One of Hastings’ most famous landmarks are the fishermen’s net huts on the beach. Black weather boarded structures of some twenty five feet high, they were originally used as workshops and storage for nets ropes and sails. Since nylon nets were introduced the need for workshops has diminished and their main purpose now is as storage units. In the 1930’s, because of the limited space between the cliffs and the sea, the Borough Council restricted the area of each hut to eight square feet, so the fishermen built them up to three stories high to take all their equipment. There are just over forty huts remaining, many were lost to the sea over the last one hundred and fifty years and others were demolished to make way for beach development, at Rock-a-Nore.
The church of St.Nicholas was the fisherman’s church; built in 1854 it was used as a military store in the Second World War and by the 1950’s was in a really bad state. It was saved from demolition by the Old Hastings Preservation Society who restored it and it was re-opened as the Fishermen’s Museum in 1956. The original font remains in the building and the children of the local fishermen are still baptised here. Another feature of Rock-a-Nore is the East Well, a natural spring that still provides public drinking water. It is next to the East Hill Lift which is the steepest funicular railway in the country, opened in 1902 it carries passengers up the cliff to the beautiful glens at the top. Winding back from the beach area is All Saints Street where some of the quaint timber-framed houses date back to 1450. From here it is possible to climb to the top of the cliff via picturesque ‘twittens’ with houses of varying periods, many of them with Georgian facades.
The High Street and George Street, in the Old Town, are fast becoming trendy places to shop and eat attracting new cafes and individual boutiques.
Hastings new town is centred around the Priory Meadow shopping mall housing many large multiple chain shops and stores. Both locations are in close proximity to the sea front where there are a number of attractions to suit all ages and lifestlyes including the contemporary Jerwood Art Gallery with award winning Webbes Fish café, numerous childrens sporting activities: crazy golf, trampoline, football, netball and more recently the refurbishment of Hastings pier.