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What’s On this week in Sussex

12 - 20 July

Weekend festivals for sporty types, yogis, and err pirates and chances to book ahead for Michael McIntyre and a wild sleep out are among this week’s pick of What’s On in Sussex.

Beach Life Festival, Eastbourne, Sat 14 & Sun 15 July

The South Coast’s free sports festival is back for two days offering windsurfing, sailing and stand up paddle boarding sessions alongside the chance to watch BMX experts, a giant skate slalom, a charity bungee jump and a roller derby. There’s plenty more to entertain all ages, sporty or otherwise with a music stage, children’s go-karting, skate park, inflatible football, bouncy castle, bungee trampolines, vintage campervans and a funfair.

Brighton Yoga Festival, Hove Cricket Ground, Sun 14 & Sun 15 July 

The UK’s largest yoga festival returns to Sussex this weekend and sets up on Hove Cricket Ground. It promises plenty for everyone from beginners to seasoned yogis, with workshops, demonstrations, talks and children’s entertainment.  It’s free entry and some workshops have suggested donations.

Pirate Day, Hastings Pier and Old Town, Sun 15 July

Arr, me hearties, Hastings Pirate Day is back. The event draws hundreds of thousands of pirates – it’s even in the Guinness Book of Records! The procession this year starts from 2pm through the Old Town with costumed families, drummers, flag bearers and more.  Activities will also take place on the pier and look out for cannibals on the Stade, and mermaids on the beach.

A Storm In A Tea Cup – A Summer Feast With Cocktails, Metro Deco, Brighton, Thurs 12 July

In a cheery celebration of the anniversary of women’s right to vote cook and food historian Sam Bilton is joining forces with Brighton’s Metro Deco cafe-bar to create a feast inspired by female food writers of the 20s and 30s which will be teamed with cocktails. It’s part of the ongoing Brighton Cocktial week (see below).

Rail Gala, Amberley Museum, Amberley, Sat 14 and Sun 15 Jul 

It’s the 100th birthday of Peter the steam train at Amberley Museum, but he’s still willing to give visitors a ride. There’ll be the annual model railway showcase besides so plenty to make young train nuts err chuffed. The museum is home to a working print shop, lime kilns, blacksmith and more.

Social Cinema, The Bull, Ditchling, Sat 14 Jul & Sat 11 Aug

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Muddy Awards 2017 runner-up The Bull has screenings for free in its pretty garden this summer. Following a Facebook vote the next films up are Jaws on Sat 14 Jul and Top Gun on Sat 11 Aug. The movies are free and start at 8pm. There will be some blankets on hand but you’re advised to bring a cushion and an extra layer. Naturally food and drink is available and the pub is also showing World Cup matches indoors. For more outdoor big screens across Sussex see my round-up here.

Brighton Cocktail Week, various Brighton and Hove locations, 6 – 15 July

I love a good cocktail and here’s a chance to make a city safari sampling discounted drinks in some great bars and restaurants. Buy a £10 wristband and enjoy £5 cocktails at over 40 participating venues. There are also some special events – Metro Deco, has a summer feast with cocktails called A Storm in a Teacup, Blackdown Distillery is holding a Negroni masterclass, La Choza in Hove has five chefs and five mixologists working together and La Cave a Fromage is ringing the changes by matching cheeses not to wine but cocktails.


Dinosaur World Live, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, Fri 13 – Sun 15 July


This interactive family show brings life-like beasts to the stage, so if your child would like to tickle T-Rex under the chin get get some tickets in the bag.


The Legends of the Dining Room, The Gallivant, Camber, near Rye, Tues 17 July


Restaurant with rooms The Gallivant is bringing top chefs to town for extra special meals under its new Legends of the Dining Room series. On 17 July it will be the turn of Phil Howard of Elystan Street who previously held two Michelin stars for 17 years at his restaurant The Square. The evening featuring a four course menu will be hosted in the Gallivant’s newly relaunched dining room at a cost of £60 per head.


Lewes Railway Land Festival, Sun 15 July


Pop down to the Railway Land nature reserve in Lewes between 11am and 5pm on Sunday for live music, guided walks, bug hunts, puppet theatre, food stalls, craft activities and more. It’s all part of 30th anniversary celebrations. Also see below, a chance to book ahead school holiday clubs.


