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What’s On this weekend in Sussex

Fri 24 Jan - Sun 26 Jan

Beat the Blues Raceday, Fontwell Park Racecourse, Sun 26 Jan 

Worked your way nearly through Jan and in need of a pick-me-up. How about a day out watching seven races at the UK’s Only figure of 8 jumps track? Tickets start from £10 and under 18s go free, or you can treat yourself to a meal above the track with a £49 (Jan sale price) Premier Restaurant ticket.

Burns Night, Chichester Harbour Hotel, Sat 25 Jan

Xmas and New Year are over but here’s the next excuse to party. Scot or not, Burns Night is a good reason to eat, drink and be merry. Chichester Harbour Hotel is among places putting on a special evening. There’ll even be a piper! It’s £27.50 a head with a welcome drink and three courses, or £45 with three matched whiskies or wines.

Braveheart Screening + Scottish Supper Club, Depot, Lewes, Sat 25 Jan

Get your face paint on – Depot is putting on a Burns Night screening of Braveheart with a two or three course Scottish supper club meal beforehand (£15 or £20) with regular or vegan haggis. The film (£9 for non members) can be booked separately.

Blithe Spirit, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Wed 22 Jan – Sat 25 Jan

By all accounts Jennifer Saunders is ab fab in this latest revival of Noel Coward’s well-loved comedy Blithe Spirit. Novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth are literally haunted by a past relationship when an eccentric medium (played by Saunders) accidentally conjures up the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, at a séance. Tickets from £16.65.

My Cousin Rachel, Chichester Festival Theatre, 28 Jan – 1 Feb

This one’s been selling like hotcakes but you might grab one of the last few seats for Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic mystery-romance My Cousin Rachel at Chichester.

Country Music Night for Chestnut Tree House, Knockhatch Adventure Park, Hailsham, Sat 25 Jan

Dance along to music from Mick Sweetman and the Golden Spurs Country Music Club all in the good cause of raising money for the Chestnut Tree House charity. Pizza, burgers, chips and soft drinks will be on sale at the Hungry Toad Cafe. BYO booze. Tickets £5 each.

Wedding Open Day, Chichester Harbour Hotel, Sun 26 Jan

Tying the knot and after some city style? Take a look round the wedding suites, stylish restaurant and boutique bedrooms of Grade II listed Chichester Harbour Hotel overlooking Priory Park at this wedding day 11.00 – 15.00. Recommended wedding suppliers will also be on hand with advice. Complimentary entry with a welcome drink and canapés. Register via 01243 680165 or

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.

Free Jan admission, Denmans Garden, Fontwell, throughout Jan 

Get in free to Denmans Garden in January, have lunch or cake in the tea room and see which early spring plants are peeping! After a lot of hard work from the new owners Denmans Garden has recently been accepted back into the RHS Partner Garden Scheme so if you’re a RHS member you can also get in free on Thursdays year-round by presenting your card in the gift shop. Look out too for various events coming up including Yoga on Wednesday mornings and coffee and card-making every other Friday.


One day courses, West Dean College, near Chichester, various dates 10 Jan onwards

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. Consider the likes of enamel silver earring making (10 Jan); Silversmithing (16 Jan); Screen printing on fabric (23 Jan); making a felted ‘cobweb’ scarf (24 Jan); stone carving (25 Jan); introduction to Life Drawing (26 Jan) and jewellery making (29 Jan). Most cost under £150 and there are many more throughout spring. As a bonus, the college is set within the lovely West Dean Gardens.

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.

Storytelling/ winter walks & castle tours /Bodiam Castle, selected dates Mon 6 Jan – Fri 14 Feb. 

On weekends between 11 Jan and 2 Feb join costumed storytellers for medieval-inspired children’s stories in a candlelit tower at Bodiam Castle, recreating a winter tradition from days of yore. Free with admission. Look out too for a series of weekday winter walks and castle tours coming up from Mon 6 Jan. If you’re really organised, book ahead for the Valentine’s Dinner nights in Feb.

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 New Year Body retreat (6 – 8 Jan) Pilates (15 – 17 Jan and 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.

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.

Ice rinks, various Sussex locations, until late Jan / Feb

ice rinks in Sussex, skatingin Sussex, pop-up rinks in Sussex

Rinks at Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Bognor and Crawley close in Jan, Worthing’s in Feb. Find your nearest rink in Sussex and nearby in our Muddy round-up.

William Blake, Tate Britain, London, until 2 Feb

Poet, painter and printmaker William Blake created some of the most iconic images in British art. This new exhibition, the largest of Blake’s work for almost 20 years, features over 300 original works, as well as a recreation of the small domestic room in which he showed his paintings in 1809. I’ve been and thought the vibrant colour and detail in some of the illustrations was remarkable. £18.


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

From the kiddy lit masterminds behind The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Zog, the story of an eager to please dragon, is bound to win the hearts of the littlies. Tickets £15.50 (kids/concessions £13.50) It’s also coming up at Brighton Dome 19 – 21 Feb.

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.

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.

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

I saw this wonderful show at Edinburgh Fringe last year where it sold out. 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 WWII soldier and prisoner of war – 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+

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Things to DoThis Weekend

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