When you think of West Sussex, you will likely imagine pictures of Arundel Castle or Chichester. But many people forget about Worthing. However, this seaside town which was once a small mackerel fishing hamlet is well worth a visit. It is charming, has hidden gems, and lies only 15 miles from the sunniest place in the United Kingdom. You might wonder what else would entice you to visit this coastal town. Let’s take a look at what are the best things to do in Worthing.
Worthing Pier – Winner of Pier of the Year 2019
Why is Worthing worth visiting?
Because Worthing is one of the largest seaside towns on the South Coast. It lies at the foot of the South Downs National Park. It is also an excellent getaway to West Sussex and the perfect place to spend a few days relaxing by the shore.
Worthing has a perfect location if you would like to explore the Sussex Coast and Countryside.
Worthing is also famous for its award-winning pier, unique microclimate and one of the oldest cinemas in Britain. Moreover, you can find here one of the largest Iron Age hill forts in Britain and the world’s only replica of the Sistine Chapel.
Things to do in Worthing
Set your Sat Nav to Worthing and discover the top attractions in Worthing that you should not miss when planning your perfect escape.
1. Worthing Pier
Worthing Pier with its elegant art deco room.
A trip to Worthing would not be complete without a visit to Worthing Pier. In the past, the pier had a simple promenade deck. Today, it has Art Deco Design with stained glass panels and is also a Grade II listed building. Visiting Worthing Pier is one of the best things to do in Worthing because it is perfect for a promenade above the waves. Also, here you can relax in the deckchairs and watch waves rolling into rocky shores. Alternatively, you can enjoy a refreshing drink. Even if you are not keen on a drink itself, the stunning views of the town will make your visit worthwhile.
The 19th-century elegant pier is not only the jewel in the town’s crown, but it is also an entertainment hub.
The Victorian pier is not only famous for casual strolls but also its amusement arcade. Spend the afternoon playing games at the arcade. You can find it halfway along the pier. Also, visit Pavilion Theatre – it is the main venue for musicals and stand-up comedies in the town. Those interested in fishing should know that fishing on the pier is free. Just look at the coloured discs to know where you can fish.
2. Worthing promenade
One of the first things on your list of things to do in Worthing has to be visiting the beach. Worthing Beach prides itself with a palm-tree-lined promenade stretching for miles with views of the Channel. Here you can find Lido and also the Splash Point area, which is popular especially with children. Walk along the promenade and enjoy the fresh air and excellent sea views. See an off-shore wind farm and the photo exhibition of the sea swimmers. The boardwalk is ideal for jogging and cycling. Do not worry if you don’t have a bike – you can hire a comfy orange bike 24/7. There are many hire pick up areas you can choose from (e.g. near the Lido, the Pavilion Theatre or the Burlington Hotel).
Kids top picks:
If visiting Worthing with kids, there are two beach-themed playgrounds near the promenade. Gull Island and Waterwise Playground. Both are free of charge.
A 30-minute stroll from the pier will bring you to a pirate-themed adventure playground located on the promenade in West Worthing. The other one is Gull Island, located behind Coast café, just a short walk from Splash Point. Gull Island is ideal for younger children (under 8 years old).
3. Worthing Observation Wheel (WOW)
For an aerial view of the city, head to Worthing Observation Wheel. You can’t miss it – WOW stands proudly on Worthing seafront from the middle of May until the beginning of October. As you can imagine, WOW is one of the popular attractions in Worthing, and for a good reason. The elegant observation wheel offers a fun ride with excellent panoramic views. See the breathtaking view of the town, the South Downs National Park and the coast. You can see as far as Beachy Head.
4. Worthing beach – outdoor activities
Once you’re done strolling the promenade, why not mix things up with outdoor activities? While a day at the beach can be fun, it would be a shame to miss exploring Worthing from the water. The beach is pebbly, but during the low tide, you can walk on the sand. Those brave enough can go for a swim during the summer months. The beach is gently sloping and, therefore, is also perfect for children.
