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What’s On for Xmas and New Year

What's On in Sussex for Xmas and New Year

NYE parties, NYD walks and brunches, comedy, ballet, kids shows, and more in the Muddy What’s on in Sussex for Christmas and New Year.

TotRockinBeats NYE 2017, Assembly Hall Theatre, Worthing, Sun 31 Dec 

If your New Year’s Eve celebrating is somewhat curtailed by your youngsters’ bedtimes get a bit of party fun and save on a baby sitting by bringing the whole thing a few hours earlier. From 4.00pm at this Worthing event there’ll be a bar and DJs spinning 80s and 90s tunes to please the adults, plus soft play, crafts, face painting, inflatables, a photo booth and more to keep little people happy. Tickets are £20 for adults (£15 for earlybirds), £10 for children, £6 for seniors and under-threes go free but it’s selling out FAST!

Moonlight Drive-in Cinema, Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, various dates

Grab the blankets and recline those seats, The Moonlight Drive-In Cinema at the Hop Farm is back with some Christmas faves including Elf (21, 22 and 24 Dec) Home Alone (22 Dec), Love Actually (23 Dec), The Polar Express (23 and 24 Dec), and err Die Hard – well it is set at Christmas! (21 Dec). There are also several outings for the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Chichester Festival Theatre, Swan Lake 3- 4 Jan and Sleeping Beauty 5- 7 Jan 

A great way to kick off the new year. A classic tale of love and betrayal Swan Lake is performed by Moscow City Ballet in early Jan and followed by Sleeping Beauty. (tickets from £15).

The Treason Show: That Was the Year That Was ’17, Brighton pubs 21 – 23 & 27 – 30 Dec 

A bit of a Sussex institution, this end of year round-up from the local satire group is bound to have plenty of material with the election that backfired and Trump’s antics for starters. There are usually local references too, with Southern Rail often the target for some sweary songs. It’s on at a couple of Brighton pubs but be quick. The session at Shoreham’s Ropetackle on New Year’s eve has already sold out. See the link for deets. Tickets are from £15 up.

New Year’s Day Walk with a warden, Rye Harbour/ Pagham Harbour, Mon 1 Jan 

Walk off the Christmas and NYE excesses with this guided bird-watching walk on New Year’s Day, taking in three hides, a saltmarsh and the beach round Rye Harbour. It runs 10.00am to 12.30 pm, starting from the village car park (TN31 7TX) and is free, though donations are of course welcome. A similar walk is happening on New Year’s Day at Pagham Harbour in West Sussex (£7).

Eis Haus, Christmas By the River, Tower Bridge, London, until 3 Jan

Photo by Alexander Mourant

If you’re heading up to London over Christmas, and you’ve never visited an ice bar somewhere in the world, swing by Eis Haus.  Complete with gondolas, heaters and events like bands, DJs and live ice carving – it’s wrapped around a sub-zero bar with ice sculptures and frozen glasses. Tickets are from £15. It’s part of Christmas By The River, a free entry festive market beside Tower Bridge and the General London Assembly with gift stalls and festive food and drink.

New Year’s Day brunch, Bolney Wine Estate, Bolney, near Haywards Heath, Mon 1 Jan 

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Bolney Wine Estate is open on New Year’s Day for you to celebrate (or recover!) with brunch overlooking the vineyard. The cafe is open from 10.00am – 3.00pm and children and dogs are very welcome but it’s best to book ( 01444 881575). Planning further ahead, there’s a Burns lunch on the 25 Jan with a poetic meal of Scottish food in celebration of Robert Burns, ooh and complimentary homemade shortbread. Mmm shortbread…

Outrageous Decadence: It’s Grimm in St Leonards, Masonic Hall, St Leonards, nr Hastings, Sun 31 Dec 

Known for their crazy theming, this new year’s eve Outrageous Decadence party is using Grimm’s fairy tales as the inspiration. Dress up and get along there. Details are currently sketchy on the website and Facebook but the photos give you an idea. Tickets from £18.

