“Usually, there’s people trying to get out of Bexhill, not in.”
The above is a line from Children of Men, a childless dystopian science fiction film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and loosely based on the novel The Children of Men own P. D. James. In this film, Bexhill is a shitty refugee camp that nobody wants to live in, but in reality, Bexhill is a gorgeous British seaside town. Far from the polluted town shown in the film, Bexhill is actually renowned for its health-giving air since Victorian times and enjoys probably the best climate on the south coast.
Bexhill-on-Sea can be found at the heart of the district of Rother in East Sussex, in between Hastings and Eastbourne. The first reference to Bexhill, or Bexelei as it was originally called, was in a charter granted by King Offa of Mercia in 772 AD. It is recorded that King Offa had ‘defeated the men of Hastings’ in 771 AD.
Now Bexhill is a vibrant little town with modern vintage shops, quirky places for art and music, and independent cafés and restaurants, defying traditional seaside stereotypes.
Set in the midst of 1066 Country, Bexhill-on-sea offers a quiet charm missing from many larger, well-known seaside resorts. In fact little has changed since the 1950s and 60s – so for a bit of quiet nostalgia come and visit Bexhill-on-Sea. Bexhill is a gem on the south coast and we residents have tried to keep it a secret for years.
The thing I love the most in my hometown is to take a leisurely evening stroll along the wide-level promenade, gently sloping beach and the expanse of sand at low tide. It is an idyllic location to enjoy the stunning sea views across the bay to Eastbourne and Beachy Head or Galley Hill and Hastings. Away from the beach you can hire a boat, play tennis in Egerton Park, or try your hand mini-golf on the Metropole Lawns. Bexhill Museum is a must for those with an interest in motorsport, archaeology or dinosaurs with plenty of interactive displays for you to enjoy.
Steeped in history since Napoleonic times, Bexhill-on-Sea is known as the birthplace of British motor racing, with the nation’s first two-motor races taking place here in 1902 as part of a wider effort market the town as a fashionable seaside resort.
The most notable landmark in Bexhill-on-Sea is the De La Warr Pavilion. The De La Warr Pavilion is a Grade I listed building, located on the seafront at Bexhill-on-Sea. This stunning art deco building hosted Bob Marley’s first UK gig in 1972 and nowadays boasts an eclectic programme of events, many of which are free. This famous 1930’s Pavilion makes a prominent focal point and provides year-round quality entertainment.
Local boy and international star Eddie Izzard is a regular visitor to Bexhill because it is his hometown and platinum-selling group Keane drew inspiration from their childhood trips to Bexhill for their song, ‘Sovereign Light Cafe’.
Bexhill also has a 260-year-old shipwreck on its beach. Technically, the Amsterdam Shipwreck is in West St Leonards but, as it’s not far from Bexhill Town Centre, but I still class it as Bexhill. It’s a remarkably well-preserved Dutch East India Company cargo ship which can be seen on Bulverhythe Beach during only the lowest of tides. The ship has lain partially submerged since it was abandoned in 1749 — during an ill-fated maiden voyage which saw 50-odd members of its crew succumb to ‘yellow fever’, as well as an apparent mutiny.
Now, what of the nightlife, we have a few trendy and popular bars in Bexhill, but while the De La Warr hosts the odd DJ set, it’s fair to say that Bexhill isn’t exactly renowned for its nightlife. If you want to party, hop on a train to Brighton come dusk.