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47 fabulous things to do in Sussex this July

Let's go out OUT! There's rib-tickling comedy, thumping good theatre, loads of live music and some amazing outdoor events across Sussex this July. So, what are you waiting for?

ON STAGE

Catch Strictly’s Oti in Brighton

Who needs the West End when we’re spoilt for choice in Sussex? From the BBC ballroom to treading the boards in Brighton, the talented Oti Mabuse is shaking her sequinned dance skills on 9 July at the Theatre Royal Brighton. On the same day, you can catch Strictly Presents: Keeep Dancing! at the Congress Theatre, Eastboarne, which sees 2020 finalist (and EastEnders star) Maisie Smith and 2021 semi-finalist (and CBBC Presenter) Rhys Stephenson taking to the stage with some of the other professionals. Not enough Strictly for you? Anton and Giovanni are also cutting a rug in town at the Hawth in Crawley on 14 & 15 July. Let’s dance!

Also on their toes are the cast of Crazy for You at Chichester Festival Theatre from 4 July until September. This high energy musical is packed with glorious Gershwin melodies so if you’re a fan of Hollywood’s golden age this is for you.

Over at the gorgeous Nymans in West Sussex, there’s an outdoor theatre performance of Jane Eyre by Heartbreak Productions on 13 July. Using the backdrop of a carnival, it’s a really cool adaptation of the beloved Charlotte Brontë novel.

More of a Whitney fan? You’ll love Queen of the Night at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 31 July where X Factor star Elesha Paul Moses shows of her vocal talents with the soul superstar’s impressive back catalogue.

Or if the Bard is more your thing you can catch the Bowler Crab Theatre Company’s As You Like It on 24 July in Hastings at Battle Abbey, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Lewes at the Little Theatre on the 14 July. Then, Much Ado About Nothing is performed from 27 July – 6 August at the Eastbourne Italian Gardens.

ART EVENTS

We love a late night art event at Muddy, especially if there are drinks! So get yourself along to Petworth House on 1 or 22 July for their After Hours exclusive events where you can stroll through the house late and soak up exquisite works by Turner and Gainsborough with drinks, live music and talks.

Petworth

From 4 June until October at Standen you can step back to 1972 with their Flower Power celebration. From fondues to fuzzy felts, enjoy a snapshot of life in the 70s to mark the 50-year anniversary of being in the care of the National Trust. Read our feature here.

Or how about learning to paint Moonscapes at Pier Road Coffee & Art in Littlehampton on 16 July with their Acrylic Sunset Seascapes event?

Over at Bateman’s, you have your pick of creative outlets: a Paint the Garden watercolour workshop on 10 / 16 July and a Poetry Writing Workshop on 7 July.

The art moves outside at Nourish: Art to feed the senses , from 8 July – 18 September at Wakehurst. Enjoy five major outdoor art installations drawing attention to the importance of nature for food. Prepare to be wowed by the bespoke artworks in situ including a 24ft high sculpture suspended across the valley by American artist John Grade, rising and falling in response to rainfall.

Chichester is the place to be from 11 June – 10 July for their Festival of Arts. This month-long celebration includes classical music, rock, blues, jazz, folk, pop, cinema, spoken word, community concerts and shows, arts & crafts, dance, theatre, church, food & drink, walks and tours, sport and a lot more.

The town of Petworth is known for it’s galleries and Newlands House is hosting a Talk and Screening on 8 July entitled ‘Jake Auerbach presents ‘FRANK’. Free for Newlands House Gallery Art Pass Holders.

Over at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill On Sea, the exhibition of imaginary ‘windscape’ landscapes continues throughout the month. Created by Japanese artist Minoru Nomata, these depict imagined landscapes that transcend time and place and are totally evocative of the sea.

And have you seen the Brighton Museum exhibition on influential impressionists the Camden Town Group, yet? What’s cool about this is that the group first exhibited their work in Brighton back in the Edwardian era, to rave reviews. The use of bold colour and styles transformed 20th century English painting, and the exhibit’s highlight is a newly acquired Spencer Gore painting of The West Pier in Brighton, painted in 1913.

Paul Weller’s memorabilia exhibition opens this month

Mods, meanwhile, will be revving up their scooters to head to Brighton for Paul Weller’s This is the Modern World exhibition of memorabilia curated by his sister at Valley Gardens opening on 31 July.

