Shoreham-By-Sea is bohemian, bustling, and bountiful. Set on the coast and just south of the South Downs, it has the magic Sussex formula of great surrounding countryside and seas, a long and interesting history and a thriving creative community. It’s also got a very different vibe from Brighton, and a lot going on. So this is our pick of things to do in Shoreham.
Marlipins Museum is run by The Sussex Archaeological Society (Sussex Past) and is in a Grade II listed Norman building on the High Street which is said to be the the oldest secular building in Britain. It contains some fantastic collections including items from various Sussex shipwrecks, old medical instruments and old photographs. Sadly, it closes in the winter but make a note of it for a spring visit.
Ropetackle Art Centre
Ropetackle Arts Centre is a multi-award-winning, purpose-built arts and entertainment hub. It’s a registered charity run by a small team of professionals supported by over 80 volunteers, and it’s an incredible venue to have in the town, particularly if the weather is bad. If you have a look at their programme, there is something on every day. They have film, theatre, classes, workshops, music and more, so if you’re stuck for something to do, it is well worth a visit. And on Little High Street, it’s super central.
Shoreham Airport and Museum
Shoreham Airport is the oldest licensed airport in the UK and it has a visitor centre and museum. The museum is in the gorgeous Art Deco airport terminal building, and they run full airport tours, which last about an hour, and take in visits to the hangars and views of the resident aircraft. Or you could just grab a coffee at the café and watch some of the planes come and go.
Shoreham Fort, also known as Kingston or Shoreham Redoubt, was completed in June 1857 in the face of a potential invasion by France. Apart from its military significance, the fort is hugely important in the world of film production. Francis Lyndhurst was an English theatrical scenery painter, film producer and director, (as well as grandfather of Nicholas Lyndhurst). In about 1913 and in the early years of film production, he set up a film studio at the fort and produced a number of films here. The fort is at the end of Old Fort Road and although it’s not open to the public just at the moment, they do host various open days (about once a month) and if you walk along the beach you can see some of the fort from the outside.
Shoreham beach and boardwalk
As you might expect with somewhere with “by the sea” in its name, Shoreham has a great beach which is also a Local Nature Reserve. It’s a pebbly beach but home to some rare plantlife including Yellow Horned Poppy, Sea Kale and Curled Dock. It also has a fantastic boardwalk which is over one kilometre long and dotted with benches. It runs all the way to the fort and past some rather splendid beachfront houses (and no, not the beach huts below)!
Weird and wonderful houseboats
While you’re south side of the River Adur, walk west along the towpath for an extraordinary selection of houseboats. Colourful and eclectic, they are made out of all sorts of things, including an old coach. The idea behind this bohemian community dates back to 1945 when a few decommissioned military ships were moored here.
The Downs Link and Monarch’s Way
The Monarch’s Way is a 1,006 km footpath that follows the route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after being defeated in the Battle of Worcester. It runs from Worcester to Shoreham and takes in some great stretches of Sussex. The Downs Link runs from Shoreham to Guildford and is 59 km long. It’s pretty flat and open to walkers and cyclists. Not far north of Shoreham are the South Downs and the South Downs Way…a walker’s paradise!
The old town and the new
Back on the north side of the river, have a good walk around the older parts of Shoreham which dates back to pre-Norman times. St Nicholas church dates back to the 9th century, although most of it is later (11th and 12th centuries). St Mary de Haura church (which is actually in New Shoreham) was built by the Normans in the 11th century and both churches are worth a visit.
Shoreham is home to an Artisan’s Market on the 4th Saturday of the month and a Farmer’s Market on the 2nd Saturday of every month. Both of them are bustling markets with lots of local produce and products.
Shoreham has a couple of festivals worthy of note. They host Shoreham Wordfest every autumn which supports local creativity and attracts high profile authors and speakers. Beach Dreams Festival is held on Beach Green and is a free community event in the summer with live music, attractions and culture for the whole family (which after a few struggles, looks set to be back next year!).
Shoreham Lifeboat Station and lighthouse
Shoreham RNLI Lifeboat Station has a 158-year history and you can visit.
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