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In 1066 Nation, East Sussex, historical past, journey, and nature come collectively to supply a various array of experiences.
Rolling countryside, wealthy historical past, and a battlefield that modified the story of England endlessly… that is 1066 Nation. This beautiful nook of East Sussex is house to mile upon mile of peaceable countryside, dotted with picturesque villages and medieval cities.
Encompassing the gorgeous Sussex Weald and the jap finish of the East Sussex shoreline, the landscapes listed here are stuffed with historical past. That is the place one of many largest moments in England’s historical past performed out. William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey in 1066, defeated the final Anglo-Saxon king on the Battle of Hastings, and ultimately conquered the complete nation.
In 1066 Nation, that historical past nonetheless feels alive. Go to the battlefield, discover Norman castles and church buildings, or stroll a path that follows the identical route because the Norman military.
It’s not all about historical past, although. The East Sussex shoreline and the beautiful countryside of the Sussex Weald, a part of the Excessive Weald AONB, are good settings for journey and having fun with nature.
Go to a winery, spot birdlife in nature reserves, or take an exhilarating RIB trip alongside the coast. Discover castles and nation manors, or head to historic cities seeking museums, impartial buying, and nice native eateries.
On this submit, I’ve shared my choose of the prime issues to do round Battle, Hastings, and Rye in 1066 Nation. I’ve additionally included some itinerary concepts on the finish of the submit, that can assist you plan your individual journey. No matter you stand up to, you’re positive to take pleasure in exploring this unimaginable hidden gem in southeast England.
This evaluate was created as a part of a sponsored journey supported by Go to 1066 Nation. As at all times, all phrases and opinions are my very own.
The place is 1066 Nation?
1066 Nation covers the jap nook of East Sussex in Southeast England, stretching from the Sussex Weald to the coast.
The area encompasses the gorgeous landscapes of the Excessive Weald AONB, the East Sussex shoreline from Bexhill to Camber, and a few of the space’s most historic cities and villages – together with Hastings, Rye, and Battle.
The identify, 1066 Nation, comes from the 12 months of the well-known Battle of Hastings and subsequent Norman conquest of England.
It’s maybe the one historic date everybody in England is aware of, and a pivotal second within the nation’s historical past, when William the Conqueror (Duke William of Normandy) gained a battle in opposition to King Harold, the final Anglo-Saxon king of England – ultimately conquering the complete nation.
The battle occurred proper right here in East Sussex, about 7 miles north of Hastings, at a website the place at this time the aptly named city of Battle stands.
Enjoyable Issues to do in 1066 Nation
1. Be taught concerning the Battle of Hastings at Battle Abbey
As I’ve talked about above, 1066 Nation takes its identify from the well-known Battle of Hastings. Whether or not you’re British, or a customer from abroad, studying about this important piece of English historical past is an actual eye-opener.
Battle Abbey was based by William the Conqueror in 1071, 5 years after the battle, as an atonement and a memorial to the useless. After the dissolution of the monasteries within the 1500s, the abbey turned a rustic property. As we speak, the principle a part of the nation home – previously the abbot’s lodging – is house to a personal faculty.
Begin with the Customer Centre for a wonderful introduction to the Battle of Hastings historical past – then observe indicators for the Battlefield Stroll. This takes you thru the property and across the precise battlefield. Wood sculptures of troopers dotted alongside the path assist convey the story of the battle to life.
Subsequent, discover the ruins of the abbey cloisters. Components of those buildings are virtually a thousand years previous! The church is not standing, however its structure is marked out in stones, together with the place of the excessive altar – which is believed to be positioned on the spot the place King Harold fell.
Lastly, discover the Abbey Gatehouse – which dates from 1338 and homes a small museum about life within the abbey. You’ll want to climb as much as the tower roof for wonderful views of the encompassing countryside.
2. Observe the 1066 Nation Stroll
For eager hikers, the 1066 Nation Stroll is one of the best ways to discover the world’s wealthy historical past and beautiful nature. It’s a 31-mile long-distance strolling path from Pevensey (the place the Norman military landed) to Rye.
Alongside the way in which, the route passes a few of the space’s most historic websites, together with Battle Abbey, the Norman Herstmonceux Citadel, and medieval Winchelsea.
The total stroll might be finished in two days – or three in the event you take it sluggish. However you don’t must do the entire thing! The official information breaks the 1066 Nation Stroll into 6 quick sections, various from 4 to six.6 miles in size. So you may choose a bit and luxuriate in a brief, simple hike by way of 1066 Nation.
