Spotlight on Littlehampton
Littlehampton couldn’t be in a better location – in West Sussex, right on the east bank of the River Arun, just 50 miles south of London and 20 miles from Brighton, as well as being on the edge of the South Downs, there really is nothing to dislike about where this lovely town is. Or the town itself, in fact. With two exquisite beaches, a great town centre, a marina, golf course, and plenty of things to see and do, Littlehampton is as popular with locals and visitors today as it ever was.
History in Brief
Littlehampton – or at least the area now known as Littlehampton – has been around for almost 1,000 years, and was known as Hantone back in the time of the Domesday Book (it is first mentioned in that tome in 1086). Before that, though, it had been a prehistoric and Roman settlement. It’s likely that the place has always been so popular because of the good fishing in the sea, making it the sensible place to set up a community who could then rely on the fish as food, and as a way to make money.
Hantone became Hampton, and the prefix ‘Little’ was added to distinguish it from Southampton, which was already a thriving port. It wasn’t long before Littlehampton itself became a port, and a successful one at that; so successful that a new mouth was cut into the River Arun in 1735 to allow greater access. It’s thanks to the River Arun, and the silt deposits that it left behind, which eventually allowed Littlehampton to turn into more than a simple settlement; this is how the town was born.
Things to Do
Littlehampton West Beach and Littlehampton East Beach
Both beaches are beautiful, and each one has its own unique qualities. East Beach is a 2015 Blue Flag and Seaside Award winner. It’s sandy, and it has lifeguards, so it’s excellent for the little ones. If you enjoy your outdoor pursuits, you can go kitesurfing, sailing, diving, cycling, and fishing here, as well as having a go on the seaside amusements.
Littlehampton West Beach is actually a Nature Reserve, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It’s the sand dunes that catch the eye here, but if you look very (very) carefully, you may also spot some of the rare and protected wildlife that call this beach home.
For the past nine years, Mewsbrook Park has flown the Green Flag mark of quality. It has won other awards too, including the Silver Gilt Award from the 2010/2011 South and South East in Bloom Awards. It is, in a word, lovely. Within the park is a café, tree trail, boating lake, play area, football pitch, picnic area, original Art Deco shelters, and a mini railway.
The Look & Sea Visitor Centre
The Look & Sea Visitor Centre is situated on the banks of the River Arun in Littlehampton and is home to Littlehampton Experience Heritage Exhibition, Harbour Lights Café and Restaurant, and the Official Visitor Information Centre for the area. From the glorious viewing tower you have a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the harbour and South Downs from Goodwood to Highdown. At the heart of the centre is the interactive exhibition where the whole family can learn about the history and heritage of the local area in a fun and interesting environment. Open seven days a week from 8.30am-5pm.
Norfolk Gardens Golf
There are two ways to play golf at Norfolk Gardens – you can take on the kids with the playful and novelty-strewn crazy golf, or get serious with the pitch and putt. Or both! The crazy golf is excellent, and features some rather long and complex looking holes complete with a plethora of hazards and challenges, like zigzagging your ball around a gating system, or firing it (at putting speed) from a cannon!
For an evening’s entertainment in Littlehampton, the Windmill Theatre is a superb place to go. It offers a 213-seat auditorium, a variety of theatre programmes, plays and pantomimes.
East Beach Café
Located right on the beach and with spectacular views across the sea, the East Beach Café serves traditional, uncomplicated dishes and fresh seafood using locally caught fish, locally sourced ingredients, and local staff to serve it all. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea are all available here, and it is a lovely place to sit and chill in the Sussex sunshine.
The extensive menu really pushes the boundaries by bringing you the taste of the authentic cuisine of the Grand Moghuls. Fancy something a little different to your usual chicken madras? Want to explore dishes such as ostrich tikka, crab malabar or swordfish bhuna? This is the place to come. Sample some of the finest traditional and contemporary dishes, created by award-winning chefs, using only the finest herbs and spices.
The Nelson Restaurant and Bar
The Nelson Hotel in Littlehampton is a fantastic place: real food, real people, and good old-fashioned traditional hospitality is in abundance, and if you combine with fantastic rooms and homemade food, The Nelson Hotel is the perfect venue whatever the occasion. There is an à la carte menu available, including starters, vegetarian dishes and meat dishes too. Or try something really different and go with the Hot Rock Menu – your choice of meat, fish, or veg served on a hot volcanic rock.
The à la carte restaurant at the beautiful Angmering Manor offers a delightful dining experience with dishes from an award-winning chef. Whatever the occasion, Angmering Manor is the perfect venue for your celebration. Dishes include plum tomato soup with herb oil and chives, terrine of smoked ham with quail scotch egg and piccalilli dressing, simply grilled fillet of sea bass, and warm pear and almond tart with vanilla ice cream.
Armed Forces Day // Jun
Sussex’s largest celebration of the Armed Forces featuring aerial and land-based displays. Veterans of all ages and conflicts are welcome to join in the parade.
Littlehampton Carnival // Jul
Watch the town celebrate in style with a vibrant, fun-filled procession of colourful floats, bands and performers. The procession ends at Southfields Recreation Ground on Southfields Road, where a funfair is held.
Sandcastle Competition // Aug
Free annual fun with live Punch and Judy show. There are three categories: under 5s, under 11s and 11+. Prizes include vouchers for local attractions.
Harbour Park is a must-do for any family planning a fun day out. There is excitement for all ages right on Littlehampton’s award-winning sandy beach and riverside crabbing spots. Enjoy the newly-themed Whirlpool Waltzer ride, try mouth-watering options from the Harbour Kitchen or Galley Restaurant, arrive on a character day and meet Peppa Pig or Sandy Castle, splash land on the log flume and try family favourites like the dodgems, giant slide, and spinning barrels.
Did You Know?
Littlehampton is home to the longest bench in Britain. It was opened on 30th July 2010, and can seat over 300 people along the promenade.