The battle for Hastings: a seaside town on the up

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Hastings is one of Sussex’s more maligned coastal towns, but it’s having something of a rebirth with a slick new hotel and a colourful café scene

There are some cafés with such great names, you just have to eat there. So, in spite of grey, drizzly skies and a stiff breeze, we head to Goat Ledge in St Leonards – set on the seafront with tables on the shingle – for breakfast. One of the town’s new breed of hip cafés and eateries, Goat Ledge is a brightly painted beach shack, with bookable huts for dinners of freshly caught fish or crab-loaded fries, and lip-smacking breakfast baps, washed down with Coldblow coffee, hand-roasted just over the border in Kent.

Our chilly – but delicious – breakfast comes after a night in Hastings, one of Sussex’s more maligned seaside towns, famous for its fishing fleet and the two funiculars that grind up the cliffside (the East Hill Lift is the steepest in the country, although currently out of action). Usually referred to as part of a duo with St Leonards – rather like Brighton and Hove – there’s much talk of the town having a rebirth, not least because of the opening of Vive, a slick hotel housed in former university accommodation right in the heart of town.

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