17 exciting thigs to do in Sussex this October

Spellbinding Halloween at Borde Hill. Photo: Alex Rickard

Spellbinding Halloween at Borde Hill. Photo: Alex Rickard - Credit: Alex Rickard Photography

You’ll find heaps of inspiration here, from opera at the drive-in to big band sounds from Joe Stilgoe and Friends, and era-defining art from Quentin Blake

Autumn Show and Game Fair

Autumn Show and Game Fair - Credit: Archant


10 October-7 November

Cecilia Charlton: Aurora

Candida Stevens Gallery, Chichester

London-based American artist Cecilia Charlton creates technicolour, highly-patterned textile works that reference personal and cultural histories while questioning notions of medium by bringing together traditions of painting, craft, abstraction, and folk art.

Aesthetically revolving around formal references to abstraction, the works’ titles often reveal autobiographical content. Drawing on her upbringing within a needlecraft-based family, her personal and social history, as explored through textiles, combines with a knowledge base and passion for abstraction and colour theory.

Admission: free

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3-24 October

Piers Ottey: West Coast (Cannery Row to Yosemite)

Zimmer Stewart Gallery, Arundel

London-born Piers Ottey trained at Chelsea School of Art in the 1970s and has been painting professionally ever since. He moved to West Sussex in 1980 and set up The Mill Studio Art School in 1994.

Painting mostly in oils, he is often inspired by his travels - as in this exhibition of landscape paintings of California from Monterey to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, including San Francisco.

Admission: free

Until 7 January 2021

Ron Arad 69 Newlands House Gallery, Petworth

Ron Arad’s work has been featured in dozens of prestigious public collections and has been widely exhibited in record-breaking shows, including at the MoMA (NYC), the V&A (London) and the Centre Pompidou (Paris). This major retrospective of the pioneering artist, architect and industrial designer’s work is the gallery’s first exhibition devoted to design. It will include pieces from the 1980s and 1990s alongside more recent works, including unseen releases for 2020 presented against the backdrop of the gallery’s Georgian townhouse setting.

Admission: £12.50

Until Sunday 1 November 2020

An Outbreak of Talent: Bawden, Marx, Ravilious, and their Contemporaries

Pallant House, Chichester

Some of the most respected British artists of the 20th century came together in the 1920s under the tutelage of Paul Nash, when Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Enid Marx studied together at the Royal College of Art. These artists began to form friendships, some of which would last a lifetime.

This display coincides with the gallery’s major exhibition Barnett Freedman: Designs for Modern Britain.

Admission: adults £12.50, under-18s free

19 September-16 May 2021

Art, Life and Us: Christine Binnie, Jennifer Binnie and the Towner Collection

Towner, Eastbourne

Christine Binnie and Jennifer Binnie have a long-standing connection with the Eastbourne area and grew up in Wannock, attending Eastbourne College of Art and Design which firmly established their identities as artists.

They have both developed a strong connection to the rural and downland landscape which has influenced their work in performance art, pottery (Christine) and painting (Jennifer). Along with Wilma Johnson, the sisters are founding members of The Neo Naturists, a performance art collective which evolved in the early 1980s in London.

This exhibition will feature their own work alongside their collections from the gallery’s collection to guide the visitor through a journey exploring themes of nature, the body, meaning and the cycles of life.

Free entry

Open now

Quentin Blake: We Live in Worrying Times

Hastings Contemporary

Sir Quentin Blake returns to Hastings Contemporary with a prophetic show of new drawings, paintings, and a large-scale mural. At the centre of the exhibition is The Taxi Driver, a 30 x five-foot mural, completed by Blake in a single day at Hastings Contemporary, that pays homage to Picasso’s Guernica, transposing its anti-war sentiment to the present day.

Also exhibiting at the gallery now is Victor Pasmore: Line and Space. His pioneering development of abstract art is considered to be one of the most significant achievements in 20th century British art, and this retrospective will include some never-before-seen pieces made close to his death in 1998.


10-25 October

In the Market for Love

Glyndebourne, near Lewes

After a successful run of outdoor performances in the summer, Glyndebourne is offering another chance to catch Jacques Offenbach’s one-act French farce. The story sees romance blossom between a handsome young cook and the charming orphan Ciboulette (played by Danielle de Niese). Pre-performance dining options are available and you can reserve a space if you prefer to bring a picnic. All dining options must be booked in advance.

