Site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, this quiet town is anything but turbulent now. The ruined Battle Abbey, built by William the Conqueror to celebrate his victory, and the battlefield itself are open to the public courtesy of English Heritage.
The town has a pretty high street with lots of boutiques and independent shops. It’s also home to Yesterday’s World, a quirky, nostalgic museum that aims to transport visitors back in time via a series of shops with original products from Victorian times to around 1970.
Full of handsome red-brick architecture, Tenderden feels like the quintessential English market town. Its thriving high street has a mix of independent shops, high-end chains and antique shops, and the Kent & East Sussex Railway also starts here.
The best beach resorts are an easy mix of high- and low-brow, and Hastings has it all, with arcades and mini-golf sitting just yards from the cutting-edge contemporary art of the Jerwood Gallery. The genteel Old Town is an antique/junk shopping hotspot.
A relaxing old-fashioned air pervades Bexhill. Stroll on the promenade or the beach, and see what’s on at the De La Warr Pavilion, the sensational modernist arts centre that dominates the seafront.
If you fancy a day of big-name shopping, Ashford has pretty much every retail chain you can think of, while the Ashford Designer Outlet includes more than 80 stores offering discounted goods, including Gap, Jaeger, Kurt Geiger and Ted Baker.