What’s On in August in Sussex
No plans for the summer holidays? No problem. There's heaps to do in Sussex this summer, here's our pick of the action in August.
We Are Fabuloso, Brighton & Hove Pride, Sat 1 and Sun 2 Aug
It’ll take more than a pandemic to stop the biggest Pride festival in the UK but this year, it’s a digital festival. So stay at home and enjoy the absolute best of the festival from previous years including never-seen-before footage from parades and archive footage, along with brand new exclusive shows and content. Expect highlights including Fatboy Slim, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jess Glynne and local MPs and celebrities. It’ll all be streamed live on YouTube and it’s free to watch. Donations are encouraged to support community organisations.
Komedia Presents – Comic Boom Comedy Club, Thu 27 Aug, The Warren Outdoors, Brighton
For now, comedy venue Komedia remains closed but you can still get your fix of giggles at this outdoor version of Comedy Boom, to be held on a purpose-built site on Brighton Beach just next to the pier, off Madeira Drive. This legendary monthly night of established comedians and rising stars is widely regarded as one of the best in the UK. Catch Mock The Week regular Angela Barnes among others at this one.
Music & Movies Weekend, Fri 28 – Sun 30 Aug, Chichester Festival Theatre, outdoor venues
Catch a movie, sing along to a hit number, and even listen to Hugh Bonneville read children’s stories at this weekend outdoor celebration from Chichester Festival Theatre. There’ll be drive-in cinema with classics like Grease and Some Like It Hot, a day of outdoor performances including Family Fun in the Park, in which much-loved stories including The Tiger Who Came To Tea will be brought alive by the lovely Mr Bonneville, with puppets. And a concert packed full of West End stars performing hits from West Side Story, My Fair Lady and more will round off what promises to be a brilliant weekend.
Summer Craft and Gift Fair, Fri 28 – Mon 31 Aug, Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, Horsham
The most gorgeous location for three days of shopping heaven from local indie businesses, all hand-picked to showcase their amazing skills and products. Expect arts and crafts, fashion, homeware and heaps more artisan goodies and plenty of pop-ups from local stores and boutiques. The event is free but you’ll need to book, and entry to Leonardslee is charged at the usual rate so make a day of it by touring the wonderful gardens teeming with rare wildlife. Leonardslee’s famous afternoon teas are also back, menus and booking here.
Theatre and comedy at Brighton Open Air Theatre, Dyke Road, Brighton
There’s a full schedule of theatre, comedy and more at BOAT this summer! This is a great place to relax on a summer’s afternoon. It’s a wood and astro turf ampitheatre, there’s a small bar alongside and picnicking while you watch is positively encouraged. Summer productions still to come include Alice in Lockdown, Abigail’s Party, The Wind In The Willows and Rome & Juliet, plus stand-up from Russell Howard and friends and much more.
Cinema at The Capitol, Horsham
If you’re quick you can snap up tickets to a flick for just £6 at The Capitol – it’s the theatre’s way of welcoming you back! The stage is still closed but there’s a good selection of films on offer throughout August. Keep checking the website for regular updates. Muddy’s in the mood for some strong female lead characters so we’re eyeing up superhero romp Captain Marvel and singalong-tastic Frozen II, – family tickets are just £20.
Talks at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Saturdays from 8 Aug, Worthing
Worthing Museum is re-opening on Saturdays only for the time being, and has lined up a selection of talks from expert curators about each of the permanent exhibitions. Topics and exhibitions include fashion, naval history, art, and the very topical Returning Health. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance.
Royal Pavilion, Brighton, through August
The Royal Pavilion has re-opened to visitors and is open daily from 10am to 4pm. Tickets must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. This unique building, built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, is a mixture of Regency grandeur and visual style drawn from India and China.
YUM Saturdays, Draper’s Yard, Chichester
Get your foodie fix every Saturday at this indie hub. New for August is Mark from The Pizza Nomad who will be cooking up a storm at his pop-up on Aug 1. Order your fresh produce from around Sussex by Thursday evenings to collect in person on Saturday, or just take pot luck and show up for pizza, coffee from Refilled Cafe, fruit and veg, condiments, and artisan bakes and cakes from local indie shops and suppliers.
The Blue Belle Evening Dining, Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park
Choo choo! The Bluebell Railway is reopening on August 7 and to celebrate its 60th anniversary, book an evening of fine dining aboard the Blue Belle. Tuck into a three-course meal while you chug steadily through the Sussex countryside aboard a historic steam train. You can also now book tickets for family days out and rides on this unique heritage-steeped steam railway.
Maize Maze at Bignor Roman Villa, from 4 Aug, Bignor
Open weekends only. View the gorgeous remains of a genuine Roman home, complete with world-class mosaics. A new addition this year is the amazing 12-acre Maize Maze, packed full of fun twists and turns, which will be open from 4 August. There’s no timed ticketing system but do read the information on the website before visiting. The tearoom is also open for cakes and hot and cold drinks.
Angela Evans at Shoreham Art Gallery, through August
Shoreham Art Gallery’s guest artist for August is ceramicist Angela Evans. Her work is inspired by her home and studio in Brighton, and the surrounding coast and downs. She uses plaster to capture texture and form, and found objects for creating patterns and marks. Nature and landscape lovers will want to check out her work.