I’d advocate the part from Brownbread Road to Battle Abbey, following within the footsteps of the Norman military and passing by way of the traditional Powdermills Wooden.
3. Discover Battle
Whilst you’re visiting Battle Abbey, don’t overlook to discover the city of Battle itself. It is a cute, vibrant little nation city filled with quirky impartial outlets and eateries.
Begin with a stroll right down to St Mary’s Church to go to Battle Tapestry, a kind of modern-day sequel to the Eleventh-century Bayeux Tapestry, crafted in 2017 by resident Tina Greene and over 700 native stitchers.
Whereas the Bayeux Tapestry depicts the occasions main as much as the Norman Conquest, the Battle Tapestry tells the story of how the city of Battle developed between the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the founding of St Mary’s Church in 1115.
Subsequent, hit the Excessive Road to discover Battle’s fab impartial scene. I extremely advocate Rother Books (bookshop in a wonderful timber-framed constructing), BRITISH design BRITISH made (for arts, crafts, and presents from British makers), and White Sails (for garments and cute house furnishings)… however there are masses extra nice outlets to discover.
Lastly, swing by Battle Faucet to attempt a few of Battle Brewery’s award-winning beers (I appreciated Fyrd’s Gold), together with different native drinks.
4. Wander the Historic Streets of Rye
The charming little city of Rye close to the coast of East Sussex has grow to be one of the vital well-liked locations to go to within the south of England. This medieval city is stuffed with historical past and character – particularly the well-known Mermaid Road.
Begin with a go to to Rye Heritage Centre to see the well-known Rye City Mannequin – constructed by a neighborhood couple in 1973. The sensible Story of Rye sound and light-weight present brings the mannequin to life whereas narrating the city’s historical past. A couple of native legends and ghost tales are labored in, including a contact of intrigue. Don’t miss it!
Subsequent, discover the picturesque cobbled streets of Rye’s compact centre. Mermaid Road is the spotlight, house to the long-lasting Mermaid Inn, considered one of England’s oldest pubs. The primary constructing dates from 1420, when the city was rebuilt after a hearth, however the cellars date from 1156. It’s additionally stated to be essentially the most haunted inn in England, with common sightings of spirits reported by workers and guests.
Don’t miss the Landgate, a part of the unique metropolis partitions relationship from 1329, or the picturesque West Road. Go to the red-brick Lamb Home for a glimpse inside a Georgian townhouse with a wealthy historical past. Lastly, you’ll want to climb the bell tower of St Mary’s Church for one of the best view of Rye.
5. Go on a Seal Safari
Craving journey? Head to Rye Harbour for a thrilling, fast-paced RIB trip alongside the coast with Full Throttle Boat Charters.
Their Seal Safari boat journeys (from £35pp) are a superb option to expertise the East Sussex shoreline – and get near a few of 1066 Nation’s cutest residents!
Skipper Will tells me he’s by no means not seen seals in “Seal Bay” – so you’re just about assured to identify some. An entire colony of gray seals hang around on the foot of the cliffs close to Fairlight; on my go to, we noticed dozens. The boat excursions don’t get too shut, in order to not disturb the seals, however you may nonetheless get a terrific view of the lovable creatures swimming.
Will had some spare binoculars I used to be in a position to borrow – however I’d advocate bringing your individual, and a digital camera with a zoom lens you probably have one.
6. Step Again in Time at Bodiam Citadel
Bodiam Citadel is definitely one of the vital dramatic sights in 1066 Nation – and an absolute must-visit! This 14th-century spoil is precisely what you consider whenever you image a fort. A basic medieval fort with towers, portcullis, and a moat, set throughout the picturesque
It was inbuilt 1385 and fell into disrepair throughout the fifteenth and Seventeenth centuries. As we speak, this evocative spoil is protected by the Nationwide Belief – so you may discover contained in the ruins, and even climb a few of the towers. The views of the beautiful Sussex countryside from the highest are unbeatable!
Bodiam Citadel can be house to 6 species of bats, together with the most important identified roost of Daubenton’s bats within the UK. It’s the proper spot for them: the towers are supreme nesting locations, and each the moat and close by River Rother entice the bugs the bats feed on.
You may typically spot the bats sleeping whilst you discover the fort towers. Whilst you can’t go to the fort after sundown, in the event you’re strolling close by you’ll have the ability to see them flocking from the towers to feed.
7. Take a Tour of Oxney Natural Winery
South East England has grow to be well-known as a wine-producing area lately, and East Sussex is not any exception. In truth, East Sussex is house to a few of the UK’s main wineries.