Moreover, Worthing offers a diverse variety of outdoor activities. You can paddle around the waterfront in a kayak or rent a paddleboard. Do not worry if you forget your wetsuit – hire everything from friendly providers. You can also learn to kitesurf – Worthing is the perfect spot to take those first steps!
You probably do not know it, but Worthing is home to Olympic and World Champion windsurfers & kiteboarders.
5. Sistine Chapel Ceiling reproduction in English Martyrs Catholic Church
It is easy to see how English Martyrs Catholic Church has remained a hidden gem in Worthing. The reason for its low profile is clear enough. The exterior of this red brick Goring-by-Sea church is, in fact, ordinary. But once you visit it, you will soon realise that English Martyrs Catholic Church certainly is a top attraction in Worthing. It is because you can find here an English Sistine Chapel. Yes, that is right, English Martyrs Catholic Church has a copy of Michelangelo’s masterpiece.
The church’s deacon, Gary Bevans, replicated Michelangelo’s work – and the result is more than perfect. English Sistine Chapel is maybe two-thirds of the original size, but only because the ceiling is smaller and lower than in the Vatican.
Like the Italian master, Bevans stood on a platform to paint the ceiling with his head bent up.
Visiting English Martyrs Catholic Church is one of the unique things to do in Worthing. It is because you can see here the only reproduction of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling in the world. The curved ceiling is hand-painted, and it took the artist over five and half years to decorate it. Make sure you do not miss visiting it!
6. Cissbury Ring
National Trust’s Cissbury Ring is the highest point in Worthing.
Looking for outdoor activities in Worthing? If yes was your answer, do not miss Cissbury Ring. It is a hill fort on the South Downs, and you can find it just a short drive from the town centre. What makes Cissbury Ring unique is that it is the largest hill fort in Sussex. It is also the second-largest hill fort in England. The site was even one of the first Neolithic flint mines in Britain.
Today, visiting Cissbury Ring is one of the best things to do in Worthing because it offers beautiful views. It is a popular place for a walk, and you can see the remains of the Iron Age fort here. Also, if lucky, you might spot wild ponies.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Cissbury Ring Circular Walk is a loop trail, and it takes about 1 hour and a half to walk around. The parking is free but limited.
7. Lancing College Chapel
We know it isn’t located in the town, but if you have made the trip to Worthing, you can’t leave without visiting Lancing College Chapel. This extraordinary building lies on a hill in the school grounds of Lancing College in the South Downs National Park. What is about Lancing College Chapel so unique? Firstly, it is a Grade I listed building, and it is a fine example of Gothic revival architecture. Secondly, Lancing College Chapel is the largest school chapel in the world. Once here, make sure you see the massive rose window, which is the largest in England. The window consists of 30,000 individual pieces of stained glass.
Exploring Lancing College Chapel is one of the top things to do in Worthing because this beautiful chapel is one of the tallest interior vaulted churches in the country.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Before visiting Lancing College Chapel, it is worth noting that it is not open at the moment for tours (COVID).
8. Dome Cinema
While visiting Worthing, you should make time to catch a movie at Edwardian Dome Cinema. Dome Cinema is one of the oldest operating cinemas in the country, missing out on the title of the oldest by just one year. Today this historic and opulent cinema with glorious Art Nouveau details is a grade II listed building. Dome Cinema has three digital screens where you can catch a film. Much of the original décor is still in place, and you can see it once you enter this lovely building. Don’t forget to stop at the vintage Projectionist Bar for a grown-up drink. You can also spot here the original projector from Screen One.
Visiting Dome Cinema is one of the unique things to do in Worthing because English Heritage considers it as one of the best five early cinemas in England.
