Hastings Week

A week-long celebration of the rich history of Hastings featuring Hastings Bonfire

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Hastings Old TownFeaturedCompleted07octAll Day15Hastings WeekA celebration of the heritage of the Battle of Hastings Event TagsFestivalEvent Type Festivals,History and heritage


Hastings Old Town

The Stade Open Space, Hastings

Other Events


october 7 (Saturday) - 15 (Sunday)(GMT+00:00)

Event Details

Saturday 7th October

10:30 – Opening Ceremony: winkle Island

The Mayor and Chair open the festival before moving to the Swan Memorial Garden at 11am for a brief reflection

10:00 to 15:00 – Classic Car Show: The Stade

Classic cars up to 1988 with a few notable later models allowed) – free entry

11:00 – The Stade Fishing Qurter Walk: Fisherman’s Museum

Guided tour of the fishing beach and surrounding area, £4 booking in advance, maximum 15 people.


11:00 to 15:00 – Craft and Table Sale: St Clement’s Church

Raising funds for the town’s two mediaeval churches.

11:00 to 15:00 – ‘Rossettis in Love: St Clements Church

Dante Rosseti was a founder of the pre-Raphaelite movement and a regular visitor to the Old Town. Find out more about the artist, his sister and his muse (also open on sunday 8th, Saturday 14th, and Sunday 15th).

Sunday 8th October

10:00 to 15:00 – Classic Car Show: The Stade

Classic cars up to 1988 with a few notable later models allowed) – free entry.

Ride on Happy Harold the classic open-top bus

11:00 – The Stade Fishing Qurter Walk: Fisherman’s Museum

Guided tour of the fishing beach and surrounding area, £4 booking in advance, maximum 15 people.


Monday 9th October

10:00 to 14:00 – Open coffee morning at East Sussex Veterans’ Hub

First floor, 5 Harold Place.

Join staff and vererans for information about the work of the project, coffee, tea, refreshments and chats, plus bric-a-brac stalls to browse for hidden gems.

19:00 – Maureen Charlesworth Chess Challenge at The White Rock Hotel

Play five games against different opponents to win trophies and cash prizes in this popular annual tournament for ungraded or low-graded players. Now in its 13th year. 01424 728300 for more information. Entry fees apply (amount TBC).

Tuesday 10th October

14:00 – The Second Battle of Hastings at Hastings Museum

An illustrated talk on the ‘second Battle of Hastings’ – Mods vs Rockers, August 1964.


17:30 – Crazy Golf Competition at Hastings Seafront / Pelham Beach

A return of the popular golf contest – pit your skills for a top score.

Wednesday 11th October

16:00 to 18:00 – Hastings Week Special on Conquest Hospital Radio

Phil Wood with his Hastings Week Special Show

18:30 – Laugher of the Year contest at Butler’s Gap

Prove how fun Hastings is and demostrate your best belly laugh – entry just £1

Thursday 12th October

10:00 to 12:00 – Discover Hastings Twin Towns at Hastings History House

Meet the people who organise trips to the four towns Hastings is twinned with (Schwerte, Germany; Bethune, France; Oudenaarde, Belgium; Dordrecht, Netherlands) and see if you’d like to get involved.

17:30 to 20:30 – Hastings Tractor Fish and Chip run at The Stade

Vintage and classic tractors on display and time for a fish and chip supper from one of the town’s many award-winning chippies.

18:00 – Winkle Tossing at Winkle Island

Test your skill at the tricky task of tossing winkles.

Friday 13th October

19:00 – General Knowledge Quiz at All Saints Church Hall

Teams of up to six, £2 per person to raise fund for our two mediaeval churches.

Saturday 14th October

10:00 to 14:30 – Classic Car Show: The Stade

Classic cars up to 1988 with a few notable later models allowed) – free entry

12:00 – Business and Community Networking Meeting at The Azur

A chance to meet local businesses, charities, and community organisations. £15 per head, sit down lunch at 13:00.


