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What’s On this week in Sussex

23 - 31 Aug

The Bob Marley Experience/Family Day, Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green near Fletching, Fri 24 Aug/Mon 27

Marley’s music always make me feel summery, so even if the weather’s not playing ball this gig on Friday night looks like a great way to kick off the bank holiday weekend. The eight piece cover band will be supported by DJ Kilo. Tickets are from £18. Trading Boundaries also has a free family day on Monday between 11am and 5pm with a BBQ, live music and a magic show. There’s some great Indian furniture and unusual accessories to shop for while you’re there.

The Play That Goes Wrong Mon 27 Aug – Sat 1 Sept / West End Comedy Theatre Workshop, Tues 28 – Fri 31 Aug

Tickets are selling fast for this West End hit on tour. The farce is all about a Drama Society’s attempts to stage a 1920s murder mystery battling on through collapsing sets and the like. It won an Olivier award for best new comedy and apparently made Joanna Lumley cry with laughter. You can test it out for yourself with tickets from £16. Meanwhile, 10 – 16s can learn the secrets of silliness in a West End Comedy Theatre Workshop before watching the show and meeting one of the cast. Slapstick and physical theatre are to the fore in this multi-day drop off. The course fee is £100 and sessions run for at least five hours a day at varied times.

Surrealist Picnic, Farleys House Farm, Chiddingly, Sun 26 Aug

Here’s something weird and wonderful. The second annual Surrealist Picnic is being held at the former home of Vogue fashion and war photographer, model, cook and surrealist Lee Miller. There will be jazz bands and surreal performance and dressing up is encouraged. Blue jelly with light up cockroaches was among dishes last year, so get creative! The event runs 4 – 8pm and tickets are £15.

Ridgefest, Ridgeview Vineyard, Ditchling Common, Sat 25 Aug

Ridgeview will be kicking off the August Bank Holiday in style with a mini festival at the vineyard. There’ll be entertainment from local bands, Brighton Street Diner stalls and guided tours of the winery. Besides wine (natch) local beers, gin, soft drinks and nitro brew coffee will be on sale and Muddy Stilettos award winner Rebecca Cragg will be making flower crowns. Adult Ticket are £15 and include a welcome glass of Ridgeview and the vineyard tour. Coach transfers are available from Burgess Hill station.

Picturehouse pop-up cinema, Preston Manor, Brighton, 23 – 26 Aug 

Brighton’s Picturehouse is going alfresco at Preston Manor for the end of August with a singalong version of The Greatest Showman (23 Aug), cult classic Donnie Darko (24 Aug), Thelma and Louise (25 Aug) and the recent re-release of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine (26 Aug). Films start around 8pm, or dusk. Bring cushions and a (booze-free) picnic, there will be a cash-only bar on site. For the full Muddy round-up of outdoor screenings in and near Sussex see here.

England’s Medieval Festival, Herstmonceux Castle, Fri 24 – Mon 27 Aug 

England’s Medieval Festival brings the Middle ages to lovely Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex this August. Over 1,000 costumed performers travel from across Europe to help recreate the spectacle with jousting knights, court jesters, siege recreations and crafts like blacksmithing and arrow making, with a chance to have a go at many. Children can even join warrior and princess schools. Advance day tickets are £17 for adults, £7 for children over 5, £46 for families.

Pop-up woodland camping, Great Walstead School, Lindfield, until 28th August

Great Walstead school has launched its first pop-up campsite this August opening up its private woods for families to camp in the wilderness, switch off and enjoy getting back to basics. Prices are from £25 for two adults for a night. I visited the school at the end of term and met pupils on an overnight camping out and the woods are gorgeous and extensive.

Women + Activism, film season, Depot, Lewes, from Aug 25

Lewes cinema, Depot Lewes, Lewes Depot Cinema, independent cinema lewes, independent cinema sussex

This season of films and events at Depot will share feminist stories of revolution. Asking ‘one hundred years since the first women got the vote in the UK, fifty years since the protests of May ’68, where is the feminist revolution now?’ I caught a film here the other week and it was such a nice experience. Come early for the bar and a bite to eat.

