Events and things to do in Sussex - Christmas/December 2015

PUBLISHED: 10:30 30 November 2015 | UPDATED: 12:06 30 November 2015

Sussex Wildlife Trust (photo Alan Price/Sussex Wildlife Trust)

Sussex Wildlife Trust (photo Alan Price/Sussex Wildlife Trust)


Our guide to the best events in and around Sussex, edited by Erica Gilbert

Drusillas Park Winter Wonderland

Enjoy the magic and enchantment of Christmas at Drusillas Park as the dazzling Winter Wonderland returns to the award-winning family attraction in East Sussex. Father Christmas returns to his cosy cottage and the dazzling Winter Wonderland Illuminations light up once again. There will also be the opportunity to hug a husky and meet two of Santa’s reindeer, Angel and Twinkle, on selected dates.

A National Trust Christmas

• Bateman’s: A Kipling Family Christmas | 28 November-31 December

• Bodiam Castle: Christmas at the Castle | 28 November-22 December

• Alfriston Clergy Decorated House | 28 November-20 December

• Nymans: A Topsy-Turvy Christmas | 1 December-3 January

• Petworth House: Cooking Up Christmas | 5 and 12 December

• Uppark House and Garden: A Servants’ Christmas | 5 December-6 January

• Sheffield Park: Victorian Family Christmas Concerts | 13 and 20 December

• Standen: Woodland Santa weekends in December | Throughout December

Sussex Pantos

• Aladdin | 2 December-3 January, 5-9 January | Emporium, Brighton:

• Cinderella | 4 December-3 January | Pavilion Theatre, Worthing: 01903 206206

• Cinderella | 11-27 December | White Rock Theatre, Hastings: 01424 462288

• Jack and the Beanstalk | 11 December-3 January | The Hawth, Crawley: 01293 553636

• Beauty and the Beast | 11 December-3 January | The Capitol, Horsham: 01403 750220

• Peter Pan | 11 December-17 January | Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne: 01323 412000

• Peter Pan | 16 December-3 January | Regis Centre, Bognor Regis: 01243 861010

• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | 19-30 December | Chequer Mead, East Grinstead: 01342 302000

• Jack and the Beanstalk | 20 December-3 January | Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham: 01273 464440

A Christmas Wish - 2-13 December

A spellbinding festive treat will arrive in Lewes this December, with Southover Grange Gardens being transformed into an enchanted park.

Each night (with the exception of 7th and 8th December) from 4.30pm onwards, the historic gardens will host A Christmas Wish – an immersive, magical and mesmerising mix of outdoor projections, illuminations, performance and art installations.

For tickets with special early bird pricing starting at just £7, go to

Glow Wild Winter Lantern Festival - 4-13 December

Wakehurst Place, Ardingly

Visitors will have the chance to see Wakehurst, the country seat of Kew and home to the UK’s largest living Christmas tree, transformed at night as if touched by fairy dust. They will be invited to wend their way along a lantern trail, through beautiful gardens adorned with thousands of lights, around trees dripping with lanterns. Tickets: £10 for adults, £5 for children four to 16 years and up to three years go free.

A Winter’s Trail - 4-24 December

Theatre Royal, Brighton: 0844 871 7650

Winter has enveloped the theatre. The snow is drifting, the icicles hang like glass – it’s cold, mysterious and beautiful. A teller of tales leads you through this glistening landscape as stories unfold, treasures are collected and magic is made.

This enchanting and very special promenade experience, for adults and young children to share, celebrates the joy of winter and the fun of Christmas time.

Age range: three to seven. Tickets: £6.50-£12.

Arundel by Candelight - 5 December

This year sees the return of the town’s magical lantern parade, with large paper lanterns, festive entertainment featuring traditional carols, Father Christmas, roaming musicians and a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. New for this year will be a selection of vintage amusements and rides, reminiscent of the traditional fairgrounds of yesteryear.

Icicles with Sussex Wildlife Trust - 5 December

10.30am-12.30pm. Winter is a magical time. Bring the family along to Seven Sisters Country Park near Eastbourne to celebrate this special season with Sussex Wildlife Trust. Create Christmas decorations inspired by icicles hanging from the trees. Make feeders to help birds through the difficult winter months ahead, and find out how other wildlife survives the colder weather. Enjoy a walk through the forest to dress a tree for Christmas and then back to the warmth of the Pump Barn for hot chocolate. Suitable for children aged five to 11. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking is essential.

Christmas at the Weald & Downland Museum

Meet Green Father Christmas 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 December (pre-booking essential). Tree Dressing on 6 December. St Wilfrid’s Santa Sprint and Stroll 2015 on 13 December. The Museum at Christmas, 26-28 December.

