We followed the River Arun from its namesake Arundel, down to Littlehampton where it meets the sea…
Status: Arun District, West Sussex, Town, England
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Millennium Clock, The Crown Inn, River Arun, River Circle Sculpture, Quayside, Look & Sea Centre, Beach, White Hart Public House, The Crown Inn etc
We started in a Car Park just off the quayside, where we found a large sculpture called the “River Circle”. It reflects the River Arun which runs through the town, and the various animals/wildlife which inhabit it, including river plants.
Some of the designs around the Circle include the foot of a wading bird, and numerous examples of plant life.
It was part of an initiative in 2003 to encourage public art around the town, and was created by John Thomson from Portsmouth.
Littlehamptons Quayside is almost like a second high street, full of shops, Fish & Chips, and the “Look & Sea Centre”. Opened in 2003, the centre is a joint Visitor Information Point, Town Museum, and Cafe.
It also includes the Observation Tower at the top of the building, which visitors can ascend for panoramic views of the town. Inside the Tower is not only a great view, but an in depth look at the maritime history of the town, and various exhibits to demonstrate it. You can find out more on their official website here.
The Quayside continues South from the Look & Sea Centre, and you can follow it all the way to the beach on the coast where the River enters the English Channel. The multi-coloured flats make it an interesting walk, and up and down the river hundreds of pleasure boats are moored.
Whilst a lot of the Quays are now used for pleasure, there is also still plenty of industry here, with lots of fishing boats heading out to sea everyday.
After a casual walk alongside the hustle and bustle of the quays, we eventually reached the beach, which is obviously one of the most popular places in town. The river is shown over to the right, with the quayside walls cutting a swathe through the beach itself.
Overlooking the River and the Beach is the tall, white Tower which presumably once had a light at the top, which has a ladder at one side for access. Stretching out in front of everything is the English Channel, with France a distant ally across the water.
Heading back through the Quays, we wandered through towards the main town centre, and passed the charming old pub, “The White Hart Public House”. Thought to date back to 1761, it is one of the older buildings in the town.
At the entrance to the pedestrianised High Street, you will find the Millennium Clock Tower, erected in 2000 to mark the start of the new millennium.
The Clock Tower sits opposite another old pub, called “The Crown”. Surveys conducted as far back as 1859 indicate the presence of the Pub here, making it at least 150 years old, and probably even older. In 1920 it was rebuilt and remodelled to it’s present appearance, during which time secret passages used for smuggling were discovered beneath it.
The High Street itself is a colourful place to explore, and contains all of the usual shops you would expect.
If you look down towards the far end of the street you can just make out the Church Tower of St Mary the Virgin. Littlehamptons Parish Church. It is reasonably new, having been completed in 1826, to designs by George Draper (Architect from Chichester who also did a lot of work in Southampton).
Instead of stone, the Church is made out of Red Brick, and a lot of it’s present look is due to a revamp it underwent in 1935.
We concluded our tour here on the High Street, and found Littlehampton to be an interesting place to visit. Although we didn’t have time to keep exploring, the town is actually home to the world’s longest bench further up the beach.
There are good transport links in the area, as the town is close to the A27 which runs from Eastbourne to the M27 at Portsmouth. There is also a train station in the town centre, which links to the line towards both Southampton and Brighton.
We pressed on, towards Bognor Regis. King George V supposedly uttered the immortal words “Bugger Bognor” when asked to bestow regal status for the town, so we had to go and see if it was really as bad as he claimed…