When the Queen came to East Sussex

To remember the Queen for her service, we take a look back on the occasions she has visited East Sussex, often accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Eastbourne and Pevensey

The Queen visited Eastbourne in 1936 while her father was King and she still Princess, alongside her parents and her sister Princess Margaret. The family attended a service at St Mary’s Church in Eastbourne. The royal visit took place two months after the death of King George V, who had visited St Mary’s while on holiday in Eastbourne a year earlier, in 1935.

Her Majesty then returned to Eastbourne in 1966 as Queen. The visit saw the monarch visiting Eastbourne and Pevensey in October, to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the Norman invasion of 1066.  With thousands of people lining the Eastbourne seafront to welcome Her Majesty, the Queen visited the Town Hall and Eastbourne College.


In 1979, Queen Elizabeth opened the Sussex Police Training Centre in Lewes.

She returned in 2013, as part of her East Sussex tour, when, as patron of the Youth Hostel Association, she officially opened YHA South Downs, and visited Harvey’s Brewery.


Her Majesty has visited Brighton a number of times, with a handful being before her reign as Queen began. Her first appearance as Queen was in 1962, when she opened the George Street Renovation Scheme in Hove and visited Brighton College.

In 1964, the monarch returned to Brighton to attend the University of Sussex campus and officially open the library there. During this visit, the Queen spent a good deal of time chatting to residents and students of the university.

15 years later, in 1979, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh returned to Brighton to stroll through the town’s historic shopping streets and to officially open Brighton Marina.

March 2001 saw the couple once again in Brighton, this time meeting children from Goldstone Junior School, Knoll Infant School, Hill Park School, and Aldrington Church of England Primary School. They also visited the Brighthelm Centre to greet St John’s Ambulance volunteers and Big Issue sellers.

Returning in 2007, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh visited for the 200th anniversary of the Theatre Royal, where the Queen was also shown around Jubilee Library while the Duke saw a workshop at the Pavilion Theatre. A reception was then held at the Dome, and then the couple enjoyed lunch at Brighton Racecourse before heading to various community projects.

The Queen’s final visit to Brighton was in 2013, as part of her East Sussex Tour.

2013 East Sussex Tour

Following the year of her Diamond Jubilee, Her Majesty visited East Sussex alongside the Duke of Edinburgh, with their tour consisting of four stop offs.

Newhaven was first on the agenda, with the couple visiting West Quays Fisheries, where they were given a tour and chatted with well-wishers and workers. Fisheries boss Ian Bickerstaff, who showed the pair around, said: “What a lovely couple. They were so interested in the fish and were asking where they came from and when they were caught.”

The next stop was Lewes, where Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Harvey’s Brewery and received a tour by Mr Jenner and Hamish Elder, from the seventh generation of the Harvey family. Following this, the tour saw the Queen officially opening the new £5 million YHA South Downs hostel near Newhaven.

The tour then culminated in Her Majesty visiting Falmer and officially opening The Keep, which provides a home for archives and historical resources of East Sussex and Brighton and Hove. During the opening, archivists presented maps of Sussex from 179, historic pictures of Eastbourne before it became a resort.

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