Beaches in Eastbourne - view from the pier overlooking the main resort beach Eastbourne

The Best Beaches in Eastbourne

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Beaches in Eastbourne stretch for more than 4 miles along this coastline. Each beach comes with its own character and atmosphere. Located along the south coast of England, UK, Eastbourne is a popular East Sussex seaside town with clean, beautiful beaches. It’s also known as one of the sunniest places in the UK! Voted several times as one of Britain’s number one holiday destinations, it’s worth a visit.

With stunning cliffs, a Marine Conservation Area at Holywell, windsurfing off Royal Parade beach and fishing from Harbour Reach, there is a perfect beach for everyone to enjoy.

How to get to Eastbourne?

Eastbourne is midway between the popular seaside town of Brighton to the west and the historic Hastings to the east.

Located just over an hour and a half from London by train, there are plenty of public transport links to and from Eastbourne. There are direct train services from London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. National Express bus services run direct from London Victoria Coach Station.

It’s 19 miles east of Brighton, which takes under an hour to drive. There are regular train services which take about 40 minutes. Brighton & Hove Buses operate scenic Coaster buses direct from Brighton.

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Are Eastbourne beaches sandy?

As with most beaches along the Sussex coast, Eastbourne is not a sandy beach. It is mainly pebbles and shingles divided up by wooden groynes, typical in this part of the southern UK coastline due to cliff erosion. The tide must go out quite a fair way before sand appears along the beach.

Head east from Eastbourne, where you’ll find Camber Sands. This is the closest sandy beach to Eastbourne. This drive is just over an hour, and here you’ll find a beautiful sandy haven, perfect for relaxing and soaking up some water wellness.

Camber Sands - closest sandy beach to Eastbourne
Camber Sands, East Sussex – Image credit: Getty Images

For sandy beaches to the west of Eastbourne, head to West Sussex, where you’ll find West Wittering Beach. This is one of the sandiest UK beaches, especially along the south coast. In fact, it’s one of our best beaches in England. It’s a two hour drive from Eastbourne but well worth it. Bognor Regis has some sand and shingle beaches for something a bit closer, especially at low tide.

Beaches at Eastbourne

Eastbourne Beach

Beaches in Eastbourne don’t get much better than its main resort beach with Grand Parade Pier. It runs for half a mile south to the Wish Tower. Lined with its promenade and grand Victoria hotels, you won’t be mistaken that you are in a classic British seaside town. As this is the main beach, it does get busy during peak times.

You’ll no doubt be lured into visiting the 300m long Grand Eastbourne Pier. It’s the town’s most prominent feature – one of the finest examples of a Victorian Pier. It’s an incredible backdrop for any photo or selfie taken from the beach. Since a fire in 2014, it has been restored with a variety of shops, fish and chips, a cafe with waterfront views, a nightclub, tea rooms, coffee shops, fishing platforms and, of course, stunning views of the English Channel.

Eastbourne Beach live webcam

Check out this Eastbourne Beach live webcam on the seafront to get a glimpse of what to expect:

During the summer months, there are plenty of available activities, including paddleboarding, kitesurfing, swimming and other watersports. This wide beach is popular with families. The wooden groynes provide shelter from sea breezes and currents, whilst the shallow, clean water with lifeguards on duty during summer is welcomed. As with most beaches along this stretch of coastline, there is a slope from the beach down to the water’s edge.

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Deck chairs and sun umbrellas are available for daily hire on the beach. There are restrictions for dogs allowed on the beach from Easter to the end of summer. The Seafront Office is located next to the Bandstand on the lower promenade.

When you’ve had enough sand between your toes, to the north east of the pier, there’s Princes Park with putting and bowling greens, playgrounds, a model boating lake and ornamental gardens.

Beaches in Eastbourne - view from the pier overlooking the main resort beach Eastbourne

Eastbourne Beach Huts

Eastbourne beach huts are available to hire for the day or week from May to September. Close to cafes, restaurants, beach showers and facilities, there are also lifeguards patrolling this part of the beach during the summer. They have no utilities but do come with two deckchairs. The current waiting list for long-term annual rental for Eastbourne Grand Parade beach huts is about five years. However, you can join the waiting list here!

Find out more information about the Grand Parade beach huts and other beach hut hire along the beaches of Eastbourne.

