Re-charge your batteries with a

family weekend in Bexhill.

Arrive on Friday evening and settle your family into your B&B or self-catering holiday let, caravan or tent. If you donít want to take the self-catering too literally, thereís an abundance of local restaurants to eat in, including No 48 on Devonshire Road which often has local bands playing on Friday or Saturday nights. There are also traditional fish and chips or other take-aways that will deliver to you.

On Saturday morning do visit the De La Warr Pavilion and check the exhibitions. There are often organised activities for children inside the pavilion but if the weather is hot then the water feature on the prom will help to keep you cool. The De La Warr Pavilion is in the middle of the Coastal Culture Trail, a cycle trail linking three galleries; the Towner in Eastbourne, via Bexhill to the Jerwood in Hastings. The cycle path from Bexhill to Hastings in entirely off road, and there are plenty of watering holes en route. Cycles can be hired and returned at any of the galleries.

After lunch, a short drive or train ride to Pevensey and Westham takes you to the historic village where William the Conqueror landed and built a flat-pack castle (one of three brought from Normandy) on the site of a Roman fort. Later, a stone castle was built on the site. The beautiful adjacent church was also built for William I, thereís an interesting graveyard leading to beautiful meadows beyond. In the milder months there are excellent camping facilities in Pevensey and in Normans Bay.

Driving back across the levels to Bexhill you will pass the Star Inn, near to ĎWillow Totí where the infamous Little Common Gang kept their two luggers concealed from the customs men in the marshes. In the 17th and 18th centuries smuggling was rife on the Sussex coast due to the proximity of the London market and the continental coast. Bexhill was a village of about a hundred dwellings about a mile inland. There was no harbour at Bexhill which made it an ideal landing place for smugglers to land contraband on the beach unseen and unheard. Smuggling was large-scale, organised crime and here and in Hastings many of the buildings, in particular the inns, had cellars which were linked to each other by secret underground passages.

On Sunday, if you havenít visited Bexhill Museum yet then donít miss this! It is a private museum operated entirely by volunteers. It tells the story of Bexhill through fascinating exhibits and interactive displays.

Adjoining the Museum is Egerton Park which has an award winning childrenís play area, a boating lake, sensory garden features and some beautifully tactile statuary reflecting the local pre-historic heritage.

Before you leave, make sure you fit in a visit to the Old Town which is a few hundred yards up the hill via Sea Road or the A259. In the Old Town is the remains of the Manor, which dates from Elizabethan times, and where Jane Austen is thought to have stayed. Opposite is medieval Church Street leading to St Peterís Church which is on land which may have been granted by King Offa in 772 to Bishop Oswald at Selsey to build a monasterium. In the church is a carved stone slab, the Bexhill Stone, which was discovered in 1878 under the nave. It is thought to be the lid of a box that contained holy relics, and dates from around 800.

Across the road from the Manor is Hanover House. In 1803, Hanoverian troops, who escaped when Hanover was overrun by Napoleonís forces, came to England to serve King George III, Elector of Hanover. He formed the Kingís German Legion and they fought as part of the British Army.

Barracks had been built for the militia at the foot of Belle Hill in 1798. These were extended in 1804, when 4,000 KGL infantry arrived in Bexhill, a village of about 100 houses. The KGL remained here until Waterloo and accompanied the Duke of Wellington on several campaigns.

The KGLís parade ground, now Barrack Hall Park just off the High Street, was visited by the Iron Duke, Wellington. The KGLís presence is marked in the street names Hanover Close and Barrack Rd. Hanover House, the home of Colonel Halkett, still bears its name above the door, and Barrack Hall Memorial Gardens, in Barrack Road, was the KGLís burial ground.

Throughout the summer Bexhill is host to a range of quirky festivals ranging from 1920s Day which includes an attempt at the world record for the most people dancing the Charleston, and an air display; to Motofest, a celebration of motorcycling and very loud music. Have a look at our events pages for festival dates.