Gary Stewart’s Graceland, The Capitol Horsham, Fri 31 Aug

One of the most famous albums of the last few decades with its innovative fusion of African and Western musical styles is being created on stage in Horsham by Gary Stewart and his seven piece band. The Paul Simon-penned classic includes Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes, You Can Call Me Al and the title track, Graceland. Tickets are £23.


MOD Weekender, Madeira Drive and other venues, Brighton Fri 24 – Sun 26

Check out retro Vespas and some groovy Sixties fashions as hundreds decend on Brighton seafront for the annual MOD Weekender. Most action revolves around Volks Tavern near the Palace Pier where the scooters arrive in the iconic film Quadrophenia. There will be live bands on Saturday afternoon and scooter judging on Sunday afternoon followed by a motorcade to Peacehaven departing around 3pm. There are ticketed events in the evenings from Friday at the Komedia in town. There will also be DJ sessions and a market selling records, vintage clothes, art and memorabilia.

Shoreham Riverfest dragon boat racing, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sun 26 Aug

Shoreham-by-Sea’s annual dragon boat race is back with the battle taking place from 11am on Sun 26 Aug. The action can be seen from Ardur Outdoor Activites centre, or opposite from the Ropetackle side of the water. Live music and the like will keep the atmosphere going.

Artwave, Lewes, Seaford and Newhaven, various locations, Sat 18 Aug – 2 Sept

Retro wallpaper by Anna Hayman

Artwave takes in three towns and their surrounding villages over three weekends and showcases the work of talented local artists. It’s not just about galleries, you get to mooch about in studios, gardens, workshops and artists’ own homes for free. There are over 150 venues with all sorts of work to admire and buy.

Museum Explorer Day, Amberley Museum, Amberley, near Arundel, Wed Aug 29

Always good for an educational step back in time, Amberley Museum has heaps of extra events for the school holidays.
The last of several special Museum Explorer days with children’s activities running from 10.30 to 3.30 is on 29 Aug and about fire engines.

Byline Festival, Pippingford Park near Uckfield, Fri 24 – Mon 27 Aug 

I was at the debut of this journalistic-themed festival last year and I’ve booked again for this August. It mixes debate and workshops with music, comedy and more, in a low-key, good value event, with free camping. The line-up so far includes visits from John Cleese, Hugh Grant, Gary Lineker and Andy Hamilton plus the Cambridge Analytica whistleblowers in debate, while Pussy Riot, Badly Drawn Boy, The Priscillas and The Blow Monkeys provide the music. There are kids’ activities too and camping is free. Advance tickets are £50 for a day (£20 children) £120 for the full festival, with a £199 deal for a family of up to four. Look out for early-bird bargains for next year after it closes.

Sunset Screenings, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Sat 25 Aug

The De La Warr has been putting on Sunset Screenings on an outside sea-facing wall this August, with retro family-friendly options to keep kids giggling and adults sighing with nostalgia. last one up is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Sat 25 Aug. Bet you still hide from the Child Catcher, eh? Sunset is expected around 8.30pm and there are live bands and a DJ from 2pm and family-friendly activities from 6.00pm beforehand. Best of all, it’s all free! Full the full Muddy round-up of outdoor screenings in and near Sussex see here.

Arundel Festival, various Arundel locations, 18 – 27 Aug 

Arundel Festival is back, so get set for burlesque, dragon boat racing, a treasure hunt, a South Downs bike trail, guided walks, an art trail, a singing workshop, a family history weekend at the castle, theatre indoors and out and a fire-breathing dragon! As this is the 40th anniversary there will also be a 70s themed party in the town square on bank holiday Monday.

