Despite its semi-official title as ‘Britain’s sunniest town’, Eastbourne has been slow to throw off its unattractive image as death’s waiting room 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, since the mid-noughties an influx of students and the arrival of the southeast’s largest Portuguese and Polish communities 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 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.