Step aboard this historic funicular railway and enjoy views of the fishing fleet and rows of net shops on the seafront.
One of the steepest funicular railways in the country, the East Hill Lift carries passengers up a steep and rocky cliff to Hastings Country Park at the top. Ascend the slope in the old-fashioned carriages and marvel at the views out to sea from the top.
After a bout of planning problems and setbacks, the East Hill railway was opened by Hastings Borough Council in 1903. It originally operated on the water balance principle but was converted to electric in the 1970s and is one of two historic funiculars in Hastings. The other, the West Hill Lift, runs through a tunnel before emerging onto the West Hill, whereas the East Hill Lift route is open, cut right into the face of the cliff. See the whole panoramic view as you ascend the East Hill Lift route.
Climb aboard the railway at the lower station and step inside the carriage. Note the Edwardian-style décor and furnishings; the carriages have been renovated to appear as they would have looked when the lift first opened. Glance out the window as the train chugs up the hill and watch the shops and boats of the seafront grow smaller in the distance. Though the funicular does not move quickly, the trip is exhilarating, with the steep route climbing at a gradient of 78 percent.
The train carries you up 267 feet (81 meters) to the upper station where you’ll disembark. At the top lies a plateau of grassy parkland, known as Hastings Country Park. Take in views of the shingle beaches of the coast and the English Channel. Try to spot the fishing vessels of the Stade, a seafront area that is home to one of the largest beach-launched fishing fleets in Europe.
The East Hill Lift station is found on Rock-a-Nore Road near the seafront in Hastings. Tickets are required. The train runs between April and late September. If the weather is nice, consider bringing along a picnic and lingering for a while in Hastings Country Park.