17 great activities for over 60s in Sussex
PUBLISHED: 16:40 06 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:51 07 March 2017
Find a new lease of life in your retirement. Hazel Sillver suggests 17 of the many activities on offer for 60+ Sussex residents
Chartered physiotherapist Claire Yuill offers four weekly classes in Platinum Pilates. This friendly physio-based Clinical Pilates class is dedicated to the needs of the over-50s, focusing especially on muscle tone, balance, osteoporosis prevention, posture, and reducing aches and pains.
Book Club, Steyning
The lovely High Street bookshop in Steyning village, at the foot of the Downs, runs two book groups. Both meet once a month to enjoy spirited discussions about titles they’ve read, which recently have included books by Anne Tyler and Ali Smith. The afternoon group chats over tea and cakes, and the evening group is fuelled by wine and nibbles.
Ballroom and Latin Dance, Bognor Regis and Felpham
Put on your dancing shoes and learn the waltz, the quickstep, the tango, the cha-cha-cha, and other ballroom dances with the That’s Rhythm dancing school. Both private and open group lessons are on offer. Complete beginners are welcome, and you don’t need a partner to attend.
Contact bridge is a fun, complex card game involving two competing teams of two players. Both new and experienced players are welcome at the friendly Chichester Bridge Club based in Bishop Luffa School’s grounds. Bridge lessons are available, and members can play at various weekly game sessions. The best night for beginners is the Wednesday meet.
Tai Chi, Littlehampton
The graceful, flowing movements of tai chi have been proven to slow the ageing process, prevent falls, reduce depression and high blood pressure, and boost heart health. This ancient meditative form of exercise is also incredibly relaxing. Learn how with local teacher Gareth Davy.
Cycling, Steyning and Pulborough
Enjoy cycling through the quiet, scenic lanes of Sussex and make new friends, by joining the Forty Plus Cycling Club. There are four local divisions, which meet regularly at different locations, often riding from a café to a pub. Both new and experienced cyclists are welcome.
Gardening Club, Hove
Born more than 50 years ago, Hove Gardening Club is still going strong. This green-fingered group meets every month to enjoy horticultural talks, competitions, social events, and outings to great gardens – the gang recently visited the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle. Hove locals love the club’s annual public plant sale, held once a year in May.
Social Activities, Lewes
The House of Friendship social centre is in Lewes High Street, next door to the Flint Owl Bakery. Meet like-minded people and enjoy activities such as computer training, exercise classes, snooker, and card games, as well as tea, coffee, and tasty lunches.
Swimming, Ringmer and Lewes
Learn the fabulous Shaw swimming method with experienced teacher Clare Hughes. This freeing technique re-teaches each of the four strokes using the principles of the Alexander Technique, which reduces pain and injury via good alignment, correct breathing, and tension release.
Samba Band, Brighton
Silver Sounds is a fun, colourful community samba band based in Kemp Town. You don’t need any musical experience to join in the daytime rehearsals, but you must be over 50. The group is led by drummer Paul Deretti Dodd, who is passionate about Brazilian carnival music.
Fitness Group, Hove
The Forever Fit over-50s training group, led by personal trainer Martin Petrie and his team, has been going strong for 10 years. The sessions are low impact, with a focus on balance, strength, and flexibility. Membership gives access to 25 hours of supervised group training per month, and an individually tailored gym program.
This social group for 50+ lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is a way to make new friends and share support. The gang meets twice a month for coffee, and sometimes enjoy group outings (such as trips to local gardens). New members are welcome.
Nordic Walking, South Downs and Ashdown Forest
Nordic walking teacher Peter Williamson offers courses for the over-60s in various parts of Sussex including Brighton, Hove, Shoreham, Eastbourne and Ashdown Forest, as well as social walks on the South Downs and in Ashdown Forest. The technique is an enhanced form of walking using poles that increases muscle use and creates a cardiovascular workout.
Computer Club, Eastbourne
Make new friends and get to grips with digital technology at the friendly Coffee Pot Computing group. At these small weekly meetings, you can learn how to send emails, surf the internet, talk on Skype and use portable devices.
Cricket, Hastings, Eastbourne and Robertsbridge
Dig out the cricket whites and dust off that bat. The Sussex Seniors cricketers play across East and West Sussex and have two over-50s sides, four over-60s sides, and one over-70s team. They play several friendly matches and host annual tours.
Walking Football, Seaford and Bexhill
Walking football is a slow-paced version of the game aimed at the over-50s and those with injuries. It is forbidden to run whilst the ball is in play and slide tackles are not allowed. Local teams play at indoor and outdoor venues across Sussex, including Bexhill Leisure Centre and Downs Leisure Centre in Seaford.
Keen walker Malcolm lives in Withyham near Hartfield and is a member of The Ramblers walking group.
I’ve always enjoyed walking. As a child my parents could not drive and we never had cars – walking was one of the ways we got about.
I’ve lived in Sussex for 27 years, and I’ve been a Ramblers member for 25 of those. As Ramblers’ East Sussex Footpath Secretary for 15 years – and therefore a member of their Area Council – I met like-minded people dedicated to the protection and enhancement of rights of way, and made many friends into the bargain.
My favourite parts of Sussex to walk in have to be the High Weald for its wonderful scenery, sense of remoteness and fascinating archaeology, and Ashdown Forest for its sense of wilderness so close to home. But of course I also love the South Downs – everyone in Sussex must surely love them, they are unique.
Hiking is a great activity for 60+ Sussex residents – as well as being free, it’s the best way to really see the county we love. It’s one of the most enjoyable and least stressful forms of exercise that individuals can do at their own pace, and it can be very sociable.”