On a sunny summer weekend, the trains south from London are packed with holiday makers heading for the shingle beaches of the English Channel coast. Most of the revellers are heading for the Brighton-Hove agglomeration, that Ibiza of the Home Counties, where every inch of beach is as precious as real estate in South Kensington. Those more savvy are going further West, towards Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, or maybe even Southampton. A few will reach as far as the Isle of Wight.
What most of them will miss is a tiny, sleepy, incredibly ancient town of Shoreham-by-Sea, halfway between Brighton and Worthing. With known history stretching all the way to pre-Roman times, with some of the oldest churches and the oldest secular building in England, a lovely and broad beach-that-tourists-forgot, an RSPB reserve and a vibrant farmers market, Shoreham-by-Sea would already have enough attractions for a busy day out. But it has something else, something that makes it unique among all quiet coast towns of England: the house boats on the Adur Riverbank.