MS ELLIOT: Keen to find out about the area’s hidden gems

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I have written before about the hidden gem that is the Munch café, in the Royal Arcade, Worthing, and I would like to find more treats.

You know when you stumble across a quiet oasis, or a secret corner where nobody normally goes? Tell me your secrets! Kind readers, can you please write in to suggest your own favourite shops or places to go?

I really enjoy stumbling across independent shops that are bucking the trend and thriving in the current climate. Toy shops such as Barnhaus in the town centre have so many different groups of toys and games on display for a huge age range. I think there are many things in there that even grown-ups might like to play! Complex jigsaws can be enjoyed by people of all ages and I certainly know at least one grandfather who’s pining to be bought a railway track.

In the beautiful Royal Arcade is the excellent So Gifts, which houses a beautiful collection of gifts and nick-nacks. They have all kinds of wonderful presents for christenings, weddings, birthdays, and, let’s be honest, a little personal pick-me-up can be found at very reasonable prices.

Along by the Pavilion, on the seafront, the old tourist information centre has been transformed into Inspired by the Sea. Indeed, tourists who stumble into this treasure trove must surely count themselves very lucky indeed. What a wonderful collection of artistic works made by local folk – from art, photography, cushions and postcards to delicate jewellery and poetry. All local artists should visit this shop and ask how it is possible to get involved in this endeavour. It’s obviously the labour of love, not just of one individual but of a hard-working group, to get their artistic offerings out there into the market and to celebrate Worthing talent. What a wonderful idea!

I’ve also taken the bus along to Shoreham and seen at first hand their excellent row of shops and impressive arts centre. Oh, if only the Ropetackle were in Worthing! Our small town does suffer from not have a similar central artist hub – the Dome Cinema, Connaught and Pavilion do offer a great programme of cinema and theatrical events but they are quite spread out. How I envy Shoreham their Ropetackle Arts Centre!

But back to shops and surprises – do you have suggestions of great places to go? I’ve listed Steyning and Shoreham – where else should I visit locally?

Any suggestions very welcome. – please email me at mseslliot231@gmail.com and you can find me on Twitter, @MsElliot1

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Ms Elliot is a writer, traveller and creative type. Mother of one and a disastrous cook, she is a native Londoner but has lived in the South Pacific, South America, North America... and now Worthing. She will be sharing her experiences as she finds her feet in her new home in a new town. You can follow her on Twitter:@MsElliot1