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What’s On this week in Sussex

Thurs 16 - Fri 24 Jan

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.

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.

Spa Open Evening, Chichester Harbour Hotel, Thurs 16 Jan

Come and join the friendly spa therapists at Chichester Harbour Hotel’s HarSPA for bubbles and canapés, a tour, treatment demos and goodie bags between 17.00 and 19.00 on Thurs 16 Jan and get yourself 10% off all treatments, products and vouchers purchased during the event. Book a place via or 01243 680165.

Ballet Theatre UK: Wizard of Oz, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 16 Jan

Here’s a refreshing way to see The Wizard of Oz on stage. Ballet Theatre UK will be dancing up the Yellow Brick Road this January in a full length family-friendly production based on the original novel. It’s helping to cheer up January at The Capitol, Horsham.

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.

All About Eve, NT Live, encore screenings, various cinemas, Jan 9 – 18 and early Feb dates

Gillian Anderson plays the role made famous by Bette Davis in the 1950 film while Lily James stars as her ‘biggest fan’ in this tale of obsession and jealousy. The live cinema screening was in spring 2019 but there’s another batch of encores coming up including Portsmouth (Thurs 9 Jan), Croydon (Thurs 9 Jan), Horsham (Wed 15 Jan) Worthing (Sat 18 Jan) and Uckfield (Mon 3 Feb). Follow the link to find your nearest.

Swan Lake / Sleeping Beauty, St Petersburg Classic Ballet, The Hawth, Crawley, Mon Jan 20 /Tues Jan 21

Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet accompanied by a full orchestra are bringing the best loved Russian ballets – Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty to the UK on a new year tour and they’re dropping into Crawley in late Jan. Tickets 37.50 per ballet or binge on both for £62.50.

Historic Life Weekend: Stories, Weald & Downland Museum, Singleton, Sat 18 Jan – Sun 19 Jan

Wrap up warm and make your way between different historic homes to listen to stories around the fire. There will be a variety of old tales, classics and new works inspired by the museum (10.30 – 16.00). The Saturday of the same weekend sees a wassailing event. Help create some noise as part of a tree ceremony (13.00, 14.15 and 15.30) in the hope of a good harvest. Free with admission.

Pub birdwatching walk, Globe Inn Marsh – Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, Sun 19 Jan & Sun 16 Feb

What's On in Sussex, What's On in Sussex Jan 2020

Join local artist and keen bird-watcher James Tomlinson on a ramble through the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. James will discuss environmental issues facing the area and highlight the work of the Reserve, Sussex Wildlife and Friends of Rye Harbour. Start at the Globe Inn Marsh for coffee and a bacon butty from 9,00 before setting off in the Ramblinns bus at 9.45. The walk will be  2 to 2.5 hours, then there’s a bus ride back to the Globe. It’s limited to 12 people and is £12.50 per head, benefitting Rye Harbour’s forthcoming Education Centre.

Sleeping Beauty, ROH Live, various cinemas, Thurs 16 Jan and later dates

Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score and Marius Petipa’s original choreography beautifully combine with sections created for The Royal Ballet by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon in this performance screened at various cinemas on Thurs 16 Jan and other dates. Find your nearest on the link.


1927: Roots, The Old Market, Hove, Fri 3 Jan to Sat 18 Jan 

Here’s an antidote to everything sparkly to start the new year. From the company behind Golem and The Animals and Children Took To The Streets, this brand new show is a collection of rarely told folktales, brought to life to a live score and fusing intricately handcrafted animation, the style of early cinema and a fondness for the fantastic, the dark, the weird and the wonderful. Check out the trailer. Advised for ages 12+  Tickets from £22.


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.

One day art classes, The Globe Inn Marsh, Rye, 30 Jan (and 13 & 26 Feb)

Kick off your creativity in 2020. The Globe Inn Marsh at Rye has one day art classes with expert tuition for groups of up to six coming up twice a month in January and February. From £95 per person including lunch, coffee, refreshments and all materials.

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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