With its chalk cliffs, tranquil bays and miles of unspoilt coastline, Eastbourne is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional seaside holiday or day trip.
Eastbourne is famous for its grand Victorian hotels, its picturesque promenade, and of course, its beaches.
Eastbourne is the perfect day trip from London, with trains departing regularly from Victoria station. The journey takes just over an hour, making it easy to enjoy a day by the seaside without spending hours travelling.
Here is a guide to the best beaches in Eastbourne.
Are Eastbourne Beaches Sandy?
The town’s main beaches are pebble and shingle, but some sandy areas are exposed when the tide goes out – this is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy a bit of rock pooling.
Holywell Retreat Beach
Is Holywell Retreat Beach Eastbourne’s best-kept secret?
Tucked away at the foot of the South Downs, Holywell beach is a hidden gem in Eastbourne.
With stunning views of the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, this quieter beach is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the busier beach areas of Eastbourne.
When the tide goes out, there are plenty of rock pools to explore and large expanses of sand to enjoy.
The Italian gardens are also well worth a visit. Holywell has even been used as a filming location for the popular British soap Eastenders.
Dogs are allowed on the beach (as long as they are well-behaved), and there are toilets available, including disabled toilets and a beach shower.
The Dotto train – Eastbourne’s popular tourist train – stops at Holywell, making it easy to get to from anywhere in town.
And if you get hungry, there’s a lovely cafe on site serving up all your favourite beach snacks.
Location: King Edwards Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN20 7XB
Grand Parade Beach
Grand Parade Beach, usually referred to as Eastbourne beach, is a long wide pebble beach from Eastbourne Pier to the Wish Tower.
It is the busiest of Eastbourne’s beaches but still relatively quiet compared to other beaches in reach of London, such as Brighton.
The beach is well-kept and offers plenty of amenities for visitors, including showers, toilets, and lifeguards. Visitors can also rent beach huts, deckchairs, and parasols.
The promenade next to Grand Parade Beach is also worth exploring. It is well-kept, with beautiful gardens, cafes, ice cream kiosks, and benches where you can sit and enjoy the world passing by.
Location: Grand Parade, Eastbourne, BN21 3AD
Royal Parade Beach
Nestled just east of the iconic Eastbourne Pier, Royal Parade Beach is a wide shingle beach that offers stunning views, plenty of space to relax, and all the amenities you need for a perfect day by the sea.
Royal Parade Beach is definitely the place for you if you’re looking for a quieter beach experience than what you’ll find at the main Grand Parade Beach.
Parking is also much easier to find here, with plenty of street parking available. And even on hot days, you’ll never have trouble finding a spot on the beach – this beach is never too crowded.
Royal Parade Beach is popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers thanks to its location and wide open spaces.
But even if you’re not into watersports, there’s plenty to do here.
Take a stroll along the pier, enjoy an ice cream from one of the cafes, or simply relax in the sun with a good book. If you’re travelling with furry friends, don’t worry – this beach is also dog friendly!
Location: Royal Parade Beach, BN22 7AD
Western Parade Beach
Eastbourne’s Western Parade Beach is a lovely spot for a summer day by the sea.
When the tide is out, sandy areas are perfect for building sandcastles or playing games.
The wide promenade behind Western Parade Beach is perfect for strolling, biking, or rollerblading.
There are plenty of places along the promenade to get refreshments or use the toilets and showers.
Also located along this part of the Eastbourne coastline is The Wish Tower, one of 74 Martello Towers built along the south coast in the early 1800s to defend against Napolean; Eastbourne’s Wish Tower is now a popular tourist attraction.
The tower is located on the grass slopes behind Western Parade Beach. Visitors can go on a guided tour and enjoy special events.
Location: Western Parade Beach, BN20 7PA
Birling Gap Beach
Birling Gap beach is located on the stunning Seven Sisters coastline. Birling Gap beach is only a 15-minute drive from Eastbourne and is the perfect place to spend a day with family and friends.
The beach is enclosed by cliffs and is a pebble beach with access via steps at Birling Gap car park.
Birling Gap beach is great for rock pooling, fossil hunting, and simply relaxing and enjoying stunning views. There is also a cafe and shop on-site, making it the perfect place to spend a day out.
The Seven Sisters coastline is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the UK. This coastline stretches for over 30 miles from Seaford in East Sussex all the way to Hastings in East Sussex.
Location: Birling Gap Beach, BN20 0AB
Nestled between Eastbourne and Brighton, Pevensey Bay is a small resort on the Sussex coast.
It’s a shingle beach, with wooden groynes and stretches of sand, when the tide goes out.
It can get quite windy at Pevensey Bay, making it a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
And with its dog-friendly status all year round, it’s the perfect place to take your four-legged friend for a walk.
Pevensey Bay is easily reached by a 15-minute train ride from Eastbourne or a 10-minute drive. If you’re coming by car, there is a pay and display car park opposite the beach.
Plenty of things keep you occupied in and around Pevensey Bay.
If you’re feeling active, why not hire a surfboard or bodyboard from one of the local shops and catch some waves?
Or, if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, there are plenty of walks with stunning views over the channel.
You could also visit Pevensey Castle, one of Britain’s largest Roman fortresses.
There are several cafes and ice cream vans along the seafront, so you can treat yourself to something sweet after working up an appetite. If you fancy something more substantial, pubs and restaurants are not far from the beach.
Location: Pevensey Bay, BN24 6HX