Hastings: The Funicular, the Views and the High Street

Hastings, England | Looking up the High Street

I can’t believe I waited so long to visit Hastings. I’d always wanted to go and my in-laws jumped at the chance to spend five days in a sea-facing apartment while we explored and took long walks along the beach. More on that in another post but today I’m sharing one of my favourite days where we took the West Hill Funicular to take in the exquisite views of Hastings before exploring the gorgeous high street.

Hastings, England | West Hill Lift

We were blessed with warm, sunny weather for most of our stay in Hastings and there was a lovely breeze on this particular Tuesday.

Hastings, England | On the Funicular

We climbed into the tiny Victorian carriage and all four adults were suitably in awe as the carriage was pulled up through the tunnel and up onto West Hill. Apparently it is unusual for funiculars to run through tunnels so this one is especially notable.

Hastings, England | West Hill Cafe

It had been approximately 20 minutes since our last cup of coffee so we decided it was high time for coffee and a scone in the West Hill Café. The service is so delightful here and we were able to sit at a table in the sunshine and look at the sea.

Hastings, England | The View from West Hill

After our snack, we took a walk to appreciate the exquisite views of Hastings Old Town. Having done the sea-side apartment in the newer side of town, I think I’ll head to the Old Town if ever we visit again. It is so full of charm.

Hastings, England | More Views from West Hill

I took approximately fifty photos of the view. Narrowing it down was not an easy task.

Hastings, England | Pride Flag on Hastings Castle

I headed west to see if I could approach Hastings Castle but the path looked a bit rocky for my in-laws. I loved seeing the Pride flag flying high above the castle.

Hastings, England | The bottom of the High Street

We had a return ticket (£4.20 adults, £2.60 concessions) and decided to return to the high street. I just love picturesque English high street and Hastings is especially lovely.

Hastings, England | Old Town Sweets

We headed straight into the sweet shop to buy some pick & mix. My mum-in-law was delighted to spot some seagull poo and sheep poo to take back for my nieces (both chocolate raisins, in case you couldn’t guess).

Hastings, England | The Top of the High Street

When we reached the top of the hill, we realised that it had been at least half an hour since our last refreshment and we stopped for a round of shandies.

Hastings, England | Albion Hastings

We arrived at the Albion Hastings to sample their famous pie and a pint but  were dismayed to see that the kitchen was closed. I can hear you asking why I’m including this decidedly average photo then. Well, we returned two days later, when the kitchen was open and we all agreed that it was the best pie we’d ever eaten in our lives. It was so good that I don’t have a single photo of our meals.

Three of us enjoyed the Harvey’s steak & ale pie in suet pastry, with mash and my father-in-law enjoyed the Shepherd’s Pie with cheddar mash. The Albion is now firmly on my list of places I’ll travel over 90 minutes to get to just to try their food again (The Lobster Shack in Whitstable and the East Coast Dining Room in Tankerton are the other two).

The West Hill Lift
43 George St,
TN34 3EA

An Afternoon at Cakes & Bubbles, Regent Street

Detail of Champagne available at Cakes & Bubbles

The best days are the ones spent with good friends. I joined a local book club when I moved to Dartford and the book club might be no more but the friendships remain. On Sunday morning, I met three of my fellow book-clubbers on the train and we travelled to London to meet up with Liz who no longer lives in Kent.

Cover of menu reading Cakes & Bubbles by Albert Adrià

The occasion? To visit Cakes & Bubbles, the Masterchef-famous establishment by the ‘World’s Best Pastry Chef’, Albert Adrià. Cakes & Bubbles promises a selection of 'exceptional desserts and pastries alongside a wide selection of Champagne and sparkling wines, as well as a menu comprising a savoury offering by Adrià'.

The Savoury

I'm a planner when it comes to eating at new places - I want to know that I've poured over the menus and chosen the best possible options. With that in mind, I'd planned to try the Lobster Ravioli for £22, only to arrive on the day to learn that the menus had recently changed (the ravioli is still on their website). I had a taste for lobster though and decided to go for the Lobster in a Brioche Bun for £32.

The lobster and bun were definitely tasty but the lettuce had wilted - impossible not to given the heatwave in London - and it certainly impacted the overall taste and texture of the dish. I was quite disappointed and could not see that the dish justified its place as the most expensive food item on the menu.

Of other people's meals, the Grilled Cheese Toasty for £16 and Club Sandwich for £20 did not look appealing but the salads (£18 - £19) looked delicious and were gigantic.

The Sweet

I am very pleased to say that the Matcha Basque Cheesecake for £9 exceeded my expectations in every way. I chose this item because I love matcha-flavoured desserts but it also happened to be gluten-free and it was delicious, rich and creamy.

There were swoons and sighs as my friends enjoyed their Chocolate Yuzu Castellas (£12, also gluten-free, pictured in the background above) and Liz loved the famous Cheese Cake for £12 which she'd been dreaming of since MasterChef.

Cakes & Bubbles also serves a 'Cakes & Bubbles experience' between 12pm and 10pm each day and it looks exquisite. It's three courses of sweet heaven served alongside a curated selection of champagnes and sparkling wines. The Sweet Afternoon Bubbles Menu is £45 or £55 with a glass of N.V. Veuve Clicquot Brut.

My Verdict

I will definitely return to Cakes & Bubbles, especially because Stephen has been asking me to take him for a fancy cake experience ever since we went to the Mirror Room at the Rosewood in London. I'd like to try the Sweet Afternoon Bubbles Menu (with added bubbly, of course) and I'd also pop in for a slice of cake but I'll skip the savoury options.

Cakes & Bubbles
70 Regent St