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Things to do in Sussex this month

PUBLISHED: 15:15 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:03 05 December 2017

Brighton Pavilion ice rink (Photo by Hugo Philpott)

Brighton Pavilion ice rink (Photo by Hugo Philpott)

Hugo Philpott

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Sussex this month


Discover weekly events and photography in the links above


New Truth to Materials: Wood - Until 1 January

This autumn Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft will hold an exploration into our emotional response to wood through a diverse and eclectic group of artists, designers and craftspeople including Graham Sutherland, David Jones, Sebastian Cox and Forest + Found. New Truth to Materials: Wood is the first in a series of multi-disciplinary exhibitions at Ditchling that consider how we respond and relate to materials and objects. It addresses how artists, craftspeople and designers harness our emotional engagement with different materials and consequently exploit, manipulate and often subvert this in their work. Ditchling is a natural home for this exploratory adventure; a carpenter’s workshop was central to the Catholic craftsman’s guild and artists such as David Jones spent time here whilst also learning their other crafts. The 1920s and 30s woodengraving revival was also led by Eric Gill and his colleagues in the village.


Artists’ Open Houses in Brighton - 25 November-10 December

Christmas Festival 2017: Brighton’s Artists’ Open Houses returns this Christmas for three weekends of festive fun. During this time, hundreds of artists and makers across the city will be opening their houses and studio spaces to the public, offering the rare opportunity to buy direct from the artists in their own homes.


Etsy Made Local Christmas Market - 2 December

The Dome, Brighton

10am-4pm. Etsy Made Local is perfect for shoppers who want to get ahead of the Christmas rush and find unique, handmade gifts whilst connecting with the local designers behind the items. Contemporary crafts, jewellery, homeware, clothing and ceramics. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult. Admission: free.

Midhurst Contemporary Craft Show - 2-3 December

Midhurst Rother College, North Street, Midhurst

Highly skilled designer-makers from Sussex and the adjoining counties will provide a colourful feast of creativity to brighten the dark days of winter. The show is perfectly timed for Christmas shopping and features more than 50 members of the Sussex Guild showing their beautiful and varied work.


Christmas 2017 Mixed Exhibition - 2-24 December

Zimmer Stewart Gallery, Arundel

A wonderful mix of paintings, original prints, sculpture, ceramics and functional craft pieces by both local and national artists, emerging and established. The Christmas exhibition starts on Saturday 2 December, the same day as Arundel by Candlelight, with a launch and signing by artist Phil Tyler for his new book Painting the Landscape.



• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1 Dec-1 Jan: Pavilion Theatre, Worthing: 01903 206206

• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 8 Dec-7 Jan: The Hawth, Crawley: 01293 553636

• Dick Whittington and his Cat 8 Dec-14 Jan: Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne: 01323 412000

• Jack and the Beanstalk 8-31 Dec: The Capitol, Horsham: 01403 750220

• Aladdin 12 Dec-2 Jan: The Regis Centre, Bognor Regis: 01243 861010

• Dick Whittington 13-31 Dec: Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham: 01273 464440

• Sleeping Beauty 15-31 Dec: White Rock Theatre, Hastings: 01424 462288

• Beauty and the Beast 16-31 Dec: Chequer Mead, East Grinstead: 01342 302000

• Beauty and the Beast 16-31 Dec: Chichester Festival Theatre: 01243 781312

• The Amazing Adventures of Pinocchio 20 Dec-6 Jan: Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Falmer: 01273 678822

• The Wizard of Oz 27-31 Dec: Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne: 01323 802020


100 Tails of Us - 1-24 December

Theatre Royal, Brighton

Following the sell-out success of A Winter’s Trail and Amongst the Stars, award-winning Herringbone Arts spend their third Christmas at the Theatre Royal Brighton with a magical tale of the mysterious and mischievous unseen residents of the theatre. Most suitable for three to seven-year-olds. Times vary. Tickets: £5.50-£14.


BBC Concert Orchestra: Classical Impressions - 3 December

Festival Theatre, Chichester

7pm. A fairy tale evening to remember with the BBC Concert Orchestra as they perform a variety of pieces including Paul Patterson’s Little Red Riding Hood. Actor, comic and impressionist Alistair McGowan joins the orchestra, conducted by Martin Yates, for a wickedly inspired retelling of the story adapted from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, which has a few surprises up its sleeve! Tickets from £15.


