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What’s on in Sussex this October

Never mind the nights drawing in, there's loads to do around Sussex this month including the return of live theatre, spectacular shows and festivals, and heaps of Halloween fun.

David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet, live from the world premiere, The Capitol, Horsham, Thur 1 Oct

Join the likes of Prince William – on the wrong chair, above – and check out the living legend David Attenborough’s new feature documentary. Expect goosebumps as the naturalist and broadcaster, 93, shares his unique life, reflecting on his defining moments and sharing his message of hope for the future. In a thoroughly modern touch, Sir David recently broke the world record for the fastest time to reach 1m followers on Instagram, beating previous holder Jennifer Aniston. This screening at the Capitol will include a live Q&A with Sir David at the Royal Albert Hall.

Tamar Broadbent, Songs for the New Normal, The Capitol, Horsham, Fri 2 Oct

Muddy has to admit we shed a little tear when the Capitol, one of the loveliest and most friendly arts venues in Sussex, switched on its ghost light at the beginning of lockdown. So let’s hear it for the return of live theatre and comedy at this brilliant venue! Debuting ‘socially distanced comedy’ will be the award-winning Tamar Broadbent, as featured on Comedy Central and BBC Radio 4’s The New Show along with live shows in New York and Fringeworld Australia that attracted rave reviews. This will be a giggle-packed evening of Tamar’s latest and best songs, featuring the trials and tribulations of single life in your 20s. From Instagram to avocados to the reality of avoiding your grandparents during Covid, get ready to laugh your socks off.

Made in Sussex, Glynde Place, Fri 2 – Sun 4 October

Just when we thought all was lost for festivals in 2020, along comes a social distancing friendly way to get all your culture vibes in one sitting! Made in Sussex is the brainchild of Sussex mums Vicky and Lara, who set up Big Sky Cinema drive-in during lockdown to keep the arts alive. This weekend-long extravaganza at lovely Glynde Place will feature showings of Hollywood blockbusters that were, er, made in Sussex including Emma and Summerland, alongside opera from Glyndebourne and a world exclusive performance from Kooks guitarist Hugh Harris, who’s a local Lewes lad, after all. It’s a brilliant lineup and as with all the best drive-ins, you’ll be able to order yummy locally produced food and booze direct to your wagon.

Workshops at Sussex Prairie Garden, near Henfield, various October dates

This month there’s a range of workshops at this gorgeous garden, including a session on making your own herbal remedies for winter – very witchy – and arts and crafts including painting on silk and sketchbook skills. A really lovely location for it too.

Pumpkin picking at Tulleys Farm, Crawley from Sat 3 Oct

Does it get more autumnal than this? Tulley’s Farm have just the 20 acres of pumpkins – producing more than 150,000 of the round critters! This is a fantastic day or evening out with the little ones (the evening sessions under the moonlight are said to be magical) and there’s plenty of food and drink on offer onsite too.

Autumn Show and Game Fair, South of England Showground, Sat 3 & Sun 4 Oct

The ultimate autumn day out in the Sussex countryside, with heaps for all ages. Demonstrations and displays from falconry to gundogs along with headliners the Sussex Yeomanry showcasing mounted skills-at-arms will be joined by heaps of stalls and shopping opportunities with local artisan producers. For kids, there’s an animal barn and pumpkin activity trail around the showground. There’s also a puppy play area, which is where you’ll find Muddy ensconced for the duration. More country fun than you can shake a shooting stick at.

Short Stories Tall Tales, Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-sea, 8-16 Oct

Actress, author and mum Hannah Summers will bring her tale of Mouse and Sam to life in this live performance, perfect for under 4’s. Heaps of fun in an interactive storytelling show.

First Harvest at Leonardslee, Leonardslee Gardens, near Horsham, Fri 9 Oct

Celebrate the first harvest at Leonardslee, the first Pinotage vineyard in the UK. Alongside sister Mannings Heath Golf & Wine Estate, Leonardslee will release its first batch of some 75,000 bottles of sparkling in 2023. Find out more over bubbly, brunch, a tour and lunch at this luxe event.

