Recalling a visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935
Eastbourne, East Sussex, England, is noted for its fine and long Promenade, used by strollers and joggers with varying levels of energy and determination.
At the far, western end of the Promenade lies Holywell, a scenic and mainly peaceful area close to the white, chalk cliffs which culminate in the renowned Beachy Head. The actual, famous lighthouse at Beachy Head is beyond the line of vision from here, but from Holywell, amidst lush greenery, are fine vistas of the cliffs and of the English Channel. The top of one of the cliffs at Holywell is known locally as the Pinnacle; and has also been referred to as Gibraltar.
Part of what gives Holywell its special attraction is the different levels of promenades, themselves linked with sloping paths, the thickness of the vegetation giving these paths a sense of seclusion.
Along the lower promenade, a long line of simple, mature beach chalets (1) overlook the sea; interestingly, the penultimate unit (No. 2) was occupied by King George V and Queen Mary nearly 80 years ago; a plaque records this occasion (2).
Holywell is part of the Meads district of Eastbourne, East Sussex.
January 23, 2013
(1) This chalets are rented on a preferential basis to Eastbourne residents; for this possibility, a significant waiting list exists.
(2) The wording of the plaque says: 'This chalet was used by their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary in the month of March 1935'. In the final years of King George V's life, he underwent periods of serious ill health, and repeatedly stayed at resorts of the south coast of England; on one such visit, to Bognor, Sussex, the town was subsequently named Bognor Regis in his honour. However, it seems that Eastbourne was deemed already to be famous enough not to require any addition to its name!
Also worth seeing
In Eastbourne itself, among many attractions are included: the Beachy Head cliffs; Eastbourne Pier; the Redoubt fortress; the Martello Wish Tower; the 19th century Town Hall; noted church buildings include: St Saviour's church, also in South Street; the 12th century Church of St Mary the Virgin in Old Town; the Italianate All Souls Church.
How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York - Newark to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. (Distance from London Heathrow to Eastbourne : 146 kilometres.) For access by road, take M25/M23/A23/A27. There are rail links to Eastbourne from London Victoria railroad station. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.