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What’s On in February in Sussex

Feb 2020

Wellness Trail,  Nymans, near Haywards Heath, Sat 1 Feb onwards

In our increasingly busy and connected lives, it’s more important than ever to take time out to just be in the moment with nature. From now into spring National Trust site Nymans has signposts around the garden with inspiring words in suitable places for reflection. You can also join guided ‘forest bathing’ wellness walks. It’s part of a focus on wellbeing this year to tie in with the ongoing exhibition of Quentin Blake drawings as the artist also works with hospitals.

Pub Walk, The Highdown, Goring-by-sea, Sat 1 Feb

Join the latest Highdown Pub Walk, on Sat 1 Feb. This time Brown’s Natural Pet Store will be on hand with some special goody bags for  four-legged friends.  Meet in the pub from 10.00 for a coffee and bacon sarnie, then head off about 10:30 for an hour long walk – just in time to get back to the pub for a spot of lunch. (To book a table call 01903 924 670 or email

Sloe Gin World Championships, The George Inn, Frant, 1 Feb

Be rid of Dry January with a visit to this annual competition, which started a decade ago with locals at this historic pub arguing over whose brew was best. Commercial entries are £25 and amateurs £5.All proceeds go to the UK Sepsis Trust in memory of a local student, Tim Mason, who died aged 21 following a misdiagnosis.

Westerns Film Season, Depot, Lewes, Sundays, 2 Feb – 9 March 

Yee hah, it’s a screening of seven classic Westerns alongside an optional six week course (£60) covering the silent movie era up to present day. Films (£8 for adult non members) start with High Noon and The Searchers on Sun 2 Feb then on subsequent Sundays take in Rio Bravo, The Winning of Barbara Worth, The Wild Bunch and Unforgiven. The season concludes with No Country for Old Men on Mon 9 March.

Winter Afternoon Racing at Fontwell Park, Mon 3 Feb and Thurs 13 Feb

Inject a bit of excitement into the winter months with some afternoon racing. There are seven races running around the Fontwell figure of eight track, which allows a view of the action all the way through. There’s also the national Sprint Hurdle coming up n Sun 23 Feb.

Blood Brothers, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Tues 4 Feb – Sat 8 Feb

Willy Russell (also of Shirley Valentine fame) penned this tragi-comic tale which follows twins separated at birth and living very different lives. It ran for years in the West End and is now on tour. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get some serious ear-worms. Tickets are from £13.00.

Zog, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 6  – Sat 8 Feb

Based on the book written and illustrated by the kiddy lit masterminds behind The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Zog is the story of an eager to please dragon, bound to win the hearts of the littlies. Adult tickets are £15.50. It’s also coming up at Brighton Dome 19 – 21 Feb.

Josie Long: Tender,  The Hawth, Crawley / Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, Wed 5 Feb /  Feb Sat 22 Feb 

Photo by Giles Smith

A confident, very likeable comedian, Josie Long has been around a while but this is her first new show in five years. It’s a tale of new motherhood that in the wrong hands could be a self-indulgent yawn-fest, as she’s well aware (“I believe I may be the only woman this has ever happened to…”) but she does a cracking set which veers through trying to urgently get an expensive chicken cooked while in labour to her concerns about climate change. I saw it at Edinburgh Fringe last year and it was a hugely enjoyable show. It’s at Crawley on 5 Feb (£18) and Worthing on 22 Feb (£15.50).

A Monster Calls, Chichester Festival Theatre, Thurs 6 – Sat 15 Feb

Manuel Harlan

Conor, 13, is woken by something at his window one night; a monster has come walking. Patrick Ness’s bestseller, which sensitively explores themes of grief, bereavement, family and truth, is brought to life in an Olivier Award-winning production which begins a nationwide tour in Chichester. Suitable for age 10+. £10-£28

South Downs Dark Skies festival, various locations, 7 – 23 Feb

Wrap up warm and get out for this annual celebration of the South Downs being designated a dark sky site. There are several guided stargazing events and tie-in activities, many of them free or low cost at locations in West Sussex, East Sussex and Hampshire.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, Tues 11 – Sat 15 Feb

Photo by Helen Maybanks

The Olivier award-winning West End show is now on tour and stopping off in Sussex. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of Carole King’s rise to stardom, with classics such as (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend and Up on the Roof. Tickets from £32.