Richard Durrant: A Candlelit Christmas Concert - Various December dates

The popular Shoreham-based guitarist is joined by guest singer Amy Kakoura and top British folk fiddler Nick Pynn on his UK tour. The music comes from folk, pagan and Christian traditions. From the oldest song in the Oxford Book of Carols to Fairytale of New York on ukulele, this is a show packed full of surprises and midwinter charm. Sussex dates include Wilmington, Shoreham, East Chiltington and Worthing.


ROH: The Nutcracker (12a) Live Cinema - 5 and 10 December

Connaught Theatre Cinema, Worthing

A young girl’s enchanted present leads her on a wonderful Christmas adventure in this beautiful classical ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score. Peter Wright’s production for The Royal Ballet ranks as one of the most enduring and enchanting versions of The Nutcracker. Live 5 December 7.15pm, Encore 10 December 2pm. Tickets: £16.50 adult, £15.50 child, £15.50 senior, £14.50 student.


The Southwick Players: The Man Who Came to Dinner - 6-9 December

Barn Theatre, Southwick

7.30pm. This fast-paced and clever comedy by Moss Hart and George S Kaufman is filled with wonderful characters, witty dialogue and is the perfect Christmas treat. Directed by Kate Armes. Tickets: £11.


Harry Christophers and the Sixteen at Glyndebourne: A Concert of Christmas Music - 10 December

3pm. In aid of Friends of Sussex Hospices. A beautifully festive collection of music from the 16th century right up to the present day. Includes Poulenc’s joyful Quatre motets pour le temps de Noel, an uplifting celebration of the events of the Christmas story, and revisits his solemn and reflective Un soir de neige. Traditional delights include Howells’ A Spotless Rose, Past Three O Clock and The Sussex Carol. Tickets: £10-£62. Post-performance reception tickets £30.


Belshazzar’s Feast - 15 December

Tuppenny Barn, Southbourne

8pm. Quirky, highly entertaining folk duo Belshazzar’s Feast are on tour with their seasonal show. They start with traditional English music, add a touch of class, throw in a bit of pop and music hall, and top it off with wry humour for a unique live experience that has made them one of the most popular duos in folk music. Tickets: £15.


The Nutcracker Suite and the Snowman - 16 December

The Dome, Brighton

3.45pm. Two seasonal favourites come together in this special Christmas event. The story of The Nutcracker is brought to life with a special narration read by CBeebies’ own Pui Fan Lee, accompanied by beautiful, newly created illustrations. This is followed by the magical film The Snowman, screened with a live performance of Walking in the Air, the soundtrack to many a child’s Christmas. Both pieces are accompanied throughout by the Southbank Sinfonia (conducted by Ben Palmer). Tickets: £10-£18.50. Under 16s £10.


Cinderella - 22-27 December

Hilton Brighton Metropole, King’s Road, Brighton

Family pantomime is to return to Brighton with a spectacular new production of Cinderella. The show features dazzling costumes, special effects and a star-studded West End cast. Families can also enjoy a magical Christmas fayre and market before and after the show, which includes Santa’s Grotto, merchandise stalls and lots of hot and cold seasonal food options. Tickets from £11.21 and can be purchased through Eventbrite and via the website www.brightonfamilypanto.com.


Christmas with the National Trust

• 25 Nov-2 Jan: Christmas at Standen

• 1 Dec-4 Jan: Sheffield Park and Garden Christmas Festival of Trees

• 2 Dec-1 Jan: Bodiam Castle Light and Celebration display

• 2 Dec-1 Jan: Bateman’s Rewards and Fairies

• 2 Dec-1 Jan: A Grand Tour Christmas at Petworth

• 9-10 Dec: Father Christmas and family fun at Birling Gap

• 10 and 17 Dec: Sheffield Park Christmas carol concerts

• 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 Dec: A handmade Christmas at Alfriston Clergy House

• 18-20 Dec: Christmas wreath walk at Saddlescombe Farm

• 26 Dec: Bodiam Castle Boxing Day Walk

Christmas in Eastbourne

• 1 Dec: Little Christmas in Little Chelsea shopping event with live entertainment, plus the first Neon Noel show.

• 1-3, 8-10, and 15-17 Dec: Neon Noel – a luminale light show against the Town Hall building – first show coincides with Little Christmas event.

