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Things To Do In Battle, East Sussex

Battle Abbey

Battle (East Sussex) sits at the very heart of our Sussex soul and is the place where our Saxon ancestry met our Norman ancestors at the Battle of Hastings, and the course of our history was changed.

Battle Abbey Battlefield

I love the fact, that as you head east on the A27, just after the Eastbourne roundabout there is a sign that welcomes you to 1066 Country, and the landscape changes as you travel along the edge of the Pevensey Levels. Maybe it’s just me, but it has a sense of history about it as you push on, as William the Conqueror once did, toward Battle. It also means that Battle is a great centre point for any visit or holiday in Sussex. And with that in mind, here is our list of things to do in Battle (East Sussex):

Things to do in Battle

Battle Abbey 

Dominating the town, as well as our history is Battle Abbey, an English Heritage site that is Grade I listed. The famous Battle of Hastings was fought in the grounds and the Benedictine Abbey built on the site thereafter became an important institution for the area. A visit round the Abbey and grounds is a must.

Battle Abbey

Battle Town Trail 

There are a number of town trails you can follow to help you discover more of the town’s past. The Battle Town Trail has 22 sites. Look out for the discs which mark the trail. There are also various other trails which include a Heritage Trail, a Keane Trail (the band is from Battle), and a Treasure Trail along with a Geotourist App. Head to The Almonry for details and maps.

Things to do in Battle East Sussex

The Almonry and museum  

The Almonry (at the other end of the High Street to the Abbey) is home to the museum and has a pretty garden. There has been a building on this site since at least 1090 and the current building dates to the 15th century. The museum is small, but packed and artefacts include dinosaur footprints, relics of The Battle of Hastings, stories from Guy Fawkes, the World Wars and the Roman Bathhouse.

Battle Almonry and museum

The 1066 Trail 

The 1066 Country Walk is a 31-mile trail from Pevensey Castle via Battle Abbey and on to Rye. Along the way are 10 wooden sculptures by local artist, Keith Pettit, inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry. There are at least three of these within relatively easy walking distance of Abbey but keep your eyes peeled as they are easy to miss.

1066 Country Walk

St Mary’s Church 

To the side of the Abbey and its impressive wall, St Mary’s church was founded in 1115 to serve the Abbey’s community. It’s a lovely church with lots of information to guide visitors around. Particular points of interest are a rare wall painting of St Margaret of Antioch dating to about 1300, the gilded and painted Alabaster Tomb of Sir Anthony Browne, 13th-century wall paintings, 15th-century brasses and a 12th-century font.

Things to do in Battle East Sussex

You’ll also find the Battle Tapestry, a three-metre long depiction of how the town of Battle might have developed between the years following the Battle of Hastings in 1066 to the founding of St Mary’s Parish Church in 1115 and created in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Things to do in Battle East Sussex

Battle Farmers Market 

There is a regular Farmers Market here on the third Saturday of each month from 9 am to 1 pm. As you’d expect, there is lots of lovely local produce such as cakes, locally grown fruit, homemade pies, preserves,  and local crafts. In the town, there is also excellent fishmongers, butchers, deli, and wine shop.

Things to do in Battle East Sussex

Battle Festival

Visit Battle in July and you’ll find Battle Festival in full swing. It’s an arts and music festival with a full programme of events and activities by internationally acclaimed, award-winning artists. Part of it also includes the Battle Scarecrow Festival and competition and you’ll find brilliant scarecrows all around the town.

Battle Festival

Mountfiled Winery 

To the north of Battle, you’ll find the tiny village of Mountfield. There’s a 12th century church with fantastic views and with paintings on the wall from the 12th to the 16th century.

Mountfield Church

Take a break from the site seeing for a moment or two and head to Mountfield Winery. It has a fabulously impressive approach and is in the most stunning setting. They produce award-winning sparkling wine and have their own winery and beautiful tasting rooms.

Mountfield Winery

Ashburnham Place 

South west of Battle is Ashburnham and Ashburnham Place. Ashburnham Place is a Christian Retreat, set in 220 acres of woodland, lawns, meadows, and lakes. You can book individual retreats and stays here and there are also parts of the estate you can walk without being a guest. They also have a fantastic Orangery Tea Room designed in 1777 by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with many plants (and one of the oldest camellia in the country) which is open to the public.

Ashburnham Place

Herstmonceux Castle 

A few miles on from Ashburnham and you come to Herstmonceux Castle, a 15th century moated castle made of red brick and set in 300 acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands.  It doesn’t matter how many times you visit, as you approach the castle down the long drive, it always invokes a little bit of awe. The castle is actually owned and operated as a UK campus of Queen’s University (Canada). The interior of the castle is not open to the public all the time (although you can enter the central courtyard) but they do conduct booked tours.

Herstmonceux Castle

The gardens are impressive and include the Elizabethan Garden set within Grade II listed walls from 1570. You’ll also spot sculptures and a sundial. It’s dog friendly.

Herstmonceux Castle

Hertmonceux Observatory 

On the same site as the castle, is the Observatory Science Centre. The site is Grade II Listed and is an interactive science centre that has been operating in the former home of The Royal Greenwich Observatory since 1995. It’s a must-visit for anyone with even a passing interest in science, adult or child alike.

Herstmonceux Observatory

Mad Jack’s follies 

John Jack Fuller (1757 – 1834) inherited his uncle’s Sussex estate Rose Hill (which is now known as Brightling Park). A philanthropist at heart, he was elected several times as an MP, was High Sheriff of Sussex and a captain in the Volunteer Sussex Yeomanry Cavalry as well as a founding member and passionate supporter of the Royal Institute. He financed the building of the Belle Tout lighthouse at Beachy Head and built a series of follies including The Sugar Loaf near Dallington, The Pyramid and the Tower (in and near Brightling), The Observatory (a private home) and The Needle (Brightling Downs).  They are all near Battle and it’s fun trying to find them.

Mad Jack Fuller Folly

If you like this post about things to do in Battle, you may also like:

Things to do in Hastings 

Things to do in Rye 

Things to do in Bexhill 

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