My Favourite Sussex: Chichester Festival Theatre’s Kathy Bourne
- Credit: Seamus Ryan
CFT’s executive director doesn’t like sitting still and loves paddleboarding, sailing – and a good pub lunch
In 2005 I moved from Brighton to Lavant, just north of Chichester with my husband and two daughters following his appointment as an anaesthetic consultant at St Richard’s Hospital. At the time I was managing a theatre company whilst caring for two small children. Within six months I had found my way through the stage door of Chichester Festival Theatre where, apart from a three-year stint in London, I have enjoyed 12 glorious years. I now have three children, two at school locally and one on a gap year.
Your earliest memory of Sussex? I was born and brought up in south London so very much a town girl, but I always looked forward to family visits to my grandparents who lived in Brighton. I used to love looking out for the Jack and Jill Windmills which were a sign that we are getting close. My earliest memory was a visit during the 1976 ladybird plague. My grandmother took my brother and I on an open top bus around the town and we were bitten to pieces.
Where do you go to unwind? I am not the best at sitting still and am happiest when I can get out and about. I love to take myself out for an early morning run, particularly in the summer months. There are so many routes from our front door. I also love our time by the sea. We paddleboard or sail from Chichester Sailing Club and spend many Sundays walking along the Sussex coast.
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Favourite Sussex walk? I love the variety of walks on offer to us in Sussex and the choice of the Downs or the sea. The walk from West Stoke to Kingley Vale and over to Stoughton is a firm favourite and is always best with a stop at the Hare and Hounds for lunch – they do a very good roast! Autumn is the perfect time of year for it and the colours in the late afternoon when the sun is setting are spectacular.
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Favourite place to spend time with the family? I have so enjoyed introducing my children to the magic of live theatre. They have come to love the eclectic mix of work on offer at CFT and an evening together watching a play provokes great discussion at the dinner table. We all love pub grub and a game of cards in front of the fire at the Fox and Hounds in Funtington is the perfect way to end the week.
Where is your favourite place to shop? I’m loving Design Vintage in West Stoke at the moment. Such a find! Not only is it fantastic for present-buying, it also has an excellent café to boot with seating both inside and out. The courtyard outside is a sun trap in the summer and comfortable seating makes it difficult to leave. I have also just discovered The Barn in Chichester which sells local produce.
Best Sussex night out? If it isn’t a night at the theatre (of which there are many!), we love to spend time eating with friends. We are likely to head to a pub and there are so many options made easier now that our eldest daughter can drive to pick us up. We love the Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay in the summer. There is no finer place to sit and drink gin whilst watching the sunset.
Best place to eat or drink in Sussex? The Crab and Lobster in Sidlesham is a firm favourite. We have never had a bad experience - the food is always delicious. The experience is more fine dining that casual eating which is perfect for special occasions. The staff are attentive and the atmosphere is first rate. You do have to book in advance though as it is extremely popular.
If you could move anywhere in Sussex where would it be? I genuinely wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Perhaps at some point we will downsize and move slightly closer to the sea, but where we live now gives us a great balance of sea and countryside and it is near enough to London to make evening trips to the capital possible. As we are north of Chichester, I drive to Petersfield and take the train. The hour-and-a-quarter commute is never a chore.
Your Sussex life in three words? Energising; balanced; complete.