Children’s Have A Go Volleyball sessions, Yellow Wave, Brighton, Thurs 30 Aug

This beach volleyball court with a nice cafe on Madeira Drive is a great family-friendly place to hang out at any time and watch sportier people doing their thing, especially as there’s a sandpit on site and a playground next door. For the school holidays it has Have a Go sessions for children mixing fun games, drills and skills. There are different times for 5-7s, 8-11s and 12-16s and each session is £6.50.

Themed weekends, Fishers Adventure Farm Park, Wisborough Green,  25 -26 Aug – and 1-2 Sept.

Alongside its regular attractions, Fishers has an action-packed range of holiday events. Next up a Beach Party (25 Aug – 26 Aug) which will include games like volleyball and limbo plus a waterslide, then there’s a chance to earn a medal for completing the assault course on Army Weekend (1 Sep – 2 Sep).

Nicole Kidman short film season, Hever Festival Theatre, Kent, Tues 21 – Fri 24 Aug

More alfresco film action. Celebrate the flame-haired Aussie actress with a series of her films including Moulin RougeThe Stepford Wives (2004 reboot) and Eyes Wide Shut (they seem to have brushed over Australia – very wise, it was a shocker). The theatre is outdoors but the seating is covered.

Edinburgh Fringe, until Mon 27 Aug

Off to the last weekend of Edingburgh Fringe? I’m a big Fringe fan, caught 22 shows at the start of Aug, so here are my hot tips for what to see up there.


Polo at Cowdray, until Sun 23rd Sept

The public are welcome to watch polo at Cowdray throughout the season, with matches held every Sat, Sun and Bank Holiday Mon and on most weekdays. Bring your own picnic, or order one from the Cowdray Farm Shop & Cafe. There’s also a snack bar in the grounds. Except during the Gold Cup, weekends and bank hols tickets are £5 each (under 12’s free) and weekdays are free. Call 01730 813257 or see the tournament section of the website for the day’s play.

Various shows, Brighton Open Air Theatre, until 30 Sept

B.O.A.T in Dyke Road Park is a lovely space to lounge with a picnic and catch adults and kids shows, comedy and more. Still to come this summer the programme includes Treasure Island (22 Aug), The Railway Children (2 Sept), The Wizard of Oz (29 Sept) and the Brighton Beach Boys (30 Sept).

The Observatory Science Centre workshops, Herstmonceux, various Aug dates

Always a great spot for educational fun, in addition to the centre’s hands-on exhibits there will be daily telescope tours and spectacular science shows three times a day included in the admission price. In August a series of half-day workshops (£12.50) for 6-8s and 9-11s have enticing titles like Light and Colour, Alien Life, Astronaut Academy and Crime Detectives. Meanwhile Chemistry Lab full-day workshops mean you can drop the kids off 10.30 – 4pm for £23.50 – stampede! You’ll need to book ahead and unsurprisingly they tend to sell out early. For more events for children see the big Muddy school hols round-up here.

Musical picnics, Borde Hill Gardens, near Haywards Heath, Suns in Aug

You don’t have to go full Glyndebourne for music and alfresco lounging this summer. Borde Hill Gardens has musical picnics on Sundays in August from jazz to brass bands. The entertainment is free with garden entry and Pimms is available. There’s also a programme of children’s events for the school hols.

2 for 1 Oriental package, The Beauty Island Sanctuary, Worthing, until 31 Aug

You don’t need a flight to Asia this summer to get a taste of the Far East. The Beauty Island Sanctuary in Worthing has a bargain two for one Oriental Spa package featuring an hour’s Thai Fusion Body Massage and an hour’s Thai Fusion facial, both using hot stones, plus an hour’s use of its spa zone with hydrotherapy pool and sauna, plus soft drinks and fruit on hand. The package, for two, costs £130 on Tues and Thurs or £145 on Suns.


