Two of Eastbourne's traditional pleasure boats are rotting on the beach - but now there's a campaign to save them. Local expert and enthusiast Lloyd Stebbings believes it's worth restoring the pair and keeping up a 200-year-old industry that once saw as many as 113 pleasure boats in Eastbourne. They would all have been moored along the coast between the Wish Tower and the Redoubt Fortress and one of their regular trips was to take visitors round the Beachy Head lighthouse.
The two that remain - albeit in a crumbling state - are the William Allchorn, a purpose-built pleasure craft dating from 1950, and the Southern Queen, built locally near Pevensey Castle and thought to be one of the largest clinker-built vessels surviving in the UK (clinker-built, by the way, means the hull planks overlap). Ideas for their future include shopping trips from Eastbourne to Brighton, day cruises and shorter trips along the sea front, but it's going to take something like half a million pounds to get them up and running and viable.
If you're visiting Eastbourne, as well as checking out the pleasure boats and their potential uses do take a stroll around the Carpet Gardens. Forming the centrepiece of the promenade they're the town's pride and joy, winning Britain in Bloom awards for many years and bringing a riot of delightful, cheerful colour all year round. Traditional bedding plants are mixed with tropical planting so there's always something to see - and visitors really do come from everywhere to do so. It's also worth chatting with the gardeners who maintain them, as they are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic (you might have seen one or two on TV over the winter).
Whether you're looking for a seafront apartment, a luxury holiday home or a rural cottage away from it all, we can find you a holiday let in or near Eastbourne, click here to see our selection - and with the station just a mile from the promenade it's an easy day trip if you're staying nearby, click here to view the rest of our East Sussex holiday homes.