- BBC South East Today visited Eastbourne for a reopening feature on the 12 April, when venues were allowed to reopen as stage two of the government roadmap. Both a tourism representative and the very first guest of Black Robin Farm Holiday Cottages appeared on the news talking about the wide open space in Eastbourne, reopening of venues and welcoming tourists back.
- Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour were in town on 27 April filming at Beachy Head with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, facilitated by VisitEastbourne.
- Other recent filming and location shoots includes a New Look photoshoot for their summer campaign, a pre-recorded VT for BBC Springwatch, Elle UK photoshoot, an ITV Daytime competition and a documentary on Eric Ravilious.
- Eastbourne was featured in The Telegraph as part of recent stay by a journalist at Black Robin Holiday Cottages https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/family-holidays/find-true-isolationseaside-90-minutes-london/
- A new booking campaign has begun offering those who book their accommodation through visiteastbourne the chance to win a ‘Bonus Break’, either extending their stay or making a return visit. This is to encourage more visitors to select VisitEastbourne for their booking, to reduce the large commission payments to OTA’s such as Booking.com. The scheme is being promoted to existing followers and subscribers, as well as to new audiences through social media advertising.
- VisitEastbourne has added a new Outdoor Dining section to the website and applicable businesses can be displayed for free for a short period, with the option to include Open Table online booking or take advantage of special deals on 12 months membership.
- A new membership pack is now available to support businesses as they reopen with enhanced opportunities to reach bigger audiences with access to VisitEastbourne’s wide social media following and subscriber database.
- VisitEastbourne has been supporting the EHA with a social media advertising campaign to support reopening, funded by the Additional Restritions Grant.
- VisitEastbourne has completed a full year since migrating to the new website and despite the challenges of months in lockdown has seen year on year growth during the months of the tourism economy reopening, in particular showing a 29% increase in page views last September.
- VisitEastbourne are currently working with Eastbourne Access Group and the EHA to improve online accessibility information.
- The VisitEastbourne team have also supported a range of projects including the online presence and promotion of a Tourism Pilot scheme, Magnificent Motors digital marketing campaign, a Conference News campaign of sponsored content and emarketing, a content update of the Heritage Eastbourne website, poster and signage design for the Stage Door and DQ Café and various design and website work for events. New photography has taken place to support outdoor dining. The team have also continued to work closely with the Conference team and Eastbourne Downs Golf Course with new photography, website support and social media management.
- The Visitor Centre is now open daily 9am to 5pm and has a new exhibit at its entrance to create interest – a 10ft person made entirely by old 35mm cameras, created by Media Attention’s Paul Spink.
- The Events team are up and running with the planning for the first couple of events this year, starting with Magnificent Motors over 22-23 May and the return of the Eastbourne International over 19-26 June. Initially these events will operate under strict Covid regulations and will see a reduced capacity from previous years, with Magnificent Motors 5 May 2021 running on a free ticket entry, however the team are excited to get underway with events again.
- The Big Wheel has successfully returned with planning permission granted to stay throughout the summer season. For prices and tickets, visit: https://www.eastbournewheel.com/
- Alongside all of Eastbourne Borough Council events, the town will see a whole host of funfairs, outdoor theatre including EODS Taming of the Shrew in Italian Gardens and also the circus returning to Princes Park. The Events team is also in discussions with event organisers about some exciting new events later in the year which we hope to be able to announce shortly.
- The Pavilion is set to open on Monday 17 May, offering an upgraded menu of light lunches and snacks as well as a brand new bar open until 10pm every day. Friends of Bandstand members can receive 10% off food and drink.
- Eastbourne Bandstand is also set to open that week starting with an ELO tribute on Friday 21st May. The main arena is already sold out and the rest of the tickets for that weekend are disappearing fast. Subject to Covid regulations, for the time being there will be no dancefloor and visitors will need to wear masks.
- Eastbourne Lifeguards return to the beach from Saturday 1 May anticipating sun-seeking crowds this year, ready to provide first aid and safety advice at their Lifeguard Station near the Wish Tower. Tyro lifeguard courses are also set to run this summer and the sessions are already on sale at www.visiteastbournetickets.co.uk.
- Helen Garden Kiosk will also reopen from 1 May offering ice cream, snacks and refreshments as well as putting, petanque and bowls.
- The Sovereign Centre successfully reopened its doors on the 12 April to welcome back customers for swimming, swimming lessons, gymnastics lessons and the gym. The fun pool swimming sessions are bookable at peak times via the Sovereign Centre’s website, but all other swimming and gym sessions are available for customers without the need to book. Children’s swimming lessons have been really popular since the lifting of lockdown, with spaces filling up fast.
- The advice to anyone looking to sign up for swimming lessons is to sign up quickly before they go! With workout classes and adult swimming lessons due to resume from 17 May as part of the next stage of the government’s plans, it’s exciting times for the Centre. Visit www. eastbourneleisure.co.uk for more info.
- The Covid vaccination centre which has been operating from the sports hall has relocated to Sovereign Harbour Community Centre to continue their amazing work.
- The DQ Café (outdoor terrace) reopened to the public on 12th April as did Visitor Services at the Welcome Building, with patrons now able to book tickets in person at the Box Office and enquire about events happening in Eastbourne.
- Levels of conference enquiries continue to be strong and several organisers, including Oddfellows and Bible by the Beach, have carried out site visits to our venues, with many committing their event dates for the next 5 years, through to 2026.
- NAPO (National Association of Probation & Family Court Staff), CAMRA and The Children’s Respite Ball will attend site visits shortly to finalise the organisation of their events for 2022 and 2023.
- William Cavendish, Earl of Burlington (son of the Duke of Devonshire) will give a talk to Eastbourne’s history societies at the Winter Gardens in October and will take the opportunity to tour the DQ new venues and facilities.
- An Audience Survey has just gone out to the Eastbourne Theatres email subscribers and will be promoted via social media channels from Friday 30th April. We are encouraging as many people with an interest in Theatre to complete the survey as possible. You can access the survey for completion at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/G5FRLFT
- Casting has now been announced for both Waitress the Musical this October and SIX the Musical in 2022. Waitress casting includes Lucie Jones reprising her role as Jenna (Lucie was last in Eastbourne in 2017 starring as Maureen in RENT at the Devonshire Park Theatre), Evie Hoskin and Sandra Marven are also returning from the West End to play Dawn and Becky respectively, and joining them as Dr Pomatter is Busted’s Matt Willis.
- Planning is underway for a ‘return to theatre’ campaign to encourage and reassure patrons to have confidence in booking future theatre tickets, in preparation for the doors opening May/June.
Stage Door pub
- The Stage Door welcomed customers back to the outdoor seating area on the 12 April with groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.
- The pub have launched new cocktails in a jar for just £5 each with flavours including Cosmopolitan, Blue Lagoon and Pimms. Customers are able to receive 50p off if you return the jar or 75p off the next cocktail!
- The jazz nights will return on the 24 June and the quiz on the 6 July.
- While the Beachy Head Story exhibition is reaching its’ final stages of completion, the shop has been open since 12 April and there is growing interest in the range of bespoke, local, environmentally conscious and ethical gifts on sale. Top sellers so far have been the mugs designed by artist Ellie Fryer, the wonderfully perfumed candles made by a local school teacher trading as Wilmington Candles and two teas developed exclusively for the Centre by Bird & Blend Tea Co.
- Visitors to the shop have also been able to get a sneak peak of the exhibition and the excitement for opening on 17 May is certainly building.