Now proudly the steepest funicular railway in Europe, the East Cliff Funicular railway is an awesome sight, dominating the landward view from many parts of Hastings.
Owned and restored by the council over many decades, it has moved from hydraulic to electrical power, and been supplied with new cars over the years, due to fatigue and, on one memorable event, failure.
The East cliff has a sibling on the West Cliff, which is nowhere near as impressive, relying as it does on long sections of tunnel, obscuring the view both of, and from, the cars.
While the ride itself is a great pleasure, and many people are content to slurp an ice cream on the clifftops, looking down over Hastings and the Stade, the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe, the railway gives access to the many delights of the Hastings Country Park. There is an on-site restaurant
The railway opens seven days per week, though the hours are limited and seasonal. The cast is approximately £3, though there is a scheme of prices and season tickets are available. It is advisable to check closing times before setting off on your walk, to save having to walk the return, though it is not unknown for people to prefer this option, finding the trip up to be a bit scary. The origins of the railway were, to coin a phrase, rocky. The land upon which it was built was purchased by one Reverend Millward-Sawyer, who had placed covenants upon the sale limiting construction which could take place on in. The Reverend was not a man to be trifled with, and bringing him on-side took time and effort. The rock itself was fault-ridden and tricky and dangerous to work with. Nonetheless, work was eventually completed and the railway opened in 1906.