The start of Britain’s motor racing story, the first UK resort to hold mixed bathing, the home of the futuristic De La Warr Pavilion and international star Eddie Izzard and the inspiration for Keane’s most famous song Sovereign Light Café – Bexhill’s extraordinary past and vibrant present defy its ill-deserved reputation as a sleepy seaside town.
Today, people love the its unique character and quirkiness. There are no chain stores or loud, neon seafront attractions. Instead you’ll find high quality individual shops – both old and new – locally owned eateries and a contemporary promenade with award-winning modern shelters, play areas and funky planting.
Bexhill is the perfect place for those who love to bargain-hunt in antique, vintage and independent stores. Starlings (Sackville Road) is run by a collective of artists and is bursting with hand-crafted cards, prints, knits, ceramics, jewellery and gifts for all tastes. Other shops such as Stuff and Nonsense In The Big Egg (Western Road), Salvridges (Parkhurst Road) and Sweet Peas and Doris (Sea Road) spill out on to the pavement, inviting you to browse and tempting you to buy. Local traders include Karen at Willow (Sea Road) – a locally-owned shop with an ever-changing window display of gorgeous fashion and leather bags, The Angry Whelk (seafront) – fresh fish to eat on the hoof or to take home and H&H Confectioners (Sackville Road) displaying jars of old fashioned sweets in the front window. Just opened at the top of Devonshire Road is The Carnegie Loft, selling clothes and souvenirs including unique “Bexhill” road sign cushions!
Stylish French and Swedish clothes, Spanish socks and Turkish fizzy orange can be found at aFic on Wickham Avenue, opposite The Workshop – a friendly space that sells children’s clothes and goodies, runs family workshops and offers desk space for the freelance worker.
Music is a big part of Bexhill life with independent record/vinyl store Music’s Not Dead in the Cafe Bar at DLWP presenting regular “in-stores”- live gigs and album launches. Records & Retro and Second Spin (both in Sackville Road) feature a treasure trove of cassettes and vinyl from all decades and we present a regular programme of live entertainment at DLWP.
Bexhill loves to go out to eat starting with a full English on the seafront at the Sovereign Light Café ; lunch at the seaside bar and bistro Rocksalt (Marina), Rusticos (Italian street food) and supper in Picassos (Italian), Driftwood (South East Asian) or the Wickham Bistro (“classical, modern and worldly cooking”). Traditional seaside fayre of fish and chips can be found at Minnie Bertha’s opposite Bexhill Sailing Club (when the weather is bad it can enjoyed with wine in Kerry’s Wine Bar next door) . The Beach Hut is a cool kiosk full of home bakes, ice creams and hot sandwiches cooked to order, to be enjoyed sat on a wooden balcony on the beach.
The town centre’s B&Bs are contemporary and as full of character as its shops. They include Driftwood, Rocksalt and Coast to name but a few. After a good night’s sleep, a walk or cycle along the spacious promenade is essential down-time as is a visit to the excellent Bexhill Museum (just off the promenade and Egerton Park) featuring Eddie Izzard’s family train set!