour or two in Battle, depending on whether you want to get your geek on.
Rye is a gorgeous little town. I’d never been before, but I’d love to return. Although it’s a really old place with a lot of preserved history, it’s also brimming with modern, stylish spots. Without a doubt, make sure you visit The Fig. With its hanging lights and freshly blended juices, it’s effortlessly cool and reminiscent of the hipster spots in Sweden. We LOVED it!
We also loved Edith’s House. So cute!
Make sure you also take a walk down Mermaid Street. It’s home to one of the supposed most haunted places, The Mermaid Inn. Its cellars date back to 1156 and the building was rebuilt in 1420. Local smugglers are said to have hung out in the bars in the 1730s and 1740s and who knows what else has gone on during the years.
Mermaid Street is a beautiful cobbled lane that’s also home to some other unique properties. We loved taking a lazy mooch, deciding which one we’d love to call home. I picked ‘The House With Two Front Doors’!
There’s also a pretty big antique and vintage scene in Rye. Lots of the stores are housed in beautiful barns with their wares spilling out onto the streets, tempting passer-byers. Even if you’re not into old-fashioned things I’m pretty certain something would catch your eye.
Hastings is a classic English seaside town, with a pretty pier (head to The Pavillion or The Deck for a bite to eat) and an eclectic style. Traditional cafes sit side by side modern ones, whilst unique ones pop up every now and then too. We really liked sitting among the books at Hanushka Coffee House (and Nova loved playing with the toys). It gets busy in there so grab a table when you can.
There are loads of fresh fish shacks and places to grab a bag of chips on the seafront. No seaside break would be complete without fish and chips, right?!
Hastings is home to the UK’s steepest funicular railway, so if you’re looking to do something a little more unusual head to East Hill Lift. It offers great views. There’s also West Hill Lift, which retains its original wooden Victorian coaches, and also runs through a tunnel, which I’m told is very unusual for a funicular.
Make sure to explore the Old Town and shops in George Street, High Street and Courthouse Street. Your purse may say otherwise, but there are some really quirky ones, so give yourself enough time to enjoy them all. Dotted near the traditional fisherman huts, you’ll find Jerwood Gallery, a museum of contemporary British art, so if that’s your thing head there.
Battle is a cute little spot with a high street adorned in bunting. At one end you’ll find Battle Abbey and at the other Battle Museum of Local History, so if you’re a budding historian you’ll love this place. This year marks the 950 anniversary of the Battle of Hastings so there will be loads going on in this area, including a re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings at Battle Abbey on the weekend of 15-16 October!
And if you’re the sort of person who likes to have a tour guide, Anton Lesser (yes, of Game of Thrones ilk) can guide you. Well kind of. You can access an audio tour via GeoTourist app that’s narrated by him.
Bluebell Café Tearoom is worth a visit if you’d much prefer to just enjoy a cake (or two) and relax.
There’s loads more to do in 1066 Country, but this lot should get you going…
Big thanks to Mulberry Cottages and Visit 1066 Country for hosting my visit