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Last minute experience gifts!

Sussex-based ideas for tickets, vouchers and membership gifts that can be bought right up to the wire!

Panic not – with all the great experiences that can be gifted these days a voucher is no longer a cop out and you can buy someone tickets or a membership online right up to the wire! Here are some Sussex-based ideas…

Give a day out

A trip up the i360 is particularly good for friends or relatives visiting from outside the area. It costs from £16 for adults, £8 for kids, with champagne and afternoon tea additions available. Back at ground level, several rinks in Sussex and within day trip distance offer vouchers for festive ice-skating. Then you can let someone ‘spin and slide’ round the race track at Goodwood with a driving experience

Sussex has many good vineyards and several offer tours. Among them are Oxney Organic Estate near in Rye, which also has a sparkling wine club, 2016 Muddy Award winner Ridgeview at Ditchling Common, and Bolney, which features a combined wine and gin tasting tour, while Great British Wine Tours will take you on a magical mystery tour from Brighton station to at least two vineyards, with lunch. Muddy Award finalist Bedlam Brewery at Albourne is among tour options for beer lovers.

Book a show

There are, of course, heaps of pantos around until the new year like Aladdin (pictured) with Eastenders’ heartthrob Michael Greco starring at Tunbridge Wells’ Assembly Hall Theatre. See my full round-up of Christmas shows and reviews. Other crowd-pleasers include…

Brighton: Grease and The Snow Queen are on till the new year, the amazing War Horse is in town from Jan till 10 Feb, Swan Lake comes up in Feb and for kids there’s The Snowman in Jan and George’s Marvellous Medicine in Feb.

Worthing: Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne with be telling his own story in April and in May Hollywood’s Kathleen Turner (yes, really!) will be singing cabaret and telling life stories and Marti Pellow is just going on sale for June

Crawley: consider burlesque-slanted Circus of Horrors and ballets Giselle and The Nutcracker in Jan and The Kite Runner in Feb.

Chichester: Ballets Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty are on in early Jan, award-winning farce The Play That Goes Wrong  drops in in mid Jan, then major comedians Omid Djalili (late Jan) and Stewart Lee (Feb) and for kids Jungle Book in Feb.

Horsham: the stage version of bestseller Birdsong is coming up in April and Hollywood’s Kathleen Turner will be doing cabaret in May.

Bexhill: at the De La Warr Pavilion Lloyd Cole is coming up for early March, an acoustic Levellers set later that month and singer-songwriter Don McLean of American Pie fame in May.

Arty choices

Cameron Contemporary Art

Some presents can be very subjective. Let them choose their own art with a voucher from Muddy Award winner Cameron Contemporary Art in Hove. They are available in any amount towards any of the gallery’s artwork which changes on a regular basis and often includes pottery and jewellery. You can also gift a tour of Farley House Farm at Chiddingly, former home of Vogue model turned war photographer Lee Miller, which was a meeting place for Surrealists including Picasso.

Foodie fare

Help them learn a skill for the new year with a cookery class voucher from £20 upwards for the newly launched Bluebell Farmhouse Kitchen at Arlington. Vegan and vegetarian feasts, bread making and farmhouse fare are among the themes of upcoming classes. There are also lunches with walks tied in.

Pike & Pine. Photo: John Blackwell

Pike & Pine in Brighton has a voucher for a Chef’s Selection For Two four course meal for £90 as well as the usually monetary kinds. You can get these up to the wire as you’ll be sent a PDF you can print off, or you can email it direct to the recipient themselves.

Another restaurant with a multi-course menu, good for gifting, is Wild Mushroom at Westfield, East Sussex, part of the Webbe’s restaurant group. It has a special seasonal ten course taster gourmet menu coming up on 1 Feb with with an arrival drink and four glasses of matched tasting wines for £75 (call 01424 751137). The restaurant actually appeared in the  top 100 restaurants for diner reviews on Open Table recently.

Memberships

Depot, Lewes

If your gift recipient lives near a cinema with a membership scheme this will often entitle them to free tickets, special events and food and drink discounts. Good Sussex options include the Picturehouse chain – which has two in Brighton, the unrelated  Picture House in Uckfield and the new Depot in Lewes and Kino at Rye.

Don’t forget also to check out memberships and vouchers from our great Sussex theatres and other major venues like Brighton Dome and the De la Warr Pavilion.

Find more ideas here

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