Bank Holiday Fun In Hastings

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The sun always shines in Hastings on the early May Bank Holiday, according to the event organisers of the 'Jack in the Green' festival. The pagan festival, now in its 36th year, takes place annually around the beginning of May, across the seaside town of Hastings. The four day event is a spectacular showcase of all that is essentially British. Morris dancers, local bands, traditional music, historic events, colourful costumes and most of all, the parade which leads to the slaying of Jack and the release of summer!

The parade on the Monday attracts thousands of visitors and for me, is the highlight of the event. Starting from the fisherman's hut in Rock a Nore, in the Old Town at around 9.45, the parade winds its way through the streets to West Cliff. There, with the sea in the background and the town below, Jack is slain. I quite like picking a spot on one of the many inclines, as the parade normally passes slowly, as the effort of climbing a hill slows them down. You no doubt will hear the parade long before you see it, with the drummers beating a rhythm and the bells of the Morris dancers guiding the parade on and upwards. As the procession passes you by you, will be struck by the amazing costumes, the swathes of green and the leaf designs, the rainbow colours of the ribbons and the unforgettable green faces of many taking part. It really is a traditional May Day celebration that shouldn't be missed.

Drummer girls, Jack in the Green, Hastings

When the parade reaches West Hill, there is chance for all to catch their breathe before the event comes to a climatic close. Here, Hastings' finest independent, artisan foodies provide a wide variety of treats for you to enjoy. From vegan, pizza to wild boar, to Caribbean chicken and rice - the choice is endless and all to be washed down with local ales or traditional ice-cream.

I promise you, if you plan a weekend in the area to coincide with this event, you will not be disappointed. It is truly a family friendly extravaganza and one you will look back on fondly. Looking for somewhere to stay? We still have availability at some of our holiday cottages in East Sussex and can suit the needs of any family or group tempted by these spring time festivities!

The Giant, Jack in the Green, Hastings

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Jacqui Maxted

Jacqui is the owner of Rye and Beyond