The Laindons, East Sussex: Make haste to Hastings

Hidden away from the touristy seafront, this guesthouse is right at home in a charismatic setting, says Juliet Kinsman

While Hastings is boldly bookended by the bang-on-the-beach Jerwood Gallery and the Modernist De la Warr Pavillion at Bexhill, the Old Town keeps its treasures more hidden. Drive along the seafront and the city lulls you into a false sense of insecurity: burnt-down pier, Iceland supermarket, amusement arcades and spit-and-sawdust pubs. However, on the Old Town's high street of characterful, centuries-old townhouses is Laindons – a Grade II-listed building with a curiosity shop below and a B & B upstairs.

The bed

This simple guesthouse has you letting out a sigh of contentment after climbing up the narrow stairs. It's just what you hope for from a B & B: pristine spaces with super comfortable mattresses and hotel-quality Egyptian-cotton linens, plus top-drawer tea and coffee-making treats: flasks of fresh milk, blue-and-white crockery and Tunnocks teacakes.

We stayed in Bedroom One, which felt like our own sitting room looking out over Old Hastings. The two other bedrooms only have en-suite showers, but ours came with a corner bath and the decor is less outmoded. Stripy Room 4 is a new family-friendly option, with a fifth room on its way.

The breakfast

The Laindons' light-flooded conservatory shares that grandstand view of the Old Town. Perch on soft grey Gotland sheepskins draped over benches and wooden chairs at a civilised 8.30am to 10am, for a locally sourced affair: sausages and bacon from a nearby free-range farm, fruity jams and marmalade made in nearby Battle and lashings of home-roasted coffee. For snacking, an honesty larder in the homely lounge has gourmet sea-salt crisps and bottled water.

The hosts

If you detect a scent of Scandinavia, you're on the right track. Jon and Sara Young took over the B & B last year after spending their first five years of marriage in Stockholm, where Jon was a designer and Sara worked for Design Hotels. The tale of how they got together is touching – their mothers met at a party and exchanged phone numbers on their behalves. Jon has family in Hastings and holidayed here as a child, while Sara's grandparents lived in Bexhill, so they chose to move here with their two small children. "It was important that guests feel 'by the sea' here" says Sara. "I wanted it to have coastal touches without going Disney, or creating a style you could find in a room in London." Hall lights from Vita, reupholstered Parker Knoll and original Ercol seats, ensure their simple uncluttered chic has substance.

One of the stylishly stripy bedrooms One of the stylishly stripy bedrooms The weekend

There are a number of vintage and antiques stores to riffle through on the High Street, including the curiosity shop downstairs. Nearby, A G Hendy & Co is as though Downton Abbey's below-stairs staff created their own homewares store and had it art directed by Wallpaper* (01424 447171; Made in Hastings promises locally made crafts and gifts (01424 719110; 20th Century Fashion & Design has two floors of quality retro furniture and perfectly pressed vintage dresses (01424 460068).

In the B & B's immediate patch you can also ogle the country's most impressive private collections of 20th- and 21st-century at the Jerwood Gallery (01424 728377; There's also interesting art at the De La Warr Pavillion, which is compelling in itself as an example of the first Modernist public space built in Britain (01424 229111;

The Pit-stop

Whether your poison is Monmouth coffee, cheekily named craft beers or bacon jam, Penbuckles Delicatessan is a delight for provisions or for a pause between shopping and sightseeing (01424 465050). For beer-battered cod and hand-cut chips, Webbe's at 1 Rock-a-Nore Road is a favourite, overlooking the historic tall, fishing huts, and the Jerwood itself, where they also have a chic café outpost (01424 721650).

For a romantic dinner, St Clements is worth the trip to St Leonards: fish suppers don't come more delicious. I was torn between salt cod, gravadlax, squid, turbot and tuna steak, but the waitress happily talked me through which might best match my taste and appetite. Peanut butter and chocolate torte was a top tip (01424 200355;

The Essentials

The Laindons, 23 High Street, Hastings TN34 3EY (01424 437710; Doubles start at £115, including breakfast.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
    Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

    Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

    A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
    Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

    Election 2015

    Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
    Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

    Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

    The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
    The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

    The US is getting frayed at the edges

    Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
    Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

    New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

    A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
    Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

    British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

    Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
    Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

    Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

    Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
    Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

    Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

    He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
    How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

    Celebrating 100 years of Leica

    A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world