Nicole and I first visited Hastings in August, 2015 for my birthday. As we drove in past the wonderful Alexandra Park we were wowed. By the time we had checked in at The Old Rectory, wandered through the Old Town and walked along the sea front to St Leonard’s we were sold. I’d secretly arranged to look at a house, just to get the measure of the town – four and a half months later we moved into that very house.
Over the next eighteen months we enjoyed the music and merriment that Hastings had to offer, and in July, 2017 we immersed ourselves wholly in the life of the town when we took over the Stag.
We hope the pub reflects the quixotic, mercurial, madcap nature of the town. We have done things our way, and you can never please all of the people all of the time, but we think we please most of the people most of the time. Enjoy our pub, and enjoy our town.
Nick & Nicole
The most celebrated of the Hastings festivals, Jack-in-the-Green is a May Day celebration with a parade and a ritual slaying of the Jack on the West Hill – the Jack represents Winter and the festival ushers in the warmer weather (we hope!). The Stag is at the heart of Jack-in-the-Green, hosting folk sessions and traditional events throughout the Bank Holiday weekend. If motorbikes are your thing about 20,000 of them descend on the town on the Monday.
The Sussex Bonfires are legendary occasions organised by the various Sussex Bonfire Societies. Hastings Bonfire is usually on the middle Saturday in October: the main event is a torchlit procession with all the towns represented along with dancers and drum troupes and a grand bonfire on the sea front with fireworks to cap off the evening.
The celebrations mark both Guy Fawkes Night and also the burning of seventeen Protestant martyrs in Lewes during the reign of Mary Tudor. Today’s version, happily, is a little less murderous.
Sunday lunch and a band at the Stag the next day provides the perfect cure for any Saturday night excesses.
Operating both all-weather and inshore lifeboats, Hastings lifeboat crews have been presented with over 30 awards for gallantry. The lifeboat was one of 19 that took part in the evacuation of forces from Dunkirk.
These guys do amazing work, rescuing people and animals who get into troubleIt’s worth having a look at their website to see some of the amazing things that they do. They are always there if you need help …..and we are very, very proud and grateful to have them.
Hastings Fat Tuesday is a Mardi Gras celebration of the Hastings music scene run by a not-for-profit society.
Unplugged Saturday sees various bands, both local and invited, trawl around a series of pubs and bars to play a brief fifteen minute set. You can sit and enjoy food and beer in the Stag and get to see a dozen live bands in an afternoon. The main Fat Tuesday events follows a similar pattern but with longer sets of amplified music – not for the faint-hearted, the venues get uncomfortably packed.
Hastings is one of Britain’s oldest fishing ports. Boats have worked from the beach in front of the ancient town for over a thousand years, supplying Hastings with its basic industry and main tourist attraction.
The Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society preserves the fishing community’s medieval right to carry on using that beach – known as the Stade – for ever, free of charge.
On the Stade there are more than 25 boats, the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Britain. The Society is based in Hastings Fishmarket, which was built in 1993 by a non-profit company created by the Society. In 1986 the Society set up the Fishermen’s Co-op, a retail shop selling all types of fishing gear. The Co-op, also known as the Fishermen’s Shop, has its own website.
The Society looks after a charity, the Fisherman’s Institute, which owns a large building in the heart of Hastings Old Town. The Institute was founded in 1882 to help distressed fishermen and their families.
The Hastings Fishermen’s Museum is one of the town’s most popular tourist attractions. It is open every day, except Christmas Day, and over 140,000 people go through the doors every year. It is inside a church built on the Stade in 1852, which fell out of use after the Second World War.
In 1956 local people concerned about preserving the maritime history of Hastings took over the old Fishermen’s Church. They knocked down part of a wall and pulled inside one of the last of the luggers (sailing fishing boats), the Enterprise, which only just fits. All around it are many models, photos, paintings, nets, ropes and a wide variety of other fishing artefacts.
The Fishermen’s Museum is still used for christenings and baptisms, with a carol concert every Christmas. The museum is run by a joint committee of the Fishermen’s Protection Society and the Old Hastings Preservation Society. Admission is free.
If you walk down All Saints Street from the Stag you come out by the Art Gallery. Look to the left and you see the fishing huts – Hastings is home to the last beach-launched fishing fleet in England, and the huts are part of that rich history. There is a Fishermens Museum further along Rock-a-Nore and a small but fun Aquarium. You can buy fresh fish at the shops and stalls around the huts.
From the same street you can take the little funicular car (or brave the steps) up to the East Hill, with stunning views out over the sea and across the town, and access to the amazing Country Park and Nature Reserve. If that doesn’t appeal, the little children’s railway line behind the fishing huts takes you along to the leisure area. On the way you see the RNLI station. This fantastic volunteer organisation keeps the coast safe for all of us, so please pay them and their shop a visit and contribute to the incredibly brave work they undertake.
The leisure area has many of the usual seaside features, and Hastings Crazy Golf courses are considered amongst the best – they are even used to host the World Championships!
One street back from the sea front is George Street, running parallel to the High Street. These two streets contain most of the Old Town’s eateries, bars and shops – most of them are fun, albeit not quite as much fun as the Stag!