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What’s On This Week

1-9 Feb

 The Little Match Girl and other Happier Tales, Minerva Theatre, Chichester,  Tues 6 – Sat 10 Feb 

Having debuted at the Globe in London this beautiful puppet production bring Hans Christian Anderson’s magic to Chichester The Little Matchgirl is combined with The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes and Thumbelina. It has been getting great review. Tickets are from £20.

Natural Selection, Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, Sat 3 Feb – 22 April 

New exhibition Natural Selection is the culmination of a five-year collaboration between artist Andy Holden and his father, well-known ornithologist Peter Holden. It covers an ornithological journey: from the building of nests to the collecting of eggs and featuring objects, sculptures, videos and animation. Entry is free.

Ski sale, Marlborough House School, Hawkhurst, Sat 3 Feb 

Need to get set for the slopes this half term or later? Ticehurst’s appointment-only barn shop Chilli Ski has a sale of new and nearly new jackets, salopettes, goggles, gloves, thermals and more coming up at Marlborough House School, Hawkhurst. Just drop in between 9.30am and 4.30pm on Sat 3 Feb – the money you save on kit can go towards apres ski!

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.

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V&A Museum, London, Sat 3 Feb – 10 June

The V&A’s new exhibition, celebrates the golden age of the big boats, looking at their design and cultural impact. Exhibits include Goyard luggage once owned by the Duke of Windsor, 1920s bathing suits and a door panel from the first class lounge of the Titanic. Tickets are £18.

Devonshire Collective, Digital Weekender, Eastbourne, Fri 9 – Sun 11 Feb 

Fri 9 Feb kicks off a special weekend at DC1 Cafe & Gallery as it puts on its second Digital Weekender with the theme of Storytelling: Real & Unreal. A technologist explores how fictional technology might actually work, journalists consider ‘fake news’, there’s a live DJ set and comedian Jo Neary as compere. The fun continues with an immersive drama and a stop animation workshop for children on Saturday 10 then a virtual reality workshop on the Sunday. Events are from free up to £15.

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.

Fat Tuesday, various venues, Hastings, 9 – 13 Feb

Fat Tuesday is of course the English for Mardis Gras and it’s less about stuffing chips and chocolate and more about catching some great music in a party atmosphere. Venues across Hastings welcome some of the best emerging and established acts from across the UK.  2018, partners include BBC Introducing and The Joe Strummer Foundation so that’s a pretty good stamp of approval. Saturday is wall-to-wall acoustic sets. There’s also an umbrella parade and other family-friendly activities.

South Downs Dark Skies festival, various locations, Fri 9 – Sun 25 Feb

Dark Skies festival, South Downs, South Downs Dark Skies festival, Sussex dark skies, What's On in Feb in Sussex, What's On in Feb in Sussex

Wrap up warm and get out for this annual celebration of the South Downs being designated a dark sky site. There are several guided stargazing events and tie-in activities, many of them free or low cost including stargazing sessions on weekends at Battle Abbey 3 -25 Feb and an open day with astrophotography ‘how to’ sessions at Midhurst Rother College, West Sussex on Sat 10 Feb. See my full round-up of what’s on in Sussex here.

William Blake In Sussex: Visions of Albion exhibition, Petworth House, 13 Jan – 25 March

Like anyone who studied Blake at school, my main memory is learning that he used to hang out naked in his garden talking to angels in the trees. Most famous of course for the poems The Tyger and the verses that later became the hymn Jerusalem, he was also a prolific artist and from now until 25 March you can see his paintings inspired by the Sussex countryside at Petworth. Tickets are £16, including entry to the grounds.

Clangers, Bagpuss & Co, Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, near Cranbrook, Kent, until Sun 4 Feb 

I spent a happy hour or so getting all nostalgic at this V&A Museum of Childhood exhibition when it was on in London (see my post here). Now it is just over the border in Kent – where creators Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin actually created their wonderful stop animation programmes. Yes, you get to see the real Bagpuss, Clangers, artwork from Ivor the Engine and much more. Catch it before it moves on.

National Trust Snowdrop spots, West Sussex, Jan & Feb 

In January and February snowdrops cheer up the winter landscape. Wakehurst’s displays of snowdrops form huge drifts as you walk from the Visitor Centre and around the trees near the Mansion Pond. A new Winter Garden will be opening in February featuring snowdrops among the 35,000 plants. Volunteer guides lead a tour daily at 11.30am.  At Nymans, Handcross, near Haywards Heath 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, over 150 different types of plant will be flowering at Nymans.


 Jungle Book, Chichester Festival Theatre, 25 Jan – 3 Feb 

What's On in Sussex, What's on in Sussex in Feb

Photo by Manuel Harlan

An inventive new production of the well-loved Jungle Book tale is coming to Chichester for a short run, with new songs in the mix. It’s adapted by the Olivier Award-winning Jessica Swale, directed by Max Webster who’s also worked at the Old Vic, with music by Joe Stilgoe. Tickets are from £10.

Food and room offers, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Winchester and elsewhere, Jan, Feb, March. 

Hotel du Vin and Mal Maison always decent new year offers on. This time round there’s 50% off al la carte dining at Malmasion when you use an e-voucher 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 stay 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 where the rooms are from £30 – £50. The nearest Hotel du Vins are Brighton, Tunbridge Wells and Winchester.

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Things to DoThis Week

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