Despite its official title as ‘Britain’s sunniest town’, Eastbourne has been slow to throw off its unattractive image as death's waitingroom by the chilly Channel, all snoozing octogenarians in deckchairs and fusty guesthouses populated by vitamin D–deprived bank-holidaying Scots. But while much of this is still to be found here, in the last decade an influx of students and the arrival of the southeast's largest Polish community have given the town a sprightlier feel.
Eastbourne's 3.5-mile sweeping, palm-tree-lined seafront is one of the UK’s grandest. Add to this a fresh modern art gallery and the recently created South Downs National Park that nudges its western suburbs and Eastbourne certainly makes an enjoyable day trip from London or Brighton. It's also the start and end point for a hike along the 100-mile South Downs Way.