Yoga Beach Brunch, Italian Gardens, Eastbourne, Sat 7 and 14 July


Grab your yoga mats and picnic blankets because 2016 Muddy award winning yoga teacher Eva and African supperclub host Lerato have joined forces for two yoga brunches this month. On Saturday 7 and 14 July at 10 am join then in the beach-facing Italian Gardens in Hollywell, Eastbourne. The menu includes the likes of summer cherry tomato and strawberry salad in chicory cups and Moroccan spiced roasted aubergines with almonds. Tickets are £20.




Luna Beach Cinema, beside the Palace Pier, Brighton, until  Sun July 15

 You have till Sun July 15 to get a day or night in at the Luna Beach Cinema just to the to east of Brighton’s Palace Pier. The big screen is showing feature films and all the key action from Wimbledon and the World Cup. in the final week the movies are Quadrophenia,The Greatest Showman and Dirty Dancing. For more alfresco big screens across Sussex see my round-up here.




Hastings Fringe, various venues, throughout July


Hastings Fringe takes over the town throughout July. There will be more than 60 performances to be held over 10 venues across Hastings & St Leonards including theatre, spoken word, cabaret, music, film and visual arts. A drunk Macbeth on 8 July and an evening combining Vivienne Westwood and Elvis on 19 July are among the more unusual options.


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

If you want some respite from the sun then treat yourself to a Hitchcock masterpiece this month – Picturehouse Cinemas are putting on a season of the director’s work. It kicks off with Carey Grant in North by Northwest on 8 July, then it’s Jimmy Stewart in the brilliant Rear Window on 15 July, Strangers on a Train on 22 July, the Daphne du Maurier classic Rebecca on 29 July, Psycho 5 Aug and Vertigo 12 Aug. Tickets are £8 (£5 members). If you’re in London over coming weekends the same season is running at Picturehouses there.


Edinburgh Comedy previews, Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton, various dates Thurs 14 June – 31 July

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Want to see a topic comic for £4?! The months leading up to Edinburgh Fringe are a great time to catch some bargain comedy as TV and radio types warm up their acts ready for month-long stints up north. The grungy stairs of the Caroline of Brunswick lead you up to a small room where the likes of Nish Kumar, Zoe Lyons, Paul Sinha, Lucy Porter, Hal Cruttenden, Robin Ince, Adam Hess and Seann Walsh will be performing this June and July. Tickets at just £7, or £4 in advance.




Michael McIntyre’s Big World Tour Warm-up Show, Thurs 27 Sept


If you’re among Michael McIntyre’s legion of fans you’re going to want to know that the floppy-haired comedian has snuck in a warm up for his big world tour at Brighton Dome this Sept. Grab a ticket before they sell out, they’re £31.50.


Drink Brighton, Brighton Food Tours, Sat 21 July and Sat 22 Sept


Brighton’s much praised food tours have an extra twist on July 21 and later dates when you can delve into the city’s indie drink scene. On a three-hour walking drink safari you’ll hear the stories behind the slurp and sample an assortment of tasty tipples – mostly alcoholic, some not… Spirits, drinks made from food waste and more are promised along with snacks along the way. The tour costs £45 including all tastings.


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 now for the school hols. Adults are £44.69, children £18.23.


Enchanted Horsham, Horsham Park, Fri 27, Sat 28, Sun 29 July



Want to see a unicorn? Well, I have it on good authority there will be one trotting about in Sussex this July. It’s part of Enchanted Horsham, a three day family-friendly Summer wonderland event where bands, street theatre, circus workshops, a vintage funfair, mermaid tales and life-size puppets are all part of the fun. After dark things will get really magical, with unicorns and dragons’ eggs waiting to be discovered and the gardens illuminated with projections and fire. You can even set yourself aglow by donning some UV face paint and joining a silent disco.


Lewes Railway Land, Holiday Clubs, 23 – 26 July & 30 July – 2 Aug


New for this year at Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve are holiday clubs for 6 – 13 year-olds. Children can take on the fire lighting challenge, build dens and discover creatures in the ponds and birds overhead. There will also be stories, games, crafts and campfire cooking and the chance for older children to work towards and award. Use the web form to book two or four day blocks. The clubs runs 9am – 4pm.


Milkshake Live; The Magic Storybook, The Capitol, Horsham, Sun 22 July


Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, and more will be singing songs and sharing stories with youngsters at this stage version of Channel 5’s Milkshake!  There are two afternoon performances at noon and 15.30. Tickets are £16.


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