16:30 – Presentation of the ‘Order of 1066’ award at Hastings Town Hall

By invitation only – presnetation of the award for services to the town

19:00 – 22:00 – Bonfire Society torchlit procession and fireworks

The most exciting and well-attended event of the week sees the town’s streets and seafront lined with spectators as hundreds of Sussex bonfire and drumming teams get everyone into the mood for the big bonfire and firework display on Pelham Beach.

Sunday 15th October

10:00 to 16:00 – Sprat and Winkle Run at The stade

Around 70 classic commercial vehicles travel in convy from Sevenoaks to gather in Hastings on The Stade.

14:30 – Old Town Preservation Society Old Town Walk at West Hill Cafe

A guided tour of the Old Town with its wealth of history. Expect some steep steps and windy narrow passageways. Tickets £6 in advance.


16:00 – The Reflection at St Clements Church

The closing event of the week and a chance to reflect on the continuing iportance of The Battle of Hastings and how the town can now come together in peace. All welcome.

A Short History of Hastings Week

Here’s how Hastings Week came into being.

Following the celebrations for the 900th centenary of the Battle of Hastings 1066 in 1966, it was agreed within Council, that the 14th October should be marked each year as ‘HASTINGS DAY’. A battle lost maybe, but a day which changed the future life of England. Regretfully the request for a National Day has yet to be achieved, but one still being made.

However, Hastings was about to make more of that famous date known world wide. Nineteen towns bear our name around the globe and in 1983 several sent literature and small artefacts to an exhibition within the Festival of Hastings organised by the Hastings & St. Leonards first association. Back in 1968 the Order of 1066 was initiated. This was to be presented each year to a Resident who had  contributed exceptional service to the Borough. At a Reception in the Town Hall, at the invitation of the Mayor, the recipient is kept a secret until the actual presentation. The Order is always proudly received and with great public acclaim.

Each year the Gonfalon, William’s flag would be flown from a pole on West Hill and raised on command of the Mayor attended by three cadets and a bugler thus proclaiming the start of THE WEEK. A Hastings Day Committee was formed to organise the Celebrations, at first for just one day but lengthening to four in 1976. Included was William’s walk from Pevensey to Battle (Rotoract), Marching Bands, a torchlight procession and a medieval banquet. By 1980 it had become a full week and now included the normandy archery tournament, the Stamco open table tennis tournament, a 1066 dance competition, boxing and water polo tournaments, all bringing visitors from afar. 

Throughout the 80s and 90s the celebrations continued with the increasingly spectacular Torchlight Procession, mammoth Bonfire topped by a special effigy and Firework Display over the sea. But remained at around twenty-five events. It was now felt that the week should contain more community based events and involve a wider age range. We done just that. Both the young and senior citizens have events of their own, bringing winners aged between four and ninety eight! There are Exhibitions of local Societies’ work, Cadets give excellent displays at the Opening, Closing and Gonfalon Ceremonies, the latter now taking place in the grounds of Hastings Castle and involving a Drumhead -Service, various forms of entertainment, and finally the Sunset Ceremony. There is a Festival of Jazz throughout the week, an Operatic Concert, Art Exhibitions, Our ‘Green areas’ are open to all and how beautiful they look. The Award Ceremony now includes the Civic Pride Awards following nominations from the public for unsung heroes and heroines who give selfless service over many years and quite rightly acknowledged. Sport and Music play an important part. In 1997 the National Town Criers’ Championship joined our Celebrations. The latter had been run independently for many years but was now taken over by Hastings Borough Council.

In the year 2000 (Millennium Year) the programme contained seventy plus entries. The programme itself is produced free to the public with the grateful support of local advertisers and very valuable support from the local Press and Radio. The printed programme, which contains exciting new events every year will be available in mid August. Don’t miss it!

The Hastings Week Committee is comprised of three councillors, the marketing & communications manager, five elected officers from the voluntary sector and approximately fifteen members of societies/associations/services, plus a valuable Secretary supplied by Council.

While you’re here, be sure to visit Hastings Country Park, Alexandra Park, St. Helens Wood Nature Reserve and our many smaller gardens. Explore our wonderful buildings in the Old Town and Burtons St Leonards. Give your ears a treat at our jazz festival and opera South East events then cover them up at the National Town Criers Championship and our climactic bonfire and fireworks display!

Life President Dorothy Clements 2006


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