Summer Free for All
You could spend the whole summer on Hastings’ award-winning beaches, but the town also has a fantastic number of free activities on offer this summer. By Hastings Borough Council
Hastings Borough Council is offering at least two free events for each week of the summer holidays this summer. Although the summer is a peak time for holiday visitors, local people are well catered for throughout July and August. Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of the council said, “There’s something here for everyone – it’s good to see such a range of free activities on offer. The council can put these events on because we’ve bid for and won substantial external funding to make them possible. I would also like to thank Freedom Leisure, Big Local North East Hastings, Optivo and Orbit Housing associations, Hastings Area Opportunities Fund, the Source Park, 18 Hours, Coasters, and the Arts Council, all of whom have funded or organised summer events. But I’d also like to pay tribute to the many volunteers from the community who organise and help with so many events around the town. Without them, such a comprehensive programme would not be possible.”
For young children, there are Play Days at Alexandra Park beginning at the end of July. Street Bites, aimed at 11 to 16 year olds, includes a free lunch and offers sport and craft, twice weekly in August.
There is a free football tournament at Horntye at the end of August, and free summer streets sessions, with football, sports and craft activities available 5 days a week in August. For more information about summer sport and play go to www.hastings.gov.uk/sport_play_summer_season
The Source Park offers a free BMX session to those new to BMX biking every Tuesday afternoon. More information is available at www.sourcebmx.com
Hastings Museum and Art Gallery offers free storytelling from around the world for children, inspired by pieces from the museum collection on Wednesdays, and free open-air theatre to celebrate Dinosaur Day.
Don’t miss “Collect”, opening in July at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery. Local artists were set the challenge of responding to either particular objects or the idea of ‘collecting’ in whatever way they chose. From fossils to Samurai armour, and seaside souvenirs to the American Plains, inspiration has come from every corner of the museum, resulting in some impressive and intriguing paintings, textiles and mixed media works. Admission is free. www.hmag.org.uk/
For an afternoon walk with a difference, visit the temporary resident dinosaur on the seafront in St Leonards. For those aged 16 and under, there is a name-the-dinosaur-competition, see Hastings Borough Council Facebook page for details. Or, take a walk around Hastings Old Town, this year’s winner of the “best walking neighbourhood”. Hastings’ award-winning parks and nature reserves offer fabulous places to go for walks, picnics, and to play. Some, like Alexandra Park and Hastings Country Park, have regular events for families. There are also hidden gems in the area such as the Filsham reed beds in St Leonards or the ancient woodland of Church Wood.
Stade Saturday free events offer circus extravaganza, dance and performances by local musicians. Cirque Rouage perform a story on a tightrope, dance theatre “Carousel” tells an edgy tale of fairground people with a fully functioning merry-go-round, and members of Lantern Society Songwriters Festival make sweet music. www.hastings.gov.uk/stadesaturdays
As always, there are some well-established events that are free for the community to enjoy such as Old Town Carnival Week, Coastal Currents, Afrikaba Festival, classic car and motorbike shows, and more as September begins. In fact, the season of events continues until 13 October with Hastings Week and Bonfire Night.
Bottle Alley lights up every evening at 10pm for a 7-minute light show, extended to 30 minutes on Fridays. Take a stroll along the seafront from the pier to Warrior Square to enjoy the amazing state of the art light show, and have a wonderful summer!
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