We were going to Chichester Theatre and as we were so near the sea, we decided to go down to the coast for a pre-theatre meal. The car park at Bracklesham Bay is free after 5.30pm and Billys on the Beach wasn’t busy at that time either. It’s deceptively large, with lots of tables inside, and two seating areas outside. (There’s a square of raised wooden decking, even nearer the sea, not seen in this photo
It was lovely to be able to sit so near the beach, to watch the paragliders, the boats and the swimmers and to just revel in those vast expanses of sun and sky.
You order your food and drink at a spot just inside and they bring it out to you. There’s a standard menu with all the holiday favourites such as burgers, sausages, fishcakes and salads and then there are specials on a blackboard.
I had one of the specials, immaculately filleted sardines and a fresh tomato and red onion salsa. Well cooked and simple and just the sort of thing you want to eat looking at the sea.
P thought that as he was by the seaside, he should have the traditional fish and chips. That was also faultlessly cooked, crisp batter on fresh haddock and golden crunchy chips. Nothing soggy in sight.
For someone used to London theatres which can be expensive and uncomfortable with cramped seats and long queues for the very few loos, the Chichester Festival Theatre is amazing. Many shows transfer and we felt lucky to see a West End quality show, Mack and Mabel with Michael Ball, at non West End prices. I do love a good, jolly musical. The theatre is set in parkland, there’s a car park right next door, What’s not to like?
- book as far in advance as you can. You can sign up to an e-mail alert for when tickets are on sale or become a Friend which gives you priority booking.
- there are lots of good places to visit on the way down from London; Uppark or Petworth which are both National Trust, a walk along part of the South Downs Way or a mooch around Midhurst and of course, Chichester itself.
- there are plenty of places to eat on site, a brasserie, a cafe, bars and the Minerva Lounge which is more casual where we had a sharing charcuterie plate and a glass of wine the first time we went.
- the journey back at night from Chichester to Putney took 1 hour 20 mins.