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What’s On this weekend in Sussex

Fri 31 Jan - Sun 2 Feb

Wellness Trail,  Nymans, near Haywards Heath, Sat 1 Feb onwards

In our increasingly busy and connected lives, it’s more important than ever to take time out to just be in the moment with nature. From now into spring National Trust site Nymans has signposts around the garden with inspiring words in suitable places for reflection. You can also join guided ‘forest bathing’ wellness walks. It’s part of a focus on wellbeing this year to tie in with the ongoing exhibition of Quentin Blake drawings as the artist also works with hospitals.

Pub Walk, The Highdown, Goring-by-sea, Sat 1 Feb

Join the latest Highdown Pub Walk, on Sat 1 Feb. This time Brown’s Natural Pet Store will be on hand with some special goody bags for  four-legged friends.  Meet in the pub from 10.00 for a coffee and bacon sarnie, then head off about 10:30 for an hour long walk – just in time to get back to the pub for a spot of lunch. (To book a table call 01903 924 670 or email

Sloe Gin World Championships, The George Inn, Frant, 1 Feb

Be rid of Dry January with a visit to this annual competition, which started a decade ago with locals at this historic pub arguing over whose brew was best. Commercial entries are £25 and amateurs £5.All proceeds go to the UK Sepsis Trust in memory of a local student, Tim Mason, who died aged 21 following a misdiagnosis.

Westerns Film Season, Depot, Lewes, Sundays, Sun 2 Feb – 9 March 

Yee hah, it’s a screening of seven classic Westerns alongside an optional six week course (£60) covering the silent movie era up to present day. Films (£8 for adult non members) start with High Noon and The Searchers on Sun 2 Feb then on subsequent Sundays take in Rio Bravo, The Winning of Barbara Worth, The Wild Bunch and Unforgiven. The season concludes with No Country for Old Men on Mon 9 March.

Winter Afternoon Racing at Fontwell Park, Mon 3 Feb and Thurs 13 Feb

Inject a bit of excitement into the winter months with some afternoon racing. There are seven races running around the Fontwell figure of eight track, which allows a view of the action all the way through. There’s also the national Sprint Hurdle coming up n Sun 23 Feb.

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.

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.


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.

Worthing Ice Rink , Steyne Gardens, Worthing, until 23 Feb 

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

Worthing’s rink is in a giant marque with regular sessions for over-fours, while toddlers can get on the ice in special quieter weekday slots. There are children’s skating courses and private lessons by arrangement. You can warm up with hot drinks and snacks in the café and even use the venue to host a children’s party.


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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