One among these, Oxney Natural Winery, was proper subsequent door to my glamping website within the Sussex Weald – so in fact I had to pay a go to!
Though there are numerous wineries dotted round East Sussex, this one is completely natural, so it’s properly value visiting if you wish to attempt one thing a little bit completely different.
Based in 2012 by Kristin Syltevik and Paul Dobson, Oxney is a beautiful property with 35 acres of vines surrounded by the tranquil Sussex Weald. You may go to for a tour to study extra concerning the natural winemaking course of – and, extra importantly, to attempt their superb wines.
Sitting within the solar with proprietor Kristin, chatting about wine and the glories of East Sussex, was simply one of many highlights of my journey! I’ve tried (and cherished) Oxney’s basic glowing wine earlier than, so I used to be excited to attempt the total vary. The glowing rose was my private favorite – good for a sunny day.
8. Paddleboard on the River Rother
Paddleboarding is considered one of my favorite actions, particularly on rivers and lakes. It’s such a soothing, light journey and an effective way to discover the countryside.
Flowing gently by way of the Sussex Weald, the River Rother is a perfect setting for paddleboarding. Sluggish-moving, vast, and straightforward to navigate – it’s good for freshmen.
Hire a board from Bodiam Boating Station (£15 first hour) and set off alongside the river for beautiful views of the encompassing countryside. In an hour, you may make it to the Kent & East Sussex Railway railway bridge and again – in the event you’re fortunate, you may even see one of many steam trains crossing.
When you’ve got extra time (and power) it’s additionally potential to paddle all the way in which to Bodiam Citadel within the different route. The pleasant workers at Bodiam Boating Station shall be completely happy to share ideas in your journey.
You too can borrow kayaks, rowing boats, and multi-person canoes – however SUP will at all times be my favorite! While you’re finished, you’ll want to gas up at Bodiam Boating Station’s fabulous, Scandi-inspired Lime Wharf Cafe. Menus change with the seasons and are at all times stuffed with inventive, domestically sourced dishes.
9. Dine with Alpacas at Fisherwood Farm
Within the coronary heart of the Sussex Weald, you’ll discover one of the vital uncommon issues to do in 1066 Nation. Head to Fisherwood Farm to meet their three pleasant pet alpacas: Pepe, Ollie, and Ricardo.
Founders Nicki and Carol provide three improbable alpaca experiences at their picturesque smallholding. A forty five-minute go to, the place you’ll get to feed the alpacas and meet all of the cattle, prices simply £25 for a gaggle of six – so it is a improbable, inexpensive choice.
However for one thing a bit extra particular, I’d extremely advocate choosing both cream tea (£25pp) or afternoon tea (£40pp) with the alpacas.
I attempted out the cream tea expertise – and it was simply one of many highlights of my journey! You get the entire place to your self, and a scrumptious cream tea with do-it-yourself scones served within the backyard overlooking the alpaca discipline.
When you’re finished consuming, it’s time to feed the alpacas. They’re very pleasant, very cute, and VERY grasping – making for a brilliantly entertaining expertise.
10. Discover the Coastal City of Hastings
Nestled alongside the East Sussex Coast, Hastings is a little bit of a hidden gem on the south coast of England. However this vigorous coastal city presents an ideal mix of historical past, tradition, and breathtaking sea views.
There’s a lot to see and do right here that you could possibly simply spend a full day or extra exploring. Try my good friend Chloe’s fab information to one of the best issues to do in Hastings for inspiration! However in the event you’re quick on time, these are the highlights…
- Discover the cobbled streets of the Outdated City, corresponding to George Road, lined with quirky outlets, galleries, and eateries.
- Stroll alongside the seafront: go to Hastings Pier, benefit from the seashores, and take a trip on Hastings Miniature Railway.
- Take the East Hill Carry. Experience the funicular to the highest of the cliffs for panoramic views and entry to Hastings Nation Park.
- Go to Hastings Museum & Artwork Gallery to study extra concerning the space. Don’t miss the exhibit about Annie Brassey, a neighborhood Victorian woman who travelled the world by yacht together with her household. An inspiration for feminine travellers like me!
11. Go to Rudyard Kipling’s Residence at Bateman’s
No go to to the Sussex Weald is full with out a go to to Bateman’s, the beautiful Seventeenth-century Jacobean nation home that was as soon as house to the writer Rudyard Kipling.
Courting from no less than 1634, the historic property was purchased by the Jungle E-book writer and his spouse in 1902. It was left to the Nationwide Belief, who’ve preserved the home because it was left – proper right down to Kipling’s writing desk in his research.
