Delve into history in and around Bexhill

The area around Bexhill and Battle is steeped in history. So why not stimulate your elderly loved one’s interest with a visit to a place with a fascinating past?

Many older people love to hear about the past, so at Home Instead Bexhill and Hastings, we believe that taking our elderly clients to see historical sites can be both stimulating and educational. It gives them something to talk about as well as to just relax and enjoy. And in places such as Battle, Bexhill and Bulverhythe, there are various places that are well worth visiting – as you’ll see from the examples we’ve chosen below. 

Bexhill Museum

A fascinating place to visit is the Bexhill Museum in Egerton Road. This is an independent museum accredited by the Arts Council. Founded in 1914, it’s now run as a registered charity. Its unique exhibits include dinosaur footprints and the history of the De La Warr Pavilion, as well as four collections: The Sargent Collection, The Costume Collection, The Technology Collection and the Bexhill in World War II Collection. Eddie Izzard is the museum’s patron and has donated his model railways, which are well worth seeing.

The museum is open every day, except for Mondays and bank holidays, from 11:00am to 4:00pm. The entry charge is £3 (£2.50 for concessions). Disabled access is very good, with a fully accessible entrance, galleries and circulating spaces; disabled access toilets; and a lift to the different levels. There’s also a hearing loop and assistance dogs are welcomed.

Battle Abbey

Even most school children will have heard of the Battle of Hastings. Battle Abbey is a scheduled monument – a partially ruined abbey that was originally built on the site of the battle. In October, there’s a re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings on the site. The abbey has a wide range of visitor attractions, including a walled garden and the Harold Stone, which marks the spot where King Harold reputedly died.

Tickets are fairly expensive (£12.90 or £11.60 for concessions), and can be booked in advance or on the day. Opening times can vary, so it’s best to check with the website. There’s a restaurant, café and toilets (including a disabled access toilet); assistance dogs are welcomed and a wheelchair/mobility scooter can be hired. However, some of the paths are steep and rough and there are steps into the abbey itself. There are allocated disabled car parking spaces.

The Amsterdam

If you wander along to Bulverhythe Beach at a very low tide, you might be lucky enough to see the remains of The Amsterdam. This is a ship that’s submerged in the sand, having run  aground near Hastings on the return part of its maiden voyage in 1749. This was caused by a storm, although 50 members of the crew had apparently died of the plague and apparently there was also a mutiny by members of the crew. The boat was a cargo ship owned by the Dutch East India Company, and it is still remarkably intact.  

The wreck was only found in 1969, when it was uncovered by a very low tide – and it can still only be seen a few times a year, near Bridge Way in Bulverhythe. The National Maritime Museum in the Netherlands has a full-sized replica of the boat.  

The De La Warr Pavilion 

The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea was opened in December 1935 by the ninth Earl De La Warr, who was the mayor of Bexhill. It was probably the prototype for a modern cultural centre and now hosts various exhibitions and events. Bexhill Museum has an original model of the pavilion, and a film about its history. The pavilion was the result of an international competition started by the earl. The winning design was created by a Russian and a refugee from Hitler’s Germany. 

Today, the pavilion has a café and bar, with wonderful views over the English Channel, and a gift shop. All floors are accessible to people with disabilities. There’s a ramp at the entrance and disabled toilets on two floors. Two travel wheelchairs are available for use. The building is open every day, from 10:00am to 5:00pm and there’s free admission to both the pavilion and its galleries. 

East Hill Lift

Another intriguing item worth visiting is the cliff railway in Hastings, also known as the East Hill Lift. Opened in 1902, this is a funicular railway that provides access to Hastings Country Park and overlooks Hastings Old Town and Rock-a-Nore. Funicular railways are laid on a steep slope and have two counter-balanced carriages. East Hill Lift is the UK’s steepest funicular railway and is a structure of national importance. The nearby West Hill Lift is its sister railway.

The East Hill Lift enables visitors to enjoy superb views of the coastline, including The Stade – home to Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet. Each carriage has step-free access and a space for a wheelchair but they are unsuitable for large mobility scooters. Return journeys cost £4.20 (£2.60 for concessions). Well-behaved dogs are welcome. 

As the area around Bexhill and Hastings is so steeped in history, we hope you’re able to take the time to explore one or two of the places we’ve mentioned above. And we hope your elderly loved one or friend will enjoy the experience too.  

If you’d like to know more about why at Home Instead Bexhill and Hastings we think that home care should be a real and viable option for the elderly wherever possible, please give us a call. We provide care and elderly care in Bexhill, Battle, St Leonards and Hastings.