What’s On in Sussex for Oct Half Term
30 things to do across Sussex for half term from shows to science experiments, crafts to creepy Halloween scares
Halloween at Borde Hill Gardens Academy of Witches & Wizards, Haywards Heath, Sat 26 Oct to Sun 3 Nov
Borde Hill always has plenty on in the school holidays. Throughout half term dare to find the clues on a spooky Halloween trail to win a prize, then check out the fun activities changing daily – spooky story-telling; Halloween and bonfire night crafts; wand making; snakes, reptiles and creepy-crawly meets; magic shows; explosive experiment shows and slime making and a Pumpkin Glow carving contest. Check dates for different activities there’s a small extra charge for some on top of admission (trail £2).
Haunting Halloween Half Term Fun, West Dean Gardens, Thurs 31 Oct to Sun 3 Nov
These award-winning Gardens are the home of West Dean College – a special place to learn creative skills so the Halloween trail here encourages the same for a chocolate prize. Kids can also make spooky Halloween paper bunting. Enjoy the autumn colours as you explore. Children £5 (includes all activities), adults normal gardens entry price.
Fishers Farm Park’s Halloween Happy Hauntings, Wisborough Green, Sat 26 – Sun 3 Nov
Fangtastic fun is promised at Fishers for half term. Head down there for a spectacular Spook Show, Scavenger Hunt and family-friendly films then dance your socks off at the end of the day in the Spooky Disco. The Animal Encounters Barn and daily farm show will be running as usual for furry fun.
Halloween at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, near Horsham, Sat 26 Oct to Sun 3 Nov
Enjoy a hauntingly great day out at Leonardslee this Halloween. Complete the skelehunt around the gardens, conquer the Boo-stackle course and check out creepy crawlies. The fun happens between 10.00 and 16.00 throughout half term. There’s also an all treat, no trick, Halloween themed afternoon tea available for adults and children.
Containment Scare Maze and Dracula & The Seven Deadly Teeth, Knockhatch Adventure Park, Hailsham, 28 Oct – 1 Nov
The Containment Live Action Scare Maze is open for Halloween and free with Knockhatch admission. Only the brave will walk through the twisting, turning metal corridors with shocks coming out of the dark at every corner! From 28 Oct – 1 Nov there will also be three performances a day of the comic Dracula & The 7 Deadly Teeth in the Big Top (arrive early to bag a seat).
Family-friendly Halloween tours, Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures, Brighton, 12 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
Trick, Treat… or Horrible Mystery? You can take your pick at Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures in Brighton this Halloween. With different journeys through its themed sets. Trick is a ghoulish tour of dark and smoky Victorian London. (30 mins, £12.50, ages 8+). On Treat, you and yours can travel from Japan, on-board a ship, take a stint in jail, visit the Wild West and find your way home through a vortex (40 minutes, £12.50, ages 3+). On a Horrible Mysteries tour you’ll take a trip through Venice, Egypt, the jungle and on to India learning some fun gruesome facts from a plague doctor and a mummy expert on the way (40 mins, £9.95 ages 5+).
Noctural Nature Trail, Arundel Wetland Centre, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
Each day of half term follow an interactive trail of creepy sounds, pongy smells and freaky feels (ooer) on the Noctural Nature Trail at Arundel Wetland Centre. Start in the Wicked Wetlands Haunted Hut then head out around the nature reserve encounter the Boo-tiful Boat Safari, pond dip for wriggly mini-beasts and hand feed ravenous web-footed creatures (that’s birds to the uninitiated). There’ll be creepy crafts inside as well. Free with entry, though 30 minute Owl Pellet Dissection workshops costs £5.
The Pirate Cruncher, The Old Market, Hove, Sat Nov 2 & Sun 3 Nov
A swashbuckling tale of pirates, greed and one small girl, based on the hit book and told through action, daft antics, crazy contraptions and sea shanties, suitable for ages 5 – 11 , accompanied by an adult. £10.
