Hastings is a large seaside town on the south coast. It’s a place rich in culture and art with almost eight miles of coastline and excellent woodland and country walks nearby. Developed from a small fishing port to a substantial town, it is known worldwide for its rich history including the Norman Conquest in 1066.
Just 65 miles from Central London, or 90 minutes by direct train, Hastings is a quirky, fiercely independent, and free-spirited place with a distinctive character. This pioneering and energetic town offers a unique culture with traditional events like the Jack in the Green, Hastings Bonfire to Hastings Contemporary, and a thriving music scene.
Hastings’ story is one of a cycle of reinvention. Once a popular Victorian seaside resort, the town declined in the 1970s prompted by the rise of cheap package holidays. Today, Hastings is experiencing a resurgence in its visitor economy. A new generation of entrepreneurs, investors and cultural institutions are creating new opportunities for residents. New industries are replacing the old; technology is reconnecting our marginalised communities, whilst the mix of natural landscapes and urban-on-sea makes Hastings a stimulating place to live, work and visit.
In the last twenty years, significant investment and renewal has enabled Hastings to rival larger cities with a better work/life balance.
“With easy train connections to London and Brighton, plus Gatwick we have such an amazing quality of life, and we’re within easy reach of decision-makers”Rukhsana Mosam Ten66 Television
"Honestly, Hastings has been fantastic and everyone really came out to support us through when we started up through to now. "Ned Braxton Brewing Brothers
“We have been here (St. Leonards on Sea) for three years already and absolutely love it. It’s such a vibrant area with a huge a mix of people."Kate O'Norum Heist Market
Culture is playing an increasingly important role in the regeneration of Hastings and is positively impacting the lives of communities and the economy.
The area’s reputation as a cultural centre continues to strengthen with flagship projects such as the RIBA award-winning Pier and Hastings Contemporary, stimulating new cultural economic activity.
Its iconic cultural heritage has always been a source of local pride and passion, with a vibrant annual calendar of cultural, arts and heritage festivals. It is known for its events regionally and nationally, involving and attracting many people that live here and enticing people to visit. Hastings is a creative hotspot at the epicentre of England's Creative Coast stretching from Brighton to Margate. It punches way above its size creatively.
Hastings people are unstoppably creative, and this is a major attraction to living and working in the town. The creative sector now employs around 800 Hastings residents across approximately 260 organisations and accounts for 9.4% of businesses in Hastings which involves interactive, performing, visual and fine arts, gaming, digital, story-telling and more.
Edgy and alluring, many artists, writers and musicians continue to be drawn here by the light, the air, the food, the music, its atmospheric narrow streets and its radicalism, each adding another layer to its rich cultural roots.
The innovation charity Nesta named Hastings a creative hotspot with a high percentage of firms and potential for further growth in this sector. The creative community is a hotbed of creative talent and networked in ways usually only seen in larger cities.
It is impossible to ignore a burgeoning new generation of talent and migrating artists…happening right now.”Daniel Hardiker Zenoh Design
Awarded over £24.3m from the Government’s Towns Fund with a further £85m of match funding, kickstarting Hastings' regeneration ambitions.
This large investment into the town includes a new green and Low Carbon Centre of Excellence that will provide new commercial space while also helping the Town seize the opportunities of the emerging green economy. It will also boost the Town’s tourism offer through improvements to the Castle and other public spaces.Find out more
Hastings has one of the most thriving manufacturing bases in the South East with innovative industrial businesses in aerospace, defence, precision optics and hi-tech electronics. The manufacturing industry makes up 14 per cent of GVA (gross value added).
Hastings is home to a specialist and world-renowned ultra-high vacuum/photonics and optics cluster.
As an established centre for vacuum technology, innovation and invention, Hastings has attracted a wide variety of tech businesses including a significant group of Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) and supply chain businesses. 11% of the working population works within the manufacturing sector which makes up 14% of the county's GVA and is higher than the South East average.
Supported by East Sussex College Group, Bexhill College, the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex, the sector is supported by a future talent pipeline that allows Hastings to host advanced research facilities for a wide variety of sectors including aerospace and phontonics.
Space to expand
New 2 storey Business Centre containing 29 small business incubator unit, coming in 2022.
Phase 2 has begun. Spring 2022 completion of 4 units totalling 8,500 sq ft.
Ideal for creative startups looking for incubation space, or an established business looking for a home that fits their ethos.
Visit the website
A social enterprise project, the Observer building will combine office and coworking space with shop space, housing, and a cafe.
For B1 and B2 uses, properties can be developed to companies’ bespoke specifications. These can accommodate premises from 25,000 sq ft up to 120,000 sq ft with ample parking.
A community of creative spaces.
Marc & Rich Moore, owners of the world's largest BMX specialist retailer and the world's biggest underground skatepark. The source has continued to grow, now creating a social hotspot called 'The Courtyard' containing restaurant and drink outlets.
From pop up restaurant to street food events & festivals, Matt Woodhouse & Rory Myers now own two of the most popular burger restaurants in Hastings, employing 40 staff.
UK’s leading manufacturer of cable solutions for industrial, healthcare & domestic markets. Eco-conscious, 100% of their materials are recycled.
Once 35-years derelict, the building is being transformed into a vibrant hub for Hastings town centre and a beacon of community-led regeneration.
Leading vinyl mastering, cutting & recording studio relocated from Hackney to Hastings in 2018. Owner, engineer Lawrie Dunster (pictured) & engineer Keith Tenniswood.
Popular craft beer brewhouse, serving beers brewed on site and traditionally made wood-fired pizzas, and just opened up The Courtyard.
Independent TV Production company founded 25 years ago by Executive Producer, Rukhsana Mosam. Committed to promoting and developing local, diverse talent, both on & off screen.
Attracting considerable media attention, Focus SB is the first & only British luxury electrical wiring accessories brand licensed to manufacture & export wiring accessories to China.
Kurt J. Lesker is the leading global provider of high-tech vacuum products and systems. Its world-class manufacturing and logistics facilities span the globe.
Product designers Ed Jackson Lloyd-Dyke and Oliver Dean met at Central Saint Martins, launching their lighting and homeware shop and online retail store in 2013.
Shop & online retailer founded by Clare & Andrew Tomlinson. Utilising their graphic & product design backgrounds, constantly creating unique products for children.
Food manufacturer employs over 100 people with a turnover of over £7m. Supplies an extensive range of sauces, dressings, dips and soups to an impressive client list including Nandos.
Grays International have been manufacturing some of the best-known sporting products for over 160 years. A family run business, they produce a portfolio of brand names, familiar throughout the sporting world.
Photek is a specialist manufacturer and global supplier of vacuum-based tubes and camera systems for charged particle detection and imaging.
HEIST. Market is a permanent food market based in central St. Leonards, offering a consortium of food, beer, coffee and cocktails, as well as a resident restaurant ‘The Boatyard’.
Case Study Spotlight
This hot new spot in St. Leonards is cooking up a storm, bringing together a community of local businesses and produce, to welcome and cater for all…all under one roof!
With the help of East Sussex Invest Funding (ESI) and support from Business Manager Emily Wright, they have now opened their doors to visitors!Learn more here