12 things to do in St Leonards-on-Sea
Hastings much cooler more bohemian neighbour, St Leonards has got it all going on. The latest darling of London media professionals who are moving to the seaside town in droves it's been dubbed Shoreditch on Sea.
It’s true St Leonards-on-Sea is so hot RN (well not literally this is the UK), but the seafront Sussex town has seen a huge influx of creatives in the last couple of years drawn by reasonably priced period property and it’s ‘slightly rough around the edges’ arty vibe. But what’s all the fuss about? We had a good nose about to bring you Muddy’s pick of where to eat, shop and spend time in this South Coast style hub – Miami’s South Beach has got nothing on it. (well, maybe the weather and the Cadillacs but we digress).
1. Sample street food at Heist, Norman Road
This indoor street food market is housed in an old bank and is a cool collective of indie local food and drink businesses sharing the same values. They share communal seating too, so grab a table and tuck in!
2. Enjoy a pint at The Marina Fountain Pub, Caves Road
Described by Sunday Times critic Marina O’Loughlin as a pub to ‘be treasured’. The Marina was saved from closure by crowd-funding locals. Enjoy great food and drink plus on evenings and weekends it hosts live music.
3. Add a love lock to the sculpture on the seafront
The interactive artwork was unveiled ten years ago on the promenade at Goats Ledge and constructed from reclaimed groyne timbers from nearby Pevensey Bay. Much like the slighty more glamourous Pont des Arts in Paris it’s become a destination for people to leave a padlock as a lasting personal souvenir of their time.
4. Check out the art at the Bin Yin Gallery, London Road & Stella Dore Gallery, Norman Road
A proudly black-owned, artist-led gallery from artist Euan Roberts & partner Ruth Spencer, Big Yin is a contemporary art gallery that supports emerging talent.
5. Stella Dore Gallery works directly with a selection of Graffiti, Street & Urban Contemporary artists. Regular exhibitions, commissions and outdoor mural projects are undertaken, making it a guaranteed art solace.
6. Have lunch at The Royal, St Johns Road
The Royal is a welcoming, low-key and down-to-earth gastropub, occupying an historic corner site by Warrior Square station that dates back to the 1860s. . Serving draft beers, real ales, decent wines and simple but elevated pub cooking, it has proudly been bestowed with a Michelin Bib Gourmand that celebrates those who serve ‘exceptionally good food at moderate prices’.
7. Have dinner at St Clement’s, 3 Mercatoria
In the mood for seafood? This small, indie eaterie evolves its ever-changing menu depending on the daily catch from Hastings small, sustainable day boats. Everything is made from scratch, including the freshly-baked soda bread and the amazing puddings and ice creams (above).
8. Wander through Warrior Square Gardens
Warrior Square gardens is a lovely area of green space opposite the seafront. Opened in 1852, with many of the surrounding buildings built around the same time it’s 17,300 square metres of gardens are split into three sections. The lower area contains the famous statue of Queen Victoria looking regally out to sea, the top tier contains a Rose Garden and as the centre is sheltered by the buildings around it, it’s a great area to relax in.
In July the gardens host St Leonards’ Festival, a vibrant community initiative celebrating diversity and inclusivity for all through arts, music and entertainment.
9. Shop for basics at the plastic free Wonderfill, King’s Road
A welcoming refill shop selling food, toiletries and cleaning products without unnecessary plastic packaging. Don’t forget your tubs and pots!
10. Grab baked goods at Maker + Baker
This insta-worthy organic Sourdough Microbakery Maker & Baker on Kings Road is worth a stop off to stock up on the fashonista’s bread of choice (when they eat carbs obviously).
10. Buy some bagels from The Sleeper Store
More of a bagel fan? You must visit Sleeper, also on Kings Road, for hand rolled, freshly baked bagels. Choose form sweet fillings like chocolate and morello cherry as well as more traditional lunchtime savouries like salt beef or smoked salmon.
11. Peruse the antiques at Twisted King Interiors, Kings Road
Love 40’s and 50’s interiors? Get your fix with this quirky furniture shop that specialises in vintage mid-century items including lighting and fabrics.
12. Have a boozy hot chocolate from Goat Ledge
If you have any space at all after all that indulgence don’t miss this community café located right on the beach. Serving locally caught fish baps, delectable cakes, Ice Cream, waffles and drinks. They even have beach huts for hire.