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19 Things to Do in Worthing – Piers, Pebble Beaches and a Vibrant Cafe Scene

a yellow boat on the beach with a pier in the background

Worthing is often overlooked because its more famous neighbour, Brighton, takes all the glory! However, we love this little seaside town. It is quieter, generally cheaper and is slowly going through regeneration, making it a great location for a seaside retreat.

We live in an envious position directly between Brighton and Worthing and although I prefer Brighton, we tend to visit Worthing more.

Nestled between the South Downs and the English Channel, Worthing is a quintessential seaside town with a rich history, wonderful scenery, and a vibrant cultural scene. There is something for everyone, whether you are a nature lover, an art enthusiast or a foodie.

a street with bunting in worthing

We’ve seen a huge improvement in the town itself since we’ve lived nearby. There’s a lot of regeneration going on around the seafront, with Splashpoint, new apartment complexes and stylish restaurants and cafes popping up. They really need to start work on the Lido next!

15 Things to Do in Worthing

You could easily spend a weekend in Worthing, and if the sun is shining, it is only natural to head down to Worthing Beach and the 5-mile promenade. Here are 15 must-try experiences in this vibrant town.

1. Stroll Along Worthing Pier

Worthing pier

Start your visit with a leisurely walk down Worthing Pier. This iconic structure, dating back to 1862, offers stunning views of the coastline and the English Channel.

Our kids love the arcade, it is one of my favourites too! I have lost count of the number of times we have left the arcade, armed with sweets, more fidget toys and a huge cuddly toy (which mysteriously ends up in a charity shop).

perch on the pier

Make sure you walk to the end of the Art Deco Pier, where one of the best restaurants in Worthing, Perch on the Pier, has revitalised the old Pier Pavilion. Jim remembers going here when it was Rutherford’s, a dodgy nightclub!

The menu offers a diverse selection, featuring a blend of classic and innovative dishes that cater to various tastes, including my fussy kids! But the fantastic location and decor set the Perch on the Pier apart.

In keeping with the Art Deco style of the Pier, it has a contemporary open plan feel, decorated in soft blues and greens which help complement the views of the sea. I highly recommend it!

The best time to head here is at sunset. The end of the pier is a perfect spot for a serene view!

2. Relax on Worthing Beach

worthing beach with boats

Worthing’s pebble beach is ideal for those looking to relax by the sea. It doesn’t get as busy as Brighton Beach, probably due to the fact it is 5 miles long, starting at Lancing and stretching down to Ferring.

If you are planning on spending a day at the beach, head away from the main part by the Pier, and walk down towards Marine Gardens, past the Lido. The promenade and Worthing town itself are minutes away, so you will never be too far from a cafe for a bite to eat.

Or, just take a picnic and enjoy a day in the sun. We prefer to head to the beach at low tide, the water is less choppy and you’ll get a lot more sand. Perfect for sandcastles with the kids.

3. Enjoy the Cafe Culture

coast cafe in worthing

The town’s cafe scene is vibrant and diverse. Many of the cafes in Worthing are situated along the promenade offering fantastic sea views.

There are also a few pedestrian areas, with plenty of al fresco dining outside the restaurants and cafes, giving it an almost Mediterranean vibe (when the sun decides to show up, of course), which isn’t surprising due to Worthing’s larger than normal Italian population!

Bungaroosh cafe

Some of our favourites include;

  • Coast – situated near Splashpoint, it has an industrial vibe with a bar terrace directly on the beach. The staff are extremely friendly, I was offered a free taster of their new flavoured ice cream last time I went! Don’t forget to pop into the East Beach Studios next door with a coffee in hand.
  • Malt Cafe – situated along Worthing’s busy shopping street, Montague Street, Malt Cafe arguably does the best brunch in Worthing.
  • Laughing Dog – the best pancakes with its own gift shop
  • Bungaroosh Cafe Bistro – tucked away in a back street, they offer home-cooked breakfasts and is my favourite place to go to grab a coffee.

