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"Exploring St Leonards on Sea: A Hidden Gem on the Sussex Coast"

St Leonards has emerged from the shadow of its neighbour, the Historic Old Town of Hastings and seems to be gobbling up the limelight along this stretch of the Sussex Coast and has just been included in The Times Best Places to live by the sea in 2023.

Recently we spent the day exploring this hidden gem of the Sussex Coast .

St Leonards on Sea is next to Hastings and at just over an hour and half from London by train making it a great day trip or a short break .

kings road cafe and shops in St Leonards Hastings
Kings Road, St Leonards Hastings

The trains from London stop at Warrior Square Station, which is on the Kings Road. This makes for a great starting point as the street has an abundance of excellent independent places to eat, drink and shop.

Fika.Coffee.44 was our choice where we were introduced to their speciality, the Fika Brunch Slice. Layers of sourdough, spinach, caramelised onions are baked with herbs, spices and a rich cheese custard . Ours was grilled and served to order but we declined the offer of extra of toppings (salmon, avocado) on this occasion as it was only a light bite we required at the time.

Inside No 49 Kings Road , St Leonard’s , Hastings
Inside No 49 - Kings Road , St Leonard’s , Hastings

I had to resist going too mad in the charity shops as they are packed full of bargains. Please don't worry though, I've left behind plenty of reasonably priced bric a brac for you.

My purchasing was restrained to 3 coffee mugs for the total price of £6.00.

Norman Road St Leonards
Norman Road St Leonards

Next stop, Norman Road to find Lucy Bell Gallery, Shop and the indoor food market, Heist.

Shop is a corner shop which is full of attractively displayed home/lifestyle goodies to tempt even the most jaded of shoppers . We bought some Luke Edward Hall style illustrated wrapping paper to frame for our home.

Debbie Harry was waiting in the window of the Lucy Bell Gallery for theTwo Worlds Brian Aris exhibition due to start that evening, the gallery was closed.

Lucy Bell founded The Independent Photographers Gallery in 2001 with her husband, the renowned darkroom printer Robin Bell. They moved the gallery to St Leonards in 2009 .

The Gallery regularly hosts exhibitions and it's ethos is to promote fine art photography in the region whilist maintaining national and international connections .

Plants in Collina Gardens Flower Shop Norman Road , St Leonards , Sussex
Collina Gardens Flower Shop, Norman Road, St Leonards

La Collina Gardens Florist was an unexpected treat. As we admired the flowers from outside I remarked that it was shame there were no houseplants. Someone overheard me who was shopping and answered that there were house plants inside the shop. This is characteristic of the people in this area who we found to be really friendly and welcoming.

We went inside to browse and left the shop with 3 plants and a vastly improved knowledge of how to care for houseplants.

Confession Time, I walked into Heist , shamelessly took two photos and left without purchase .

Heist is a colourful indoor food market, housed in a former Bank building (hence the name) and looks like a great place to eat drink, relax or work (we noticed quite a few laptops ).

All businesses are local, independent and environmentally conscious, but there is only so much food one person can consume in a day trip .

Hastings Coastline
Hastings Coast Line

St Leonards pebble beach is a short stroll from Norman Road. We walked until we reached Hastings Pier, which is worth taking a walk along to enjoy the views.

I recommend you stop for refreshments at the Goat Ledge (very close by) take a seat at the decked area on the beach to watch the world and its characters pass by.

For our evening meal we ate at Three Faces Tapas Restaurant on Western Road, which is just off Norman Road.

This is where Steve Morrish and Alan McNally have been feeding the folk of St Leonards for the last three years. When they left London many of there customers followed them to St Leonards .They have since developed a loyal following in the area.

The food is cooked while you wait, there is no menu, just a set price per person . They cook- you eat .

The concept is explained by the owner who was once given the task to cook for a customer who gave him a set budget .

Expect between 5-6 sharing dishes at £35.00/£40.00 .

Our bill was around £65 each inc service, wine, coffee and dessert (by recommendation).

We cleared every plate served to us and after we were both full and very happy diners .

Sitttings are Thrus -Sat 7pm - book in advance.

Norman Road , St Leonards
Norman Road, St Leonards

Trains to St Leonards take around an hour and half from London Bridge

To find out more about visiting St Leonard's visit their website


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