Worthing Town is the quieter little sister to Brighton & Hove which sits just 12-miles along the coast to the east.
Worthing has undergone a huge amount of regeneration in recent years as the ‘Down-from-Londons’ realised what a special place it was, making it one of the top ten property hotspots in the country. This in turn has attracted businesses, holiday makers and day-trippers to the town, looking to see what all the fuss is about.
Long gone are the 70s seaside attractions. In their place is a glorious palm-fringed coastline awash with pop-up bars, woodfired pizza vans, coffee stands and a wealth of restaurants with rave reviews. The Regency and Deco architecture lining the prom is stunning and the beaches are free from swaggering hen and stag parties, so they are beautifully clean. Worthing Pier has returned to its former glory with its Art Deco Pavilion now housing a new restaurant hosting live music and comedy events and the town now has its own Arts, Foodie and Pride Festivals to be enjoyed throughout spring and summer.
For centuries, Worthing was a quaint agricultural and fishing hamlet with fewer than 500 residents. Following in the wake of Brighton’s popularity as a spa resort during the early 18th Century, people were encouraged to visit towns on the coast for sea cures – the act of sea-swimming to cure all ills! By 1796 it had many good lodging houses, three hotels, and many fashionable visitors.
In particular, it was Royal patronage which led wealthy travellers to follow in their famous footsteps, favouring a more retired bathing space than Brighton, and bringing with them money, business and colour to the town. The extension of the trainline from Shoreham to Worthing in 1945 made it easier for visitors to access the town – and Worthing as a ‘seaside holiday destination’ was born.
200-years later, a similar rejuvenation has occurred as soaring house prices and over-crowding in the capital and coastal cities has led to people making the move to sunny Worthing. With an abundance of fresh air, clean streets and a creative and welcoming community – maybe you’ll feel the same way after a week’s holiday here!
Food & Drink
While there have always been some hidden gems in Worthing Town, it has more recently become a hub for health-conscious cafes, contemporary bistros and gastropubs. Along the seafront, there are several pop-up vans offering woodfired pizza, tacos, fish & chips, cocktails and freshly made doughnuts – to name but a few, and the seaside location has inspired some seriously good seafood restaurants. Further into town, but all within easy walking distance of one another, there are several restaurants, wine bars and cafes to suit all tastes and budgets; be that a vegan kebab, a bao bun or a foam topped soufflé.
Here are our top Worthing places to eat:
1. Pitch and Bayside Social
Pitch is MasterChef winner Kenny Tutt’s flagship restaurant located on Warwick Street in Worthing Town Centre. Pitch offers a contemporary mix of modern and classic British food, wines and cocktails, paying homage to the great produce found in the surrounding local area. The restaurant is styled as a workshop, with diners greeted by surfaces full of fresh herbs and botanicals ready to be picked and incorporated into Kenny’s dishes. An example three-course menu includes whipped goats’ cheese, toasted hazelnut and thyme jam doughnuts. Sussex ham hock with shirred eggs, chips and gooseberry chutney. And a dessert of cereal pannacotta with peanut butter, chocolate pretzel crackle & chocolate yoghurt sorbet.
Bayside Social is Pitch’s sister restaurant positioned along Worthing Seafront offering 180-degree views along Worthing’s coastline. Guests are welcomed into a relaxed beachfront setting with a laid-back ambience. A variety of choices are available including a seasonal changing menu, nourishing takeaway, indoor/outdoor dining, breakfast & brunch options, as well as fantastic cocktails.
2. The Crabshack
The Crabshack is a family owned and run seafood restaurant and beach bar with a large terrace overlooking the sea. Their philosophy is to provide the freshest local fish and seafood alongside fabulous drinks with fantastic service. Their menu is small as everything is freshly prepared and cooked to order in their kitchen. They believe passionately in honest, simple flavours and letting the amazing ingredients do the talking whilst giving great value for money. Crabshack are dog and children-friendly, as long as they are well behaved! You can soak up the sun on the deck outside or shelter from the storm and stay warm and cosy inside. Laid back, relaxed and unpretentious, you can either have a three-course meal or just stop by for a snack, beer, cocktail, or glass of wine from their small but interesting wine list.
