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Things to do in Pevensey Bay, East Sussex

Pevensey Bay is on the coast of East Sussex, about five miles northeast of Eastbourne.

Pevensey Bay
Pevensey Bay ©Peter Cripps - stock.adobe.com

The parish of Pevensey includes both the inland village of Pevensey and Pevensey Bay, which are about a mile apart.

Pevensey Bay is steeped in history.

Low tide in Pevensey bay
Low tide in Pevensey bay ©Liliya Trott - stock.adobe.com

Pevensey Castle, originally a Roman fort, was taken over by the Normans in 1066 and was where William the Conqueror landed from France. The undefended bay was an ideal safe haven for his invading fleet.

The castle has survived several sieges. Orders to demolish it by Queen Elizabeth I and later by Oliver Cromwell's Puritans were ignored.

Low tide in Pevensey bay, East Sussex
Low tide in Pevensey bay, East Sussex ©Liliya Trott - stock.adobe.com

The remaining structure was used as recently as 1942 when it became a defensive lookout.

This old fishing village was known in the 1600s as Wallsend as it was at the end of the protective sea wall from Eastbourne.

During the 18th century, the coast around Pevensey Bay was the site of much smuggling of luxury goods and alcohol to avoid excise duties.

Medieval Pevensey Castle
Medieval Pevensey Castle ©Nigel Wiggins - stock.adobe.com

There was an ugly clash between the customs men and Pevensey Bay smugglers in 1833 which seemed to be the end of the local contraband trade.

In the early 19th century several round Martello Towers were built along the bay as a defence during the Napoleonic Wars and some still remain.

Present Day Pevensey Bay

Behind the shingle beach at Pevensey Bay is an area of salt marshes known as the Pevensey Levels.

They are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and are home to many rare plants, birds and animals including the fen raft spider.

Rare Red Hemp Nettle at Bay beach © Keith Belcher
Rare Red Hemp Nettle at Bay Beach © Keith Belcher

The town of Pevensey Bay is a seaside resort in miniature. It has a population of just over 3,100 yet manages to have facilities to rival those of other much larger towns.

The village has several churches including St Wilfred's Church and Holy Rood Catholic Church.

Aerial view of Pevensey Bay, Eastbourne and Beachy Head
Aerial view of Pevensey Bay, Eastbourne and Beachy Head ©Simon - stock.adobe.com

Pevensey Bay even has its own railway station which is on the East Coastway Line and is served by Southern Trains.

It makes it very easy for locals and visitors to visit Hastings and Eastbourne.

Pevensey Bay Beach
Pevensey Bay Beach ©pxl.store - stock.adobe.com

The village became a popular tourist resort in the early 1900s and still attracts summer visitors.

It has a good range of local shops and some delightful old houses along the High Street.

Pevensey Bay, East Sussex
Pevensey Bay, East Sussex ©pxl.store - stock.adobe.com

From the town, there are splendid views inland of the South Downs which are particularly lovely when there is a fine sunset.

One of the members of the Pevensey Bay Sailing Club, Phil Morrison, was a British yacht designer. His son, Stevie, competed as a 49er sailor in the Olympics in 2008.

Things to do in Pevensey Bay

Pevensey Bay is famous for its windsurfing, fishing and its historic Martello Towers.

Beach Houses, Pevensey Bay
Beach Houses, Pevensey Bay ©pxl.store - stock.adobe.com

Visitors can take a boat trip on a local fishing charter for an exciting day's sea fishing.

Tourists can visit the remains of Pevensey Castle, now managed by English Heritage.

Pevensey Castle in East Sussex
Pevensey Castle in East Sussex ©chrisdorney - stock.adobe.com

The castle had an inner and an outer bailey and there is an interesting 13th-century gatehouse wall still remaining on the approach to the castle site.

Nearby Eastbourne offers plenty of activities including a seafront promenade and gardens and an excellent War Museum.

Aerial view of Pevensey Castle
Aerial view of Pevensey Castle ©John - stock.adobe.com

In the other direction, Hastings has Smuggler's caves, a Fishermen's Museum, a castle and a Shipwreck Centre.

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