9. Steyne Gardens
Alternatively, visit Steyne Gardens located only a short walk from the town centre. Steyne Gardens is a lovely tree-lined open space where you can rest on benches and watch the world go by. The park, which faces the sea and a row of Georgian houses, is ideal for relaxing. If you are lucky enough, you might even be able to catch one of the events throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled for Worthing Food & Drink Festival, Classic Car show and Armed Forces Days in summer. And if visiting during the winter months, Ice Rink returns to Steyne Gardens from the middle of November until the end of February.
10. Highdown Gardens
Those visiting during the summer months should make their way to Highdown Gardens. Peaceful Highdown Gardens provide an escape from the town. In the past, the gardens belonged to the famous botanist. They were an experiment to see what could thrive on the chalk soil. Today visiting Highdown Gardens is one of the popular things to do in Worthing because the gardens contain an extensive collection of rare plants and trees. This tranquil haven is at its best in spring and summer. Admission to Highdown Gardens is free.
11. Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
If you have a spare hour or two while visiting the town, stop at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery. It is the largest museum in West Sussex. Worthing Museum and Art Gallery are not only home to an art exhibition, though. They host temporary exhibitions and permanent collections where you can learn more about the local history and archaeology. The museum also has the largest costume collection of everyday wear in the UK. Therefore, visiting Worthing Museum and Art Gallery is one of the popular things to do in Worthing. You can find the museum in a fine Edwardian building in the heart of the town.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Visit quirky studios and galleries of independent artists in East Beach Artist Studios. You can find them in converted beach huts.
12. Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle overlooking the River Arun and the South Downs.
After exploring Worthing, you should make time to explore nearby Arundel Castle. It is one of the largest inhabited and complete castles in England. But don’t let its beautiful décor fool you – Arundel Castle has one of the bloodiest histories of any castles in Britain.
The castle has a thousand years of history. It is a half medieval fortress and a half home. It even has a duke who lives here. Also, Arundel Castle is one of the best British castles. Therefore, visiting Arundel Castle is one of the best things to do in Worthing.
13. Amberley Village
After exploring Arundel Castle, stop at Amberley village, which you can find just a short drive from historic Arundel. Amberley certainly is one of the most picturesque villages in West Sussex. It has beautiful thatched cottages, Amberley Working Museum and even a castle. Also, it has one of the richest wetlands remaining in the United Kingdom. And the best of all? This lovely village is overlooked by visitors. Therefore, exploring Amberley village is one of the unique things to do in Worthing.
READ MORE ABOUT AMBERLEY:
14. Bignor Roman Villa
For a slice of history, head to Bignor Roman Villa, which you can find just a short drive from Amberley. Bignor Roman Villa is one of the largest Roman villas open to the public in the United Kingdom. The villa is famous for quality mosaic floors, which are some of the most complete in England. For that reason, visiting Bignor Roman Villa is also one of the unique things to do in Worthing. Make sure you don’t miss this lovely attraction dating back to 350 AD.
As you probably know, Worthing lies only a short drive from Brighton. Why visit this cosmopolitan city? Well, there are many reasons. It is vibrant, has beautiful Brighton Palace Pier and has something to please everyone. Brighton is home to the world’s oldest aquarium. It has the charm and history while having the modern qualities that make it a popular travel destination. It has narrow alleyways and those unforgettable sea views. Brighton is even one of the happiest places to live and work in the UK.
16. Seven Sisters
Another iconic place to visit is Seven Sisters. The famous white cliffs are one of the great natural wonders in England. They are a part of the South Downs National Park. Even though Seven Sisters are less known than their white-cliff cousins in Dover, they deserve your attention. They are more impressive, offers excellent walking possibilities and stunning sea views. For these reasons, visiting Seven Sisters is one of the best things to do in Worthing. Spend the day exploring the famous Birling Gap. Alternatively, head to closer Seaford Head, which offers beautiful views of the majestic cliffs.
17. Stop for a drink
Coming to Worthing for the first time and don’t know where to stop for a drink? Let’s have a look at great spots to drink up around this seaside town.
