Why I love Littlehampton – with its award-winning beaches, vibrant cafés and family entertainment
The train ride into town along the West Coastway line offers views across the fields to Arundel Castle, so you are already in a good mood when you arrive.
From the railway station, you can easily reach The Red Bridge, in between The Steam Packet and The Arun View Inn. Crossing the bridge will take you on a lovely riverside walk, all the way up to Arundel, if you wish.
There are super views up and down the River Arun from the bridge, too, so even if you don't want to stray too far, it is a good place to start your visit.
Follow River Road, behind The Steam Packet, and look out for a gap between the houses a little way along on the right. This takes you on to the England Coast Path, where you can walk along the river all the way down to the harbour mouth.
Harbour Lights Café is a great place to stop for refreshments, with its stunning river views, and I can vouch for their delicious muffins!
You will find Littlehampton Lifeboat Station next door and this is open to visitors, so you can learn a lot from the volunteers. There is also an RNLI shop, which is worth browsing.
As you continue along the way, there are boards filled with historical information and, in honour of the town's fishing history, some handy recipes. You can even stop off at Riverside Fish and buy some fresh local and overland fish.
Walking along Littlehampton Pier gives you views across the sea to Rustington and it's a fine place to sit for a while. You may even get chatting to some of the people who regularly fish there.
Harbour Park, which opens in spring and summer, is the number one thing to do in Sussex if you're planning a family day out. There's soft play, an arcade, rides and Sharksville Adventure Golf.
The award-winning sandy beaches are popular all year round and you can take a nice stroll along the promenade. Marvel at The Long Bench, the longest bench in Britain, as it wiggles its way along and, if you are lucky, you might catch a concert at Stage by the Sea, a unique performance space like no other on the south coast.
The seafront greens are vast and often big events are hosted here. Plans are in place to improve this area further, with the aim of attracting more visitors to the area. The Littlehampton Seafront Design Scheme includes beach showers, water play and new social spaces, so it is looking good for the summer.
East Beach Café is right on the promenade and another great option for refreshments.
In Norfolk Gardens, Buccaneer Bay offers a nine-hole, pirate-themed adventure golf course, complete with pirate ship, and it is open all year round. Here, you will also find Littlehampton Miniature Railway, which runs to Mewsbrook Park. It is operated by volunteers and opens for the 2024 season on Good Friday.
My favourite way to walk back into town is via Marina Gardens and Caffyns Field, where you will find a wooden chainsaw sculpture of a lone soldier, made by Simon Groves in remembrance of the fallen from World War One.
In High Street, the town centre public realm improvements have given the street a fresh new look, hopefully meaning more businesses will be attracted to the town.
There's lots to make you smile about Littlehampton and as well as being a great place to visit in itself, it is a perfect base if you want to explore more of the south coast.