Days Out with a Toddler: Hastings

Last Saturday we went on a spontaneous trip to the seaside.  Both boys(hubbo and son) were not feeling great; plus we were all getting on each others tits by 10am, so off we went.

We went to Hastings in East Sussex which is about an hour from home by car; it’s a pleasant drive through the country and holds many childhood memories for both of us.

We realised in the car we had never actually taken the mancub there before.  Hubbo launched into a rant about how in over two years our son had never seen the sea.

I then gently reminded him how his mum lives by the sea and we swam in it multiple times last year.  Knob.

Once we had parked up, I realised I had forgotten the small one’s coat.  Shit.  Luckily I had two hoodies, a fleece and my scarf in the back of the car.  Poor little love, he couldn’t move his arms by the time I’d wrapped him up.

Hubbo suggested we go to the aquarium – the small one loves Nemo and Dory and especially Hank the octopus, and it was a great idea.  I had never been and to be fair I didn’t feel like I was missing out, I’m not a great fan of fish, swimming or on my plate.

Blue Reef Aquarium was okay I guess.  It was expensive for what it was (£9.20 per adult and free Under 3) and I was a little disappointed.  I was only really excited to see the shark and it was tiny.  Boo.

The mancub really enjoyed it though – he loved seeing all the fish and we even saw a Nemo and Dory and Hank, he was very excited.

It also only took about thirty minutes to go round the whole thing, but entry lasts all day if you get a hand stamp, so we decided to have a walk along the front and come back for another walk around later.  It is also pushchair suitable – there are seven steps down to a tunnel and seven back up again, which are easily bumped.

I had remembered a little railway when I was younger that ran from the fish market to the fairground and I thought it had long gone.  I was so chuffed to see it still there and running!

The miniature railway has been done up and has a variety of engines and carriages that run.  It was good fun and again I’m going to sound mean but I felt it was a little steep – £2 per adult for a single, £3 per adult for a return, children free.  It only really lasts for five minutes and is more of a novelty than anything.  Saying that I would say it is overpriced but the tomboy in me loves steam trains and it was lovely to see it running so I would say the price is justified to maintain such a lovely thing.

The seafront where the fairground was looked very run down, the boating lake was empty and it all looked quite shabby.  There was a nice wide path running along the sea front, it was ideal for letting the small person roam free without worrying about traffic or falling into the sea.  There was also a lovely play area, but being a Saturday it was full of older children who were probably too old to be in there and it wasn’t particularly safe to let the small one in there with skateboards, bikes, fast-moving footballs and cans laying all over the floor.  Bit of a let down.

We had a mooch around the amusement arcades(after all, what’s the seaside without the 2p machines playing Jean-Michel Jarre – memories) and the small one had a go on some of the coin-operated rides.

The Old Town was very busy, not very suitable for small people, but perfect for a selfish mummy on a mooching mission(ahem).  I may have ditched the boys and gone off for a little mooch around the fab vintage shops.

By this point the boys were moaning that they were hungry, yet the hubbo couldn’t settle on somewhere to go where we could actually get the pushchair in the door.  After a minor row we ended up at the Old Town Fryer for Fish & Chips and a rest.

It was a bit of a long wait to get seated and to get served but they were super friendly and very accommodating.

The little person loved his sausage and chips despite having a tantrum and refusing to speak for thirty minutes(no complaints from me).

We toddled back towards the railway and had a wander through the fairground, which again was in major need of some TLC.  The mancub had a go on the little car-coaster thing and loved it, it cost two tokens a ride and at 50p per token we couldn’t complain.  The staff were lovely – he had hated anything like that before so we wanted to know he couldn’t get out, which the lady reassured us he couldn’t and in any case if he wanted to get out she would stop it straight away and we could have our tokens back.  Really good fun and perfect for little people.

He may have even tried candyfloss – my inner Dental Nurse is tut-tutting me, not my choice, I hate the bloody stuff.

It was starting to get cold, so we hopped back on the little train and the boys had a quick mooch around the aquarium again.  We let the small person pick a toy as he had been amazing all day and couldn’t have been better behaved bless him.  He picked out a reasonably sized Nemo, and at £7.99 we couldn’t complain.

We headed home after a lovely day, tired and happy, and would thoroughly recommend Hastings to anyone with young children., or any age to be fair.

We parked in the Rock-A-Nore car park near the fish market and it cost roughly £3 for all day, which was great.  It is unmarked bays and you can pick plenty of spots with space to get kids in and out, pushchair etc.

There is quite a lot of walking involved and lots to see and do, if your little people are still tiring easily definitely take a pushchair or carrier.

You can find more information on things to do here.

Have you been? Do you have any recommendations on days out in the South East?  I would love to hear from you if you do!

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