Here's what it's like to live in Shoreham-by-Sea
PUBLISHED: 14:35 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:35 08 March 2019
Surrounded by the coast, the Adur Valley and the South Downs, Shoreham is just perfect for small town life with access to big resources
Shoreham has a perfect location nestled in the middle of the breathtaking Sussex coastline, the South Downs and the Adur River. But despite its natural beauty, it’s also extremely accessible. It can be reached easily by car from the A27 which comes just around the edge of the town before following signs south to Shoreham via the A283. It’s about a two-hour drive from London, and approximately 25 minutes to Brighton and 20 minutes to Worthing along the A27 or A259.
The town is well-located for those commuting into London with trains from Shoreham railway station into Victoria Station in just one hour 17 minutes running every half an hour. The railway line serves Brighton with four trains an hour reaching the city in about 15 minutes.
Shoreham is also served by Brighton & Hove Bus Company, Stagecoach and Compass buses.
Shoreham’s history dates back to pre-Roman times thanks to its strategic location on the River Adur and easy access to the English Channel. Nearby archaeological finds have shown roots in the Iron Age with the discovery of Thundersbarrow Hill fort as well as the remains of a Roman villa discovered in nearby Southwick.
Beginning its modern history as Old Shoreham, the initial settlement of the area was on the river stretching up onto the South Downs. At the end of the 11th century, Norman conquerors moved the settlement further down the river to what became known as New Shoreham as a result of the River Adur shifting. Its location on the water meant it became an important English Channel port in the 12th and 13th centuries before geological change altered its accessibility.
More recently, the area was known for its bohemian past when prior to World War II a variety of improvised accommodations sprung up on Shoreham Beach, with a party atmosphere and nascent film industry emerging. The outbreak of World War II caused the end of that when the residents were asked to move out. Some argue that this party ethos lives on today with a thriving community of houseboats situated near the River Adur.
Shoreham is home to another piece of national history thanks to the Shoreham Airport (also known as Brighton City Airport), which is the oldest in the UK. The spot features a listed Art Deco terminal building which has attracted Hollywood royalty, appearing in Netflix’s The Crown, and films Woman in Gold and The Da Vinci Code.
Annual festivals and events
Shoreham’s bustling community organises a number of events and festivals throughout the year to celebrate the town. The annual Beach Dreams Festival on Shoreham Beach in July is one such community celebration with live music, attractions and culture for the whole family. The area also has a great literary scene with a Children’s Literature Festival at the Ropetackle Arts Centre as well as the annual Shoreham Word Festival in September. The programme is usually full of interesting talks, theatre shows and workshops to get you thinking about the world today.
The Ropetackle Arts Centre on the High Street is also the home to a number of yearly celebrations including the South Coast Jazz Festival, which took a break in 2019, and The Adur Festival of arts and community for the past few years.
The town centre is home to a number of independent shops and galleries, while the likes of M&S can be found at the Holmbush Shopping Centre. The High Street has all the amenities one could need, as well as a host of restaurants to eat at. There are monthly farmers’ markets on the second Saturday of each month and artisan markets on the fourth Saturday on East Street.
There are plenty of indicators of Shoreham’s past in the town for history buffs to enjoy, including Shoreham Fort. Situated at the entrance to Shoreham Harbour and at the mouth of the River Adur, the fort was built in 1857 and it remains one of the best surviving fortification structures on the coast of southern England.
Other historical spots include the Marlipins Museum on the High Street, which hosts permanent displays on the maritime history of the area in its 12th century building.
The town is also known for its churches, including St Mary de Haura Church in the New Shoreham area built in the 11th century and the 10th century St Nicholas’ Church in Old Shoreham.
Surrounded by the River Adur and the South Downs, there are plenty of opportunities for long walks. Visit the Shoreham Tollbridge off Old Shoreham Road to take in beautiful views of the river as well as marvelling at the last bridge of its kind in Sussex. The town is also ideally located on the coast for leisure, with Shoreham Harbour Lifeboat Station completely redeveloped in 2010, and business courtesy of Shoreham Port.
Meet the neighbours
Singer-songwriter Leo Sayer was born in 1948 in Shoreham and went to local primary school St Peter’s Catholic Primary School. Shoreham’s sporting greats include former England cricketer and Kent opening batsman Mark Benson, who was born in the town, and former Wales football international Mel Hopkins who lives here in his retirement.
Youngsters will be familiar with Shoreham-born YouTuber Marcus Butler with his YouTube channels amassing more than six million subscribers between them.
Shoreham is part of Adur and Worthing Council which has 29 councillors across the 14 wards of the area. The East Worthing and Shoreham constituency is represented in the House of Commons by Tim Loughton of the Conservative Party. He has been the area MP since 1997 and currently sits on the Home Affairs Committee.
“I love the fact that it’s a very community-minded place,” Nicky Thornton, marketing manager at Ropetackle Arts Centre, says about Shoreham. “It’s very distinctive from other towns as you’ve got the beach and the river and the Downs.”
Nicky loved the freedom of growing up in Shoreham, being able to visit the river with her school and having parties on the beach as a teenager. “I’m very attached to Shoreham because I remember it from when I was young and it is a wonderful place to live,” she beams.
Nicky has also seen the area develop over the years to become an increasingly popular place to live. “The really good thing about Shoreham is the pubs because they are brilliant and there are a lot of lovely new businesses that are coming in that are making the area so vibrant,” she adds. “It’s really nice to see.”
The Ropetackle Arts Centre reflects this community vision with its award-winning community venue of the banks of the River Adur that puts on shows in its 200-seat auditorium.
“I think it’s a very valuable asset for the community,” Nicky explains. “And it’s a really special thing that local people have. Not many towns the size of Shoreham have somewhere as culturally brilliant as the Ropetackle.”
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