Head to the seafront, Warwick Street and the pedestrian area between Montague Street and Chandos Road and you can’t go wrong. We head to Mooboo every time we’re in Worthing, my daughter loves their bubble tea.

4. Visit Worthing’s Parks and Gardens

steyne gardens in worthing

Another thing that Worthing does well is its parks and gardens. Steyne Gardens is the most popular, being on the seafront with lawns, palm trees and colourful flower beds.

It is a popular venue for community events, festivals and concerts. We go here every Christmas for the pop-up ice rink, and the Worthing Food and Drink Festival is not to be missed!

Marine gardens in worthing

Further down the promenade is Marine Gardens. If you’re looking for a quintessential English park, then this is it. I recently met a friend at the Marine Gardens Restaurant, and we sat outside watching the bowls club members in their all-whites having a game of bowls.

Marine gardens restaurant

Across the lawn, couples were playing croquet whilst the sun shone and the seagulls lurked nearby, trying to steal a sandwich. There are a few walled gardens dotted around, with rose bushes and a fountain. It is the perfect place to sit and read a book and get away from the noise of the promenade!

beach house park in worthing

Another small, but notable park is the Beach House Park and Palm Court Pavilion. Bowling seems to be a thing in Worthing, as there are also several flat green bowling lawns.

You could spend an hour or two walking around the paths, taking in the different flowering seasons, the rock garden in the centre of the park and stop off at the fabulous Palm Court Cafe for some lunch.

Things to Do with the Kids

One of the reasons we love Worthing is that it is so kid-friendly! The Pier is always the first choice, but there are several other activities you can enjoy, even if you don’t have kids.

6. Splashpoint

splashpoint in worthing

I think the one thing that Brighton lacks is a good swimming pool and leisure centre, which is surprising considering it is such a big weekend break destination. This is why we always head to Worthing to go to Splashpoint.

This modern building houses a 25-metre pool with 6 lanes, a large diving pool and an indoor leisure pool with a flume, which is heated. It also has a large gym and cafe.

7. Gull Island Playground

gull island playground in worthing

Next to Splashpoint is the Gull Island Beach Playground and splash pads. My kids loved this park when they were younger. It has a small pirate ship, swings, a climbing frame and a large sand pit.

splash pads with Splashpoint and the new apartments in the background
The splash pads with Splashpoint and the new apartments in the background

In the summer, the splash pads are the perfect place to cool off and you can go and grab a coffee from Coast while the kids enjoy themselves. I feel a bit sad that the kids are now older and we don’t visit much anymore.

8. Waterwise Playground

Waterwise park in worthing

Another, smaller park, is Waterwise down next to Marine Gardens. It’s not really worth travelling to itself, but if you are heading to the beach for the day with the kids, this end of Worthing is quieter and being near a park is another great way to keep the kids entertained. Because we all know the infamous phrase “Mum, I’m bored!”

9. Worthing Treasure Hunt

Worthing promenade

Something we haven’t done ourselves but would love to! This is an outdoor quest which you can do with your smartphone and starts at the beacon in between the Pier and the Lido. You need to collect coins by following the clues and race against family members or friends to finish the hunt first.

This is a great way to explore Worthing and see some hidden gems.

Check out the Worthing Treasure Hunt here!

10. The Lido

worthing seafront with the pier and lido

I love the Lido, but not because of what it offers. The building itself is typical of seaside architecture, and I’m sure, back in the day, was a grand sight. Unfortunately, it has become very unloved and tired-looking.

It originally started as a bandstand, seating over 2000 people. In 1957 it was converted into a swimming pool and was renamed the Lido, but was closed and filled in, in 1989.

shops on the Lido

Ever since, it has been a small entertainment area, with rides for small children and inflatables, with a cafe to the east offering wonderful sea views down to Goring. There are little souvenir shops, ice cream stores and art galleries on the outside, so it may still be worth a visit.

