What’s On this weekend
16 - 18 Feb
Roll up, roll up for the latest hip and happening stuff near you in the latest Muddy round up of What’s On this weekend in Sussex. For more stuff to do with kids check out my big Half Term What’s On.
Valentine’s dinner, Billy’s on the Beach, Bracklesham Bay, Sat 17 Feb
If you have saved your Valentine’s love-in till the weekend see if you can grab a table at Billy’s on the Beach at Bracklesham Bay. There’ll be a Valentine’s Dinner on Sat, 17 Feb, with candlelit tables, a cosy wood burning stove, and, of course, views across the beach. Moules Marinières, grilled whole bream and game pie are among options. Booking is essential.
National Trust trails, various locations, half term week
Several National Trust houses have children’s trails over half term. Petworth House has a trail, (until 25 March) based on woodland animals and poems, to coincide with its current William Blake exhibition, while Uppark, near Petersfield is encouraging children to spot, listen and draw signs of Spring. At Kipling’s former home Bateman’s at Burwash, solve clues to follow a toy treasure hunt in the garden and house. There’s also a seasonal trail at Nymans near Haywards Heath. Most activities are a small charge on top of regular entry, some have a prize attached.
PART FREE Kids go free at British Airways i360, Sat 10 – Sun 18 Feb
Here’s a good time to get up the big stick and doughnut because kids go free this February half term. That’s up to three free kids per paying adult (no, you can’t just leave them riding up and down all day!) There are also rocket-building workshops taking place as part of Brighton Science Festival.
Lost and Found, Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, Fri 16 Feb
A stage version of the tear jerking story (just me?) of a little boy’s quest to return a lost penguin to the icy North. Tickets are £9.50 each (£9 for three or more).
Brighton Festival launch – brochure available from 15 Feb
The full programme for this year’s Brighton Festival (5-27 May) has just been unveiled, with Turner-prize nominated artist David Shrigley at the helm as guest director. As always theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate will feature, with highlights for 2018 including stand-up Bridget Christie, an exhibition from artists Gilbert and George and Problem in Brighton, a new ‘alt rock/pop pantomime’, written and directed by Shrigley himself. There will also be an overnight choral sleepover experience called The Arms of Sleep and a guest appearance by well-loved children’s author Jacqueline Wilson.
Early Man quest, Battle Abbey, nr Hastings, Sat 10 – Sun 18
Aardman’s latest animated film Early Man, is out in cinemas on 26 January, featuring plucky caveman Dug and his sidekick Hognob. Explore Battle Abbey in search of the characters to uncover centuries of history in one day – successful adventurers get an Early Man mini model making kit. £1 on top of entry.
Living With Nature, Hever Castle, Kent, Sat 10 – Sun 18 Feb
Find out how to create habitats and encourage wildlife into your garden in this RSPB workshop. Join RSPB volunteers on a stroll around the grounds to learn about natural and manmade habitats or take a self-guided Wildlife Detective walk to investigate animal footprints and tracks. In the Castle, learn about nature throughout history from how fur was used to keep warm to which birds belong to the Queen.
Robin Hood, The Old Market, Hove, Fri 9 – Sat 17 Feb
The Old Market has an action-packed adventure for half term with a modern take on Robin Hood, featuring comedy and live music. It’s pitched at ages 7+ and tickets cost £8.50 or £30 for a family of four.
Brighton Science Festival, various locations, Sat 10 – Sun 18 Feb
Over 100 fun and educational events include getting creative in the kitchen with Slime Time and Potions and Commotions; an exhibition of an arctic adventurer; mad machine building; monster making; a rocket factory; eco cars; shadow puppets; coding and a guided bike tour of the solar system (kind of). Heaps going on for children – sounds a Half Term saviour – with some activities also pitched at adults.
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.
Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, Surrey, 10 Feb – 11 March
Things are going totally tropical this month at Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.
South Downs Dark Skies festival, various locations, Fri 9 – Sun 25 Feb
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.