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What’s On this week in Sussex

10 - 17 Aug

Get out there and enjoy – Muddy’s suggestions for things to do in Sussex 10 – 17 Aug, including chilli and vintage fairs, outdoor (and indoor) theatre and cinema. For more events for children see the big Muddy school hols round-up here.

Chilli Fiesta, West Dean Gardens, Chichester, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug

Fill your face with fiery fare at this popular annual food festival. Besides plenty of opportunities to eat and shop for the hot stuff there’ll be Latin music and dance, cookery demonstrations, gardening talks and tours around the Walled Garden. Meanwhile circus workshops, a drop in art centre, outdoor film screenings a vintage funfair and more will keep kids amused. Day tickets are £18 for adults, £2.50 for children, under 4s free. Three-day tickets are also available and you can even camp in the grounds and make a weekend of it.

PIUPID (Pick It Up, Put It Down), Cross in Hand, near Heathfield, Sat 11 Aug

This day of games and workouts followed by a night of partying is in aid of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance. From midday, athletes will compete in mixed pairs, taking on the signature PIUPID workout lifting barbells and the like while you cheer them on and enjoy other activities on site. From 6.00pm, tickets are needed for the after party with live music and DJs.

Musical picnics, Borde Hill Gardens, near Haywards Heath, Suns in Aug

You don’t have to go full Glyndebourne for music and alfresco lounging this summer. Borde Hill Gardens has musical picnics on Sundays in August from jazz to brass bands. The entertainment is free with garden entry and Pimms is available. There’s also a programme of children’s events for the school hols.

Loxwood Joust, Loxwood, West Sussex, Sat 4 & Sun 5 and Sat 11 & Sun 12 Aug

It’s your chance again to tuck into a hog roast and ale and watch jousting and sword-on-sword action from armoured knights. Despite the violence there’s plenty of educational content at this big event with recreated Mediaeval villages and learning zones, a marketplace and workshops like chainmail and pewter badge making. The dedicated Children’s Kingdom is a festival within a festival where kids can try archery and have fun with wound painting, sword school, a bouncy castle and a very un-pc sounding game of ‘pelt the peasant’. Advance tickets are Adult £13, Child (4-14) £7. Gate prices £16 and £8.

Airbourne, Eastbourne seafront, Thurs 16 – Sun 19 Aug

Eastbourne’s International Airshow boasts a two mile flying display line along the seafront with military and civilian aviation display teams including the RAF Red Arrows, Tigers parachute display team and more, and all for free! This year the Red Arrows will fly on the Fri, Sat and Sun. Ground displays open 10.00am – 6.00pm daily, with flying happening in a packed schedule from lunchtime until around 5.00pm. It’s a great, if noisy, day out.

2 for 1 Oriental package, The Beauty Island Sanctuary, Worthing, until 31 Aug

You don’t need a flight to Asia this summer to get a taste of the Far East. The Beauty Island Sanctuary in Worthing has a bargain two for one Oriental Spa package featuring an hour’s Thai Fusion Body Massage and an hour’s Thai Fusion facial, both using hot stones, plus an hour’s use of its spa zone with hydrotherapy pool and sauna, plus soft drinks and fruit on hand. The package, for two, costs £130 on Tues and Thurs or £145 on Suns.

Various shows, Brighton Open Air Theatre, until 30 Sept

B.O.A.T in Dyke Road Park is a lovely space to lounge with a picnic and catch adults and kids shows, comedy and more. This summer the programme includes Swallows and Amazons (2-5 Aug), Blithe Spirit (15 Aug), Little Women (21 Aug), Treasure Island (22 Aug), The Railway Children (2 Sept), The Wizard of Oz (29 Sept) and the Brighton Beach Boys (30 Sept).

Firle Vintage Fair, Firle Park, near Lewes, Sat 11 & Sun 12 Aug

Get ready to wallow in all things retro at one of the most popular vintage events of the year. Snap up decorative antique and vintage homewares, clothes, French linens, furniture and garden bits and bobs. There’s retro entertainment too with live music, Charleston dancing and the like. Kids can go on the traditional fun fair and you can relax with booze on the lawn and admire the sparkling vintage cars or the fashions on the catwalk. Tickets are £10 on the door (under 5s free).

Family Art Activities, Charleston House, Firle near Lewes,  5, 12 & 19 Aug & 2 Sept

Charleston already has an artistic tradition and it’s now inviting families to create their own art while visiting. Free sessions are hosted by the house’s friendly volunteers, during which you can create a range of exiting things including paper lampshades and clay models. Activities have been inspired by the art and lives of the Bloomsbury group. Parents or carers are required to stay with their children and to create artworks together. It’s for everyone aged 3 and over.

The Merchant of Venice, Arundel Castle, Fri 17 and Sat 18 Aug

Medieval Arundel Castle will be the backdrop for outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as touring theatre group Illryia put on two evening performances alfresco. The event kicks off the 40th annual Arundel Festival. Performances start 7.30 and tickets are from £20 for adults, £15 for children.

The Observatory Science Centre workshops, Herstmonceux, various Aug dates

Always a great spot for educational fun, in addition to the centre’s hands-on exhibits there will be daily telescope tours and spectacular science shows three times a day included in the admission price. In August a series of half-day workshops (£12.50) for 6-8s and 9-11s have enticing titles like Light and Colour, Alien Life, Astronaut Academy and Crime Detectives. Meanwhile Chemistry Lab full-day workshops mean you can drop the kids off 10.30 – 4pm for £23.50 – stampede! You’ll need to book ahead and unsurprisingly they tend to sell out early. For more events for children see the big Muddy school hols round-up here.

