Living in Horsham
What is life like in Horsham
Horsham is a traditional market town located in West Sussex, offering an exceptionally high standard of living and easy access to some of the most important destinations in the south-east.
It is quiet and quaint and provides a relaxed way of life, while a further bonus comes in the shape of the magnificent countryside that surrounds the town in every direction. It is located close to the South Downs and in the Weald, ensuring there are plenty of options for anyone who wishes to enjoy the great outdoors.
The town truly is one of the cultural highlights of West Sussex and was even voted one of the top five places to live in the country in a 2012 poll by Experian.
Another of the great features of life in Horsham is the calendar of fun-packed events that exists. No matter what time of year it is, there will be something going on in the town, such as the Easter Piazza Italia and the Food and Drink Festival in September.
Until the 17th century, a strong iron industry was one of the mainstays of life in Horsham, while the town also benefited from a growing presence in the brewing market. Due to its semi-rural location, it was also surrounded by many farms and plenty of local people worked at these.
The town was prosperous throughout the Victorian period and into the 20th century, and some of its most popular landmarks today were installed at this time. Horsham remained a prominent brewing destination until the start of the 21st century.
Horsham is a rare case where the name of the place has not altered since it was first written down in a Saxon charter of 947, and it means the place where horses were bred and/or pastured.
Other notable moments in its history include the period during which Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, resided at Chesworth House, just a mile south of Horsham, and the case of the infamous acid bath murderer John Haigh, who was held at the local police station and then charged at the nearby courthouse.
Notable celebrity faces you might see around town include comedian Alan Carr, actor James Bolam of The Likely Lads and New Tricks fame, Katie Price and former Tottenham and Fulham manager Alan Mullery.
Harry Enfield was born in Horsham and reportedly has used the town as inspiration for some of his television work whilst TV presenter Holly Willoughby once attended Collyers Sixth Form College.
Entertainment, sport and days out
The Capitol – also known as Horsham Arts Centre – is Horsham's theatre and puts on a good selection of stage, music and comedy shows that will entertain everyone. Meanwhile, the Hawth in Crawley is another venue that attracts some of the country's top performers.
People might also be interested in the Christ's Hospital Arts Centre, where children's drama workshops and dance classes are available.
As well as the Piazza Italia event in the Easter holiday, other dates for the diary in Horsham include the Halloween Festival, the Big Nibble and special English and French festivals.
In the local area, when it comes to deciding on a great day out, there are plenty of possibilities. Horsham residents might be keen to explore the natural wonders of St Leonard's Forest, Warnham Nature Reserve or the Weald. Alternatively, the impressive properties at Parham House and Gardens, Wakehurst Place and Nutbourne Manor Vineyard are fascinating and fun to explore. Children will love Fishers Farm Park, which is just a few miles from Horsham.
Pavilions in the Park is Horsham's premier leisure facility, offering a gym, swimming pool and various classes to people in the town. Horsham FC was founded in 1871 and is extremely well supported in the local community.
Eating, drinking & shopping
In keeping with its cultural status, Horsham is home to a number of quality restaurants serving food from around the world. One good example is the contemporary Japanese eatery Wabi, located in East Street, while the French-themed Cote Bistro is another great choice.
A number of chain restaurants such as Wagamamas, Pizza Express, Giggling Squid and Buenos Aires are also in Horsham, plus Bills Restaurant which is a real draw bringing extra footfall into the town centre. Tristans in East Street offers Michelin starred dining whilst just down the road in Mannings Heath South Lodge Hotel features The Pass, another Michelin starred restaurant and home of Steven Edwards, winner of Masterchef the Professionals 2013.
Among the bars and pubs in Horsham that come highly recommended are the Black Jug, The Anchor, The Bear, The Greets Inn in Warnham and The Bax Castle near Southwater.
As a market town, it is no surprise to find markets are one of the most popular shopping options in Horsham. There is a regular market that takes place every Saturday, while an open-air alternative takes place on Thursdays.
Swan Walk is the main shopping centre in Horsham housing numerous high street names including Marks & Spencer and Boots. The town also features a Next, Cargo Homestore, Beales, TK Maxx plus there are lots of small independent shops adding to the charm of the Horsham shopping experience.
Schools & healthcare
There are several high-performing private schools in Horsham and in the surrounding region, including Farlington school. Other nearby options include Windlesham House School in Washington, Handcross Park School in Handcross and Cottesmore School in Pease Pottage. In addition, Hurstpierpoint College and Lancing College are two of the most prestigious colleges in Sussex.
Among the finest comprehensive institutions in the town are Millais Girls, Forest Boys and Tanbridge.
Horsham Hospital is located in the town centre and is the primary medical facility for local people, providing a wide range of treatments and care options. Park Surgery is another option for individuals in need of medical support.
Horsham has high-quality transport infrastructure, with excellent links by road, rail and air available to residents. It lies just a few minutes from the A23 and M23, the major route connecting Brighton and the south coast with London and the M25, while the A281, A272 and A27 all help to keep locals in easy driving distance of much of the south-east.
By train, it takes less than an hour to reach London, with services running to both Victoria and London Bridge stations. And Horsham is just 15 miles from Gatwick Airport, ensuring the continent is never too far away.