Noble and Stace Valentine’s chocolate workshops, Ashurst, Tues 11 and Thurs 13 Feb 

Sweets for your sweet? There were a few places left on the special Valentine’s masterclasses on Tues 11 Feb and Thurs 13 Feb at The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst at the last time of looking. You can also book private workshops. Have a fun experience and produce plenty of your own handcrafted chocs, truffles and bars to take home. Check out the Muddy review here.

Vegan Feast Cookery Workshop, Brooklands Barn, Arundel, Tues 11 Feb

Already vegan, or on your new year resolution list? On this special demo cookery day ay Brooklands Barn Retreat, Toni, creator of will show you how to make family vegan staples including nut roast with homemade gravy, easy lasagne and scrummy chocolate brownies.

Valentine’s Afternoon Tea at Leonardslee House, Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, Near Horsham, Wed 12 Feb – Sun 16 Feb

Regular afternoon tea. Photo Jean Delport

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by indulging in afternoon tea at Leonardslee Mansion House. Be tempted by sweet and savoury delights created by Michelin starred executive chef Jean Delport and his team. Afternoon tea is served between 13.00 and 16.00. Book a slot ahead. £40 per person (£50 with wine) including entry to Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens.

In Loyal Company, Connaught Studio, Worthing, Thurs 13 Feb

I saw this wonderful show at Edinburgh Fringe last year where it sold out daily. David William Bryan is an acting tour de force, throwing himself (quite literally a lot of the time) into the role of his great uncle – a soldier and prisoner of war, reported missing by his family during WWII – plus a host of other characters along the way. It’s a highly physical performance leaving poor Bryan drenched in sweat and with a standing ovation for his efforts. A bittersweet true-life story that will make you laugh and cry. Tickets from £14. Ages 8+

Lou Sanders – Say Hello to Your New Step-Mummy, The Old Market, Hove, Thurs 13 Feb

Lou Sanders. Megan Gisborne photography

Well here’s an alternative Valentine’s night out. There’s an ‘oversharing’ look at relationships from comedian Lou Sanders on 13 Feb (£13) as an early entry in The Old Market’s fab Reigning Women season (much more female comedy, theatre, film and music coming up in March).

Valentine’s Dinner, Bodiam Castle, Thurs 13 Feb – Sat 15 Feb

Enjoy a glass of bubbly and an exclusive after-hours tour of floodlit Bodiam Castle followed by a candlelit three course dinner in the Wharf Tea Room. Beats your average restaurant V-day date, eh? Tickets are £48.

Dinner & Jazz, Wingrove House, Alfriston, Fri 14 Feb

Be a smoothy this V-Day and book a four-course dinner with music from a background jazz band (nice…) at Wingrove House in Alfriston. Mains include a choice of pollock, duck, lamb or ratatouille tart, all with rather lovely sounding accompaniments. I’ve also got my eyes on the pecan cheesecake for afters. £45 per person.

5 Soldiers: The Body is The Front Line, The Capitol, Horsham, Fri 14 Feb

This show earned five star reviews, a nomination for Best Modern Choreography in the National Dance Awards and topped the Best Dance charts in The Observer, The Guardian and The Independent. It is based on research on military exercises and at a rehabilitation centre to see the effects of conflict and training on soldiers’ bodies.

Ghost Stories, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Fri 14 Feb

Get your heart racing on Valentine’s night when ghost stories full of thrilling twists and turns are imagined live on stage in this sensory exerience. We’re promised a twisted love-letter to horror and an edge-of-your-seat theatrical experience. Not for the faint-hearted. £13.

Various workshops, The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst near Steyning, Feb and later dates

Tasty small group workshops coming up at The Artisan Bakehouse include introductions to breadmaking and sourdough and Glorious Grains (Feb), Irish baking (March), Easter baking, pastry making and chocolate making (April). Some sell out fast so be quick!