• 9-17 Dec: Christmas Market in the Town Centre with a wooden chalet-style market, live music and entertainment.

• 25 Dec: Free Christmas Day concert at the Bandstand – the biggest Christmas day party in Britain and a long-standing tradition in Eastbourne.


Christmas at the Museum

Weald & Downland Living Museum, Singleton, near Chichester

2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 21-23 Dec: Meet Green Father Christmas

3 Dec: Tree dressing 10.30am-4pm

26-27 Dec: Christmas at the Museum 10.30am-4pm


Winter Wonderland Illuminations - 18 November-1 January

Drusillas Park, Alfriston

Drusillas are switching on their Winter Wonderland Illuminations with a light show at 4.30pm daily, synchronised to music. Young revellers can expect to see a host of magical creatures in the ice-capped kingdom, adding some extra sparkle to the festive season.


Christmas at the Royal Pavilion - Now until 2 Jan

The fires are lit, the candles are flickering, the spectacular Banqueting Room table is laid with after-dinner treats and the palace is transformed with festive decorations. Experience a magical Christmas at the Royal Pavilion on selected dates until 2 January.

Glow Wild Winter Lantern Festival - 30 November-17 December

Wakehurst, Ardingly, Haywards Heath

A magical after-dark walk through Wakehurst’s beautiful botanic gardens and majestic woodlands – brought to life with glowing, handcrafted lanterns. Thursdays to Sundays only.


Royal Pavilion Ice Rink - Now until 14 January

East Lawn, Royal Pavilion, Brighton

The Royal Pavilion Ice Rink is beautifully lit at night for a truly magical Christmas skate right in front of the Royal Pavilion. The unusual 130m² beginners’ rink with penguin skate aids provides a safe area for younger skaters to build their confidence whilst the separate 880m² main rink offers plenty of space for more confident skaters.


Festival of Christmas Trees - 1-3 December

The Church of the Holy Cross, Uckfield

This festival reflects the truly wide range of activities within the local community and, as in previous years, several thousands of people are expected to visit. Morning coffee with mince pies, lunches and afternoon refreshments available in the Belmont Centre adjacent to the church. Disabled access is available to both venues. Admission is free (donations welcome). The church is open 10am-9pm Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday and 11.30am-4pm Sunday, followed by a Christmas service at 4.30pm. 

Winter Wonder - 2 December

Seven Sisters Country Park

10.30am-12.30pm. Join Sussex Wildlife Trust in the barn for fun activities and art and craft. Make some nature-inspired Christmas decorations, pull on your wellies and woolly hat and explore the woods for a wild winter adventure. Warm up afterwards with a hot chocolate.

Suitable for children aged five to 11 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet in the Pump Barn behind the Visitor Centre at Seven Sisters Country Park, Exceat, near Seaford BN25 4AD. Limited wheelchair access to forest. Accessible toilets at the Visitor Centre. Booking essential.


Arundel by Candlelight - 2 December

Noon-7pm. Christmas trees adorn the local shops, restaurants and pubs, plus many private houses, creating a beautiful festive scene and in the town square a traditional tall Christmas tree donated by the Duke of Norfolk’s estate shines brightly against the early evening sky. Highlights include an all-day Christmas market, choral singing, tree lighting, vintage fairground rides and Father Christmas.


Bluebell Railway Santa Specials - 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-24 December

Enjoy a magical journey through the Sussex countryside to Horsted Keynes where you will find a Victorian fairground, a Christmas pantry and a special Elf House for younger visitors. New for 2017: meet the reindeer. Departures are from either Sheffield Park or East Grinstead stations. Booking essential. Tickets: adult £22, child (three-15) £15, toddler (one to two years) £9.


A Christmas Carol in the Music Room - 13-14 December

8pm: A Christmas Carol was the first public reading Charles Dickens gave of his own work. In November 1861 he came to the Royal Pavilion to read in the magnificent Music Room, and this Christmas you can experience what it must have been like to be there.


Boxing Day Racing at Fontwell Park - 26 December

Fontwell Park Racecourse, Arundel

Featuring seven exhilarating races, this is a wonderful chance to get some fresh air and walk off the Christmas pudding! Enjoy a winter wonderland with reindeer, an ice rink and festive food and beverages, as well as plenty of games stalls. Tickets start from £19 when booked in advance. Children under 18 go free when accompanied by an adult. Gates open 10.20am.



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