Comedy Club 4 Kids, Komedia, Brighton, Sat 10 Oct

Komedia’s one of those fantastic local venues that really needs support. Known as a showcase for some of the best comedy out there, the regular Comedy Club 4 Kids is always full value for family fun and laughs. Be aware that several October billings have already, sadly, been postponed so keep an eye on the website for the latest info.

Paws in the Park Dog Show, South of England Showground, Sat 10 & Sun 11 Oct

Dust off that collar, here’s Fido’s chance to shine! Paws in the Park returns to the Ardingly showground for a weekend packed full of doggy heaven, from fun have-a-go activities and games, shows, shopping, arena activities and competitions. It’s the paw-fect way to have fun with your furry friend and the rest of the fam.

Geoff Norcott, Taking Liberties, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, Thu 15 Oct

The ‘gently abrasive’ comedian brings his unique brand of provocative stand-up to Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre this month. A regular on the usual circuit – Mock The Week, Live at the Apollo etc – he’s also written for shows and fellow funny folk Romesh and Katherine Ryan among others. Apparently whatever the subject, he’ll be ‘honest and blunt without being a dick’ – fair enough, Geoff.

Halloween Trail, Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath, Oct 17 – Nov 1

Take your little witch or wizard on a sensory trail around Borde Hill Garden, one of the true hidden gems in Sussex. A challenge-packed story trail will keep them happy and entertained and there’s a prize at the end for everybody. Meanwhile, autumn colour will be in full effect.

Baking masterclasses at The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, various October dates

Remember how you were totally going to nail sourdough during lockdown? Yeah, we didn’t manage it either, but luckily the brilliant baking workshops at The Artisan Bakehouse are back for autumn, so we can all learn from the pros instead of frowning at YouTube. This month there’s Mediterranean Breads on Oct 6, Intro to Sourdough and Slow Fermenting on Oct 9 & 27, Gluten Free Breadmaking on Oct 14, and Introduction to Bread Making on Oct 20.

Gruffalo Trail, Wakehurst Place, East Grinstead, Oct 17 – Nov 1

Silly old snake! Doesn’t he know? There’s no such thing as a gruffal – oh! If you’re brave enough to prove Snake wrong, head down to Wakehurst botanical gardens to embark on the Gruffalo Trail, go on an adventurous Gruffalo crumble hunt, and listen to stories round the fire. There’s also Gruffalo workshops from Oct 27 – 30. Guaranteed to please the little ones and grown-ups alike.

South of England Wedding Fayre, South of England Showground, Ardingly, Sun 18 Oct

Tying the knot in the near future or – gulp – gearing up for a turn as mother of the bride? Get the wedding planning done and dusted in one fell swoop at this one-stop shop for all things bridal. All the best wedding suppliers in the area will be on hand, from florists to caterers to dress designers and venues, and everything in between. Fun fact, Muddy used to model wedding dresses at these shows as the ‘token normal girl’ – whatever that means.

Mark Watson, How you can Almost Win, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, Fri 23 Oct

In 2017, Mark Watson was invited onto Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls. You can probably tell from the promo shot the kind of outdoorsy, adventurous type he purports to be, but it turned into quite the growth experience and here he shares a funny motivational pep talk about all the things it taught him. Fringe-worthy comedy in Worthing.

Halloween Afternoon Tea, Leonardslee, near Horsham, 27 Oct – 1 Nov

Tuck into a spooky afternoon tea from a Michelin-starred chef – we’re definitely talking treat, not trick here with pumpkin tartlets, themed cakes, enchanted pastries and all the usual delicious fare.

Crave, Chichester Festival Theatre, 29 Oct – 7 Nov

A unique production and, in a world-first for Chichester’s flagship Festival Theatre, one that will be both staged to a live, socially distanced audience and live-streamed around the world. Described as a ‘deeply personal meditation on the meaning of love’, this production from Sarah Kane, considered one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century, sees four characters search for the light in a damaged world. Starring local gal Erin Doherty, making her Chichester debut fresh from her role as Princess Anne in series 3 and 4 of The Crown. Crave kicks off the autumn season at Chichester and we couldn’t be happier to see it back.

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