It is thought that the place name Goring may mean either 'Gāra's people', or 'people of the wedge-shaped strip of land'. Usually known as "Goring", the "by-Sea" suffix has been added to differentiate it from the village of Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.
The Catholic church, English Martyrs Catholic Church, dedicated to the English Martyrs, has a copy of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Gary Bevans. St Mary's, the Anglican parish church, was originally built 1100 AD as the Church of Our Blessed Ladye of Gorynge and was rebuilt in 1837 by Decimus Burton.
The mixed pebble and sand beach is popular for a wide variety of watersports including kitesurfing, has a boat ramp, and is dog-friendly. There is a busy café at its western end. The 1980s punk pop singer Billy Idol (William Broad) lived there for a few years.