Comedy Club 4 Kids, Komedia, Brighton, Sat 15 Feb 

This is a great concept – regular comedians doing non-patronising material pitched at the over sixes. Jokes and songs about poo, bogeys, space and dinosaurs, with knowing comments and humiliation for the adults. The kids heckle with their hands up and you’ll have a brilliant laugh too – trust me, I’ve been a couple of times. £8.50 adults, £6.50 children.

Lucy Porter, The Hawth, Crawley, Sat 15 Feb

Lucy Porter returns is back with her latest stand-up show. At Brownies, Lucy thought she’d ‘Be Prepared’ for anything as long as she had her emergency 10p for a phone box, and knew how to tie a Fisherman’s knot. Life turned out to be slightly more complicated… It’s in the studio so limited availability. Tickets are £18.

Chinese New Year, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Sat 15 Feb

Jinlong Culture & Performing Artswill be putting on an exciting programme including acrobats, jugglers, magic, live music and of course dragon dancing. From £18.50.

Out Of This World storytelling, crafts and magic Fishers Farm Park, Wisborough Green, 15 – 23 Feb 

For half term there’ll be a series of special space-themed events for kids including storytelling sessions in Fishers Barn Theatre, crafts, daily magic show and family disco. If that isn’t enough to keep the little blighters entertained then you’ll also get all the usual farm activities thrown in with your ticket including tractor rides, tree climbing and animals.

Casablanca, Duke of York’s cinema, Brighton, Sunday 16 Feb

What's On in Sussex this week

Nicely timed on the nearest weekend to Valentine’s Day, watch Casablanca back on the big screen at Brighton’s Duke of York’s cinema as part of its latest Vintage Sundays season. If you don’t you’ll regret it…

Brighton Science Festival, various venues, Sat 15 – 23 Feb

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This February half term will be the 15th instalment of Brighton Science Festival which aims to get tweens excited about science. Across the festival there’ll be heaps of family-friendly makes, workshops and brilliant (and gross) experiments, generally at low cost.

Thriller Live, The Hawth, Crawley 17 – 22 Feb

The long running West End show is on tour and dropping into Crawley with over two hours of Michael Jackson hits and dances covering pop, rock, soul and disco. Tickets from £25.50. It’s also coming to Portsmouth in June.

The Addams Family, The Old Market, Hove, Tues 18 – Sun 23 Feb 

Looks who’s moved into the neighbourhood! From the writers of multi award-winning Jersey Boys, and performed by BTG Youth, this comic musical adaptation of everyone’s favourite Gothic family will feature a live orchestra.

The Ship’s first Supper Club, Chichester Harbour Hotel, Thurs 20 Feb

Head Chef Neil will be preparing and cooking three courses from the Ship restaurant’s new menu at the table, along with plenty of chef banter (think Saturday Kitchen). Enjoy three courses and a glass of wine for £27.50 plus get the recipes to take home! See our recent Muddy review of the restaurant here.

Fairport Convention at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on 20 Feb

English folk rockers Fairport Convention formed way back in 1967 and are still recording and touring today and have launched several influential musicians over the years. Catch them at the De la Warr this Feb.

Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids, Komedia, Brighton, Fri 21 Feb 

Photo by NathanGallagher

Psst here’s something for kids that adults can also enjoy – I know, I’ve seen the show myself. Beatboxer extraordinaire SK Shlomo gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics. In this show he gets children involved and teaches them some tricks. I took my nephews the other year and they produced their own impromptu mini iPhone beatbox video afterwards. Tickets are £10 adults, £8 children.

Rye Bay Scallop Week, various Rye eateries, Sat 22 Feb – Sun 1 March

One of my fave foods has a festival all to itself with special menus, cookery demos and live music. Many pubs and restaurants in and near Rye will be involved. Check out your feasting options on the link.

Rufus Wainwright with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, White Rock Theatre, Hastings, Fri 28 Feb

Highly acclaimed pop singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright stars with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Feb as part of Hastings International Piano Festival.

OperaUpClose – Madam Butterfly, Connaught Theatre Worthing, 29 Feb

Puccini’s classic opera is retold from a female East Asian perspective and transposed to 1980s Japan where traditional values collide with the start of a new digital age. The show is a great introduction to opera for a new audience as well as for seasoned fans of the genre. £22-£29.50


Galapagos paper-cut art exhibition, BlackShed gallery, Robertsbridge, until 1 Feb

Catch some beautiful, intricate pictures from paper-cut artist Ian Penney in the Galapagos exhibition at BlackShed gallery in converted farm buildings at Robertsbridge. This new collection has been inspired by Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species and The Voyage of the Beagle and travels from the Galapagos to Darwin’s own garden where he bred pigeons.

Worthing Ice Rink , Steyne Gardens, Worthing, until 23 Feb 

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Worthing’s rink is in a giant marque with regular sessions for over-fours, while toddlers can get on the ice in special quieter weekday slots. There are children’s skating courses and private lessons by arrangement. You can warm up with hot drinks and snacks in the café and even use the venue to host a children’s party.


National Trust snowdrop spots, Nymans, Sheffield Park and Petworth, Jan & Feb 

Image National Trust, Meghan Doran

In January and February we rely on plucky snowdrops to cheer up the winter landscape. Nymans, Sheffield Park and Petworth are among the best spots to catch them.

Wellbeing workshops, Brooklands Barn, Arundel, various Jan and later dates

Happy new you! There are numerous wellness retreats of a day or more coming up at Brooklands Barn including a Pilates (31 Jan – 2 Feb), Depression recovery (27 – 29 Jan), Mayura Detox and Cleanse (24 – 26 Jan) and Yoga and Meditation (7 – 9 Feb). Plenty more too throughout spring.

A Strange and Familiar Sea, Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, 18 January – 23 May

In this free exhibition photographer Mandy Williams brings together work from three series about the sea. Sea Level and Frame were shot in Worthing, where Williams lived as a teenager. Sea Level focuses on the beach shelters along the promenade and Frame captures people as they walk by them. In Beyond Land, the photographs were taken at a causeway that reveals itself at low tide.

One day courses, West Dean College, near Chichester, various dates 

Among the many arts and craft courses from short to full-time at West Dean College are numerous one day workshops for beginners and improvers. Most cost under £150 and there are several throughout spring. As a bonus, the college is set within the lovely West Dean Gardens.

ROH Live Coppélia, various cinemas, various until 21 April

This classic story of love, mischief and mechanical dolls returns and is being screened from the Royal Ballet on various dates. Use the search bar in the link to find the nearest screening to you for this and other shows.


Mary Quant, V&A, London, Until Sun 16 Feb 2020

Must-see exhibitions in London at the moment include the V&A’s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of  miniskirts, Mary Quant. It features over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.


Reigning Woman season, The Old Market, Hove, various March dates

Kiri Pritchard-McLean

The Old Market’s fab annual celebration of women in the arts is back, drawing kick-ass female performers of music, comedy, theatre, dance and film to Hove. The season launches on 30 Jan with a live music party, there’s an ‘oversharing’ look at relationships from comedian Lou Sanders on 13 Feb, then it really kicks off in March and on into April with the likes of wacky hit Fringe show Witch Hunt; a performance based on breast cancer recovery interviews called Rebel Boob; comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean; campaigner and Invisible Woman author Caroline Criado Perez in conversation and films from female directors over 50. Book ahead, some events have already sold out.

Seafood Dinner, The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, Wed 11 March

The Cat Inn knows a thing or too about great food – it is even Michelin Bib Gourmand listed. So book ahead for its special four course seafood dinner coming up in March. £75.00 inclusive of wines. There will also be a Vegan Tasting menu on Wed 22 April. Menus for each will be available online from midd Feb.

Jane Eyre, Eastbourne/ Horsham/ Worthing early March dates

Gothic masterpiece Jane Eyre is back on stage in Sussex. This spring the innovative Blackeyed Theatre company will be performing the rise of the spirited orphan to adulthood and her relationship with the mysterious Mr Rochester. A good one to book ahead and gift as a Valentine’s Present. Recommended for ages 11+ It’s coming up at Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne, 5 – 7 March; Capitol Theatre, Horsham, Tues 10 – Wed 11 March; Connaught Theatre, Worthing 12 – 14 March and also later at Portsmouth.

by Debbie Ward

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