I would love to see this converted back into an outdoor swimming pool, with the building restored to its former glory. The Sea Lanes in Brighton are hugely popular, maybe this is something the Splashpoint owners could consider…

11. Hollywood Bowl

They’ve recently had a bit of a refurbishment and if you love ten-pin bowling, then go. However, I doubt very much that if you’re visiting for the weekend, this is what you would choose. Our kids love it though, mainly because again, it has an arcade!

12. Best Restaurants in Worthing

a street view with an italian restaurant
One of our favourite restaurants, Fiorlatte

Only a couple of years ago, we rarely went into Worthing to eat. If we wanted a night out, we would head to Brighton. However, in the last couple of years, the food scene in Worthing has improved.

I think this is mainly because many people are moving out of the eye-wateringly expensive Brighton to Worthing, so the demand for good quality restaurants has grown.

crabshack restaurant in worthing

What do you fancy? There are seafood restaurants, traditional boozers, micro-pubs and fine dining. Some of our favourites include;

  • CrabShack – this has always been hugely popular, located on the seafront. As the name suggests, it is a seafood restaurant with a large outdoor terrace and was mentioned in the Guardian’s 2019 “Top 10 beach restaurants in Europe”.
  • Cow Shed – Directly opposite the Pier, we have eaten here many times, mainly because of its location. The kids love the menu and I love their cocktails!
  • The Woods – another restaurant we have been to many times, the burgers and house slaw are something else! It’s a simple menu but you won’t be disappointed. Opposite is the Libertine Social which does bottomless brunches and is always busy when we head to The Woods. It has a rooftop bar, which gets very lively.
Crudo in worthing
  • Crudo – I love a restaurant that realises its decor is just as important as its food (that would be the interior designer in me). Crudo has a wonderful vibe, with a biophilic-led design and delicious Mexican food. It is popular with locals!
the Corner house pub in worthing
  • The Corner House – a 10-minute walk from the beach, this traditional boozer, and one of Worthing’s oldest pubs, does the best Sunday roast.
Vudu Restaurant
Vudu Restaurant
  • Vudu – I love this cosy and beautifully decorated restaurant, this is one of my favourite places to go with friends for a lunchtime cocktail.
  • Fiorlatte – Even with Ask Italian and Pizza Express within a minute’s walk on Warwick Street, our large family always chooses Fiordlatte for proper Italian pizza and pasta. The kids love their gelato.
  • Slug and Lettuce – Ok, I know this is a chain restaurant, but we have been a few times before going to the theatre. The kids love the menu, they do really good cocktails and the staff are extremely friendly.

13. Shopping

Montague Street is where you need to head if you want to do a bit of shopping. Worthing has all the big stores such as M&S, TKMaxx, New Look, H&M, Waterstones and Sports Direct.

the royal arcade in worthing

However, if you head away from the High Street, there are plenty of independent shops to explore. My favourite is the Royal Arcade, where you will find clothing, cafes and galleries such as the Gigglewick Gallery.

It was little rundown when we first moved to the area, with a lot of empty shops, but it is now full of little independent stores and cafes.

Emporium shop in worthing

Warwick Street and Brighton Road are wonderful places to wander, with shops such as Emporium Worthing, Encore Antiques, Vintage & Retro, Eclectic Home, Cosmic Central and plenty of antique and second-hand stores to explore.

14. Visit the Arts

East Beach Studios
East Beach Studios

Worthing has a thriving art scene, which is evident all around town. If you walk along the pier, you will see artwork displayed in glass in the middle, by Creative Waves, who offer free creative workshops, volunteering, and work experience.

artwork on worthing beach

Along the promenade, there are five stone-filled gabion plinths which display public art exhibitions, which gives artists the opportunity to display their creations for the visitors and locals of Worthing.

colonnade house in worthing

There are many art galleries, studios and even a pottery cafe in town –

What to Do When It’s Raining?

a restaurant on the beach
A particularly wet day

I feel like every post about a destination in the UK has to come with this caveat. I still enjoy going to the Pier and walking along the beach when it’s raining. As they say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

But there will be times when you want to get out of the rain, so there are plenty of things to do on a wet soggy day.