Royal Parade Beach

Further along the main Pier beach (just a short walk), Royal Parade Beach is known for being quieter and more popular with residents. It is at the eastern end of Eastbourne’s seafront and continues as a shingle beach with plenty of facilities and amenities. Car parking tends to be easier to find during the summer, and it is a dog-friendly beach all year round. It’s also a popular area for watersports.

Although this is a family-friendly beach, please note there is no lifeguard on duty here.

The section between Royal Parade Beach and Eastbourne Beach doesn’t have an official name but is known as East of the Pier beach. It’s quieter and more relaxed than the main beachfront location with its attractions. This area has plenty of facilities and amenities, with more than enough space to lay down your beach towel.

Royal Parade Beaches - Beach in Eastbourne
Image credit: Visit Eastbourne

Western Parade Beach

Another Eastbourne beach that is less crowded than the main resort beach is Western Parade Beach. The half mile stroll along the promenade takes about 15 minutes heading west. The Wish Tower stands tall on the Wish Tower Slopes and continues to watch over this stretch of pebble beach.

At low tides, sand and rock pools appear for hours of exploring. Close by, there are many cafes, shops, facilities and amenities to allow for a great day out. The Western Lawns are next to the beach, which hosts many events during the summer. It is also home to the Eastbourne Wheel. This large Ferris wheel, standing over 160ft tall, gives fantastic panoramic views over the beach, town and English Channel.

There are some gorgeous views from Western Parade along the coastline, towards the harbour and south west towards Beachy Head – the UK’s highest chalk sea cliff. If you are into walking, there is also the Beachy Head South Down Walk which is beautiful.

Holywell Beach

Also known as Holywell Retreat Beach, you’ll find this long stretch of beach further west from Eastbourne Beach and Western Parade Beach. This is the start of the South Downs, and if you look west or follow the South Downs coastal path, you’ll see the beautiful white chalk cliffs extending along the shoreline that leads to Beachy Head. This stretch of coastline is protected by a Marine Conservation Zone, where the sandstone and chalk reef system provides a home for many marine species.

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You’ll find plenty of free parking here, along with facilities, amenities, a cafe and the Hollywell Tea Chalet amongst the Italian Gardens the beach backs onto. The current waiting list for Holywell beach hut rental is a whopping seven years!

Holywell Retreat Beach
Image credit: Planetware

Harbour Reach Beach

Harbour Reach Beach, east of Eastbourne, has lovely views along the coastline and back along the pier and beyond. It is popular with walkers and cyclists along the promenade. Fishing is also popular on this beach which is close to Sovereign Harbour. This Harbour is Eastbourne’s best kept secret, home to an award winning marina, waterfront cafes, restaurants, shops, houses and many luxury apartments within this laid-back haven. It was opened in 1993 and is northern Europe’s largest composite marina complex, boasting four linked harbours and its popular waterfront retail and hospitality development.

Basic amenities are available at Harbour Reach beach, free car parking, a small cafe and dogs are welcome throughout the year. However, no lifeguards are patrolling this section of the beach.

Birling Gap Beach

Take one of Sussex’s most spectacular scenic drives from Eastbourne to Birling Gap Beach. It’s a spine-tingling coastline where the small hamlet of Birling Gap is slowly being taken over by coastal erosion. As part of an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is managed by the National Trust, where there is a visitor centre and rock pooling to explore or go fossil hunting on the beach with a view of the Seven Sisters to the west.

Birling Gap Beach
Image credit: Best Hotels Home

Beachy Head, Eastbourne

Not known for its beach, Beachy Head is still worth mentioning in this Eastbourne guide. The dramatic 530 feet high white chalk cliffs are mesmerising with stunning views. It is Eastbourne’s most famous TV and film location, featuring in box office hits such as Harry Potter, James Bond, Pearl Harbour, Robin Hood, Notes on a Scandal, Wimbledon, and the TV hit series Luther. Not that it’s showing off or anything!

Walk from the foot of Beachy Head or climb to the top for magnificent views of the famous red and white-stripped lighthouse. In October, watch runners from across the world descend on the South Downs to participate in the Beachy Head Marathon.

Wheelchair users can enjoy the scenery by using the accessible Peace Path on Beach Head. Why not stop at the Beachy Head pub for food and drinks while taking in the panoramic views over Eastbourne – a big tick for a dose of water wellness!

Beachy Head Lighthouse Eastbourne
Image credit: Visit Eastbourne

Are you planning on visiting one of these beaches in Eastbourne? Do you have a favourite beach at Eastbourne? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

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