Sussex coast to Bexhill Museum

A 53 mile linear route. Starting at the Motorcycle Workshop in Bolney and riding some sweeping roads down to the south coast. We'll finish at the wonderful Bexhill museum, home to two of Eddie Izzard's fantastic model railways as well as lots of other interesting exhibits. 

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Bexhill is a quiet seaside town that sits between two noisier neighbours, Eastbourne and Hastings. Its most notable landmark is the De La Warr pavilion, a fine cultural arts centre. Built in 1935 it is an architectural wonder the building looks as modern today as it did when it was first opened. 

But our route today will end a short walk away from the pavilion and we highly recommend  you allow some time to visit Bexhill's wonderful museum

 Bexhill Museum

It first opened its doors as a museum in 1914 with one gallery. There are now four galleries on two floors with a cornucopia of artefacts that are really well presented to engage visitors. To do the museum justice you'll need at least half a day. The volunteer staff help are both welcoming and happily explain exhibits in further detail.

The museum has more recently received a lot of attention because of two model railways, both donated by museum patron, renowned comedian and actor Eddie Izzard. The first was his own 00 gauge Triang layout which his father John started back in 1959. The 2nd and if I may say so, one that is even more impressive, and forms the centre piece of the museum's World War II gallery. An N gauge layout (smaller than 00) built by the museum's own team of expert modellers from Eddie's design, it recreates Bexhill and Sidley on a snow covered winter's day in 1940 when Eddie's father returned to the town whilst he was a child evacuee. It is quite simply, stunning.

There was a good falling of snow when Eddie's father returned home to Sidley in 1940. Can you see the bomb damaged house?

The costume collection is a large display of fashion showcased in a timeline from the 18th Century to the modern day. Story boards explain the events of the era together with everyday items from the period. It has been so thoughtfully laid out.

There is even an LS Lowery painting of  Hoad's Mill which stood in  Gunter's Lane at Bexley Down. Thought to have been painted in 1960, and by then the mill was in a dilapidated state. The artist, more famous for his matchstick men and northern industrial scenes, is thought to have been holidaying in the area. Maybe Lowery felt the mill wouldn't be there much longer, so  felt the urge to capture it on canvas. It was finally destroyed by a storm in 1965. Today only its brick base survives.

Another gallery that really  caught my attention was one that explored the rich motoring heritage in Bexhill. From a 30 year old drag car that achieved 107 mph at Greenham Common, a beautiful Elva 1100 sports car and a Sinclair C5 were my standouts. 

The Elva was produced in and around Bexhill and was the brainchild of Frank Nichol. He was to build  low-cost sports/racing cars, and a series of models were produced between 1954 and 1959. 

I would urge you to check out the museum's own website  before visiting for yourself, there is so much more to see.


Feeling peckish? The café just a short walk from the museum is the Sovereign Light Café which is the title of Keane's 2012 single. The band was formed in Battle a town just a few miles from Bexhill.

The promotional video features the café. Fans of the group often visit it for themselves. "Sovereign Light" refers to the now decommissioned lighthouse that was just a few miles out at sea from Bexhill. 

Click the image to see the video in full.

The Route

The route starts at The Motorcycle Workshop, an independent motorcycle workshop with a great reputation.. It is run by husband and wife team Tony and Jeanette Masters and they cater for a large range of motorbikes both modern and historic. Their premises are sited on the old London to Brighton road, bypassed over 25 years ago by the A23 dual carriageway. A few hundred yards north from their premises is an Esso petrol station.

We'll head east on the A272 then take a right at Chailey and meet the A275 to ride south towards Lewes. A short hop east on the  A27 before we swing right on the A26 towards Newhaven.  At South Heighton you take the left fork signposted "Paradise Park" before taking a left at the roundabout to enter the A259 coastal route towards Seaford. 

There is a toilet and café at the South Downs visitors centre (clearly signed). The roads rises steeply and the view over Cuckmere Haven stunning - keep your eye on the road though! Shortly after you see a pond and historic church, turn right towards Birling Gap (interesting place to stop with café and toilets).

The route follows the coast as far as is possible all the way through Eastbourne to Bexhill. At Pevensey take the Normans Bay signpost at the major roundabout and follow Sluice Lane. then Herbrand Walk which is the road photographed which runs parallel to the beach. See image below.

Stunning ride east towards Cooden Beach

A Carousel of additional photos from the museum