The East Sussex coastal town of Hastings is once again inviting would-be pirates to descend on the town in full piratical regalia, on Sunday 21st July 2013. Last year (2012) was a truly remarkable event, a beautiful English Summer’s day where a new Guinness World Record was set. 14,231 pirates met the specified dress-code and were gathered in raucous fashion in holding pens on Pelham Beach, where adjudicators confirmed that the previous record set in Penzance, Cornwall (for 8,734 pirates) had been well and truly smashed!
After being held in pens on the pebbly beach whilst the counting took place, many then opted to cool off in the sea, retreat to an Old Town hostelry or take a hilly stroll up to the lofty heights of the West Hill, to garner a good position to view the spectacle of the Red Arrows, happening later in the day.
This year will not be a record attempt (as the record set last year has not been plundered, and still stands) but it is still a very enjoyable reason for all ages to ‘go pirate’ and enjoy a fun-filled day out. This year, there’s lots of family fun to be enjoyed with exciting demonstrations and events such as sword fighting, cannon and firearm demonstrations and other pirate-related shenanigans.Read my article about last year’s epic event here
If you do decide to join the hearty band of sea-dogs who come to enjoy this year’s shindig, you may well decide to extend your stay as there are lots of other attractions in 1066 country well-worth setting sail for. Here are some of the highlights:
Hastings itself, has lots to offer visitors. It is the home of the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe, the remains of the first castle in England built by William the Conqueror, a preserved Old Town and a strong local arts community. A relatively new addition, is the shiny Jerwood Gallery, home of contemporary art and special events. Attractions worth visiting are Smugglers Adventure, where the area’s dark and dangerous past is brought vividly to life, Blue Reef Aquarium , home to mesmerising and ghostly sharks and rays and a walk-through tunnel, which puts you right at the heart of the watery world. You also have a choice of either the East Hill or West Hill Cliff Railway from where you have unrivalled vantage points of the seafront and beyond, as well as access to attractions above the town below. Hastings has a thriving diary of events and cultural happenings, including Jack in the Green and Hastings Bonfire Celebrations.
Battle Abbey and battlefield Don’t miss the chance to visit the site of the historic clash between William the Conqueror and King Harold, visit the battlefield where a nation’s destiny shifted, with interactive exhibits and atmospheric abbey ruins. The small town of Battle is worth exploring in its own right too, with a selection of independent and quirky shops, many of them foodie or fashion related, with some lovely gift ideas too.
The picturesque town of Rye A definite town to visit to be transported back in time, with antiquated cobble streets, quaint shops and a variety of eateries, including The Ambrette at Rye, which is a modern Indian restaurant, hailed as the area’s best restaurant, in the Taste of Kent awards. Another celebrated highlight is the highly-atmospheric Mermaid Inn which dates back to 1420, and allows you to choose accommodation with four-posters and fascinating secret passages, a relic of intrigue and danger in times past.
Bexhill on Sea This town is renowned for being a bit ‘grey’ as it is a chosen retirement location for many, which isn’t surprising given the many assets that the town enjoys. The iconic De La Warr Pavilion is well worth a visit, this striking piece of architecture, right on the seafront, houses a variety of exhibitions, as well as concerts and special events. The beach is lovely for young children, as there are stretches of sand at low tide, and also great for families are the revamped playground in Egerton Park and the fun-filled fountains on the seafront, which are a great hit with the young and the young-at-heart.
Whether you come to 1066 Country just for Pirate’s Day itself, or you extend your visit to take in more of the local attractions, you are sure to find lots to ‘treasure’ in your memory forever!
We look forward to receiving your photos, and look forward to helping you save on your all-important travel insurance.
Are pirates covered by travel insurance? – of course they aaaaaaaaaaaarh!
A collection of photos from Pirate Day 2013 is now available on our Pinterest page: