Both classic and vibrant, Worthing provides the ideal spot for exploring the many surrounding attractions, from the open spaces of the South Downs National Park, to the natural beauty, fascinating history and cultural delights of Adur. Also situated within the boundaries of the Park is Ditchling, which has Brighton to the south, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath to the north, Keymer and Hassocks to the west, and Lewes to the east. As for Storrington, this thriving, lively, picturesque village lies on the northern edge of the South Downs in the Horsham district, boasting the facilities of a small town, but surrounded by green, English countryside which is part of a conservation area.
Culture is a big part of the appeal for these three destinations. Worthing Museum and Art Gallery features varied collections, comprising art, costume, toys, archaeology and local history. Similarly, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft concentrates on village life, while the Storrington and District Museum houses local archaeology, domestic history and artefacts from the two world wars.
If you’re more of a film buff or theatregoer, there are four venues in Worthing with your name on, namely the Pavilion Theatre, the Connaught Theatre and Connaught Studio, the Assembly Hall and the Dome Cinema, all of which provide extensive entertainment, with something to suit all tastes and ages
Further afield, head to Shoreham-by-Sea for the Ropetackle Arts Centre and smaller provincial venues.
Parks and gardens are likewise not to be missed. Worthing’s Highdown Gardens are a tranquil haven to enjoy, plus neighbouring Pulborough’s Parham House and Gardens is one of the country’s finest Elizabethan houses, set within an ancient deer park below the South Downs. Similarly, nearby Bramber is home to the enchanting St Mary’s House, nestled in five acres of charming gardens. After all that rambling, you’ll no doubt be feeling a tad peckish, and there are plenty of culinary hotspots to savour in this part of the world. Ardington Hotel’s Indigo Restaurant, in Worthing, offers contemporary English and European cuisine, expertly prepared and presented. Ditchling has some fantastic pubs, including The White Horse and The Bull, or why not indulge in Storrington’s superb café culture?
For a more in-depth taste of local producers, Stopham Vineyard, in Pulborough, produces English wine with precision and passion, or Ditchling’s Court Garden is a family-run, single-estate vineyard and winery of international award-winning sparkling wine. Alternatively, beer drinkers will be delighted by a tour of Bedlam Brewery in Albourne, which couples ‘modern brews’ with ‘centuries of tradition’.
Of course, no trip to any of these beautiful places would be complete without laying eyes on their most celebrated landmarks and monuments. Worthing Pier provides an iconic focus for the town, where you can view amazing artworks, promenade above the waves, try your hand at fishing, enjoy an ice cream while relaxing in the deckchairs, or sample other treats at the Art Deco Southern Pavilion.
Ditchling Beacon, one of the highest points in the South Downs, overlooks the village, whereas Ditchling Common to the north is the source of the eastern River Adur, which meets with the western River Adur near Henfield, and flows on to the English Channel at Shoreham-by-Sea. Speaking of which, this historic town has a centre which reflects the architecture of its fishing history, yet remains vibrant and unique.
Elsewhere, shopping is available in the small town of Southwick, which complements the 400+ retail stores which can be found in Worthing itself. Warwick Street is full of gorgeous boutiques and specialist outlets, or a stroll along Montague Street will reveal an abundance of leading high street names. Equally, Storrington’s great range of independents is bolstered by national and local chains.
Annual events won’t go amiss during your annual visit either. In June each year, over 50 venues open their doors to the public for the Worthing Art Trail, which shows off works from more than 300 practitioners. Also in June, the Wildlife Festival is Worthing’s first live music extravaganza, which brings music to the masses, and has attracted thousands since its inception in 2015.
After such an action-packed day out, the time will come when you’ll want to rest your head in supreme comfort and stunning surroundings. Look no further than Amberley Castle near Arundel, a unique luxury hotel steeped in more than 900 years of history. There’s also Abingworth Hall, a charming country house with 25 ensuite bedrooms and three comfortable lounges, which is close to the village of Thakeham.
All of this and much more is just waiting to be discovered in Worthing, Ditchling and Storrington. It doesn’t matter if you’re just passing through for the day, staying for a week, or even thinking of making one of these captivating county highlights your home – whatever you’re after, you can expect a warm and friendly welcome, from the moment you arrive, to the minute you depart.
South Downs National Park
From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park covers 1,600km² of breathtaking views and hidden gems. A rich tapestry of wildlife, landscapes, tranquillity and attractions weave together a harmonious story of people and place. Discover the white cliffs of Seven Sisters, rolling farmland, ancient woodland and lowland heaths, or enjoy the ‘picture-perfect’ villages, country pubs and flourishing vineyards.
Beach House Park
Worthing’s most prestigious town centre park. Best known for its bowling greens, the colourful site has tree-lined paths, herbaceous borders and colourful flowerbeds, plus a unique war memorial to carrier pigeons. There are also two changing pavilions, and the newly renovated Palm Court Pavilion. For some summertime fun, ask a gardener or attendant for the pieces to the two outdoor chess/draughts boards.
‘Panoramic views from the top of the world’ await at the highest point in East Sussex. Seven miles to the north of Brighton and just south of the village, Ditchling Common sits 248 metres above sea level, offering 360-degree views from its summit. Look south out to sea, north across the Weald, or east-west across the Downs. A fantastic place to explore.
Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre
Set in a 36-acre site in the South Downs National Park, Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the South East. Exhibits include a narrow-gauge railway and bus service (both providing free travel around the site), as well as the Connected Earth Telecommunications Hall, Milne Electricity Hall and Printing Workshop. The museum is also home to traditional craftspeople.
Nestled on the southern slopes of the South Downs, between Littlehampton and Worthing, Highdown Vineyard produces award-winning wines in a location that provides a unique and beautiful setting for weddings, parties and corporate functions. In terms of English viticulture, this is an excellent site, while a large car park is ideal for coach parties and group visits, plus the vineyard buildings all have disabled access facilities.