Why I’m proud to call Eastbourne my home

I do intend to write a ‘proper’ visitor’s guide to Eastbourne at some point but for now here’s a personal piece about why I’m proud to call Eastbourne my home

Why am i here, anyway?

My parents moved to Eastbourne from North London when I was six. At 18 I moved to Cornwall, then to Surrey at 21 before returning to Eastbourne a year later to revisit a romance I never quite managed to forget

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Photos I’ve taken in Eastbourne

Now three years later I’m still here – back in the place I grew up and still (miraculously) living with the man I came home to be with. I’ve fallen back in love with this little seaside town, affectionately (and somewhat optimistically) nicknamed The Sunshine Coast.  Finally, instead of seeing a boring, dead-end, gloomy small-town sort of place, I can see Eastbourne’s outstanding beauty, vibrancy and a glowing future.

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leaving home

As a teenager I couldn’t wait to leave. I craved a sort of lifestyle I didn’t think Eastbourne could provide. I really wanted to learn to surf and grow my hair long and have a campfire on a beach with lots of other cool people with long hair and probably a guy with an acoustic guitar. I had this idea of myself as a bit of a hippy. I wanted to travel the world and have adventures and see everything and get a job on a great white shark cage boat. My college tutor told me that was a terrible idea and I should go to University immediately, and I – clearly not being the carefree whimsical soul I imagined I was, dutifully took her advice.

It wasn’t bad advice, either. Cornwall was a beautiful place to study. I had surfing lessons, I grew my hair long and I even had a campfire on a beach. But University is a bubble, and all bubbles burst. Real life came at me like a brick wall and before I knew it I was in Surrey with a ‘proper job’ and the beautiful house in Cornwall that I shared with my wonderful friends felt suddenly like a fading dream.

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Falmouth – another place close to my heart

Camberley, a sort of no-man’s land between Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire, just wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t quite London – another glamorous lifestyle I’ve always hankered after – and it wasn’t quite the peaceful country life. I began to look forward to the weekends when I could get on a train and trundle back down through England to the South Downs. When I saw those green rolling hills from the window I knew I was home.

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credit – southdowns.gov

…and returning

Eastbourne has its fair share of crime and deprivation. It’s got some really rough areas and some truly despicable people, like any human settlement. It’s also one of the UK’s top suicide spots. Dozens of people travel here every year to throw themselves off the 300ft chalk cliffs at Beachy Head. It’s an eerie feeling, jogging or walking past the little wooden crosses and flowers that pepper the cliff edge, thinking of the people who once stood there with nothing left.

Although a lot of people do tragically choose to die here, Eastbourne is still an outstandingly beautiful place to live.

cool Things to do in eastbourne

  • Take in the views

Get up early enough on a clear day and you’ll see the sun rise over the sea. Climb up Beachy Head and you’ll see it set over the hills, bathing the landscape in a golden glow. On a sunny day walk down the palm-lined seafront – you’ll feel like you’ve left England.

  • Take in the culture

When it’s rainy, head to the Towner gallery to see world-famous contemporary art for free (and great tea and cake in the cafe with a view over the famous Devonshire tennis courts).

  • Take in the booze

There’s some lovely pubs and bars – The Dew Drop on South Street if you want a great burger on a chintzy plate and Printer’s Playhouse in the evening to see fantastic up-and-coming singer-songwriters. In summer wander up to the bandstand to see tribute acts every Friday night and the 1812 overture with fireworks every Wednesday.

  • Eat!

You’ll find plenty of great little restaurants down the upper half of Terminus Road, and on Cornfield Terrace my favourite – Flamenco, a little Spanish tapas bar that sometimes has live guitarists playing to the diners.

There’s so much more to say but I’ve got to prepare for a job interview now. Eek!

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