The Burlington Hotel – originally named The Heene Hotel, later the West Worthing Hotel.
Why go? It is no surprise that Burlington Hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy undisturbed views of the South Coast. This beautiful hotel with original Victorian features is the oldest purpose-built hotel in Worthing. Nowadays, Burlington Hotel is a listed building and one of the landmarks in Worthing. It has an idyllic seaside location with views of the seafront promenade. This casual hotel offers beautiful sunset views in Worthing and reasonably priced drinks.
The Burlington Hotel isn’t, in fact, a Worthing secret. You probably don’t know it but, Charles Darwin stayed at the Burlington Hotel in the 1880s. But he was not the only famous person who stayed there. Oscar Wilde has stayed at the hotel while writing the best-known play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Also, Charles Dickens frequently visited Worthing and stayed at the hotel. Today you can enjoy a drink in a fully renovated contemporary bar or on a balcony. Even if you want to get a delicious meal, Burlington Hotel has got you covered.
The Cow Shed
Why go? For cocktails and chilled, laid-back ambience in the evening. You know you’ve made it to the Cow Shed once you see the retro-industrial bar. Sample their cocktail menu or taste a good pint or freshly cooked burger. All within a stone’s throw of the beach, overlooking the pier and also Worthing theatre.
George & Dragon
Why go? The George & Dragon in Tarring might be located a little further away from the town centre, but it should not put you off. Visiting Tarring will transport you back into medieval times. Yes, that is right, gently curving Tarring High Street is one of the most historic streets in Worthing. Tarring was once home to five pubs, today you can find here three. One of them is the George & Dragon. This traditional pub is one of the oldest pubs in the town and has a pleasant atmosphere. The old fashioned pub with smuggling history and log fire in winter calls to be seen from inside. And it is dog friendly, too. Don’t miss the plaque – an insurance mark that shows that the building was insured if it should catch fire.
Number 24 Refreshment
Why go? The new stylish beachfront café bar has an excellent location on the seafront. Plus, the bar offers something for everyone. From artisan coffee, a fantastic range of gins, cocktails and draught beers, Number 24 is the perfect spot for a pre or post-dinner drink. Also, they have on a menu their famous ice cream, home-baked cakes and freshly cooked food.
Rose & Crown
Why go? Looking for a traditional local pub to grab a beer and watch a big game? Then visit the refurbished Rose & Crown, located in the town centre. You can enjoy your drinks poured to perfection in a beer garden or inside.
Best Restaurants in Worthing:
Casa Ciro restaurant
After a long day exploring attractions in Worthing, stop at one of the local restaurants. From Italian to Mexican and Turkish, there are many great places to eat and drink around Worthing. Feeling hungry? Here are some of the best restaurants in Worthing:
Why go? Take your tastebuds all the way to Italy and back, without leaving England. This family-owned Italian and Mediterranean restaurant celebrates flavours of traditional Italian cuisine. You will be spoilt for choice here. Plus, the balcony has beautiful sea views. You can find Casa Ciro restaurant on Worthing seafront, opposite the pier.
Why go? If your ideal meal is simple and it is seafood, then this is the place for you. This family-owned seafood restaurant & beach bar has a large terrace overlooking the sea. The menu might be small, but it also has daily specials and catch of the day on offer. Cosy Crabshack is child and dog friendly until 7pm.
Why go? This Turkish spot has become of the best-rated restaurants in Worthing. This traditional authentic Turkish restaurant has a large selection of starters and mains that give that holiday-relaxed vibe. Efes might be a little away from the town centre, but it is well worth a visit.
Why go? Looking to impress someone? Then visit Pitch – it is run by the 2018 winner MasterChef and Worthing resident Kenny Tutt. A fancy restaurant with a mix of modern and classic British food offers a fine-dining experience.
Have you been to Worthing in West Sussex? What was your favourite thing to do there? Let us know in the comments below 🙂 Also, if you like our post, do not forget to save it to Pinterest.
YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY: