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What’s On in August in Sussex

August 2018

Pride partying, parachute display teams, open air theatre and cinema, vintage fashion, medieval jousting, musical picnics, Pussy Riot, free polo, a spa bargain, a chilli festival and more all in Muddy’s What’s On in August in Sussex.

Brighton Pride, various venues, Fri 3 – Sun 5 Aug (parade on Sat 4 Aug) 

What’s happening in Brighton the first weekend in August? Only the biggest Pride in the UK!  The parade starts at 11am on Sat 4 Aug from Hove Lawns with the pride flag delivered by a parachute display team 15 mins before. Got tickets for Britney? A wristband for the official Pride Village Party in Kemptown? Don’t worry if you’ve missed the boat, there are excuses to eat, drink and party all over the city including a Pride Parade brunch at The Salt Room; a rainbow menu at Silo; DJ brunches, rainbow cocktails and puds at The Ivy , a party at The Pond, a Drag Silent Day Disco (Fri) at the The Malborough and the Gal Pals: Queer Pride party at Komedia.

Towner on the Beach, Eastbourne seafront, Sat 4 – Sun 5 Aug

Fancy making some art on the beach this summer? On the first weekends in Aug and Sept, Eastbourne’s Towner gallery is taking over one of the Beach Huts between the Wish Tower and the Lifeguard Station where local artists will lead creative activities inspired by the At Altitude exhibition. For August it’s mirrored flying objects – get ready for UFO sightings.

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.

Loxwood Joust, Loxwood, West Sussex, Sat 4 & Sun 5 and Sat 11 & Sun 12 Aug

It’s your chance again to tuck into a hog roast and ale and watch jousting and sword-on-sword action from armoured knights. Despite the violence there’s plenty of educational content at this big event with recreated Mediaeval villages and learning zones, a marketplace and workshops like chainmail and pewter badge making. The dedicated Children’s Kingdom is a festival within a festival where kids can try archery and have fun with wound painting, sword school, a bouncy castle and a very un-pc sounding game of ‘pelt the peasant’. Advance tickets are Adult £13, Child (4-14) £7. Gate prices £16 and £8.

Airbourne, Eastbourne seafront, Thurs 16 – Sun 19 Aug

Eastbourne’s International Airshow boasts a two mile flying display line along the seafront with military and civilian aviation display teams including the RAF Red Arrows, Tigers parachute display team and more, and all for free! This year the Red Arrows will fly on the Fri, Sat and Sun. Ground displays open 10.00am – 6.00pm daily, with flying happening in a packed schedule from lunchtime until around 5.00pm. It’s a great, if noisy, day out.

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.

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. This summer the programme includes Swallows and Amazons (2-5 Aug), Blithe Spirit (15 Aug), Little Women (21 Aug), Treasure Island (22 Aug), The Railway Children (2 Sept), The Wizard of Oz (29 Sept) and the Brighton Beach Boys (30 Sept).

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.

Firle Vintage Fair, Firle Park, near Lewes, Sat 11 & Sun 12 Aug

Get ready to wallow in all things retro at one of the most popular vintage events of the year. Snap up decorative antique and vintage homewares, clothes, French linens, furniture and garden bits and bobs. There’s retro entertainment too with live music, Charleston dancing and the like. Kids can go on the traditional fun fair and you can relax with booze on the lawn and admire the sparkling vintage cars or the fashions on the catwalk. Tickets are £10 on the door (under 5s free).

Chichester International Film Festival outdoor screenings, Priory Park, Fri 3 – Sun 5 Aug 

The start of the 2018 Chichester International Film Festival is heralded by a trio of open air screenings at Priory Park. This year Grease is the word on Fri 3 Aug, then it’s Incredibles 2 on Sat 4 Aug and The Greatest Showman on Sun 5 Aug. The outdoor shows have sold out the last two years, so get organised! Full the full Muddy round-up of outdoor screenings in and near Sussex see here.

The Merchant of Venice, Arundel Castle, Fri 17 and Sat 18 Aug

Medieval Arundel Castle will be the backdrop for outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as touring theatre group Illryia put on two evening performances alfresco. The event kicks off the 40th annual Arundel Festival. Performances start 7.30 and tickets are from £20 for adults, £15 for children.

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.

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.

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.

The Wonder Project, Wakehurst, 26 July – 5 Aug

The are more creative evening happenings going on at Wakehurst. Get set for an evening of interactive art installations, soundscapes and sculpture in the botanic gardens. Artists include Hidden Orchestra, Studio Long and Limbic. The experimental art pieces explore out relationship with nature. The artists have previously shown work at and collaborated with the Tate, Saatchi Gallery, Glastonbury, the Design Museum and the BBC.

PIUPID (Pick It Up, Put It Down), Cross in Hand, near Heathfield, Sat 11 Aug

This day of games and workouts followed by a night of partying is in aid of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance. From midday, athletes will compete in mixed pairs, taking on the signature PIUPID workout lifting barbells and the like while you cheer them on and enjoy other activities on site. From 6.00pm, tickets are needed for the after party with live music and DJs.

Chilli Fiesta, West Dean Gardens, Chichester, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug

Fill your face with fiery fare at this popular annual food festival. Besides plenty of opportunities to eat and shop for the hot stuff there’ll be Latin music and dance, cookery demonstrations, gardening talks and tours around the Walled Garden. Meanwhile circus workshops, a drop in art centre, outdoor film screenings a vintage funfair and more will keep kids amused. Day tickets are £18 for adults, £2.50 for children, under 4s free. Three-day tickets are also available and you can even camp in the grounds and make a weekend of it.

Surrealists’ 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. Light up cockroaches in blue jelly was among dishes last year, so get creative! The event runs 4 – 8pm and tickets are £15.

Sunset Screenings, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Sat 4 to 25 Aug

The De La Warr is 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. The season starts with UP (4 Aug), then we’re back to the 70s and 80s for The Love Bug, (11 Aug) Back to the Future, (18 Aug) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (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.

Movies by Moonlight, South Lodge Hotel, nr Horsham, various dates, Aug & Sept 

South Lodge Hotel at Lower Beeding, near Horsham, has an open air cinema throughout the summer. Bring a picnic, or splash out a special three course dinner (£55 including film) timed to end with coffee as the movie starts. With the dinner package you can plump for Dunkirk, Lion, La La Land, Cocktail or Spectre in August or Skyfall in Sept. With a picnic (and £15 for the film) you can chose from Dirty Dancing, The Bodyguard or Beauty and the Beast in Aug or Grease in Sept. Some other films have sold out already so bagsy the one you fancy quick. Full the full Muddy round-up of outdoor screenings in and near Sussex see here.

Yoga Brunch/ Ridgefest, Ridgeview Vineyard, Ditchling Common, Sun Aug 5 /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. Before then, on Aug 5 team an hour’s yoga with a tour, brunch and glass of Ridgeview for £35.

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. Don’t miss our Muddy prize draw to win a family weekend ticket with camping worth £250!

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. Tickets are currently £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,

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.

Family Art Activities, Charleston House, Firle near Lewes,  5, 12 & 19 Aug & 2 Sept

Charleston already has an artistic tradition and it’s now inviting families to create their own art while visiting. Free sessions are hosted by the house’s friendly volunteers, during which you can create a range of exiting things including paper lampshades and clay models. Activities have been inspired by the art and lives of the Bloomsbury group. Parents or carers are required to stay with their children and to create artworks together. It’s for everyone aged 3 and over.

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.

Wild Sleep Out, RSPB Pagham Harbour, Sat 18 – Sun 19 Aug

Camping is not usually allowed at Pagham Harbour but Big Wild Sleepout is your chance for you and yours to break the rules. Take in the sights and sounds of the reserve after dark, get crafty, set up mammal and moth traps to check for live critters in the morning, hunt for bugs, and go bat detecting. One to book early as placed are limited. Adults are £44.69, children £18.23.

Bat Walk, Woods Mill Nature Reserve, Henfield, 10 & 21 Aug

Once the sun sets the bats emerge from their roosting spots around Woods Mill. Join a talk and walk to look and listen for them using bat detecting equipment. The events are free, though booking is essential as places are limited. They run 8.30 to 10pm; 7.45 – 9.45 or 7.30 – 9.30 depending on the day.


Me & My Girl, Chichester Festival Theatre, Mon 2 July – Sat 25 Aug

Me and My Girl review, Me and My Girl, Chichester Festival Theatre, Me & My Girl

Photo by Johan Persson

Following the success of Half A Sixpence, which transferred to the West End, Chichester Festival Theatre has launched another cracker of a retro musical. Matt Lucas and Caroline Quentin star in Me and My Girl, the tale of a cockney barrow boy who inherits a fortune and the Duchess intent on transforming him, Pygmalion style. The Sun Has Got His Hat On and The Lambeth Walk are the well known numbers. Tickets are from £10.  Read the Muddy review here.

Hitchcock Season, Duke of Yorks cinema, Brighton, Sundays 8 July – 12 Aug

Hmm this looks like a good place to stop and take a shower…

If you want some respite from the sun then treat yourself to a Hitchcock masterpiece this month – Picturehouse Cinemas have been running a season of the director’s work. Still left to go are Psycho on Sun 5 Aug and Vertigo on Sun 12 Aug. Tickets are £8 (£5 members). If you’re in London over coming weekends the same season is running at Picturehouses there.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A, London, from 16 June

I once rocked up to Frida Kahlo’s former home in Mexico City and couldn’t get in because I’d spent too much time up the road looking round the house where Trotsky got the ice pick. (The two were lovers – small world!) So here’s my chance – and yours – to see what I missed. It’s the first exhibition outside of Mexico to display her clothes and intimate possessions. To Tie in, Leicester Square Kitchen is putting on Frida Kahlo-inspired weekend brunches with bottomless fizz!

Sussex Days: Photographs by Dorothy Bohm/ Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 23 May – 2 Sept / 26 May – 16 Sept

Dorothy Bohm, Point to Point Race Sussex, © Dorothy Bohm Archive.jpg

Muddy Awards Best Gallery finalist Pallant House has a new free exhibition on the internationally celebrated photographer Dorothy Bohm (now aged 93) bringing together for the first time her black and white photographs of Sussex in the 60s and 70s.  Steam fairs at Horsham, racing at Goodwood, the seafront at Brighton and racing at Parham are included. Meanwhile Tate St Ives’ Virginia Woolf exhibition is also visiting Pallant this summer. It features over 80 female artists, with works from 1854 upwards that represent central ideas of Woolf’s writing.

Michael Jackson: On The Wall, National Portrait Gallery, London, 28 June – 21 October

I’ll be moonwalking down to the National Portrait Gallery for Michael Jackson: On The Wall. The exhibition marks what would’ve been MJ’s 60th birthday and features artwork inspired by Andy Warhol and Grayson Perry among others. Shamon!


Have a Go at Archaeology, Fishbourne Roman Palace, Tues 24 July to Fri 3 Aug

Ever wanted to try your hand at archaeological excavation or wondered how the past can be recreated from just a few tiny pieces of pottery and bone? Visit Fishbourne Roman Palace this summer, with or without kids, to find out, as part of the National Festival of Archaeology.

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.


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.

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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