AirplayThe Snow Queen, Brighton Dome, Thurs 21 – Tues 26 Dec / Fri 29 – Sat 30 Dec

There’s a couple of great festive offerings at The Dome this year. There’s circus and comedy in Airplay, with a run from 21-26 Dec featuring flying umbrellas, giant kites and a huge snowglobe. Then, for 29 – 30 Dec, it’s festive ballet The Snow Queen from Ballet Theatre UK. Tickets for each show are from £10.

Lego Brick Animal Trail and ‘make and take’, Arundel Wetland Centre, until 14 Jan

You can’t fail to spot birds at Arundel Wetland Centre at the moment because besides the real ones are giant colourful creatures on the Lego Brick Animal Trail. The 1.5 metre creations include a Hawaiin goose, a kingfisher and an otter. Various Lego ‘make and take’ sessions are also coming up for the holidays in which kids can create a frog and a fly (£5 + centre admission). Sounds like a nice antidote to Santa’s grotto. Before Christmas there’s also a kids’ Christmas Crafts bauble and gift box creation session (free with admission) Thurs 21 – Sat 23 Dec.

The Star of Bethlehem / The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds, South Downs Planetarium, Chichester, 21 -29 Dec

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Chichester’s Planetarium has some Christmas-themed astronomy in the lead up to Christmas. The Star of Bethlehem (21 – 24 Dec) – an astronomical detective story for both Christians and non-Christians, which explores the possible origins of the famous bright star that appeared at the time suggested by the Bible. There’s also The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds on various dates. Tickets are £7 adults, £5 children.

Mischief & Mystery in Moominvalley Fri 22 Dec – Tues 2 Jan, The Old Market, Hove

Following the Cinderella and the Beanstalk panto mash up at the Old Market, coming up on 22 Dec to 2 Jan is Mischief & Mystery in Moominvalley,  a show with charming pupperty and a pop-up book set aimed at 3-7-year-olds. Covering a year in Moominvalley, it starts when Moomintroll wakes up in the middle of winter with a “something-wrong-feeling”. Tickets are £8. There’s also a wee-ones activity at Brighton’s Theatre Royal 20 – 24 Dec with 100 Tails of Us in which little notes and tiny doors backstage unfold the story of a hidden mouse world.

Boxing Day Racing, Fontwell Park, near Arundel, Tues Dec 26 

Boxing Day isn’t all about lying about in your PJs with your face smeared with chocolate. If you can raise yourself you can take part in the tradition of a post festivities day at the races. The premium tickets have already sold out for Fontwell Park’s family race day on 26 Dec but you can still grab a paddock (£19) or paddock plus (£24) ticket.

Peaky Blinders themed New Year’s Eve Party, Proud Country House, Brighton, Sun 31 Dec 

Proud Country House in Brighton’s Stanmer Park is encouraging party-goers to don flat caps and flapper dresses for a Peaky Blinders themed new year bash based on the retro gangster series. It kicks off at 9.00pm with an hour of bottomless prosecco! 1920s-themed cabaret and partying then unfolds from room to room with live jazz, gambling dens and more in different corners. They’ve even laid on free buses back to the city centre at 1am, 2am and 3am. Tickets start at £25.

New Year’s Day lunch, The Gallivant, Camber Sands, near Rye 1 Jan 

If you’re less about lying on the bathroom floor with a hangover on New Year’s Day and more about kicking things off in style, check out the special NYD lunch at The Gallivant at Camber Sands, with lobster thermidor and chips on the menu. They also have a great deal at the moment on Sunday getaways to cheer up that post-Christmas slump.

Royal Opera House: The Nutcracker, encore screenings, various cinemas, late Dec

ROH, 2015. Photographed by Tristram Kenton

Get Christmassy and cultured at the same time with a screening of the Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at various Sussex and nearby cinemas. Among venues, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells has it on 21 Dec; Kino Digital at Hawkhurst and Rye on 23 and 27 and Connaught Cinema, Worthing has a Boxing Day screening. Use the postcode search on the website to find your nearest participating cinema. Some are also screening The Winter’s Tale in February.

