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Life Experience

Shoreham-by-Sea – sea and river swimming

Here are a few basic bits of information about facilities and conditions for swimming at Shoreham and swimming in the River Adur (pronounced “Ada”) near Shoreham.

How warm is the sea?

2020 has been a great year for sea and river swimming in the UK. Water temperatures have been above average and our family and friends have taken full advantage.

You can find out the current temperature of the sea by using this website below. A temperature of 18 degrees celsius I find is very comfortable to swim in, though always better when the air temperature is high. Most people who swim in the sea are happy at lower temperatures. Website https://seatemperature.info/shoreham-by-sea-water-temperature.html

Shoreham is not a seaside resort. It is just a small town to the west of Brighton, but happens to have more than a mile of beach which merges into Lancing Beach. It’s the place we go to swim as often as we can.


It’s a shingle beach. I can’t bear to walk on it without beach shoes. I use surfing shoes (very cheap) and wear them to swim. Beach mats beneath a towel or picnic blanket are an aid to comfort. Sand is often exposed at low tide and there are occasional patches of sand higher up the beach.

Sea quality

The sea is clean. After a storm there my be a lot of weed which can be a hazard.


There are two car parks. One near Beach Green just north of the road but easily missed, the other at Widewater Lagoon. The charges are quite modest. On hot days they fill up quickly and we have known the car parks on such occasions to be full by 11 am.


There are toilets at Beach Green close to the beach, and at Widewater Lagoon close to the beach. Both toilets are currently in need of some modernisation and smartening up!


Widewater Lagoon has a small kiosk, open in summer, selling ices, chips, etc

Tides and knowing when tides will be low

There is an big rise and fall of the tide. My picture shows an early morning scene when the tide was right out. People are walking on the wet sand. To swim at this time you have to walk in shallow water for about a hundred yards away from the beach before the water is deep enough to make swimming possible. We always wait for an hour or two after low tide so that there is adequate depth not that far from the water’s edge. Tide times change every day.

To find out the the time of the tide go to https://www.tide-forecast.com/locations/Shoreham-England/tides/latest . This website can give you tide times for other UK beaches too. Tides are incoming for six hours and then outgoing for six hours approximately.

Best time to swim

I prefer to swim when the sea is at its warmest. On a hot day, if the tide is out early morning then the incoming tide is warmed by the warmed shingle and pebbles that the water flows over. That’s my theory anyway. In any case, this year (2020) the sea has been warm (enough) to swim at any time. I swam yesterday (13 September). The picture shows the beach at low tide and Brighton in the distance. The lower picture shows Southwick and Portslade in the distance. Brighton is further east.

River Swimming

Shoreham’s River Adur is fine for good swimmers. Obviously, being tidal, there is a current. In August we swam when the tide was getting high and about to turn. There is an access point on Coombes Road with a small car park. This is on the west side of the river about three quarters of a mile north of the A27. Lancing College can be seen to the west of the swimming site. It’s a beautiful place to swim. The downside is that the bank may be a bit muddy. Coombes road is very narrow indeed north of the swimming point so this is best approached from the turning on the A27 just west of the flyover junction..


Happy swimming!

Low tide at Shoreham, 9.30 am, August 2020

The beaches are to the west of the river

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

David Roberts

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