In 30 pictures: Go on a smuggler's adventure as Hastings attraction opens in time for half term

People can explore a network of smuggler’s caves as a top Hastings attraction opens for the season in time for half-term.

The Smugglers Adventure is set in St Clements Caves on the West Hill at Hastings, overlooking the Old Town.

Take a journey back in time to uncover the deep and dark secrets of the smugglers from centuries gone by. Notorious smuggler Hairy Jack will lead you on an incredible journey through acres of hidden underground caverns, covert passages and unknown tunnels.

On your voyage through the history of these caverns and tunnels, you’ll be greeted by over 70 life-sized smuggler figures who will open your eyes to the dangerous and often blood-thirsty smuggling lifestyle. There are also interactive displays with hands-on games and activities, making the Smuggler’s Adventure a great day out for the whole family.

St Clement’s Caves were formed around 14,000 BC, during the last known Ice Age. Since their creation, these mysterious and spooky caves have had a fascinating role to play in the history of the Hastings area.

The caves served as a home, a hospital, an air-raid shelter, and a ballroom – of which even the royal family and The Rolling Stones have visited.

The cave network was re-discovered inn the 1820 by a local grocer named Joseph Golding. He was cutting a garden seat into the side of the cliff for his boss when he broke through to the vast cavern. They became a tourist attraction in 1864 and were visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales. In 1873 the caves received another royal visit from Prince Albert and Prince George Frederick.

These ancient caves are steeped in so much history that no one is actually sure how long the caves have been used by man – or other creatures for that matter. The stonework is etched with so much mystery that researchers still continue to try and discover the clues that tell the story of this historic area’s secret past.

The caves provide the perfect location for a vivid recreation of the fascinating, dark, and often bloody stories of smuggling and piracy along the Sussex Coast.