Let’s move to St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex: the yin to Hastings’ yang

This seaside town has stepped out of the shadow of its twin. One could say it was gentrifying, were it not built for the gentry

What’s going for it? St Leonards has come of age. For years, all talk has been of its elderly twin, Hastings, newly colonised by rat-race escapees, with their boutiques selling linocut prints or vintage eccles cakes. But slowly, to the west, its neighbour has been undergoing its own metamorphosis. It is very much yin to Hastings’ yang. Whereas Hastings’ Old Town is all higgledy half-timber and tattooed sea dogs, hipster or otherwise, St Leonards has from its birth been a refined, Regency place. Work began on the town in 1826, by a prescient down-from-London-er, James Burton, a property developer who built much of Bloomsbury, and his son, Decimus, an architect. Their work survives, its stucco now largely freshly painted and reappreciated after the doldrum decades. Shab remains, but also the flipside, a slightly anarchic freedom and odd shops that come from low (although risen) property prices. One could say St Leonards was gentrifying, were it not in fact built for the gentry.

The case against Don’t mention the G-word, or call it, as some property column or other (was it me?) did a decade ago, “Portobello-on-Sea”. It is not, although the interiors bloggers are coming. Still host to the usual ingrained seaside town problems. Traffic.

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Source: the guardian – property
Let’s move to St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex: the yin to Hastings’ yang