A couple of weeks ago we headed out to 1066 Country with the kids to have a day out exploring Battle and Hastings. We had visited previously for a day in Drusilla’s and taken a trip to Bexhill seaside too, but since the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is what makes this area so famous, we were really looking forward to going to experience some of that history.
We started our day with a trip to Battle Abbey. This is the perfect place to learn about 1066 and the adults and children in our family all enjoyed it, and learned a few things too. I would definitely recommend visiting this site if you’re in the area or not too far out.
We visit a lot of English Heritage sites, but this one stood out for us. With the visitors centre and the museum on site, you can get more in depth information about the site an the events of this place, which makes it more engaging for all ages.
Our boys particular enjoyed looking at the weapons exhibition in the visitors centre and the short movie that they show there gives a full explanation of the battle to anyone visiting who’s history may be a bit rusty! It is simple enough for children to understand too, and is a good length – long enough to give plenty of detail but short enough to keep their attention.
“This stone has been set in this place to commemorate the fusion of the english and norman people which resulted from the great battle fought here in 1066”
It is amazing to think of the history that had passed in this place, and how the battle shaped the future of our country. The Abbey was built by William of Normandy after the battle, as a penance for the blood shed and the battle fields were preserved as part of the lands.
You can go inside the ruins of the abbey to explore, and take either the long or short tour around the grounds, including the battle fields (with audio commentary available if you wish.)
There’s also a large and spacious cafe at the Battle Abbey visitor centre so you can get lunch here while visiting for the day. They have plenty of options for all the family, including kids lunch box packs.
Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings
After lunch, we took the short drive to Hastings for a look around their Blue Reef aquarium which is on the sea front. This is a small aquarium compared to our usual one in London but has some really interesting and beautiful creatures, and has plenty of hands on sessions for the kids too. My boys took the chance to get hands on with a snake in the reptile zone, and hear a talk from one of the reptile workers, and they really enjoyed that.
The reptile zone has plenty of different lizards along with the snakes and was one of the most interesting areas for the boys, as it’s something we haven’t come across in other aquariums.
There are of course plenty of different types of fish too, along with manta rays, star fish, small sharks and other sea creatures.
You can do the aquarium in an hour or so – max two hours, so you can combine it with a play on the beach which is just a minute or two’s walk away, across the car park. We collected plenty of stones and shells here on Hastings beach which will be perfect for a bit of seaside themed crafting!
Hastings Funicular Railway
Also nearby to the beach, there is the funicular railway which travels up the cliff side.
The kids enjoyed taking a trip in this and there’s a country park at the top. If you fancy staying in the area for a few days, we noticed that there are a few caravan parks at the top where you could stay.
You can also enjoy views down to the beach below
We had a lovely day out in Battle and Hastings and really enjoyed exploring the history of this area, and what it has to offer today. I would recommend it as a great trip for the whole family.
We visited the area as guests of 1066 Country