We visit Hastings with Jeska from Lobster & Swan

January 19, 2010

Our latest Great Escape is brought to you by Jeska Hearne, Hastings resident, talented designer-maker, photographer and author of style blog Lobster & Swan (see images below for a taste of what’s on offer). You can find Jeska’s beautiful handmade homewares, gifts and original photography in her shop The Future Kept (which is listed in our directory here). We visit Hastings with her and she shares her favourite local finds

love this seasonal autum plants and vintage terracotta plant pots shot from Lobster and Swan blog by Jeska who shares her favourite local findslove the reclaimed wood panelling and grey scandi influenced sofa and cushions inside Jeska Hearne's garden office workshop/ tea shedlove this vintage gilt frame noticeboard repurposed by Jeska of Lobster and Swan

Where in Britain is it?

Hastings is located in East Sussex on the South coast of England.

Why should I go there?

Hastings is such a diverse town with a rich and varied community – there are lots of artists in residence and creative types.

A short walk from Hastings town centre is the Old Town, steeped in history with many stories to tell. There are museums to learn about local history, pirates, smugglers and the ancient but still thriving fishing village. Amongst the warren of streets there are boutiques, vintage and antique stores, restaurants, cute seaside cafes, great pubs, and some of the finest fish and chips for miles. The whole area is surrounded by nature reserves and country parks.

Head west for St Leonards on Sea and you’ll see more fabulous antique stores and new coffee shops, artist run boutiques and galleries. As you will see I am very passionate about my little town, there are so many hidden treasures, I often take time out and look at everything with new eyes.

penbuckles deli hastingsmade in hastings baby grows on washing line on. beachlove this vintage style beach painting at made in hastings beach paintinglove this snow scene painting with girl in red coat painted on a vintage suitcase. It's in Made in Hastings shoplove this vintage style shop with green 50s style tongue and groove walls and brightly coloured handmade craft at made in hastings shop door

Will I find interesting local products to buy?

Ceramics, toys, clothing, and homewares – all handmade and of a fantastic quality – can be bought from Made in Hastings (above), a store run by six local female artists. On the same street buy an exquisite hand tied bouquet to enjoy in your room for the duration of your stay from Shimizu flowers.

love these silver and gold handmade longhorn necklaces by pearl and queenie

There are lots of galleries selling local artwork. Visit Pearl & Queenie and browse their collection of contemporary jewellery for something original. The Lilac Room stocks pretty clothes and accessories and just across the street is Odd selling a mixture of beautiful antique and new gifts and home accents. Next door new store Warp & Weft (images below) has a charming mixture of clothing and other articles for person and home.

love these rustic baskets, large rustic wooden bowls and vessets at Warp and Weft Hastingslove this beautiful wool kaftan and kimono coat from warp and weft hastings

Where can I eat locally sourced food?

judges bakery hastings

First stop on an early morning is Judge’s Bakery (above) for an organic treat, such as  pretty whipped meringues, delicious bread, rolls, cakes and organic groceries. Next you’ll need something to accompany that bread, so on to Penbuckle’s for locally sourced speciality cheeses, condiments, wine, beer and cider. There is a wealth of restaurants with of course great freshly caught fish on the menu. For the best lunchtime fish and chips book a table at Maggie’s multi award winning café.

For atmosphere, clinking glasses, lively conversation and platters of varied Spanish fare, Harris’s Tapas Bar makes for a cosy evening. The Dragon Bar is another favourite of mine with its miss matched furniture and amazing food served on old fashioned crockery, I always love to sit at the table with the antique Eiffel tower lamp.

If you are heading to St Leonards by day take a break from antiquing and pop in toAardvark Tearoom and Gallery for yummy cloudy lemonade or fresh coffee in vintage teacups with a side of local artwork. For lunch or dinner head to St. Clements where the menu and reviews are so good it is hard to settle on a choice, I am eager to try every dish.

 swan house b & b hastings

Can I stay somewhere with a bit of character?

Around the area there are so many lovely places to stay all with an individual style. So I will share just a few, the first being Swan House. (above) This is a five star award winning bed and breakfast that is stylishly decorated in calming coastal colours.

Lavender & Lace bed and breakfast is traditional old town accommodation on a street of ancient houses with welcoming hosts and homemade yoghurt and preserves on the menu.

the white house hotel hastings

The White House is a grand Victorian house, where each room has been distinctively decorated. Most have sweeping views over Hastings (pictured). They also have two self-catering options, a garden flat and a pretty New England style lodge.

Situated closer to Hastings town centre is Black Rock House boutique guesthouse, an elegant Victorian villa in a quiet leafy street.

During the day visit some of the local museums with stories about the history of the area. If it’s raining, a walk in the underground caves where smugglers used to hide their rum is always fun.

Take a stroll up the East Hill and find yourself in the sprawling country park. With breathtaking views, green valleys and cliffs down to the beach, most seasons the hills are alight with yellow gorse. Look over to the west and you will see the ancient ruins of Hastings castle.

electric palace cinema electric palace cinema

On weekends why not try your hand at pot throwing in the Old Hastings Pottery? Or take in a film with a glass of wine at the Electric Palace. It’s an independently owned cinema that shows a great selection of more offbeat modern and classic old movies.

Not strictly Hastings, but a little along the coast there is The De La Warr Pavilion. You can explore this fascinating building or visit one of the many contemporary art exhibitions. I like to drink tea on a rainy day and watch the rough sea from the café windows.

When is the best time of year to go?

There is usually something going on most weekends. The hustle and bustle officially starts with the Jack in the Green Festival on the first weekend of each May. Morris dancers come from all over to celebrate the release of the Spirit of Summer.

June sees Open Studios from many local artists and crafters. Wonderful Coastal Currents is a multi media art festival that takes place at the end of August through September. Another favourite event never to be missed is the annual Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival, held around the third weekend of September, where local restaurants have stalls specialising in fish and seafood dishes, then in October there is the annual bonfire.

To make your trip truly all yours I will leave the rest for you to discover for yourself.

the future kept shop jeska hearne lobster and swan

Jeska’s online shop The Future Kept is listed in the From Britain with Love directory

Get all the contact info you need to connect – and shop – with Jeska at The Future Found from the listing here


We love this Steller Story by Lobster & Swan

For more information about visiting Hastings, check out the Visit 1066 Country website.
Map of Hastings
Would you like to write a Great Escapes feature? If you’d like to share your address book secrets with our readers, we’d love to hear from you. Just send an email to

Photo Album

Hastings ShopsMade in HastingsHastings Shops

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Let’s stay in touch!


We won’t bombard you with emails, but do sign up for our newsletter if you would like to hear from us from time to time.

We will share all our latest loves and inspirations so you can discover great new makers & creative finds too… X