Sculpture trail at Amberley Museum, 1 Aug – 7 Nov, Amberley
Here’s a chance to see Amberley Museum’s first sculpture exhibition – which opened just weeks before lockdown. Fortunately it’s been extended to early November so there’s plenty of time to admire the collection of 36 sculptures throughout the 36-acre site of this former quarry, now a heritage-steeped museum. All the work has been created by artists across the South and there’s a downloadable map of the trail here. The museum is currently open Wednesdays – Sundays and you must book your date and time slot online.
Wey & Arun Canal Boat Cruise, Weds and Sun through August, Loxwood
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is doing a blinding job of restoring this lost waterway which once linked London to the sea. It’s reopened for boat trips from Loxwood, with social distancing measures in place. Public trips run on Sundays and Wednesdays. If you’re a paddleboarder, canoer or kayaker you can use the canal around Loxwood too, but you’ll need a day (£5) or season (£15) licence.
Foraged by Fern Summer Foraging Workshops, various dates, Worthing
Raid those hedgerows, learn about wild edible and medicinal plants and create your own delicious food and drink at one of Fern’s workshops. Throughout August she’s running a luxury coastal forage and Beach Box spa – which sounds divine – as well as a late summer forage and lunch, and wild booze and wild pizza workshops.
Tours and tastings, Albourne Estate, Saturdays through August, Hassocks
Head down to Albourne Estate to enjoy their fabulous new tasting rooms, as well as a tour of the beautiful vineyard itself. Tours and tastings are running throughout August but online booking is essential and spaces are limited. If you want to dig deeper into the wines themselves, try one of the tutored tasting sessions where you’ll experience a wider selection under expert guidance.
Weald & Downland Living Museum, Singleton
This fantastic outdoor museum is an enjoyable and captivating day out in the great outdoors – lending itself very well to social distancing. This August there’ll be family fun and activities every day, celebrating the theme of the natural world with demos and displays on a different topic each week. These include colours in nature, showcasing how fleeces is made into wool and how natural dyes are used, trees and seeds, and wildlife. Activities on offer will include crafting leaf crowns, charcoal art, writing with quills, taking part in a bird survey and much more. Book online.
Knepp Safaris, various August Dates, Knepp Estate, near Horsham
Safari tours of this landmark rewilding project are back up and running! Choose from a half-day vehicle safari in the wildest part of the estate, or a walking tour guided by an expert naturalist. Expect to see free-roaming longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs and Exmoor ponies (including some adorable newborn foals) as well as rare wildlife including purple Emperor butterflies and the famous wild white storks.
Guided South Downs bike rides with Marmalade MTB, August dates
Bought yourself a new mountain bike over lockdown, or dug out that old one from the shed? Get to know the gorgeous South Downs and brush up on your shredding skills while you’re at it, with a guided mountain bike ride. Grab an intro to Brighton’s Stanmer Park (Aug 1), explore Kingley Vale and the Goodwood Estate (Aug 22), or head over the border into Hampshire to zoom round the Meon Valley and Cheesefoot Head (ravers will remember this as the Matterley Bowl, site of the Homelands dance festival) on Aug 23. Expect to cover a decent distance so you’ll need to be reasonably fit. Marmalade are also your go-to for a coached session if you want to brush up on your skills.
Lerato Foods Seven Sisters Country Walk and Afternoon Tea, Eastbourne, various August dates
Celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale has raved about Lerato’s wonderful supperclubs and here’s a chance to experience them in a stunning – and socially distanced – setting. Work up an appetite on a coastal walk around the breathtaking Seven Sisters, then tuck in to a delicious hand-prepared afternoon tea featuring delights such as Suya spiced chicken skewers (veggie options also available) and decadent chocolate truffle brownies made with fairtrade West African cocoa.
Fisher’s Farm Park, Wisborough Green
Nine years of parenting and Muddy has yet to find anywhere that keeps the kids as happy for as long as Fishers. It’s open again for a Summer of Fun to make up for the somewhat underwhelming start to (and middle of) 2020. Almost all the outdoor activities are running, including tractor rides, animal encounters and the really rather terrifying SkyFall – Muddy can confirm this is not for the faint of heart or pelvic floor. But the kids love it, so leave them to it! The splash park is also open for lots of water-based fun. Food-wise, the Farmers Grill is open serving hot and cold food, or bring your own picnic. The indoor areas and restaurant are still closed for now but keep an eye on the website, and check out the FAQs for all up-to-date information. Book your visit online in advance.
Eastbourne Walking Festival, 18-27 Sept, Eastbourne
This ten-day celebration of the great outdoors has something for everybody, whether that’s a guided walk as part of a group or a self-paced stroll (see routes here). There’ll also be talks and fringe events. But mainly, put one foot in front of the other and see the best of East Sussex countryside, from the rolling hills to the dramatic chalk cliffs at Seven Sisters and the imposing Beachy Head. Muddy’s pick is the Mindful Walking event run by Kirsty Peckham from The Coach By The Sea.