NYE tasting menu, Pike & Pine, Kemptown, Brighton, Sun 31 Dec

Photo: John Blackwell

Looking for something a bit more civilised than drinking yourself into a stupor for New Year’s Eve? The rather special Pike & Pine, which launched this year in Kemptown, Brighton, has a wonderful eight course tasting menu, perfect for an evening of celebration (£85). You can pair it with a matched wine flight for £135. Best book quick – perhaps as a Christmas present for someone special?

Whales: Beneath the Surface, Natural History Museum, London, until Feb 2018

Looking for an outing for the school hols? You could relive a bit of Blue Planet seeing this brilliant new (ish) family exhibition exploring 50 million years of the whale, and combine it with a quick skate round the Natural History Museum’s fabulous open air ice rink.

North – Fashioning Identity, Somerset House, until Feb 4 2018

Alice-Hawkins, LOVE magazine, ‘The Liver Birds’, 2012

Something for the grown-ups that’s nicely combined with Somerset House’s gorgeous outdoor ice rink. Forget the north/south divide, London doffs its hat to Manchester, Newcastle et al in this new exhibition. Social documentary film and photography detailing life in the north of England in the mid-20th century sits alongside works by photographers, designers and artists inspired by the country beyond the Watford Gap. Contributors include Nottingham’s finest Paul Smith and Manchester’s Factory Records designer Peter Saville.

Spiral, series 6, BBC 4, from Sat 30 Dec 

I’ll be telling you more about this fantastic drama in a post in the New Year, when you can get binging on catch up. For now, let me just flag up that after a nail-biting wait seriously good French cop series Spiral is a back on British TV on BBC 4 at 21.00 on 30 Dec.

New Year’s Eve stay package /New Year’s Day brunch, Crouchers, nr Chichester, Sun Dec 31 and Mon Jan 1 

If you’re quick you might just be able to snap up the New Year’s Eve sleepover offer at Crouchers, ‘restaurant with rooms’ near Chichester and the Witterings. From £320, the package includes afternoon tea, pre-dinner bubbles, a six course NYE banquet, music and dancing, a fireworks display, overnight accommodation and a full English breakfast with mimosas the following morning. There’s a separate all-day brunch available on New Year’s Day if you’re just dropping in. I reviewed the restaurant recently here.

Ultimate NYE House Party, Artist Residence, Brighton, Sun 31 Dec

Here’s a rather classier version of a pub lock-in. For a cover charge of £10, which includes a glass of prosecco, boutique hotel Artist Residence on Brighton’s Regency Square is giving those who book online in advance NYE access to its wonderful Cocktail Shack, its eatery The Set, and basement bar The Curious Mr Hanbury, with DJs playing disco, funk, soul and the best of 2017. 

Pop-up ice rinks – across Sussex and nearby various dates till Jan 

The pop-up ice rinks in Sussex and nearby are back and there’s plenty of fun to be had on or off the ice with bars, snacks, even full meals besides available at many. See my rinks round-up here.

Pantos and other Christmas shows, across Sussex, various dates till Jan 

Sussex pantos, Crawley pantos, Snow White in Crawley, The Hawth, The Hawth Crawley, Sussex panto review

Aladdin at Tunbridge Wells, Snow White at Crawley and Worthing, Jack and the Beanstalk at Horsham, Grease at Brighton and many more – find your fun with my full Christmas Shows round-up.

Beginners’ Lindy Hop, Brighton, from Thurs 4 Jan 

If you’ve the usual get fit resolution on your list for new year, here’s a fun way to get started. A six week course of beginners’ Lindy Hop lessons is coming up in Dyke Road Brighton. You’ll learn the original swing dance, courtesy of Brighton Lindyhoppers. The classes take place on Thurs nights at 8.30pm. No partner or experience necessary. It’s £140.36 for the full course.



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