MUSICAL HAPPENINGS

Ultimate smoothie Buble is coming to Sussex

Live music is always diverse in Sussex! On 10 July you can witness a military tattoo (that’s music performed by an army band, as opposed to ink on a bicep) at Herstmonceux Castle. It’s a military ceremony dating from the 16th Century, think fancy uniforms and grand drums.

Then there are also Heritage concerts at the South Of England Event Centre, Haywards Heath, including Russell Watson & Royal Philharmonic on 17 July, Rag’n’Bone Man on 15 July and Boy George & Culture Club with support from Bananarama, Kim Wilde & DJ Fat Tony on 16 July. Talk about variety!

Central County Ground Hove plays host to the velvet crooner with An Evening with Michael Buble on 21 July and 80’s legends Tears for Fears on 22 July.

Head to Hastings on 31 July for a night with pop-tastic STEPS Live at The Oval – 5, 6 7, 8!

Enjoy two nights of Fat Boy Slim in Brighton on the beach

More of a raver? Dig out your Smiley T-Shirt and get down the coast Right Here Right Now as superstar DJ Fatboy Slim + Guests plays on the beach at Brighton on 21 & 22 July.

Boy George is live with Culture Club

FESTIVAL FUN

It’s festival season and there are some crackers on in Sussex this month kicking off in Eastbourne is Beach Life Music Festival, 16-17 July showcasing local music, street food delights and seafront sports with a chance to see the UK Windsurfing Slalom! See Instagram for updates.

Hastings Beer & Music Festival celebrates it’s 40th Anniversary this year you’ll find it at The Oval 29 June – 2 July, which also hosts the Reggae Festival from 29 – 30 July.

Craig Charles on the wheels of steel, Toploader, the Symphonic Ibiza Orchestra & the School Disco Band are all joining the fun at eco E Festival on Wester Lawns, Eastbourne, 29-31 July. And Chiddfest, Beer & Music Festival, is being held in Chiddingly, 22-24 July.

For more festivals in August and beyond in Sussex see our guide.

OUT & ABOUT

Children looking across the lake at Sheffield Park, East Sussex

Sheffield Park’s picturesque lakes burst into life in summer from now ’til 17 July with the Waterlily Festival. Celebrate the natural spectacle with art events, activities and outdoor installations. You can even get up close on a floating pontoon and look out for giant flowers and dragonflies created by community-led artists. Just don’t fall in!

Celebrate the heyday of motoring at Classic Car Sunday Breakfast Club at Goodwood on 24 July where they will be showcasing a line-up of stunning classics just weeks before the Goodwood Revival. Breakfast club is free to attend, all over 18s must sign up for a free ticket.

Hot on the heels of our men’s national team’s near glory in last year’s Euros, England will host the Women’s football UEFA Euro 2022 (6-31 July), with games taking place at nine venues across the country including Brighton.

In honour of this, Brighton Museum has an exhibition on women’s football from 1894-2022: Goal Power! Sharing stories of resistance, perseverance, and trailblazers, this joyous exhibit charts the history from 19th century feminists to 20th century women defying the Football Association to those changing the institution from within. It’s genuinely stirring stuff!

Tennis more your thing? Our Muddy Award winning Hotel Alexander House has a new package Play & Picnic that includes two hours of tennis followed by a scrumptious picnic in the grounds. Love all!

FOODIE FUN

Enjoy street food at one of Sussex’s foodie festivals in July

This sounds fun! Supper Club with Safari Pizza returns to Albourne Estate on 19 July, so you can enjoy their wines and a slice whilst overlooking the lovely vineyard. 

Or if Gins your thing, 9 July is a date for your diary with Sussex Gin Fest at Borde Hill Garden near Haywards Heath.

Its the Gin Festival this month – hic!

COMEDY

You’ll not be short on laughs this month. 3-29 July is Edinburgh Preview Season at Komedia in Brighton, featuring familiar panel-show faces Sophie Duker, Jessica Forteskew, and Helen Bauer, among others. Keeping the laughs going is Brighton Comedy Garden Live from 6- 10 July at Preston Park with sets from Dylan Moran, Simon Amstell & Sara Pascoe.

Jason Manford

Then, Jason Manford is at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne on 22 July, while throughout the month there is a Summer Comedy Festival at Brighton Open Air Theatre.

If you’re in Rye there are comedy nights at the Brewery Yard Club on 8 July while Hove is home to the Secret Comedy Club at Artista Cafe & Gallery on 23 July.

Simon Amstell

FANCY MORE FAMILY EVENTS? SEE OUT SUMMER HOLIDAY GUIDE FOR MORE FUN THAN YOU CAN HANDLE!

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