A Hidden Setting Providing Peace, Beauty & Tranquility

Eastbourne Promenade has many attractions, including the pier, the Wish Tower, with waterfront eatery Bistro Pierre, the RNLI museum and the bandstand.

But one that many holidaymakers, and some local residents, have yet to discover is the beautifully laid out Helen Gardens and, in particular, a small secluded garden that forms part of them.

Located at the western end of the seafront at King Edward’s Parade, BN20 7XL, near Bedes School, the Gardens provide an idyllic setting, with several benches from some of which you can enjoy breathtaking views.


I advise you to walk past the clubhouse and children’s playground along a path that will take you through an opening to a ‘hidden’ small secluded, delightful garden ideal for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

Here you can admire flower beds and a variety of bushes and trees with colourful leaves of so many shades and shapes.

If you continue a little further you will have wonderful views of the sea, cliffs and pier.

Helen Gardens also provides lawn bowling greens – the home of St John’s Bowling Club – a putting green, a petanque court and the children’s playground I mentioned earlier.

Visitors can picnic or obtain light refreshments from a cafe, which is part of a thatched pavilion and is open from 9 am to 4 pm. Equipment for the putting green etc. is available to hire from 9 am to 3 pm and there are public toilets next door to the pavilion.

The open spaces are loved by dogs and their owners who can let their pets run free or play ball with them.

Helen Gardens opened as a public park back in 1935 so it is surprising that some people are unaware of them.

But many have attended activities in the main part of the gardens which became a hive of activity on the weekend of May 25th and 26th when the UK Ultra South Downs running event finished there.

This consisted of five long-distance races ranging from half marathon to 100 miles and was brilliantly organised by Race Director Neil Kirby and his team. Incidentally, Neil’s father of the same name, is the owner of the Langham Hotel and a keen runner himself.

Neil Junior told me: “I started the event four years ago with just the 100k and added more races over the years. They have all finished in Helen Gardens and this time there were 550 runners. Those competing in the 100-mile event ran through the night without stopping to sleep.

Living in Eastbourne, I run on the South Downs every day and love to organise these races to showcase the amazing trails to other runners and let them experience what I do daily. It is by far my favourite place to run in the U.K.”

The winners of the men’s and women’s races were: half marathon from Rathfinny Wine Estate, Alfriston – Tiffany Carson and Shaun Smyth; 20 miles, again from Rathfinny – Afan Humphries and Kendra Marsh; 50k from Brighton University, Falmer – Dan Nash and Rebecca Bunting; 100k from Arundel – Joe Turner and Emma Lang; 100 miles from Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire – Tom Harvey and Leonie Ton.

For those of us who are less fit, and may find walking along the seafront to Helen Gardens a challenge, I should point out that is over three miles from Sovereign Centre, Royal Parade, and 1.4 miles from the pier so you may prefer to drive.

Cadence has become caring custodians of the gardens’ facilities, by arrangement with Eastbourne Council, and also has clubhouses at Beachy Head, Church Farm in Litlington, Upwaltham and Cocking Hill. The clubhouses are good meeting places for the likes of Cadence Cycling Club, and more information can be provided by telephoning 073927 07300.

* For those seeking more varied entertainment then the bandstand, which successfully re-opened last year, offers many live shows, including concerts and tribute acts featuring Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and many others

Details about the bandstand can be obtained by telephoning the Seafront Office at 01323 410611.


  • Tony Flood

    Author Tony Flood, who lives in Eastbourne, has spent most of his working life as a journalist, initially on local and regional papers and then on nationals. He was also editor of 'Football Monthly', Controller of Information at Sky Television and enjoyed a spell with 'The People.' In his celebrity book My Life With The Stars - Sizzling Secrets Spilled', Tony recalls: “My work as a showbiz and leisure writer, critic and editor saw me take on a variety of challenges - learning to dance with Strictly Come Dancing star Erin Boag, becoming a stand-up comedian and playing football with the late George Best and Bobby Moore in charity matches.” My Life With The Stars provides revelations and amusing anecdotes about showbiz and sports personalities including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, George Best, Kylie Minogue, Eric Morecambe and Des O'Connor. Tony also writes in other genres and his crime thrillers have been endorsed by best-selling author Peter James. They are Triple Tease, Stitch Up - Killer or Victim? and Fall Guy - who really killed his wife?, and all feature compassionate copper DCI Harvey Livermore. In addition, there's a fantasy adventure for youngsters called Secret Potion and a book Tony has co-written with wife Heather, aptly titled Laughs and Tears Galore - short stories and poems with twists! Recently, Tony joined The Collective of seven local writers all contributing one character to family saga Driven by Desire, which is full of conflict, fierce ambition and passion as well as a dramatic kidnap. Tony also writes theatre reviews for the Eastbourne Herald, Brighton Argus and BourneFree Live, as well as playing veterans football for Sovereign Harbour Veterans. He is the oldest - and slowest - player in the team.

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