<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
12 ISSUES FOR £24 Subscribe to Sussex Life today click here

What it’s like to live in Horsham

PUBLISHED: 10:26 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:57 04 April 2017

The area around The Black Jug in Horsham. Photo by Michael Gaylard

The area around The Black Jug in Horsham. Photo by Michael Gaylard

Archant

Last year the Halifax Quality of Life Survey ranked Horsham the 19th best place to live in the UK. Duncan Hall finds out why

Getting there

Horsham is east of the A24 Worthing to London road and south of the A264. The town centre is situated on the crossroads of the A281 and B2237. It has its own railway station, with regular services to London Victoria, London Bridge, Bognor, Southampton and Portsmouth, and a further station at Littlehaven to the north. Horsham has a range of bus services run by Compass, Stagecoach, Metrobus, Sussex Coaches, Arriva Kent and Surrey and Handcross District Community Buses with routes to Brighton, Dorking, Handcross, Guildford, Storrington, Petworth, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Crawley and Gatwick Airport.


History

Horsham is first mentioned in records in 947 as part of Washington manor. Its name may have meant “horse meadow”. It was named a borough in 1235, although its population remained small until the 19th century – with the parish almost doubling from 5,947 people in 1851 to 11,063 in 1891. This growth was assisted by the arrival of the railway.

By the 1920s it was an important local shopping area. Gradually it became something of a commuter town, although it was gradually overtaken by nearby Crawley in the 1980s.

The biggest changes to Horsham came in the 1970s when a dual carriageway inner ring road removed traffic from the centre, leading to the creation of a new pedestrian shopping area. A £250m town centre redevelopment was opened by the Queen in 2003. It was named as the top boom town in the UK in 1990, the second best place to live in the UK by a 2006 Channel Four programme (only losing out to Winchester) and the local authority district has been a regular in the top 20 annual Halifax Quality of Life Survey – scoring the highest of anywhere in Sussex in 2012, 2015 and 2016. The index looks at indicators in the labour and housing markets, environment, education, health, personal wellbeing and leisure.

It contrasts with Horsham’s reputation in the 19th and early 20th century as a place with a strong radical and republican tradition. The town’s violent support of the 1830 Labourers’ Revolt earned it the description from a local magistrate as a “hotbed of sedition”.


Annual festivals and events

Classic cars and Italian culture will be back in Horsham Town Centre over Easter from Good Friday for the annual free Piazza Italia event.

Horsham Fake Festival returns to the Holbrook Club Grounds on Saturday 3 June, on the bill are tributes to stadium fillers Coldplay, The Killers and Kings of Leon supported by local bands. Gates open at 12.30pm, tickets from £17.50/£9.

Horsham Garden Music Festival, which showcases local music acts, is in Horsham Park’s Human Nature Garden in July for two weekends and the free family summer event Sparks In The Park will offer fairground rides, giant games, arts and crafts and live music on a date yet to be announced.

In September look out for the Horsham Food and Drink Festival and Horsham Beer Festival. Last year also saw the not-for-profit Horsham Circle of Life Festival take over the town in May for a week celebrating life and community although at the time of writing no 2017 date had been announced.


Amenities

With a programme encompassing theatre, arts, cinema and live music The Capitol Theatre in North Street is Horsham’s centre of culture. Big shows to come later this year include a live stage version of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, a new musical version of The Railway Children, thriller The Sound Of Murder, Christmas pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk plus visits by vocal group Blake, Leo Sayer, Ruby Wax and Michael Parkinson. It also plays host to Horsham Symphony Orchestra who launch their 2017 season on Saturday 25 March and amateur theatre group HAODS who perform Made In Dagenham from 4 to 8 April.

Horsham Museum in Causeway is open from Monday to Saturday and free to enter. Alongside permanent exhibitions of costumes, local history, toys and a gallery dedicated to Percy Bysshe Shelley are regular visiting displays.

The Swan Walk shopping centre is home to chain stores including Boots, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Superdrug, Wilko and WH Smiths, as well as local heroes Cocoa Loco and Gobsmack Comics. The pedestrianised town centre hosts a market every Saturday in the Bishopric. Big name shops in the town include John Lewis, Sainsburys and Waitrose.

Horsham Park hosts free Sunday afternoon concerts on the Park Podium from May to August. Pavilions In The Park provides a swimming pool, gym and soft play area, as well as hosting a series of workout classes. Horsham Superbowl, in Albion Way, has both ten-pin bowling and a Laser Quest arena. The town also has its own library, post office, several doctors surgeries and hospital in Hurst Road, specialising in neurology and older people’s services.


Meet the neighbours

The Romantic poet Shelley was born at nearby Warnham. A fountain in his honour can be found in the town centre. DJ Carl Cox once lived in Horsham. Harry Enfield and Holly Willoughby both went to school at Collyers Sixth Form College.


Council

Horsham is the home of both Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council’s County Hall North which are both based in Parkside.

It has been served by the Conservative MP Jeremy Quin since 2015, who took over the seat from long-time incumbent Francis Maude, now Lord Maude of Horsham.


More…

What it’s like to live in Shoreham-by-Sea - Shoreham is growing in popularity as Brighton and Hove become ever more expensive. It offers a small town experience between the sea and beautiful Adur valley, as Duncan Hall discovers

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 11:59

There’s a festival for you this summer, whether you’re more at home in a moshpit or on a massage table. Jenny Mark-Bell presents some highlights

Read more
Friday, May 19, 2017

10 of the most beautiful, inspiring and simply stunning photos of Sussex shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Enjoy wide seascapes and woodland on this circular walk along the Seven Sisters cliffs and through Friston Forest with Hazel Sillver

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Last year Seaford was one of the UK’s top five towns for house price growth. Duncan Hall finds out why

Read more
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

With the South Downs, quaint villages and coastal trails, Sussex is a great place for a walk. Here we round up some of the best

Read more
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Whether you’re planning for barbecue season or hosting a special dinner party, it pays to be friendly with your local butcher.

Read more
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Having a good singsong and listening to singing are proven to reduce stress. Hazel Sillver suggests 16 places to enjoy both across Sussex.

Read more
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

An afternoon or bank holiday spent in a pub beer garden is a true delight of British life. A few of our favourites are here, chosen by Jenny Mark-Bell and Alice Cooke. Here’s hoping for a blistering summer...

Read more
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

As we enjoy wild flowers in our county’s beautiful woodlands this spring, it’s easy to forget just how many challenges our native trees are facing. Diane Millis investigates.

Read more
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Our guide to the best events in and around Sussex this May.

Read more
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We love to celebrate all things Sussex, so we’ve rounded up a few farm shops in the county where you can find a whole range of fantastic local produce.

Read more
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bluebells, bluebells and even more bluebells. That’s Sussex right now…

Read more
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It was raising funds for the local primary school which first inspired farmer John McCutchan to open his bluebell woods to the public.

Read more
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

17 April 2017 is a day Brighton & Hove Albion fans will never forget. The club’s long-standing ambition finally came to fruition as the Seagulls were confirmed as a Premier League club. Here’s how it happened…

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Sussex Life Application Link

Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Sussex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search