Hidden Worthing gem – look inside the stunning Royal Arcade shopping centre with us

In the heart of Worthing lies a somewhat hidden gem – The Royal Arcade shopping centre.

Housing 13 businesses, and located between Marine Parade and Montague Street, shoppers can source an eclectic mix of goods and services in a gorgeous setting.

The longest-running business in the arcade is Richard John Hair and Beauty, which opened almost 50 years ago. Richard is also now the owner of almost all the units in the arcade.

The arcade was previously the Royal Horse Hotel, which burned down. It was then built as a new arcade in 1925.

In 1980, Richard secured the title Royal to make it the Royal Arcade.

Richard said: “It’s been long journey with many ups and downs, but it’s been a great experience.

"I started buying the properties in 1995, when one side was completely derelict.

"It’s nice to have a legacy to leave behind. The arcade is now so well established it will carry on and when I retire. I hope I can find someone like the National Trust to look after it and preserve it.”

Over the years, a host of businesses have been based there, including a men’s valet business and Walter Gardner – a very well-known photographer in the town.

Richard John itself is split over three floors, with three state-of-the-art hair studios, a Clarins Gold Beauty Salon, and a large retail store.

Retail manager Emma Maughan said there are around 50 staff across Richard John, sister salon Centre Stage and the Richard John Hair Academy.

She has been with the business for many years, and said: “Everyone looks out for everyone, which is really nice.”


Richard John Hair & Beauty;

The Clarins Gold Salon;

Gigglewick Gallery;

Heart of Glass tattoo and piercing shop;

Blue Flame Vision optical products manufacturer;

Pendulum Menswear;

Wheelers clock and watch specialists;

We Have Sound independent guitar shop;

Munch coffee bar and kitchen;

Fred Olsen;

Keep Boutique;

The Arcades Fish Restaurant.

One of the newest tenants in the arcade is Gigglewick Gallery, which is run by artist Sue Mulholland and her husband Steve Hancock and opened in August last year.

Sue has been an artist for a long time, but it was only after doing a successful exhibition at Colonnade House that she thought of opening her own gallery.

She now displays and sells her own artwork, as well as the work of other local artists, plus things like Tagua vegan jewellery and small gifts.

"It’s been absolutely lovely since we opened,” Sue said. “It really is heart-warming.

"The people that come in, both customers and those people having a browse, are so appreciative and encouraging. We found that they have then recommended us to other people, who then come in to see us, too.”

Over at Blue Flame Vision, owner Paul Battell said he loves the atmosphere and history of the arcade.

"I’ve always felt comfortable, and it’s just got a nice sense of community.

"I was in Rustington for 10 years, then a small unit opened up here. But when this bigger unit became available last year it just made sense to have more space.

"I’m a true believer that if it looks right, and it feels right, then it’s probably the right place to be.”

Paul can provide prescription glasses and sunglasses in a range of handmade frames. He also sells handmade jewellery, as traditionally optometrists also used to made jewellery as a lot of the tools are the same.

Family horology business Wheelers is run by Nicky Wheeler and her husband Tim. Their sons Ben and Chris also work there as clock and watch specialists, both having been apprentices at the business.

They were based in Bath Place for 25 years, but when a bigger space came up in the Royal Arcade, with space for a purpose-built workshop, they relished the opportunity.

And due to a shortage of horologists across the UK, Wheelers is not short of customers who seek them out in the arcade for their specialist services.

Tim said: “We tend to have a months’-long waiting list for repairs.

"There’s a real shortage of people going into the industry, so we’re trying to address the shortage of apprentices.”

Much coffee bar and kitchen owners Samantha and Teresa Curran-Jackson like to focus on what they do best.

Samantha runs front-of-house, while chef Teresa cooks up a delicious array of locally sourced, fully cooked-to-order dishes every day.

They have been based in the arcade for 11 years, and say they love the sense of community, and the fact customers repeatedly come back.

“Our USP is that we do what our customers want us to do,” Samantha said. “For us, that means we are friendly and family orientated. We have got the foundations right, with quality food and drink to match.

"And having the landlord here in Royal Arcade give us a sense of belief really helps, because we are invested here in the community and in our staff.”

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