3018 exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London (and online), Wed 1 – Tues 28 Aug  

Anya Kashina, Night Swimmer, Screenprint on paper, 55x75cm

Here’s a chance to snap up some affordable contemporary art from the Saatchi Gallery. 30 new works of art by 30 emerging artists, produced in conjunction with Jealous Print Studio, are being showcased in the gallery’s new 3018 exhibition. Each 55 x 75cm limited edition print is signed, numbered and priced at £125, they include collage, abstract and impressionist styles. You can also buy online.

Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Dressed to Impress: Netsuke and Japanese men’s fashion, until 25 Aug

WMA has teamed up with the British Museum for the first time for a special exhibition exploring Japanese men’s fashion during the Edo period (1615-1868). The BM has brought items out of storage for the summer in a rare display of clothes, accessories and prints spanning 200 years. Entry is free.

Towner Film, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, Sat 7 Jul to Thurs 30 Aug

In honour of the centenary of the 1918 Suffrage Act, each week throughout summer Eastbourne’s Towner gallery will be putting on a feature film directed by a female filmmaker they love. Among them are Holly Hunter in The Piano, Nora Twomey’s Oscar nominated animation The Breadwinner, which tells the tale of a young girl forced to dress as a boy to provide for her family under Taliban rule, and the animated adaptation of Majane Satrapi’s memoir Persepolis which recalls her youth as a punk loving teenager in Iran.


Friendsfest, Preston Park, Brighton Fri 7 Sept till Sun 16 Sept

“Oh – My – God!”  as Janice would say, the actual sets from Friends are popping up in Brighton! Yes, you can look round Monica’s, Joey and Chandler’s and Ross’s apartments and Central Perk, see original memorabilia and take part in Friends-themed activities including the chance to recreate the title sequence. Weekends have sold out already but there are plenty of weekday afternoon and evening slots still. The tours run at ten minute intervals between noon and 22.00. I have a ticket myself. Could I be any more excited? It’s £27.50 plus booking fee (so £29 if you print at home) pricey but unique.

The Children in the Moon, Charleston, Wed 29 August

The Make Shift Ensemble present an original take on centuries-old children’s verse packed with puppetry and live music and presented outdoors. Spend an afternoon in the beautiful grounds of Charleston and bring a picnic. Afterwards there will be the opportunity to get creative – use clay to create a glittery moon dish, design mini books, make magical hanging stars from willow, paint story stones, draw and paint in the garden. Tickets are £6 adutls, £4 children.

Horrible Histories, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 13 – Sun 16

Everyone’s favourite history teachers are back! With not only actors but 3D special effects this time, The Horrible Histories team, promise people from the past will hover at your very fingertips. On Thurs 13 – Sat 15 it’s Awful Egyptians and Thurs 13 – Sun 16 Terrible Tudors, with various day and evening times to chose. Tickets are £15.

Into the Trees festival, Pippingford Park near Uckfield, 14 – 16 Sept

From the same organisers as super-popular Elderflower Fields, woodland family festival Into the Trees takes place at lovely Pippingford Park on the edge of the Ashdown Forest on the weekend of 14 – 16 Sept. Expect archery fencing, mountain boarding, axe throwing (eek!), pond dipping, crafts, kayaking, tree climbing, disc golf, foraging, bat detecting and star gazing. Family tickets are £33.60 for a day, £105 for the weekend and many activities are included.

Harry Hill Kids Show: How To Be Funny – for Kids! Theatre Royal Brighton, Fri 26 Oct

Get set for autumn half term by booking this show, aimed at helping kids with an interest in comedy to improve their skills by offering hints, tips and anecdotes. TV’s Harry Hill will be sharing his dos and don’ts as well as offering kids who fancy themselves as a bit of a joker the chance to express their own comedy skills. Tickets are £16.00.

Star stand up, Eastbourne Hippodrome, various autumn/winter dates

The Hippodrome has a great line up of comedy to cheer us up after the summer. Book now for Tom Allen on 29 Sept, Phill Jupitus on 18 Oct, Rich Hall on 10 Nov and Jeremy Hardy on 22 Nov.

Find more ideas here

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