Events and things to do in Sussex - April 2017

Borde Hill Easter Bunny

Borde Hill Easter Bunny - Credit: Archant

Our guide to the best events in and around Sussex this April.


Ticket to Rye - 25 March-23 April

Rye Art Gallery, High Street, Rye

Take a trip through Richard Adams’ whimsical and enchanting pastel works on paper. Enjoy this popular and much anticipated bi-annual show with its joie de vivre, humour and sheer delight in a country life.

To Linger in a Garden Fair - 25 March-6 May

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Green Tree Gallery, Borde Hill, Haywards Heath

The words may have been penned by the 14th century Persian poet Hafiz, but they perfectly describe the delicious anticipation of enjoying the garden after a long winter. This is an exhibition devoted to one of Britain’s most popular pastimes, featuring work in a variety of media. Open Tues to Sat.

Dark Side of the Moon: George Hardie - 50 Odd Years - Now until 7 April

University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Brighton

An exhibition of work by George Hardie, cover artist behind Led Zeppelin’s debut album Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Hardie – graphic designer, illustrator and educator – trained at St Martin’s and the Royal College of Art and worked as a designer/illustrator for more than 50 years, making illustrations for clients around the world. George Hardie taught illustration at the University of Brighton from the early 1980s until his retirement in 2014. He continues to supervise PhD students, having become Professor in 1990.

Constable and Brighton - 8 April-8 October

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton

A new exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery exploring John Constable’s time in the fashionable seaside resort of Brighton, where he stayed with his family between 1824 and 1828. Working between Brighton and London, Constable produced around 150 works in the town.

The display will bring together more than 60 of the artist’s sketches, drawings and paintings from his time in Brighton for the first time, in the place where they were created.


Tchaikovsky: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - 1 April

The Hawth, Crawley

7.30pm. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is joined by its principal associate conductor Alexander Shelley for a spring concert of spectacular classics. Opening will be excerpts from Mendelssohn’s take on Shakespeare’s magical A Midsummer Night’s Dream, including the dreamlike and ethereal Nocturne. The centrepiece of the evening will be one of the most challenging concertos in the entire piano repertoire – Tchaikovsky’s mighty Piano Concerto No 1, performed by Teo Gheorghiu. Tickets: £31.50, child £10.

Girl on Fire - 7 April

Fairlight Hall, Martineau Lane, Fairlight, near Hastings

7pm-9pm. Emma Stace Darling performs her poems set to music by the American composer Theodore Wiprud. Tickets: £10 to include wine and nibbles. Proceeds to the Hastings International Musical Festival.

The Best Thing - 13 April

Connaught Studio, Worthing

7.30pm. It’s 1966. The record player is on, her hair is bobbed and eyelashes curled: for 17-year-old Susan, life is an adventure waiting to begin. But what happens next turns everything upside down, and its repercussions will last for decades to come.

Step into the wordless world of Vamos Theatre for this bittersweet story of mistaken morals and broken hearts, 45s and beehives, where sexual revolution proves a hard and rocky path to tread. Tickets: £18.50, concessions £16.50, student £12.50.

The Vera Lynn Story: Celebrating her 100th birthday - 16 April

Winter Garden, Eastbourne

3pm. In this authentic stage biography, singer Samantha (known only by her first name) takes the role of Dame Vera Lynn recalling the highs and lows of her life, beautifully capturing Dame Vera’s warmth and spirit through fascinating anecdotes covering her life and career, and through the songs that made her famous. Tickets: £15.50.

The Railway Children - 18 April-22 April

The Capitol, Horsham

A wonderful new musical adaptation of E. Nesbit’s classic story by Stephen Kingsbury and Ben Sleep. Join Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis on the adventure of a lifetime as they tell the story of how they became the Railway Children. Tickets: £15-£17.50.

Banff Mountain Film Festival - 20 April

The Dome, Brighton

7.30pm. Experience an extraordinary collection of short films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival. Follow the expeditions of some of today’s most incredible adventurers, see amazing footage of adrenaline-packed action sports and be inspired by thought-provoking pieces shot from the far flung corners of the globe. Tickets: £15.50.

Forty Years on by Alan Bennett - 21 April-20 May

Festival Theatre, Chichester

Directed by Daniel Evans and starring Richard Wilson. 1968. A public school on the South Downs. The Headmaster is retiring and today is his last day. His final task is to appear in the school play. The problem is he’s yet to read the script. It soon becomes clear that Speak for England, Arthur is not quite the celebration of school tradition the headmaster might have expected.

A glorious comedy, Alan Bennett’s first play is a hilarious and at times unnerving enquiry into Englishness, nostalgia and identity. Tickets from £10.

The Crucible - 24-29 April

Theatre Royal, Brighton

7.45pm. Starring Charlie Condou (Coronation Street) and Victoria Yeates (Call The Midwife). In a small 17th century New England town a children’s game has terrifying consequences as allegations of witchcraft break out. Quickly caught up in an unstoppable flow of paranoia, accusation and manipulation, the community is consumed by a climate of suspicion where no person is safe from their neighbour. Thurs and Sat matinees 2.30pm. Tickets: £13.75-£35.75.

