Why go there?
With records of the town existing since AD 947, but a cosmopolitan, modern shopping centre, Horsham is the right combination of the old and new. A good place to start might be from its centre, the Carfax: the focal point of many of Horsham’s events due to its pedestrianized cobbled streets and pretty gas lamps. It is particularly attractive during the summer with space to shop, relax or eat in the numerous restaurants and cafés that put tables outside. Horsham has been a bustling market town for centuries and still enjoys thriving markets on Saturdays, selling arts and crafts, and local produce.
While at the weekend the centre of Horsham can be busy, a short distance away is the tranquil Causeway. This tree-lined street is commonly thought of as one of the most beautiful streets in Sussex. Here there is a mixture of 15th and 16th century houses, one of which is home to the Horsham Museum and Art Gallery. The museum has been collecting artefacts since it opened in 1893 and now has a treasure trove of local history objects displayed in 26 galleries. It also boasts two galleries featuring the work of local artists and craftspeople. One of Horsham’s oldest buildings may be found at the end of the Causeway. The picturesque St. Mary’s church – built around 1247 – is certainly worth a visit.
The area around Horsham is equally worth exploring. A short distance from the town centre is Warnham Nature Reserve where over 100 species of bird may be found. Further afield is the South Downs National Park, recognised as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Where to stay?
A convenient 10-minute walk from the town centre is Sillett House Bed and Breakfast, a refurbished Victorian house. There are two individual en-suite bedrooms situated on the first floor. Both rooms are doubles and one can be set as a twin. For larger groups and families looking for self-catering facilities, Byre Cottages can sleep two, four or six people. A 15-minute drive from the centre of Horsham, it is situated in the South Downs National Park.
Where to eat?
The town centre offers a wide choice. For light lunches or afternoon teas, the Artisan Patisserie has a huge choice of different teas and enticing cakes. For those seeking a fine-dining experience, Restaurant Tristan is the latest platform for Michelin-starred chef, Tristan Mason. Pub-restaurant, Crompton’s has also proven popular. It serves lunch and dinner in either their cosy restaurant space or spacious conservatory.
Tell us a secret
The romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in 1792 at Field Place, near Horsham.