3. Perch on The Pier
Perch on the Pier is a stylish eatery with panoramic views of the sea situated at the end of Worthing’s Art Deco Pier, delivering delicious meals from breakfast through to lunch, including a quality selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes. They also offer pick-and-mix dishes so you can create your perfect plate to suit your dietary requirements and tastes, plus there is a wide selection of kids’ dishes, burgers, mussels, grills and traditional seaside fayre.
Dogs are welcome as long as they keep their paws on the floor, and while it is preferable to book – particularly at weekends, they do keep a proportion of tables for walk-ins on a first-come, first serve basis.
Finch opened for business in 2018 with one goal in mind: providing a tasty, enjoyable dining experience. They provide a fresh variety of dishes from breakfast all the way through to dinner – but they are renowned for their breakfasts and brunches offering beautiful ingredients and a variety of options to suit all. Smashed avocado on sourdough with grilled halloumi, or a full English fry up can be washed down with hangover-cure juices and smoothies and the most delicious coffee.
5. The Grape
Located in the heart of Worthing’s famous Warwick Street, The Grape is a small, family-run wine bar that serves a large variety of hand-picked white, red, rosè, and sparkling wines alongside a hearty food menu comprising of full-flavoured Spanish tapas. During the warmer weather you can sit out on the terrace watching the world go by, then in winter the Deco interior is warm and homely with dark walls, natural woods and wall festooned with quality wines in tall racks. With 5* reviews on Tripadvisor, The Grape is definitely with a visit.
6. Yamu Yamu
Yamu Yamu sits in the West End of Worthing offering contemporary small plates of Japanese street food alongside craft beers, locally brewed coffee and incredible cocktails. Try everything from tofu bao buns, to teriyaki salmon, or their famous filthy fries with an Asian twist! Reasonable prices, friendly and attentive staff and a relaxed atmosphere ensure Yamu Yamu has put itself firmly on the map of ‘must visit’ places in Worthing.
Theatre and Cinema
Find brilliant performances within the genres of dance, comedy, theatre and music at both the Pavilion Theatre or the Connaught Theatre in Worthing. From big-name performers to local artists and musicians, there are events for all ages and interests to be found throughout the year. Creative seasonal workshops for families and children include storytelling, weaving, hat making and sculpture – to name but a few, and there are specialist talks held within the theatre museum.
For a night out at the movies there are two beautiful cinemas: The Dome Cinema and the Connaught Cinema – both within a few minutes of the Town Centre. The Dome is a stunning Edwardian cinema which first opened in April 1911 and has been fully restored to its former glory. There are three screens, including the opulent main auditorium, seating 500, the more intimate Screen 2, with newly refurbished Premier seating, and the new Screen 3, with 41 seats (including some double seats) and wall-to-wall picture.
The Connaught Cinema is a streamlined Moderne-style theatre and cinema which was built as the Picturedrome cinema in 1914. They offer the best in art-house, documentaries and foreign cinema alongside the best blockbusters and screenings of classic films from the archives.
Countryside and Beach
Worthing is brilliantly positioned within Sussex as it is bordered by the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park to the north and some of the most beautiful coastline to the south. These spaces offer the perfect escape for longs walks with Cissbury & Chanctonbury Rings giving the most incredible viewpoints across the entire county. You can jump on a bus from the town centre (number 23) or there are several clearly marked car parks if you are driving. For history and nature lovers you can book archaeology walks on Chanctonbury Ring via the wtm.uk website.
For beach lovers, the tide in Worthing goes out for miles revealing rockpools and swathes of sand so you can walk from Lancing to Goring Gap barefoot. There are ‘Beat the Tide’ 5km and 10km races held in July and the Park Run and Worthing Marathons also take you along the coast. Sunsets are beautiful and there are several cafes offering homemade cakes, coffees and dog treats along the route.
For those brave enough, you will find groups of sea-swimmers taking to the water at mid-tide throughout the year with ‘sea-cures’ making a comeback 200-years after they were first discovered!
Arts and Festivals
Following in the steps of Brighton & Hove, Worthing has gained a reputation as a town known for its arts and culture with festivals held throughout the spring and summer to celebrate food, beer, music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events – tickets can be found on the Eventbrite website.
At Christmas time, Steyne Gardens are transformed into an ice rink while in summer Worthing Pride is held between the gardens and Marine Parade on Worthing’s seafront to celebrate the great diversity of the LGBTQI+ community. The festival includes a fabulous lineup of amazing artists and local stallholders offering a great selection of delicious food.