Tickets: from £40

10 October

Joe Stilgoe and Friends

Brighton Open Air Theatre

Following the huge success of his show at the venue in July, Brighton-based jazz musician Joe returns to bring the summer season to a close, this time accompanied by some special guests. Lauded as a true modern-day entertainer, Stilgoe has perfected the art of inter-song repartee and has toured the world with his band and as a solo act. His seven acclaimed albums include a 1950s-style reworking of 1980s hits and an acclaimed Christmas album.

Admission: £25

READ MORE: 4 of the best National Trust gardens to see in autumn

29 October

A Night in with Nigella Lawson

Brighton Dome (livestream event)

Join Nigella for this exclusive online event as she shares her kitchen stories to celebrate the publication of Cook, Eat, Repeat - a toothsome combination of recipes intertwined with narrative essays about food, all written in Nigella’s engaging and insightful prose.

Live in conversation, Nigella will explore how cooking is a personal, intuitive and connecting process, how one meal idea leads to another, and how one ingredient can spawn a multitude of ideas and recipes.

Admission: £15 unique ticket for livestream, £26 for ticket and copy of Cook, Eat, Repeat

28 October

Paul Sinha: Hazy Little Thing Called Love

The Hawth, Crawley

The comedian, broadcaster, and quiz-playing star of The Chase comes to Crawley with his contemplation of that most human of virtues, as his teaser for the show reveals: “Thus far, Paul has lived his life content in the understanding that stability and emotional happiness were lovely ideas but not really for him. Nonetheless, several decades of cheerfully bearing witness to the narratives of others can slowly change a man. And so can a prosecco-fuelled Christmas.”

Admission: £17


3 and 4 October

Autumn Show and Game Fair

South of England Showground, Ardingly

The Autumn Show & Game Fair is a great day out for all ages - even the family dog - with countryside sports, displays and demonstrations, and mouth-watering food and drink stalls – all designed to celebrate the joys of agriculture, countryside pursuits and 2020’s harvest.

Attractions include equine and falconry displays, the popular pumpkin trail, farm animals, a traditional funfair and kite-flying

Admission: adults £11.70 for adults, under-16s free. Online pre-booking encouraged but there will be some tickets available to buy on the door.


3 October

Walk the Hospice Trail Day 26 different start point locations across Sussex

Each year, on Walk the Hospice Trail Day, Friends of Sussex Hospices invite walkers to take on a section of the trail and raise funds for Sussex’s 13 hospice care providers. This year’s self-guided walks can start at any time on the morning of Saturday 3 October. Walkers need to download the AllTrails app, pick their walk and register their choices on the Sussex Hospices Trail website below. Donations are voluntary and may go direct to the local hospice. Walkers on this trail, which is unique to Sussex, have raised more than £100,000 since its inception in 2016.


10 and 11 October

1066 Weekend

Battle Abbey

Discover the story of one of the most famous events in British history with theatrical performances throughout the day and follow a specially-created trail across the battlefield to learn more about the conflict and life in the 11th century.

Watch as birds of prey swoop and soar in awe-inspiring falconry displays and find out if you would have had what it took to join William or Harold’s armies as you try your hand at archery, before exploring the abbey ruins and enjoying stunning views from the gatehouse.

Admission: adult £13.60, children £12.20, pre-booking essential.

17 October-1 November

A Spellbinding Halloween

Borde Hill, near Haywards Heath

Budding witches and wizards are invited to put their wand-waving skills to the test to become a fully-fledged expert in magic. Complete all the challenges on a story trail to help Ballimore the wizard change his bewwitched friend back into a boy , and on selected days, visit resident witch Magica de Spell in her lair and say the magic word to receive a prize.

Admission: £3 per trail plus admission, to include a spellbinding prize (FREE to Friends).

There’s also a full programme of activities throughout half-term including pumpkin-carving and whittling your own magic wand.

16-18 October

Goodwood SpeedWeek (livestream event)

Goodwood’s new venture is a new, one-off interactive entertainment experience for 2020. Combining the greatest elements of Goodwood’s headline motorsport events, SpeedWeek will be streamed live from behind closed doors to a global audience.

The host of well-known presenters include broadcaster and BBC Radio 2 DJ Dermot O’Leary and Grand Prix winner Mark Webber. The three full days of live action broadcast from Goodwood Motor Circuit will be combined with pre-recorded footage and interactive features on a dedicated Goodwood streaming site. Viewers will be able to take part in competitions, polls, quizzes and votes, predicting the results of each race, creating their own digital ‘garage’, joining virtual paddock tours and much more, with winners, champions and prizes awarded along the way.

Admission: free. Sign up for alerts and more details at www.goodwood.com/motorsport/goodwood-speedweek

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