Travelling from London is so easy thanks to the vast number of airports and budget airlines available. But this means that we often overlook all the potential short vacation spots within the UK, which can be much better for weekend getaways.
This is one of my favourite two-day weekend trip itineraries from London.
Hiking and Eating
I enjoy hiking a lot. I like it even more when it’s food-centric – i.e. there’s a food-related stop along the way or at the end. That’s also the reason why I really enjoyed the Seven Sisters Hike I wrote about in a separate article.
When a friend recommended the Rough Guide’s Walks in London & The Southeast (links to Amazon) which outlines 45 walks in and near London with pub recommendations, I ordered the book off Amazon within 2 hours, and that’s how this idea of hiking to Battle came about.
(I do get a commission if you purchase via this link, but I genuinely love it.)
1066 Country Walk: 26km from Pevensey to Battle
We hiked for 26km on the 1066 Country Walk Trail from Pevensey to Battle on Saturday, and then combined this with an extra day exploring (read: eating) Hastings on Sunday, which is only 15 mins away. This will definitely be a weekend-itinerary I’ll be raving about for months.
But even for those who don’t want the crazy hike, do still read on. The pit stop pub lunches and our second day exploring the coastal town, Hastings, is definitely a must-do, even without the hike.
One day Hiking for 26km (7 hours)
I have to admit, the hiking part is tough though. This was partly because it was 26km long (!) but also because it was extremely windy that weekend (so windy that the trains stopped working) and the trail was incredibly muddy. The bright spot is that there isn’t much steep uphill/downhill throughout the trail. All in all, it was still pleasantly exhausting, i.e. you’ll feel satisfied with a strenuous workout – a feeling I love!
Tip: you will need to wear hiking boots, seriously. I never thought hiking boots were necessary (I usually hike in my regular running shoes), but the muddy terrain meant that wet mud soaked my feet within an hour of starting the walk.
The Ash Tree Inn – Local Cozy Pub Lunch
I honestly felt like I was at my limit about an hour before we reached the pub for a late lunch. The first part of our walk lasted about 4.5 hours and we reached the pub at 2:30pm. We probably took longer than necessary because we started slow and took our time in the first hour. Despite feeling exhausted at this point, reaching The Ash Tree Inn was exactly what I needed to to re-energise and plough through another 10km after!
The pub felt extremely cozy. We were super hungry when we reached, so a Baked Camembert to start off with was definitely welcomed! They served a great variety of main dishes with local steak, or lamb. But I was feeling the mood for something classic, like the Fish & Chips. That, along with all the other food we ordered, was prepared extremely well.
The PowderMills Hotel near Battle – Elegant Restaurant and Delightful English Breakfast
Another 2.5 hours of walking later (about 10.5km), we finally reached our hotel which is near the “inoffensively touristic town” of Battle: The PowderMills Hotel.
The Rough Guide actually recommended this walk as a one-day trip, but I highly urge you to extend it to a two-day weekend trip. A friend picked out 2-3 hotel options, and we ultimately went with PowderMills Hotel, which I would now definitely recommend too. It’s located next to a lake, and has beautiful surroundings. Their restaurant is also excellent.
The food served at the hotel’s restaurant was impressive. First, the Orange Marmalade Souffle with Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream is seriously unmissable at dinner. Second, they serve an excellent quality big buffet-style English breakfast – it is the perfect treat to wake up with sore muscles and tired legs to!
Sunday Day trip around Hastings
The PowderMills Hotel isn’t exactly in the town of Battle, so we kickstarted our Sunday, continuing along the 1066 Country Walk with a little 30-45 minute hike.
Battle is a small charming-looking town, but there wasn’t much to do there. We wandered around for about 30 minutes, then took a cab to Hastings. It was a short 15 minute ride away (costs about GBP 15) or you could also take a train.
Charming stores on George Street & High Street
First, we were pleasantly surprised by how colourful and beautiful the coastal town of Hastings was. Second, we also really enjoyed walking around the two main streets: George Street and High Street. Here, we found a lot of cutely decorated and charming independent stores.
Lunch at The Crown – Creative British Pub Lunch
Hastings is a lot bigger and more lively than Battle. There were a number of restaurants, pubs and cafes, we were drawn to. Ultimately we went for The Crown. This was a unanimous vote, after we read about their homemade breads and creative twist on British pub dishes. After our 26km hike the previous day, we totally felt licensed to have more food and beer. And this was a great place to treat ourselves.
The dishes were much more refined than usual – in fact, it’s a place worthy of a birthday lunch (as the table besides us did!).
Heading home from Hastings to London
We explored a little more after lunch, and then took the train (1 hour 50 min) from Hastings back to London (Charing Cross/London Bridge) at about 4:30pm. Needless to say we had two days of extremely good sleep! Even though the hike was tiring, it was overall an incredibly refreshing weekend. I could not recommend this trip more!
The Ash Tree Inn (First day pub, on our way from Pevensey to Battle) Address: Brown Bread St, Ashburnham, Battle TN33 9NX. Phone: 01424 892104. Their kitchen is open all day on weekends. Price per person: GBP25
The PowderMills Hotel (Hotel near Battle, incl. restaurant for dinner) Address: Powdermill Ln, Battle TN33 0SP. Reserve online. We paid about GBP135 per night (twin room). There are cheaper hotel options around Battle.
The Crown, Hastings (Second day pub, lunch in Hastings) Address: 64-66 All Saints’ St, Hastings TN34 3BN. Phone: 01424 465100. Spend per person: GBP20