West Hill Lift Hastings
George Street
East Sussex TN34 3EG
 
  
West Hill Lift is Hastings second funicular railway. It runs from George Street on the town’s seafront and is a convenient way for visitors to get to the Castle and The Smugglers Adventure in St Clements Caves.
 
The lift runs through a tunnel so it does not have the same views of Hastings when ascending as does the East Hill Lift in Hastings Old Town. But, once at the top there are spectacular views across the English Channel and bracing walks along the cliff top. On a fine day there are magnificent views of the Sussex white chalk cliffs to Beachy Head.
 
At the top station there is a café and a children’s adventure playground.
 
The line has a gradient of 33% and rises 170 feet (52 metres) over a distance of 500 feet (150 metres). Two cars, each carrying 16 passengers, run on a double track.
 
A private operator started construction of the line in 1889 despite local opposition. Construction delays and cost overruns meant that the line did not open until 1891. In 1947 the Hastings Borough Council took over running of the line.
 
The lift is now operated electrically although originally the line was operated by a gas engine. To mark the railway's centenary year, the line was fully refurbished in 1991.
 
Hastings Castle
The castle was built shortly after the 1066 Norman Conquest of England and saw a great deal of history but sadly there is not a lot left to tell the story. Sea erosion of the cliff has consumed more than half of the castle. The ruins and an interactive 1066 exhibition are open to the public. There is an admission cost.
 
St Clements Caves
The caves deep beneath West Hill were used by the Hastings smuggling gangs to store and move contraband. The Smugglers Adventure attraction now occupies the caverns and cleverly tells the history of Sussex smuggling.
 
The caverns came to general public notice in 1786 when an elderly couple who had been evicted from the town workhouse in 1783 were found living in the lower cavern. In those days, poverty-stricken married couples forced to enter the workhouse, were housed in segregated Quarters. This man and wife, no doubt wishing to spend some time together, were ejected from the Workhouse for repeated ‘misbehaviour’!
 
The caves were re-discovered in the 1820s by a local greengrocer named Joseph Golding. He was cutting a garden seat into the cliff face for a friend when he broke through to a vast cavern. Golding turned the caves into a popular Victorian tourist attraction. They were twice visited by royalty - once in 1864 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, and once in 1873 by Prince Albert and Prince George Frederick.
 
During the Second World War St Clements Caves were used as an air raid shelter and a temporary home for up to 600 people. Even when the West Hill received a direct hit from a bomb, the caves remained undamaged.
 
Plan Your Visit 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Booking.com here:    External Link

 

 
Using West Cliff Lift
Opening Times
Summer (March to September): 10:00 – 17:30 hours. (Can open later in peak season)
Winter (October to February): Telephone for opening times.
 
Ticket Prices
Carers accompanying visitors with disabilities travel free. Click on the website below for details of up to date prices.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1424 451 111
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website   West Hill Lift    External Link
 
Google Maps - West Hill Lift