The Christmas season is fast approaching and many Londoners are eager to scan their calendars to organize their festive days.
Of course, the capital has several Christmas events to keep people busy, but a number of amazing things are happening a little further afield.
And especially one coastal city just two hours from London is getting more vibrant than most at this time of year.
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Hastings, on the East Sussex coast, boasts an extensive sea-level pebble beach, stunning cliffs and a fascinating 19th-century pleasure pier – not to mention a beautiful Tudor town full of winding streets ripe for exploration.
The city is perhaps best known for (possibly) the most famous battle ever fought on British soil, rooted in the collective British memory of the incredibly effective advertising of the home insurance company Hastings Direct.
And for those looking for a festive fuzzy feeling, you’re in luck.
A visit to the city in December is always lit by the old town’s flashing Christmas lights, which also sparkle along the pier.
Also of interest is the city’s Christmas market, which is more unusual than many others you will encounter seasonally.
Pop Up Christmas Emporium, which takes place through the 11th -12th. December, imposes an opportunity on small local businesses to display their wares.
That means you are likely to come away with something authentic as opposed to something cheap and after the numbers.
And if you can stand it given the winter temperatures, you might want to head over to the city’s favorite ice cream parlor.
Di Pola’s ice cream shop, at 14 Marine Parade right on the seafront, often attracts long queues of customers eager to try its sweet, cold and creamy delicacies, homemade on site ‘with a lot of love’ and available in a large selection of tempting taste.
But it will be worth the wait, according to a recent guest at the store, who visited the store twice while on holiday in Hastings with their children and went so far as to declare Di Pola’s products “possibly the best ice cream in the UK!”
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How to get there
To get to Hastings from London the fastest route is by direct train from London Bridge to Hastings, which takes about 1 hour 35 minutes – same day return tickets cost around £ 20- £ 30 for adults if you buy them on the day, depending on train passes.
Alternatively, you can drive there in less than two hours via the A13 and A21.
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