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Things to do in Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex

The West Sussex village of Middleton-on-Sea is in the eastern suburbs of Bognor Regis.

Aerial View along Middleton On Sea beach looking towards Bognor Regis
Aerial View along Middleton On Sea beach looking towards Bognor Regis © Geoffrey - stock.adobe.com

It is a small seaside community of around 5,000 residents.

This ancient parish originally covered 370 acres as recorded in 1881 but today it has 1,018 acres (4.12 km²) due to changing local boundaries.

However, sea erosion continually reduced this tiny parish and sea defences were built in 1570.

The village slowly grew from just six houses in 1801 to 19 houses in 1841.

Aerial View of Elmer
Aerial View of Elmer © Geoffrey - stock.adobe.com

These included the coastguard cottages which still stand at Elmer and the new manor house.

One of the oldest buildings is Rose Cottage which dates back to around 1606.

The single-storey thatched cottage stands on the corner of the Middleton and Yapton roads.

By 1086 Middleton-on-Sea had a church. Unfortunately, as the coast eroded, the high tide washed away the graveyard over time.

By 1789 high tide was within a few feet of the building and by the early 19th century much of the church had been demolished.  In 1838 an exceptionally high tide destroyed the remains.

The present-day church was built in 1849 on land donated by the Lord of Middleton Manor.

Aerial view looking towards Elmer
Aerial view looking towards Elmer © Geoffrey - stock.adobe.com

In 1910 Norman Thompson saw the potential for the firm sands and sea breezes and founded an aircraft company that later specialized in seaplanes.

With the advent of World War I, his aircraft were in great demand and his workforce grew from 10 to around 900.

When the war was over, demand dropped off and the company closed.

By the 1920s, Middleton-on-Sea was a growing tourist hotspot.

The old seaplane factory was used to create an early holiday camp called the "New City" with 200 bedrooms, a ballroom, tennis courts and a host of other amusements.


Present Day Middleton-on-Sea

Visitors to modern-day Middleton-on-Sea will find it a charming and pretty seaside community with many residential streets which lead down to the sea.

Elmer Beach
Elmer Beach © Geoffrey - stock.adobe.com

Much of the housing was built after 1921 as the village became popular with tourists.

The wide curving streets with trees and grass verges make it a very attractive layout and the houses reflect many architectural styles.

Small shops and businesses do a brisk trade in the centre of the village.

Hotham Park
Hotham Park © Kit Leong - stock.adobe.com

There is a local village pub called the Beresford Arms. The local sports club was started in the 1920s and now offers cricket, tennis, hockey, squash and bowls.


Things to do in Middleton-on-Sea

At low tide, there are huge expanses of firm sandy beach which are ideal for walking, windsurfing, surfing and boating.

Aerial view of Hotham Park
Aerial view of Hotham Park © Kit Leong - stock.adobe.com

Middleton Beach is well-frequented by families during the summer and provides safe bathing in the shallow waters.

Just next door is Elmer Beach, which is unusual as it has rock defences built a little out to sea - they are surrounded by water at high tide, but are on the beach at low tide, creating interesting rock pools and islands to explore.

Jet skiing is popular and equipment can be hired from the water sports centre at Bognor Regis.

In the centre of the town, Hotham Park is perfect for a stroll or listening to a live band.

For children, the Flying Fortress is an indoor play area at Bognor with go-karts, a mirror-maze and soft play areas.

Those with an interest in wartime history will enjoy spending time at the Tangmere Aviation Museum which has an impressive collection of aircraft and memorabilia recreating the history of the Battle of Britain.

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