Cinderella on Ice, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, Wed 23 – Sat 26 Oct
Kick off half term with the well-loved story as you’ve never seen it before as it glides into Eastbourne. The Russian Ice Stars are putting the Ugly Sisters, Cinders et al on skates at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne. Something like panto without the innuendos but with a lot of ice. Adults tickets from £15.50 – £25.50; under 16s £17; family of four £74 (Wed & Thurs eve) or £80 (all other performances).
Half term activities/Halloween evening, Amberley Museum, Wed 30 Oct – Fri 1 Nov
Children’s printing activities are running Wed, Thurs, and Fri during Half Term at the retro museum, with a trail at the weekends, then, on 1 Nov get some spooks on the Halloween Evening (pre-booking essential) when you can ride on a haunted Ghost Train and take a spooky trail around the 36-acre site. (Not suitable for young children as actors will be jumping out at visitors).
The Tiger Who Came to Tea art exhibition and trail, Bateman’s, Burwash, daily until Sun 3 Nov
Get up close to the artwork from Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book at Rudyard Kipling’s Jacobean house and follow the tie in garden trail to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its publication. On Wed 30 and Thurs 31 Oct there’s also a chance to tackle tiger and pumpkin crafts. Discover Sophie’s room from the story where children can sit on the bed and listen to a recording of the tale before visiting the tiger in the interactive kitchen downstairs. Try the themed goodies in The Mulberry Tea Room, find the stripy veg growing in the garden and delve into a dressing up chest. The exhibition is free with normal house admission and the trail and crafts are £2.50 extra.
FREE Jack on the Green 2019, Worthing, Sat 26 and Sun 27 Oct
Experience a night of light and lanterns in a trail around Beach House Park at Worthing between 18.00 and 20.30 on Sat 26 and Sun 27 Oct). Same Sky will be running free craft workshops on both days between 14.00 and 16.00 at Palm Court Pavilion. Everything made in the workshop will then form part of the trail. Trail entry is free, donations welcome.
DROP OFF Sussex Wildlife Trust Holiday clubs, various locations, Tues 29 and Wed 30 Oct
Den building, bushcraft, bug hunting, pond dipping, rock pooling, foraging, camouflage games and more for the kids, while you get some catch up time. Most clubs run 10.00 to 15.00. At last look there were still places at Woods Mill at Henfield (29 Oct), Tilgate Park at Crawley (29 Oct), Seven Sisters (30 Oct), Stanmer Park at Brighton (30 Oct) and Rye (31 Oct). £20 – £28.
Hands On Half Term, Brighton Science Festival, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov, various Brighton venues
This cracking festival of 40-plus events is back to save October half term, bringing science experts and educational entertainers to town. For 2019 there’ll be an escape room, a chance to set off rockets, cook up food and chemicals, meet snakes and bugs, watch space films, explore maths, challenge fake news, learn to knit – using your own body, investigate a crime scene and much, much more, including several ghoulish Halloween activities (kids can even help make a bucket of blood – eughhh!)
Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton, Mon 28 Oct – Fri 1 Nov
Children can channel their energy into a range of hands-on activities and outdoor trails with a Hallowe’en theme. Activities (11.00 – 15.00) vary daily (check the website) with the likes of pumpkin carving, face painting, spine-tingling stories, and make and take clay dishes, scary paper bats and bubble monsters.
Wildlife and Witches Trail and have-a-go archery, Bodiam Castle, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
Keep kids occupied this half term with the new ‘wildlife and witches’ children’s trail (£2.50 including a prize), plus castle tours and story-telling. There’s also a chance to go for the bullseye with have-a-go archery at £3 for 6 arrows.
The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog with Julia Donaldson, The Capitol, Horsham, Mon 28 & Tues 29 Oct
Author Julia Donaldson appears herself in this show, which features elements of her well-loved books Room on the Broom, The Magic Paintbrush, The Ugly Five, Superworm, The Gruffalo and The Cook and the King. Her guitar-playing husband Malcolm is also in the cast and there will be songs, puppetry and a touch of magic. Suitable for ages 4 -10, it’s coming to town as part of Horsham Year of Culture. Tickets are £15 and there are two performances each day. It’s also in Winchester, Thurs 31 Oct – Sat 2 Nov.
