THE epithet “sunny” that was used to advertise Worthing in the 1940s has stuck and, like it or loathe it, it has helped to promote the town as a warm and friendly resort.

The town’s motto, ex terra copiam e mari salutem, means from the land plenty and from the sea health, and it was for the healthgiving properties of sea bathing that it became famous.

Worthing was a small fishing village until the late 18th century when the fashion for sea bathing made it a popular resort which attracted the rich and famous.

Its big break came in 1798 following a visit by Princess Amelia, a sister of George, Prince of Wales, who had his seaside home built in nearby Brighton. The princess was convalescing in Worthing and put her recovery down to the healthy sea air. Following her favourable reports, the rich and famous flocked to the seaside in search of cures and rejuvenation.

The town has five miles of awardwinning coastline, a thriving shopping centre, theatres, leisure centres and sports facilities.

Worthing is a great place for a family day out.

Once famous as the town with the largest proportion of residents aged over 65, Worthing has shaken off its old image and has a much more even mix of ages, with an exciting and vibrant atmosphere where even the pensioners seem young.

There are three theatres with a full calendar of shows and events, so at any time of the year there is bound to be something on that will appeal to all residents.

The pier was opened in 1868 and is Grade II listed and is now the home of the annual International Birdman Competition. This spectacular event attracts competitors from round the world and offers a £25,000 prize for the first person to launch themselves from the pier and stay airborne for 100 metres.

Worthing is a great place to watch or play bowls, and Beach House Park has been hosting the English Bowling Association National Championships for more than 25 years and it hosted the World Bowls in 1972 and 1992.

The town is dotted with parks, gardens and sports fields, so you never have to go far to find a bit of peace and quiet or exciting sports action.

One of Worthing’s best kept secrets is Highdown Gardens, situated just off the A259 between Ferring and Goring. These beautiful gardens are the work of Sir Frederick and Lady Stern, who established the garden in a chalk pit where there is little soil and very unfavourable conditions for growing plants. They spent 50 years developing the garden, which has a unique collection of rare plants and trees. Admission is free.