Claire Martin Accompanied by Joe Stilgoe - 28 April

Frant Church, High Street, Frant

8pm. World-renowned jazz singer Claire Martin OBE presents an intimate evening of beautiful songs. Piano virtuoso Joe Stilgoe, who has worked with the cream of British jazz including Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, will accompany Claire. A fundraising concert in aid of the upkeep of Frant Church. Tickets: £20.


Pooches on the Prom - 26 March

Brighton and Hove seafront

11am start. The Martlets’ sponsored dog walk along Brighton and Hove seafront will start at the dog-friendly Big Beach Café with the choice of a stroll to the Peace Statue and back or taking the longer walk to Brighton’s Palace Pier.

Registration £7 per dog, although all the dogs taking part are being asked to raise as much sponsorship as possible (minimum £20) or to give a set donation of £20.

Easter at Borde Hill - 8-23 April

Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath

Borde Hill Garden is offering a free programme of Easter events, games, performances and tasks for children from three to 11 years old, included in the price of an entrance ticket. In addition to a daily trail around the garden there are a variety of additional activities on offer on selected days.

Sussex Wildlife Trust

11-13 April: Wild Woodies Spring Holiday Clubs - Holiday clubs for children aged between six and 11 years old are being held in Henfield, Seaford, Crawley and Brighton during the Easter holidays. Booking is essential, costs apply. To find out more about these days of fantastic outdoor activities for children with a wildlife theme please visit the website.

12 April: Spring Spectacular - 10.30am-3pm ‘drop in’ to our spring spectacular event (no need to book) at Seven Sisters Country Park for a day of family fun with the Sussex Wildlife Trust. There will be art and craft activities in The Pump Barn and a walk into Friston Forest to be inspired by nature. This event is suitable for children aged between five and 11 years old accompanied by an adult. Donations appreciated.

West Dean Gardens Easter Trails - 13-17 April

West Dean Gardens, near Chichester

9am-5pm. Children can take part in a traditional Easter Trail around the award-winning West Dean Gardens. Easter Trails run throughout the day, last entry 4pm.

Horsham Piazza Italia - 14, 15 and 17 April

Horsham’s Easter Italian Festival

The festival features an Italian market and themed entertainments, kids’ activities and fashion show, plus super cars over three days including Ferraris, Minis, Lamborghinis, Maseratis as well as classic Alfas, Fiat 500s and Scooters.

Giant Anteaters and Safari Express

Drusillas Park, Alfriston

Spring has certainly sprung in the zoo, bringing with it the welcome arrival of little bundles of fur and feathers. Amongst the baby boomers of 2017 are a silvery marmoset and a beautiful baby saki monkey. The zoo is also expecting some new arrivals with giant anteaters taking their place along the zoo route this spring, for the first time at the park.

Drusillas’ brand new Safari Express train will also be on the tracks in time for the holidays. The exciting African-themed safari adventure will transport visitors around the park whilst surprising them with fun features along the way.

National Trust Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt - 14-17 April

This year, the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt is inviting families to unleash their inner explorers on egg hunts through muddy woodlands, around mystical lakes, along nature trails and through spring gardens blooming with life.

The London Harness Horse Parade - 17 April

South of England Showground, Ardingly

This annual event is an amalgamation of The London Cart Horse Parade (first started in 1885) and the London Van Horse Parade (launched in 1904) and depicts transportation through the ages. This makes it one of the oldest and most well-loved carriage-driving events in the country with generations of carriage-driving families making the annual Easter pilgrimage to the parade.

The Garden Show at Firle Place - 21-23 April

Firle, near Lewes

Open daily 10am-5pm. Celebrating the 10th spring Garden Show at Firle Place. Plenty of garden-related goods, artisan designs, homeware products, garden furniture, sundries, fashion accessories and the most delicious country foods. To mark this anniversary there are daily tree plantings and new for 2017 various talks by the show exhibitors and other garden experts.

Tulip Festival - 21 April-6 May

Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst near Wadhurst

Open every day 10am-5pm. In late April/early May, Pashley Manor’s spectacular Tulip Festival sees the garden carpeted with over 30,000 tulips, creating stunning scenes for visitors to enjoy. Admission: £10.50 entrance, no group concessions.

Spring Garden & Leisure Show - 30 April-1 May

South of England Showground, Ardingly

Open daily 9am-5pm. Visitors can enjoy lots of new outdoor pursuits and interactive entertainment, pick up on some top gardening tips, get creative and indulge in some fantastic retail therapy. New this year is the UK’s first interactive mobile caving system, the only one of its kind in the country and probably the most realistic artificial caving experiences you will get above ground with more than 90ft of tunnelling inside including two levels, sumps, stalagmites and squeezes.