START IN STYLE: EASTBOURNE
Victorian piers, pebbly beaches and a century-old lighthouse – Eastbourne is the picture-perfect British seaside town. And it’s the place to do picture-perfect things. Why not start your stay with a stroll down King Edwards Parade to Helen Garden? A beautiful clifftop park overlooking the sea, its real treasure lies just beneath – in the secluded Italian Gardens. Carved into the cliff face is a small, secret grove and wooded amphitheatre. In the summer months you can sit in the shade of the pergolas and watch Shakespeare performances with a picnic and champagne. In spring and autumn, the Italianate arbours double-up as shelter against light showers, so you can enjoy the gardens – come rain or shine.
Round off your first day in Eastbourne with a meal at Horeau’s Restaurant. Specialising in seasonal flame-grilled seafood, Horeau’s occupies part of the Victorian Swan Lake House. In fine weather you can make the most of the building’s Mediterranean heritage and dine in the south-facing courtyard garden amid exotic banana, olive and fig trees.