Explore Hastings’ heritage and culture

ALMOST 50 events exploring Hastings’ heritage and culture are taking place at locations across the town until Sunday.

Opening Spaces, Going Places, is the theme of this year’s Heritage Open Day programme, which started yesterday, and sees Hastings take part for the second year.

Following the success of last year’s event, for which the town was given the accolade “Best Newcomer” by English Heritage, visitors will have the chance to learn about fossil footprints, challenge a chess champion, discover how to mend a fisherman’s net, sing a sea shanty, and much more.

This year the emphasis is on accessibility, with reference to the fact that the London Paralympic Games are just one year away.

Accentuate, the London 2012 Legacy Programme for the South East, has been working with disabled artists and arts organisations to develop an accessible Heritage Open Day programme.

The activities and events give residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience the best of Hastings for free and gain access to areas that are not usually open to the public.

The East Hill Breakfast Picnic from 9-10.30am tomorrow (Saturday, September 10) is a fitting way to kick start the Heritage Open Day weekend.

The East Hill lift will be free all day, and early risers are encouraged to bring a picnic, head to the top and enjoy the views while learning about the local flora and fauna from Friends of the Country Park guides.

Today and Sunday, at 1pm, the Fishermen’s Museum welcomes all to listen and join in with a sea shanty performance. Song sheets will be provided.

A treat for classic car fans, tomorrow, the Bexhill 100 Motoring Club Classic Car Display comes to the Stade Open Space from 9am to 4pm.

And for a younger crowd, also on Saturday, visitors to St Leonards Gardens will be treated to an afternoon of Victorian amusements from 1-3pm.

Author Travis Elborough will be at Stade Hall on Sunday at 3pm, reading extracts from and talking about his latest book “Wish You Were Here: England on Sea”, a social history of the seaside, as visitors enjoy tea and cake.

The full programme of events is available online at http://www.visit1066country.com/xsdbimgs/HODs2011v3.pdf or from Hastings Information Centre in Priory Meadow or the Old Town Museum.