Much as I enjoyed Wisbech Museum, it’s good to be back in the hills of the South Downs.
I’d hardly explored Worthing at all 5 years ago, but it’s now at least an annual trip, with the Downs providing as much of a draw as the annual new Beer Guide tick.
Last year I camped at Ecclesden Farm near Angmering (great pub) a couple of times; ideal for exploring the Worthing villages as well as Arundel Park.
Compared to Brighton or Hastings, the town feels a bit flat and modern, but the constituent neighbourhoods are all worth a look. On Sunday I combined a walk round the town centre with a look round Broadwater to get a feel for the suburbs.
There’s the promise of culture from the decent civic buildings, but clearly not on Sundays, as everything is shut. Instead, the underpass provides some of the best street art of the year so far (top).
Worthing was surprisingly bustling this Sunday, with a collection of shopping streets designed more for buying than looking, which is fine by me. More Clacton than Eastbourne, if you like. There’s some real eyesores too.
This was never going to be a great day for the seaside, but even under drizzly clouds the view from the pier was worth the effort.
The new Guide entry is a major asset to the town. Anchored in Worthing could just be the friendliest pub in the Beer Guide, perhaps along with the Three Horseshoes in East Worldham near Alton.
It can be a bit daunting going in a packed micro, full of the dozen or so regulars tucking into cheese and crackers and set for the afternoon. To be greeted with “Welcome I’m Debs” and invited to tuck in (I didn’t), felt like tipping up at a party.
I loved this place, and the local beer, from an interesting range, was good too (NBSS 3). It felt less bare boards than a few micros too, though it’s still hard to imagine sitting there with a book ignoring the other house guests; even dipping into the beery reading seemed rude.
Worthing looks like a town where a micro will work, and Anchored occupies the sort of edge of centre site familiar to anyone who’s been round Thanet’s micros.
Worthing’s Beer Guide quota is clearly a triumph of quality over quantity, particularly with the standout Castle Tavern currently closed, which leaves the excellent Selden Arms the only other central GBG entry.
I seem to be visiting a lot of micropubs at the moment, reflecting the numbers opening in the South East. No problem with that, but they are much more similar in style than, say, Wetherspoons, and harder to read my book in (“The Martian”, better than the film)
Not quite a takeaway, but a commendation anyway for Mr Toy’s noodle bar near the seafront. Less than a fiver for an excellent pad thai, always the benchmark for these places.