What’s On this Month
War Horse, Brighton Centre, Thurs 25 Jan – Sat 10 Feb
I can’t believe this hasn’t sold out already but you’re in luck – there are still a good numbers of tickets left for weekdays during its run at the Brighton Centre. The outstanding National Theatre production is based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and features those incredible, life-size puppets of the horses you must have seen on telly. I took my mum to see it in London and it really is as good as the hype. It’s suitable for older children upwards and tickets are from £22.30. See a review by Muddy Oxon here.
National Trust snowdrop spots, West Sussex, Jan & Feb
In January and February we rely on snowdrops cheer up the winter landscape. Wakehurst’s displays form huge ‘drifts’ as you walk from the Visitor Centre and around the trees near the Mansion Pond. A new Winter Garden will be also opening in February and volunteer guides lead a tour daily at 11.30am. At Nymans, near Haywards Heathm visitors can spot snowdrops, camellias and magnolias underplanted with daffodils and grape hyacinths. Snowdrops can also be found in the bulb meadow in the walled garden. By Valentine’s Day, they promise over 150 different types of plant will be flowering.
Food and room offers, Malmaison & Hotel du Vin, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Winchester & elsewhere, Jan – Feb/March
Hotel du Vin and Malmaison always have decent new year offers on. This time round there’s 50% off al la carte dining at Malmasion when you use an e-voucher from now until 3 Feb. There’s also a current 50/50 room offer (stay for £50 when you spend £50 in the brasserie). The nearest Mal is at Brighton Marina. At sister chain Hotel du Vin meanwhile, check out the ‘Weekend Starts Early‘ Friday offer where your room is from £75 when you spend £75 in the bistro. They also have a similar Settle in Sundays deal which I’ve used myself several times with rooms from £30 – £50 with a £75 bistro spend. The nearest Hotel du Vins are Brighton, Tunbridge Wells and Winchester.
Lumiere London 2018, various London locations, Thurs 18 – Sun 21 Jan
Lumiere London was a huge success in 2016 and for those of us kicking ourselves we missed it – hurrah, it’s back for 2018. Over 40 artists have created light installations and illuminations around the capital for a nightime festival. Key areas include Westminster and Victoria, and South Bank and Waterloo (particularly handy for those of us arriving by Southern or Thameslink) plus the West End, King’s Cross, Fitzrovia and Mayfair. Check out the full programme on the website. There’s also a handy app.
Indigofest 2018, The Capitol, Horsham Fri 19 Jan
Comedian Tim Vine is back to host this popular charity music showcase. Beverley Skeete – who has worked with the likes of Annie Lennox, Bill Wyman and Robbie Williams – will be exercising her soulful voice, plus there’ll be several local bands and ex-Ultravox musicians. It’s all in aid of a music foundation in Uganda and Manor Green College in Crawley. Tickets are £17.50.
Circus of Horrors, The Hawth, Crawley, Wed 10 Jan/ Theatre Royal Brighton, Tues 16 Jan
The burlesque-slanted Circus of Horrors started 22 years ago and has toured all over the world. The team were even Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists back in 2011. In its latest incarnation ‘Voodoo’. The bizarre and amazing circus acts that rule the underworld are awoken by a Ouija board. A sensational horror story ensues with feats performed to ‘devil-driven’ Rock n Roll. Ooerr. Not advisable for under 16’s. Tickets from £21.
Little Wild Things, Tues 6 Jan – Tues 26 June/ Big Garden Birdwatch build up, Sat 20 & Sun 21 Jan, Pulborough Brooks
If you’ve got wee ones, check out the Little Wild Things RSPB nature group aimed at pre-schoolers. Each morning session involves exploration – looking for mini beasts, worm charming, outdoor games etc – plus a story and a craft to make. It runs fortnightly, £6 per child per session, including a drink (accompanying adults free), and is aimed at two and a half to five-year-olds. Booking essential. Meanwhile on Sat 20 and Sun 21 Jan older kids can join the ‘build up’ event for the Big Garden Birdwatch, making a bird feeder and playing spotting games. (£5 per child).
Pier to Pier, Bexhill-Hastings, Wed 17 Jan
Culture and chips anyone? This fun day out combines a 30 minute tour of The Way Things Are exhibition at the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill with a five mile coastal walk (or bike ride) to Hastings Pier, where there’s then a talk on its history and a fish and chips lunch. Join the whole thing from 10.00am or the Hastings bit from 12.00pm. The tour, talk and lunch is £12.
Bring Your Own Baby comedy, Komedia, Brighton, Tues Jan 16, 20 Feb & 13 March & The Plough at Leigh nr Tonbridge, Wed Jan 24
Great idea – something you can enjoy with a baby that doesn’t involve being made to behave like an infant yourself. Bring Your Own Baby is coming up the next few months at Brighton’s Komedia. It’s a proper adult, sweary daytime stand-up show with toys, lights and the like to distract under 12-month-olds. You enjoy comedy without having to book a babysitter and they’re none the wiser about any filth beyond that they are filling their nappy with. It sells out in advance so get cracking. Tickets are a tenner. It’s also in a pub near Tonbridge on Jan 24.
