It took us something like ten years to move to Worthing. I know I was talking about it long before the kids, and the oldest one is now nine, so yes, this is probably realistic.
We had a lovely house over in Portslade (Brighton), and the girls were both in a wonderful school in Hove by the time we eventually moved over, two years ago, so there was no pressing NEED to move; but I have always had a terrible Rightmove habit, and I couldn’t ignore the pull that Worthing had on us.
It started originally with the quality of the housing stock – there are lots of lovely old Edwardian houses and Victorian terraces. Beautiful original features spilling out all over the place. And they were really affordable (compared to Brighton, although of course, not to everywhere).
It just became a no-brainer for us all.
What eventually clinched it, was the time we were spending on Worthing’s beaches at the weekend. It just became a no-brainer for us all. And then we found a house that was all the things we would have needed to consider compromising on if we were to buy a bigger house in Brighton and the deal was done.
Now, we all commute to Brighton most weekdays. The kids to their school, which despite Worthing’s schools being tip-top (a massive pro if you’re thinking of moving over), they couldn’t bear to leave. My husband, to his work in central Brighton and me to my work, which I do over there and over here, depending on school-run-lift-share responsibilities.
And even with the commute, we wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, we love that we can take advantage of everything that is Brighton, when and if we want to, but get to actually live here!
East Beach, with Coast Café des Artistes, is just a few minutes’ walk from our house. We swim in the sea-weedy sea (not always in wetsuits, but we all have one these days, cos, England).
We have a less busy town centre than Brighton, which has always had the usual M&S, H&M, Boots, and Monsoon-type chain shops and department stores that any high street offers. But Worthing is now furiously channelling energy at growth and regeneration, with smaller, local chains, like Pizza Face, Small Batch Coffee, and Boho Gelato, all recently opening branches.
Older children have a wide choice of good senior schools when the time comes (we’ll be looking next year). The threads on the schools on the local groups are all lovely, with everyone recommending the ones they have chosen for their children. I can think of four senior schools, all doing great things, all recommended, just off the top of my head. And we can apply to any of them (although of course there are oversubscription criteria), and a sibling link.
Today I’m co-working in our lovely St Paul’s café, with a couple of locals, so I asked them why they moved here (like in Brighton, there are lots of us from other places). Here’s what they said:
“London was just too expensive, we couldn’t afford to live centrally and weren’t ‘using’ London. We really wanted to live by the sea within a small, artistic community. And we love Worthing’s slightly eccentric, interesting, creative people – they’re an ace mix of Sussex born and bred, and from the wider universe.” Claire
“We wanted to bring our children up somewhere where we could be active. In Worthing, we can walk to the sea and walk to the downs happily. We wanted a small town, with everything close-by and a school run we could do without a car.” Kathryn
We have a thriving community, with lots to do for families, both for the outdoorsy types and those who are more into museums and arty stuff – (including the Worthing Artist’s Open Houses in June/July). One of my favourite places remains the beautiful Dome Cinema and we are regulars at Worthing Museum and Splashpoint swimming pool. Other nods to Out of Bounds and Roundstone.
Best kept secrets are the Cellar Arts Club and the Train of Thought Art Emporium; The ‘West End’ over on Rowlands Road, where we like to scoffle through the charity shops, snoop around the cellars at the lovely Reginald Ballums vintage furniture, paint a bit of pottery at cool Artful pottery café and then on to Baked cake shop and social enterprise, for a treat. There’s also lots going on at the Library and Colonnade House creative hub if you’re into the arts and cultural stuff.
Our only regret is that we’re a bit busy now because there is so much on offer and we feel we need to take advantage of it all as much as we can!
Nancy has lived in East Worthing for nearly two years, she blogs at My Fluxy Forties, about life, kids and middle age, and runs Do Stuff U Love, where she helps small businesses in Brighton, Hove and Worthing with their websites, blogs and social media.
Main Photo by Kat Naish