Sunset Screenings, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Sat 4 to 25 Aug

The De La Warr is putting on Sunset Screenings on an outside sea-facing wall this August, with retro family-friendly options to keep kids giggling and adults sighing with nostalgia. The season starts with UP (4 Aug), then we’re back to the 70s and 80s for The Love Bug, (11 Aug) Back to the Future, (18 Aug) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (25 Aug). Bet you still hide from the Child Catcher, eh? Sunset is expected around 8.30pm and there are live bands and a DJ from 2pm and family-friendly activities from 6.00pm beforehand. Best of all, it’s all free! Full the full Muddy round-up of outdoor screenings in and near Sussex see here.

Movies by Moonlight, South Lodge Hotel, nr Horsham, various dates, Aug & Sept 

South Lodge Hotel at Lower Beeding, near Horsham, has an open air cinema throughout the summer. Bring a picnic, or splash out a special three course dinner (£55 including film) timed to end with coffee as the movie starts. With the dinner package you can plump for Dunkirk, Lion, La La Land, Cocktail or Spectre in August or Skyfall in Sept. With a picnic (and £15 for the film) you can chose from Dirty Dancing, The Bodyguard or Beauty and the Beast in Aug or Grease in Sept. Some other films have sold out already so bagsy the one you fancy quick. Full the full Muddy round-up of outdoor screenings in and near Sussex see here.

Themed weekends, Fishers Adventure Farm Park, Wisborough Green, various dates from 28 July- 02 Sept

Alongside its regular attractions, Fishers has an action-packed range of holiday events. Next up is Superheroes Weekend (11 Aug – 12 Aug) with face painting and a mighty inflatable assault course and Wiggly Weekend (18 Aug – 19 Aug) letting children encounter reptiles, bugs and amphibians from around the world. A Beach Party and Army Weekend are also coming up. For more events for children see the big Muddy school hols round-up here.

School hols tours and activities, Theatre Royal, Brighton, various Aug dates

The Theatre Royal has some charming activities for children this holidays. Turn up at 2pm on Thurs 23 Aug for a free tour behind the scenes. Linger for crafts, demonstrations and behind the scenes peeks at the open day on Wed 15 Aug. Make a potion and go on a magical journey around the theatre during The Secret Life of Fairies (Sun 12 Aug for 4 – 8s, £12.50) and join a Twilight Picnic with songs and stories on Fri 17 Aug (£8.50). There are also torchlight tours (17 & 18 Aug, £8.50) and a technical Backstage World workshops for older children exploring light, sound and more (£8.50 or £22.50 for an adult and two children). Look out too for the theatre out and about at Brighton Marina (14 Aug) the BAi360 terrace (21 Aug) with free seaside themed arts and crafts.


Polo at Cowdray, until Sun 23rd Sept

The public are welcome to watch polo at Cowdray throughout the season, with matches held every Sat, Sun and Bank Holiday Mon and on most weekdays. Bring your own picnic, or order one from the Cowdray Farm Shop & Cafe. There’s also a snack bar in the grounds. Except during the Gold Cup, weekends and bank hols tickets are £5 each (under 12’s free) and weekdays are free. Call 01730 813257 or see the tournament section of the website for the day’s play.

Me & My Girl, Chichester Festival Theatre, Mon 2 July – Sat 25 Aug

Me and My Girl review, Me and My Girl, Chichester Festival Theatre, Me & My Girl

Photo by Johan Persson

Following the success of Half A Sixpence, which transferred to the West End, Chichester Festival Theatre has launched another cracker of a retro musical. Matt Lucas and Caroline Quentin star in Me and My Girl, the tale of a cockney barrow boy who inherits a fortune and the Duchess intent on transforming him, Pygmalion style. The Sun Has Got His Hat On and The Lambeth Walk are the well known numbers. Tickets are from £10.  Read the Muddy review here.

Hitchcock Season, Duke of Yorks cinema, Brighton, Sundays 8 July – 12 Aug

Hmm this looks like a good place to stop and take a shower…

If you want some respite from the sun then treat yourself to a Hitchcock masterpiece this month – Picturehouse Cinemas have been running a season of the director’s work. Still left to go is Vertigo on Sun 12 Aug. Tickets are £8 (£5 members). If you’re in London over the weekend the same season is running at Picturehouses there.


England’s Medieval Festival, Herstmonceux Castle, Fri 24 – Mon 27 Aug 

England’s Medieval Festival brings the Middle ages to lovely Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex this August. Over 1,000 costumed performers travel from across Europe to help recreate the spectacle with jousting knights, court jesters, siege recreations and crafts like blacksmithing and arrow making, with a chance to have a go at many. Children can even join warrior and princess schools. Advance day tickets are £17 for adults, £7 for children over 5, £46 for families. Don’t miss our Muddy prize draw to win a family weekend ticket with camping worth £250!

Horrible Histories, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 13 – Sun 16

Everyone’s favourite history teachers are back! With not only actors but 3D special effects this time, The Horrible Histories team, promise people from the past will hover at your very fingertips. On Thurs 13 – Sat 15 it’s Awful Egyptians and Thurs 13 – Sun 16 Terrible Tudors, with various day and evening times to chose. Tickets are £15.

Find more ideas here

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