Even in the event you’re not a fan of the author, it’s value visiting Bateman’s solely to discover the creaking previous home with its vintage furnishings and oak panelling. Then there are the beautiful English gardens, full with orchard, rose backyard, and lily pond, which supply year-round magnificence. When you’ve got loads of time, you can even go for a stroll on the broader property to discover the beautiful Sussex Weald countryside.
12. Birdwatching and Bike Driving in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Most individuals flock to Rye for the picturesque historic city, however there’s additionally loads of nature to discover within the space, too. Don’t miss Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for beautiful views, nice birdwatching, and an array of wildlife-rich coastal habitats together with shingle, saltmarsh, and reedbeds.
Begin with a go to to Rye Harbour Discovery Centre to study concerning the native atmosphere and the animals that decision this space house. The cafe right here even offers binoculars – so you may spot birds whilst you take pleasure in a espresso and a domestically baked cake!
One of the simplest ways to discover is to hire a motorcycle from Harbour Cycles and set off on a trip across the reserve. They’ll provide you with a digital map with completely different path choices – don’t miss Henry VIII’s Camber Citadel or the Mary Stanford Lifeboat Home as you cycle round.
When you’ve got loads of time, you may even cycle from the reserve right down to Pett Stage seaside – the place at low tide you may see fossilised tree stumps and the wreck of the Seventeenth century warship, HMS Anne.
Glamping in 1066 Nation & the Sussex Weald
Glamping is the proper option to immerse your self within the historic landscapes and peaceable countryside of the Sussex Weald and 1066 Nation. There are dozens of improbable glamping websites and distinctive lodging dotted all through East Sussex – so that you’ll be spoilt for alternative!
Starcroft Farm Cabins – glamping close to Battle
Starcroft Farm Cabins are good for historical past lovers. They’re proper on the 1066 Nation Stroll, round a 40-minute stroll from Battle Abbey, set in a peaceable wildflower meadow on the sting of Powdermill Woods.
There are three cabins on the positioning, handcrafted by a neighborhood builder utilizing sustainable, native supplies – and every one is themed round a distinct historic interval. Click on right here to learn my full evaluate to seek out out extra!
Swallowtail Hill, close to Rye
Over close to the gorgeous city of Rye, Swallowtail Hill presents a number of utterly distinctive glamping choices on a tranquil non-public nature reserve. There are six quirky cabins dotted throughout a rewilded farm run utterly for conservation (no crops or livestock).
Expertise a sustainable, off-grid keep in an expensive cabin in its personal non-public patch of the character reserve – as “away from all of it” because it will get! Some, just like the Roundhouse (the place I stayed) even have a wood-fired sizzling tub. Click on right here to learn my full evaluate of Swallowtail Hill.
How Many Days in 1066 Nation?
I spent 5 days exploring 1066 Nation. That was loads of time to see and do every part I’ve talked about on this weblog submit – in addition to spend numerous time stress-free at my beautiful glamping lodging.
Nonetheless, in the event you’re quick on time, you may nonetheless see and do rather a lot in 1066 Nation. I believe a protracted weekend or a two- or three-night keep can be ample time to discover. You simply want to choose and select a couple of of the actions that enchantment most to you.
Or, you could possibly base your self in one of many historic cities, and plan an itinerary specializing in that space. I’ve shared some pattern itineraries under to offer you an concept of how one can form your time.
1066 Nation 2-Day Itinerary: Hastings and Battle
- First morning: discover Battle Abbey
- Lunch in Battle and discover the outlets on Battle Excessive Road
- Afternoon: stroll a bit of the 1066 Nation Stroll
- Second morning: go to Bateman’s
- Cream tea alpaca expertise at Fisherwood Farm
- Afternoon: Discover Hastings and/or go to the seaside
1066 Nation 2-Day Itinerary: Rye
- First morning: take a Seal Safari with Full Throttle Boat Charters
- Lunch in Rye and discover the city centre
- Afternoon: Bike trip or stroll round Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
- Second Morning: Go to Bodiam Citadel
- Lunch at Bodiam Boating Station, then paddleboarding on the River Rother
- Late afternoon: Tour and tasting at Oxney Natural Winery
So, that’s my information to the greatest issues to see and do in 1066 Nation – together with Battle, Rye, Hastings, and the Sussex Weald.
Discover the wealthy historical past, distinctive cities, and picturesque countryside of this beautiful nook of East Sussex. This actually is considered one of Southeast England’s prime hidden gems!
In the event you’ve acquired a query – or a suggestion of your individual – please go away a remark on the finish of this submit.