Omid Djalili: Schmuck for a Night, Chichester Festival Theatre, 15 and 20 Jan
Last time he graced the CFT stage he was starring in Fiddler on the Roof, now award-winning comedian and actor Omid Djalili is back on his nationwide stand-up tour. The smart, sometimes provocative stand-up is in town for two nights on 15 and 20 Jan. Tickets are £28.
ABBA: Super Troupers, Southbank Centre, London until 29 April
As a child of the 70s, I’m ridiculously excited about this exhibition with a difference. It’s led by a tour guide and narrated by Jarvis Cocker. Nine immersive rooms explore the story of one of the most famous bands on the planet, who shot to fame right here in Sussex when they won the Eurovision Song Contest at Brighton’s Dome. Personal notes, memorabilia and iconic costumes are included. You need to book a timed slot and tours last about an hour. The money, money, money? Tickets are £25. It’s part of a season called Nordic Matters which also includes, I kid you not, a Finnish rooftop sauna with a Thames view!
Burns Night suppers and events, various Sussex locations, Thurs 25 Jan
We may be the other end of the country but that doesn’t stop Sussex breaking out the whisky and shortbread and even a haggis or two for Burns Night. Jeremy’s Restaurant at Borde Hill Gardens, near Haywards Heath is laying on a five course menu with a wee dram, the toast to the haggis and a piper. The Sussex Produce Company in Steyning has three courses, piper and poems for £40 – or turn up a couple of days before for a supper with Scottish crime author Peter May (£30). The Kennels at Goodwood has three courses, wine, whisky and the usual customs for £70. There’s a budget Burns supper at Lewes Con Club at £15 a head for two courses plus whisky (vegetarian option available). Brighton’s i360 is meanwhile putting on an extended 40 minute flight for Burns night with Scottish-themed canapes and a shot of Harvey’s Lewes Blend Whisky (£25, or discounted for local residents)
Lewes Youth Theatre Group: The Legend of Robin Hood, Lewes Little Theatre, 26 – 28 Jan and 2 – 4 Feb 2018
Putting a modern spin on the legend of Robin Hood, Lewes Youth Theatre Group will perform this production written by American dramatist and screenwriter Larry Blamire. They promise nail-biting sword fights, wise-cracking merry men, a fesity Marion and new-fangled twists. Matinees and evening performances run across two weekends, 26 – 28 Jan and 2 – 4 Feb 2018. Tickets are £8 adults, £6 children.
Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until 11 Feb 2018 (& Sussex cinemas from 23 Jan)
Lucy Porter, Komedia, Brighton, 14 Feb
Prefer something non-cheesy for Valentine’s Night? Book this ahead. Reliably good comedian Lucy Porter is at Komedia, Brighton using her own anecdotes to illustrate how you must pick your battles in these enraging times. Tickets are £14.
Special taster menu, Wild Mushroom, Westfield, East Sussex, 1 Feb
It’s not up till February but this is a good one to book for an early Valentine’s present. Wild Mushroom is part of the Webbe’s restaurant group who also serve up fishy fare in Hastings and Rye. It actually appeared in the top 100 restaurants for diner reviews on Open Table recently – a list that was otherwise heavily London-based. For this special night you get a seasonal ten course taster gourmet menu with an arrival drink and four glasses of matched tasting wines for £75 (£25 deposit required). It’s not bookable online so you’ll need to call 01424 751137 but see the link below for deets.
Bill Bailey: Larks in Transit, Brighton Centre, 20 April /White Rock Theatre, Hastings, 14 & 15 May
This has sold out up in Tunbridge Wells but if you’re within striking distance of Hastings you’re in luck because there are still tickets left to see my fave quirky comedian Bill Bailey one a choice of two days in May. There are still a handful too for the Brighton Centre in April. The QI regular always puts on a clever, thought-provoking show with plenty of musical silliness. He sampled the audience to create a track last time.
Sarah Millican, Brighton Dome, Wed 31 Oct & Thurs 1 Nov
Yes, it’s in Oct/Nov but her shows at Hasting, Crawley and Worthing are already either sold out or with odd solo seats left. Brighton’s Dome, which hosts Millican for two nights, has a some reasonable clusters of seats left. The comic claims she’s not a control freak, she’s a control enthusiast. Do you arrange the nights out? Are you in charge of the passports on holiday? Then so are you. Tickets are £28.50
Also coming up…
Worthing: Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne will be telling his own story in April, and in May Hollywood’s Kathleen Turner (yes, really!) will be singing cabaret and telling life stories and Marti Pellow is just going on sale for June