Winter Fair - 5-6 December

South of England Showground, Ardingly

Open daily 9am-5pm. Food and drink will remain at the heart of the event with a large and exciting new Street Food and Artisan Food Market. Attractions include a magical Santa’s grotto, reindeer, children’s entertainment and puppet show, music, festive cookery demonstrations, wrapping and wreath making and Christmas tree sales.

Admission: Society members and children under 16 free. Adults £5, senior citizens and students £4. Free parking. Save 10 per cent when you book online before the show.

Kent & East Sussex Railway Santa Specials

Meet Santa and visit the fantastic new hedge maze where everyone will have fun discovering some Christmas magic. Tickets start from £16 and the Santa Special Service will operate on the 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 22, 23 and 24 December.

The Sixteen - 6 December

Hosted by Friends of Sussex Hospices (FSH), Harry Christophers and The Sixteen return to the main stage at Glyndebourne this year. There will be audience participation in the more traditional carols. Proceeds from ticket sales to FSH. Further details: Marion Shepherd 01435 812343. Tickets: £10-£62 from Glyndebourne Box Office.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice - 9-12 December

The Barn Theatre (housed at Southwick Community Centre), Southwick

Following the death of her father, the painfully shy Little Voice (LV) withdraws into the world she shared with him, a world in which the great divas wear their hearts on their sleeves, singing out their emotions. When local talent agent Ray Say overhears LV singing, he quickly realises she has star potential and sets about exploiting her talent. Tickets: £11.

A Traditional Christmas Concert - 11 December

Frant Church, High Street, Frant

8pm. Kent Chorus with highlights from Handel’s Messiah and Vaughan William’s beautiful Fantasia on Christmas Carols. Tickets £12 (£6 disabled and children under 15) from Frant Stores and Britten’s Music Shop, Tunbridge Wells.

The De La Warr Pavilion 80th Anniversary Party - 12 December

On 12 December 1935 the Pavilion, the first public building to be built in the Modernist style in the UK, opened its doors to the people of Bexhill and beyond. Pioneering in design and structure it captured people’s imagination like no other building of its age and was soon dubbed “The People’s Palace”.

On Saturday 12 December 2015 we return to that day to recreate some of the excitement, entertainment, and atmosphere of this historic event. A family event. 10am-5pm free.

The Ragroof Players and The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra present The De La Warr Pavilion Anniversary Tea Dance, 5.30-8.30pm. Please dress in the style appropriate to the era! Tickets: £27.50.

Christmas in Rye - 12 December

A spectacular event with plenty of entertainment and festive fun for all the family to enjoy, featuring Christmas markets, an ice rink, carol singing, Father Christmas and his reindeer, a special Christmas tree festival, live music, dance and drama performances throughout the day, street panto, live jazz, a Christmas procession and more.

Lorraine Bowen’s Big Festive Sing-Along with Bells on - 13 December

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill: 01424 229111

5pm. Star of Britain’s Got Talent 2015 and Bexhill’s favourite entertainer, Lorraine Bowen (aka The Crumble Lady) returns to celebrate Christmas at the Pavilion with a big sing-along for all the family. Tickets: £14 adults, £10 for 16 and under and 65+.

Christmas at the Races

• Plumpton Racecourse Christmas Raceday, 14 December. With mulled wine and mince pies, you can get into the festive spirit before an enjoyable afternoon

of exciting racing -

• Fontwell Park Racecourse Festive Jumpers, 8 December: Get into the festive spirit at this massive Christmas Jumpers raceday featuring seven great winter races. Boxing Day Racing, 26 December: This event has fast become a Sussex tradition and the biggest fixture of the year as Fontwell Park is transformed into a winter wonderland. New for 2015 an ice rink -

ABC Animal Sanctuary Christmas Fayre - 19 December

Storrington Village Hall

11.30am-4pm. Come along and join in the festive fun. Santa will be there with his helpers. There will also be home-made cakes, crafts, mulled wine, carols, cards, gifts, jewellery, books and more.

Flown: Pirates of the Carabina - 19-27 December

The Dome, Brighton: 01273 709709

The hit circus show returns for Christmas after wowing Brighton Festival. Packed with thrills, laughs, extraordinary feats and fantastic live music, a stunning troupe of acrobats, aerialists, daredevil stuntmen and musicians will put on a jaw-dropping spectacle just for you.

But there’s a problem; no one is quite prepared: a flying aerialist is still ironing her dress, an acrobatic stage-hand gets tangled in the rigging, and is that one of the stuntmen dangling from the lighting bar?

Times vary. Tickets: £10-£22.50, under 16s half price, family ticket £60.


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