15. Pavilion Theatre

a pier and beach
The Pavilion theatre is at the start of the Pier

Located in the entrance to the Pier, you can’t miss it. It is a grand and traditional theatre offering a wide variety of performances, including live music, theatre productions, comedy shows and the all-important Christmas Panto!

16. Visit Worthing Museum and Art Gallery

Worthing museum and art gallery

Art and history enthusiasts will enjoy the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, which houses an extensive collection of costumes, archaeological finds, and local history exhibits, as well as rotating art exhibitions.

17. Catch a Film at The Dome Cinema

the dome cinema in worthing

For a nostalgic experience, catch a movie at The Dome Cinema, an Edwardian building that offers a mix of blockbuster hits and indie films. It first opened in April 1911 and I don’t think it’s changed much since then. It has survived two world wars and numerous redevelopment attempts, but it is hugely popular with the locals so I’m sure it’ll last for another 100 years.

It recently featured in Black Mirror – Beyond the Sea. Jim and I had to do a double take when we saw it on the TV, I guess there are not many cinemas left in the world that can instantly transport you back several decades. Also, it’s cheap! 🙂

18. Visit the Connaught Theatre

connaught theatre in worthing

A wonderful Art Deco building, the Connaught Theatre is a smaller and more intimate space where you can catch a live play, musical, or comedy show. It also has a cinema.

19. Worthing Assembly Hall

Along with the Pavilion and Connaught Theatre, the Assembly Hall is another multi-purpose venue in Worthing, proving that the town has a vibrant and creative scene!

It is also home to the Worthing Symphony Orchestra and the Wurlitzer Organ and hosts live music.

Where to Stay in Worthing

Being a typically British seaside town, there are many hotels, B&Bs and AirBnBs to choose from in Worthing. As we live close by, we’ve obviously never had a reason to stay, but here are some of the more popular hotels;

The Chatsworth Hotel – You can’t miss Chatsworth Hotel, opposite Steyne Gardens. It is a Grade-II Georgian listed building. The location is perfect, although the Hotel itself could probably do with a refurb.

The Ardington Hotel in Worthing

The Ardington Hotel – Opposite the Chatsworth, this family run hotel is also in an enviable position, right next to the beach and has it’s own restaurant – Indigo Seafood & Grill, which has been awarded the AA Rosette.

Marine View Guest House – Directly opposite the beach, Marine View is highly recommended on Trip Advisor with a good breakfast and friendly hosts.

The Burlington Hotel – a refurbished seafront property, this is a 4-star hotel and has had famous guests such as Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde!

House in Worthing – If you’re looking for something for the whole family, then check out this 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms property with a garden which has rave reviews.

Beachfront Apartment – If it’s stunning views your looking for, this beachfront apartment with 2 bedrooms is just the ticket!

You also can’t go wrong with the Travelodge and Premier Inn which are both situated on the seafront, if you are looking for something cheap and cheerful for the weekend!

Living in Worthing

traditional sussex cottages

Yes, Worthing is a bit tired in places, you could say the same for a lot of English seaside towns. However, we’ve seen a huge improvement in the town since we have lived next door for 8 years.

People we know who are from Worthing are always adamant that they wouldn’t want to live there. But again, we know people who aren’t born and bred Worthingites and have moved there and love it.

With the property prices in surrounding areas becoming unaffordable, many people are moving to the town and with that comes investment. I think it is a great place to raise a family, the schools are good and there’s plenty to do for kids.

a park with apartments in the background

What I do love about Worthing is the properties and architecture. If you wander from the popular tourist areas, there are some amazing detached homes, leading straight from the beach with large gardens. The nearby villages of Goring, Ferring and Findon are well worth a visit, and I would happily live there.

It is also easy to get to Brighton, with direct trains taking 25 mins and direct trains to London taking only 1hr 26m.

Whether you’re visiting for a day or staying for a week, Worthing’s mix of cultural attractions, natural beauty, and vibrant cafes will surely make your trip memorable.

This coastal town, blending historic charm with modern vibrancy, offers an array of activities that cater to all interests and ages.

things to do in worthing pinterest pin

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