Discover Eastbourne's Hidden Secrets

Thursday 19th May 2016

eastbourne buzz news - Harry Pope Credit Visit Eastbourne
 

Eastbourne Walking Tours begin this bank-holiday weekend, as the town’s resident guide Harry Pope, begins a fifth year of fascinating guided walks revealing some of Eastbourne’s hidden treasures, best kept secrets and local legends. 

The humorous and anecdotal guided walk will allow visitors to discover the secret tunnels which led to a former Victorian brothel, the previously unknown site of an original air raid shelter and the Carpet Garden’s unique use during the First World War.

The tours explore memories and legacies from Victorian seaside Eastbourne, through to the town’s history from 1940’s wartime, and walkers will discover which public house dates back to Napoleonic times.

Every Sunday, much of Eastbourne’s hidden heritage is revealed including secrets from the town’s charming array of theatres. From Eastbourne’s oldest to the South Coast’s largest, walkers can discover which theatre is home to Harry Houdini’s specially installed trapdoor and the legend of an ensemble of six ‘Educated Lions’ and their handler.

Eastbourne walking guide, Harry Pope said “Every year I learn more about our wonderful town. I take people along the seafront, share the latest pier updates, wonder if Sandy Powell’s spirit still lingers in Elms Avenue, stop on top of the seafront’s Victorian tunnels and show walkers the only remaining WW2 air raid shelter.”

“Previous walkers have been patients of Dr. Bodkin Adams, so I am always able to share many intriguing, yet slightly darker personal reminiscences of the town’s colourful history. Whatever the weather, I’ll be there to guide you through this wonderful historic seaside town.”

The licensed sight-seeing guide and history enthusiast will lead two walking tours every Sunday from 29 May until 25 September, at 11am and 3pm in which visitors can go on a 90-minute journey along the seafront, Devonshire Park and the town centre, following a flat easy path.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “Harry Pope is exactly what you’d expect a local tour guide to be; full of stories, a fountain of knowledge, fun and entertaining. Taking this guided tour is a must-do for all visitors who love to learn a town’s history through the illuminated activity of guided walking. With his vast local knowledge and a delightful storytelling nature, a walking tour with Harry is the best way to discover Eastbourne’s many stories, not told in the guide books!

“Harry’s walking tours complement the recently launched East of the Pier Heritage Trail, which visitors can follow by downloading the new ‘Eastbourne Trails’ app or by following on their own accord.”

Tours are suitable for all ages and abilities, and are all on one level without the need to access steps. They run on Sundays at 11am and 3pm until the end of September and start on the promenade above the Seafront Office. Tickets cost £7 (with under 14’s going free) and are available from the Tourist Information Centre, the Seafront Office, or for purchase at the start of the tour on the day.

For more information, click here or telephone the Tourist Information Centre on 01323 415415. The ‘Eastbourne Trails’ app is available now to download for free on iPhone, iPad and Android.

 

Picture: Harry Pope on Eastbourne Seafront, courtesy of Visit Eastbourne

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