UK breaks: Battle

Spend a weekend in one of Sussex’s historical meccas

UK breaks: Battle Battle Abbey - © Hastings Borough Council
By Saskia Courtenay

This is the scene of the momentous Battle of Hastings and a charming little town built around the ancient Abbey (www.english-heritage.org.uk/1066).

The morning is bright and, after a full English, we arrive at golden-tinged Battle Abbey. Roaming across a battleground is evocative and the audio tour is packed with details and anecdotes that paint a vivid picture of the conflict between Anglo-Saxon King Harold and William of Normandy on October 14 1066. There’s time for a look at the hands-on Battle Abbey exhibition and to watch some on-site falconry before we return to 2009.

Where to stay & eat

Powder Mills Hotel

Our home was the imposing Powder Mills Hotel. A former gunpowder works, the house dates from 1676 and counts the Duke of Wellington and Charles Dickens among its distinguished visitors. Set in 150 acres of parkland with lakes and woods, it’s just a mile out of Battle itself and has been preserved to English country house perfection. Inside are open fires, freshly baked breads and springer spaniels. In the splendour of the Orangery we dine on venison and potatoes, finishing with a heavenly chocolate and mint soufflé.

Powdermill Lane, Battle, East Sussex, TN33 0SP (01424 775511,  www.powdermillshotel.com). Doubles from £140 per night. Dinner is £35 for three courses.

Getting there

Nearest train station

Battle is on the Hastings railway line. Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for information.

Further information

Battle Abbey and battlefield

Open 10am-4pm daily. £6.50, children £3.30. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/1066 or phone 0870 333 1181 for further information.

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