Halloween Horrors, Herstmonceux Castle, Hailsham, Sun 27 Oct
Children are encouraged to wear their best fancy dress and come to a day of spooky castle antics, featuring a magician, stilt walker, crime scene and decaying corpse games (family-friendly we’re promised!), wizard story telling, ghostie word hunt, colouring competitions, mask making, photo booths and more.Visit before Sun Nov 3 to enjoy the gardens and grounds before it closes for winter. 10.00 – 15.00, normal admissions charges.
Alice in Wonderland, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells/ Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead, Sun 27 Oct/Mon 28 Oct
Join Alice down the rabbit hole in an adventure through Wonderland. This brand new staging of Lewis Carroll’s family favourite is a playful take on the classic tale with an energetic professional cast, catchy new songs and lots of laughs. Shows at East Grinstead are at 14.00 and 17.00. Adults £15, children £13, family of four £52.It’s also at Tunbridge Wells the day before.
Alex Rider author/ Drag Queen Story Time/ Giselle, The Dome Brighton, Sun 27/Tues 29/ Tues 29 & Wed 30 Oct
Halloween fatigue? There are original Half Term events on at The Dome. Dive head-first into the world of teen-spy Alex Rider on Sun 27 Oct (£7.50 ages 8 – 12) as author Anthony Horowitz shares what inspired him to write the famous undercover character series of books and graphic novels. In two sessions on Tues 29 Oct, hear fairy tales with a twist at Drag Queen Story Time (ages 3 – 7, £7 adults, £5 children, £22 family of four). Following a run at Sadler’s Wells, South African choreographer and dancer Dada Masilo presents a re-imagining of Giselle on 29 and 30 Oct (ages 12+. tickets from £10), combining ballet with contemporary and traditional African dance.
Spookfest / PYO pumpkins, Tulleys Farm, Turners Hill, Crawley, Sat 19 – Sat Nov 2 /Wed 23 – Thurs 31 Oct
It’s best known for its adult fright nights over Shocktober Fest but Tulleys Farm also offers a rather less terrfiying chance to pick your own pumpkins from Wed 23 – Thurs 31 Oct and a Spookfest, with more child-friendly frights, like Scary-oke, a creepy cottage, street theatre and a hayride with freaky characters. Advance tickets for Spookfest are: adults from £10.95; children (5 – 13) £14.95; toddlers and seniors £8.95; family of four £48 family of five £65.
Flights of Fancy: the Wondrous World of Quentin Blake, Nymans, Haywards Heath, Sat 26 Oct onwards
Leap into a fantasy world with a new exhibition of work from legendary illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake at the National Trust property Nymans. His quirky pictures have graced Roal Dahl books and this set accompanied his own stories The Story of the Dancing Frog and The Green Ship. There are also a pumpkin trail and crafts for Halloween. Exhibition free with admission.
The Butterfly Lion, by Michael Morpurgo, Minerva Theatre, Chichester, 5 Oct – 15 Nov
This new adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling, award-winning premieres at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre. When Bertie is sent away from the African farm where he grew up to school in England he leaves behind his mother and his best friend – a white lion he rescued as a cub. Music, design and puppetry combine in a magical adventure. There are also talks connected with the show on Thurs 10 Oct and Mon 28 Oct. Tickets are from £15.
PART FREE Wizard of Oz screening/Talking Tales, Battle Festival of Arts and Music, Battle, Wed 30 Oct
Festival events still to come in the historic town include a Wizard of Oz screening (30 Oct, £4 adults, £3 children) with an optional fancy dress competition, and stories from around the world in Talking Tales with Kevin Graal (30 Oct, ages 5+, free).
