Forget Disneyland and sun-kissed beaches ... Horsham is now in line to become a holiday hotspot.
And it’s all thanks to a government grant aimed at making the town a ‘vibrant destination for sightseers, day trippers and staying visitors.’
To help get it off the ground, Horsham District Council has been given a £52,000 handout from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
And the council has appointed specialist tourism consultants - Acorn Tourism Constulting - to help develop a tourism strategy.
They will work with local tourism businesses, councils and the South Downs National Park.
They plan to come up with a comprehensive marketing plan by next September to ‘promote the wonderful place that Horsham district is to both new and returning visitors.’
But anyone in any doubt about the town’s attraction should have no fear: it already tops a number of tourist polls.
Horsham Museum and Art Gallery in the Causeway are among Visit England’s top 20 free visitor attractions in the country.
And the world’s largest travel site TripAdvisor lists a string of attractions in and around the town.
They include Sumners Ponds fishery and campsite in Barns Green; Warnham Local Nature Reserve; Horsham Park; Knepp Wildlife Safaris at Dial Post; St Mary’s Church in the Causeway; Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods off Harwood Road, Horsham; Chesworth Farm; Dark Star Brewery in Star Road, Horsham and the Capitol Theatre, among many more.
Horsham Councillor Gordon Lindsay, cabinet member for the local economy, said: “This is good news for tourism in our district, which I believe makes a significant contribution to the local economy.
“Horsham district offers a mix of vibrant market towns and beautiful landscapes, and these funds will help to develop our visitor economy.”
Alison Burgh, director of Acorn Tourism added: “This is an exciting opportunity for Horsham district to maximise its potential as a distinct and special destination.
“We look forward to working closely with stakeholders from across the district, and with place making experts thinkingplace, to ensure that Horsham’s communities and the local economy benefit from all the positive effects of tourism.”