The little town of Battle, nestled near the coast in Sussex, is brimming with captivating historical sites as well as being a rather lovely place to gently wander through of a day.
Getting its name from the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066, this pretty Sussex town is rather impressively dominated by the Abbey of St Martin which was built by William the Conqueror after the battle. The rest of the town grew around this incredible building, evolving into a pretty town with a fantastic high street, full of wonderful independent shops and cafes.
Now that we have got our quick history lesson done, we would love to tell you about all of the fantastic things to do and see when visiting Battle as well as a few ideas of things to do in the surrounding area.
The Abbey was built when William of Normandy defeated King Harold of England in 1066 and conquered the throne in England. Before he went to battle, William vowed that he’d establish a monastery if “God granted him victory”. And that he did!
Today you can explore the ruins of the original abbey, the abbey church as well as the battlefield, where the battle was said to have taken place.
The battlefield has a footpath going around the edge of the site with maps and interesting information boards thoughtfully placed along the walk, explaining the battle that occurred there all those centuries ago. There are also some fantastic wooden sculptures of men in battle and on horseback, making great photo opportunities whilst you walk and explore the site.
The museum collection covers the history of the area, going back as far as pre-historic times over 125 million years ago. From dinosaur footprints to Saxon battle-axe relics from the Battle of Hastings through to pieces from the World Wars, it is an incredibly varied walk through time. Opening September 2021.
These award-winning gardens actually surround the Battle museum. They offer a beautiful and tranquil retreat from the bustling town and high street. They are managed by a dedicated team of volunteers and are free to visit.
Once you’ve had your hit of history and explored the abbey, Battle’s high street is well worth making time for during your visit. A perfect mix of traditional independent shops, lovely cafes and artisan shops and delis, you can easily fill an afternoon browsing the high street and picking up some treats.
One of our favourites is the farm shop, near the other end of the high street to the abbey. It has an incredible selection of local fruit and veg, a great refill section and a lovely bakery and deli at the back of the shop. The staff are lovely and very helpful too.
Battle brewery comes highly recommended by locals in the area, creating natural vegan-friendly beers with no additives. With the Bottle Shop and Tap House bar in Battle itself, it is easy to pop in, try some of their different products and find out more about the local brewery. If you’d like to go a step further, their brewery “Tap Room” is located north of Battle on Beech Farm Estate. You can have a drink here and find out more about the brewery whilst you’re there too!
Things to do nearby:
The bustling nearby town of Hastings is well worth a visit when you’re staying in Sussex on your next staycation. The Old Town carries so much charm too. Beautiful cobbled streets, wonderfully old antique shops and a great high street scattered with eateries and lovely wine bars. It has an instant holiday vibe when you’re walking through on a warm sunny evening. It is also helped by the ocean and promenade skirting the edge of the town. They have also made the most of the coastline, providing fun activities, such mini golf and rides, for family days out along the seafront, in true “seaside” fashion.
The oldest organic vineyard in England, Sedlescombe Vineyard specialises in Biodynamic, vegan-friendly and organic wine, all from a beautiful site in the Sussex countryside on the edge of Battle. When you visit the vineyard you park alongside the rows of vines, leading you down the path towards the cafe, shop and bar, serving drinks and nibbles throughout the day. They also offer tours, which are well worth a try. To find out more information about visiting Sedlescombe vineyard, please click here.
An awe-inspiring castle, surrounded by a ginormous moat and set in over 300 acres of beautiful woodland and well-kept grounds, they really got it right when they built Herstmonceux Castle in the 15th century and it is still as impressive to see for real in this day.
As soon as you arrive you know you are approaching something rather spectacular. The landscaped grounds that surround the castle gently lead you to the front of the castle. Here, you can park and then walk across the bridge over the moat and into the castle gardens. The gardens are peaceful, full of bloom and segmented off into mini floral havens, making it feel like you’re exploring secret gardens through every little gate and break in the hedge. You can spend a full day here, picnicking on the grass, walking the woodland paths and exploring the grounds that surround the castle.
In short, there are fantastic things to do in Battle, but you’re also not short of things to see nearby either. Not to mention the Sussex team, based in the Battle office just opposite the Abbey, would love for you to pop in and stop for a cuppa anytime! If you’re thinking to staycation in the South East, near the coast but with all the rural charm the English countryside carries, we highly recommend a holiday in Battle. To see our collection of cottages in and near Battle, click here.