Eastbourne is a medium-sized town in East Sussex, on the south coast of the UK, with a population, according to the 2001 census, of around 90,000. The town promotes itself as "The Sunshine Coast", and often claims the highest recorded hours of sunshine, producing a rivalry with the more popular coastal resort of Bournemouth. To many people, however, Eastbourne is more readily associated with the elderly, as it has historically been a popular retirement destination. This reputation is no longer entirely accurate, as recent major housing developments have been aimed mainly at young families, and the provision of adequate schooling is a key local issue.
Geographically, Eastbourne is situated at the very end of the South Downs, and boasts the famous Beachy Head cliff, as well as extensive beaches. It is also within fairly easy reach of Brighton and London, although the lack of modernisation of the local train network makes it less attractive to commuters.
The seafront at Eastbourne is distinctive in having no garish shop fronts opening onto it, the road being almost entirely populated by Victorian hotels. This is because much of Eastbourne has traditionally belonged to the Duke of Devonshire, who retains the rights to these buildings and does not allow them to be developed into shops. Along with its pier and bandstand, this serves to preserve the front in a somewhat timeless manor.