Witches and Wizards, Bluebell Railway, Horsted Keynes, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
Head to Horsted Keynes Station for Halloween fun and games, including a fancy dress competition, crafty fun, and more throughout Half Term. Visitors on Halloween itself (31st Oct) will enjoy extra spooky fun, including pumpkin lighting, a disco for small children, and an additional evening train. Bring a pumpkin for the display to gain free platform entry on the day. You can reach Hirsted Keynes by steam train from East Grinstead or Sheffield Park (pictured) stations.
FREE Slindon Pumpkins displays, Slindon, near Arundel until early November
The Slindon Pumpkin mural has been a tradition since the Sixties. It’s installed each Autumn and continues well into November, weather permitting. There are usually 50 plus varieties of pumpkin and 30 of squash involved in the mural and other displays and as well as admiring them you can buy some for yourself, ready to get all creative for Halloween or rustle up some soup or risotto.
Quick Clay Play, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Tues 29 Oct
Create pinch pots and throw shapes on a potter’s wheel inspired by ceramics in the Renee So: Ancient and Modern exhibition. Pots will be fired and glazed for collection two weeks later. There are several 55 minute sessions during the day but some have sold out already. For all ages 8+. Booking essential. £44 per session for up to four people.
Halloween at The Beauty Bar, Wadhurst, Thurs 31 Oct
No tricks, just a treat for your youngsters. Bring them into the Muddy Award-winning Beauty Bar in Wadhurst where there’ll be a character ready to greet them, they can have their nails painted Halloween colours, get a sparkly spooky tattoo and some sweet treats to take home. £11.37.
Vineyard Trail, Bolney Wine Estate, throughout half term
There’s a trail around the vineyard at Bolney with nature facts along the way. Collect a clipboard and trail map from the cafe restaurant and claim a prize on completion. The large cafe overlooking the vines also has plenty of room for buggies and can be reached via a lift.
The Scarecrows’ Wedding, The Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea, Wed 30 Oct & Thurs 31 Oct
Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are excellent scarecrows. Their wedding plans are all coming together until the devilishly smooth Reginald Rake tries to take Harry’s place. Find out if there’s a happy ending (of course there is!) in this award-winning adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling book, filled with music and laughs. It’s on at 14.30 on the Wed, 11.00 on the Thurs. £12.50 for adults, £10.50 for children (including an activity pack).
Space Flight Fireworks Night, Fontwell Park Racecourse, Fontwell, near Arundel, Sat 2 Nov
Fontwell Park is well known in Sussex for its annual themed firework display. This year it’s all about space flight. As well as a spacious regular viewing area there’s also a Premier Lounge balcony option which means you get a table for the evening and a warm buffet with the likes of chilli and sausage and mash. Advance tickets are £10 adults, £6 children, (£27 and £17 for the Premier Lounge option). Planning a group outing? Ask about upgrading to a private suite!
Shriek Week, Drusillas Park, near Alfriston, Sat 20 – Sun 28 Oct
Dare to visit Haunted Heights – the Halloween hangout of witchy sin sisters Hocus Pocus who’ll just love to play hide and shriek. Scuttle along to the Discovery Centre for daily creepy crawly encounters, brave the Mummy Mayhem maze, then on Wed 30 Oct “Oh help! Oh no! It’s a gruffalo!” ready to meet you. Kids can also transform into a witches, black cats or monsters thanks to some freaky face painting.
Halloween pumpkin carving, Saddlescombe Farm, near Devil’s Dyke, Fri 25 Oct/Sat 2 Nov
Choose your own pumpkin and transform it into your own scary creation, then make a Halloween animal mask in sessions 10.00am to noon on Sat 27 Oct. £12 per adult, £6 per child.
The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, Sat 19 – Sun 27 Oct
There’s plenty going on at The Hop Farm this half-term with pumpkin carving, ghoulish face painting, creepy storytelling, a Spooktastic Harry Snotter Magic Show and even Monster Mash UV Discos. Plus on Tues 22 Oct, The Gruffalo will be visiting the Hop Farm for meet and greets at intervals throughout the day. Cameras at the ready!