Hastings….Where to go on rainy days

Like many seaside resorts, Hastings is a little short on undercover wet weather entertainment.  Goodness me, it has been unbelievably, unrelentingly wet, with howling gales thrown in. Worse, I have a miserable cold which makes me want to face the elements even less.
    I’m thinking places you can go and wander round where it is warm and dry, look at things, get a cuppa, maybe buy things….. 
    Battleaxe is not bothering with stuff to do with kids. Have suffered too much nerve damage from Chambers of Horrors/aka indoor play centres, being ripped off by sea-life places etc. If you have kids, there are lots of websites to help you, like this one. Anyway, the little horrors should have gone back to school by now.
    Yesterday morning we went to Dunelm Mill – now that’s good for a browse, and they have parking outside, a perfectly OK coffee shop, and nice clean loos. We set out with nothing much in mind, but found they had a massive sale, so emerged with a bottle holder rack thing for the upstairs shower, a new towelling bath robe for me, (they have a range of sizzling colours), a new loo brush, a large piece of foam rubber, wanted by Philosopher for his own arcane purposes, a cushion, a picture frame and a reel of black cotton.

Dunelm Mill in Hastings

     Other nearby retail browsing opportunities: Hastings town centre – think the wonderful ESK, for things you never thought you might want at amazingly low prices, Debenhams, with its wave-watching opportunities from the cafe, and Priory Meadow. It may be small,  but it is all we have round these parts….  Too many of the shops seem exclusively geared to yoof. H&M? No way. River Island, ditto.  Schuh? Full of yoof shoes. Still, plenty of browsing time can be spent in Waterstones – and they have a Costa in the shop. 
     Further afield, there’s Ravenside Retail Park. I ratchet up steps on my Fitbit doing brisk circuits of B and Q while Philosopher is engaged in in-depth examination of bath sealant or whatever. Good cafe with more wave-watching in M and S.
     Talking of M and S, was in the large Ravenside store the other day. Emerged empty handed. Loads of sale stuff, but still nothing I’d want even at a reduced price. What I said in a post from blimey – a year ago, January 2015 –  unfortunately still applies. I now get nothing from Marks except for their excellent Heat-Gen thermal T shirt/vests – they keep them in the lingerie department – and their pull-on jeggings.
      Generally, though, Battleaxe hates out of town retail parks and everything they stand for. Soulless warehouse stores with infuriatingly few staff, traffic congestion, huge car parks, smelly burger vans, KFC, McDonalds….. However, Ravenside does have an interesting population of starlings who seem to exist solely on the leavings from the burger van. They are very tame, and chatter away from the stunted bushes on the edge of the car park. Despite their junk food diet, they look very healthy.
      What else? There’s the Museum and Art Gallery in Bohemia Road, which is free, of course. They usually have an exhibition of paintings in the big gallery – currently, it is sea pictures, and of course there is the Annie Brassey Collection, and the Durbar Hall, which I have written about before. No proper coffee place, though.

Sea Piece by William Henry Borrow
Upstairs in the Durbar Hall

      I wouldn’t totally recommend the Jerwood Gallery for wet days – you get soaked and blown away walking from the car park, you have to pay if you are not a member and you may be round and out again quite quickly if you are not into contemporary art. However, they do have a cafe with superb views and good loos. Totally forget it for now, though, the place is closed throughout January – don’t get Battleaxe started…..
     You can go to the cinema- we’ve now got three – the Odeon, The Electric Palace and the Kino Teatr in St Leonard’s.
     What else? Oh, you can go to the Amusement Arcades in the Old Town. We always enjoy a bracing game of air hockey….. I just read that Hastings did have an international air hockey competition at the same time as the World Crazy Golf championships. I don’t know if air hockey still figures, but I loved this image from the 2014 event. This is the same table we used the other day….

    Battleaxe does worry a bit about the new Hastings Pier. All the futuristic computer-generated images you see of the beautiful newness seem to show hypothetical sunny (and windless) days, with hypothetical folk strolling happily along the open deck.  Victorian Piers didn’t have lots of windbreaks and What the Butler Saw arcades for nothing, you know…..

The future – Blue skies above Hastings Pier?

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