Events and things to do in Sussex - September 2014

Taken during the 2012 Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival. Festival goers can be seen queing for Dome E.

Taken during the 2012 Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival. Festival goers can be seen queing for Dome E. Copyright © 2011 Graham Green - Credit: Archant

A huge selection of events for you to enjoy across Sussex throughout September

Now until 20 September - Pitcairn

A new play by Richard Bean. 1789: The year of the French Revolution and the infamous mutiny on The Bounty. Rebellion and new ideas of democracy are in the air. After overthrowing Captain Bligh, Fletcher Christian drops anchor at the remote island of Pitcairn in the southern Pacific. He plans to establish a society of equals with his fellow sailors and their Tahitian followers. But the settlers are loathe to relinquish their privileges and vices, and the Tahitians dream of home. Tickets: £24/£33.

Minerva Theatre, Chichester: 01243 781312


5-7 September - Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival Tenth Anniversary

10am-6pm. This year will be Herstmonceux’s 10th anniversary Astronomy Festival and will be their biggest and best yet. For this special anniversary festival the programme has been expanded to include some exciting speakers. The keynote speaker for the opening ceremony will be astrophysicist Professor Donald Lynden-Bell.

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Earlier this year Herstmonceux invested in a brand new state-of-the-art mobile planetarium, so there will be planetarium shows on offer throughout the daytime sessions at this year’s festival. This is in addition to telescope tours and solar viewing if skies are clear.

The evening sessions focus on the observatory’s giant historic telescopes, and after the doors close for the night, the observing continues on the camping field, provided by local astronomy societies and enthusiasts. Last admission 4pm. For more information visit

The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux, Hailsham: 01323 832731


6-7 September - Nymans Family Artventures

Come and enjoy the popular family crafts sessions in the Potting Shed. Take inspiration from the beautiful gardens around you and get creating using all the materials supplied. Normal admission only.

Nymans, Handcross, Haywards Heath: 01444 405250


7 September - Dragon Boat Festival

Come and create some waves for St Catherine’s Hospice! A family day out with some Medieval-themed fun at Tilgate Park, Crawley. Thirty dragon boat teams take to the water in 40 foot long dragon boats for an exhilarating race across Tilgate Lake. The festival is free to enter, and donations are very welcome.

For more information visit


6 September - Autumn Migration Beach Walk Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. 9am-12 noon. Autumn brings us the amazing spectacle of birds migrating over the coast. This three-mile walk around the saltmarsh and along the beach will include stops at three bird hides. Meet at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve car park.


14 September - Wildlife Walk at Castle Water

10am-1pm. A 2.5-mile circular walk looking at wonderful wildlife in the fields and ditches around Camber Castle and visiting the bird hide at Castle Water to look for wetland birds. Meet at Brede Lock. No booking necessary for these events, but donations appreciated.

For further information tel: 01797 227784 or visit


7 September - Battle of Britain Day

Newhaven Fort

Return to the fabulous Forties on this day of celebration and commemoration. Plenty of live music from Fort favourites The Swingtime Sweethearts and Puttin’ on the Blitz barbershop quartet, as well as dance demonstrations and lessons. There will also be military vehicles, a vintage hair salon and a number of living history displays to get you in the mood.

Newhaven Fort, Fort Road, Newhaven: 01273 517622


11-14 September - Heritage Open Days

Every year on four days in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. Free of charge, it is a once-a-year chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.

From castles to city halls, tunnels to tower tops, police cells to private homes, workshops to woodland walks, the variety of places and ways to discover them are endless.

For more information visit


12-14 September - Goodwood Revival

Goodwood, Chichester

The Revival truly is a magical step back in time, celebrating the halcyon days of motor racing as it used to be, with all of the accompanying spectacle and glamour of the era.

For more information and tickets tel: 01243 755055 or visit


Drusillas Close Encounter Animal Experiences

Drusillas Park, Alfriston

Close Encounters are one-to-one experiences lasting between 30 and 40 minutes and involve feeding the animals and helping one of the zoo keepers with part of their daily routine. There are a range of experiences for you to choose from, including lunch with the lemurs, meerkat meeting, tea with the raccoons or beavers, snuggle up to a snake, penguin feeding and tickle a tarantula.

For more information visit


12-28 September - Rye Arts Festival

Rye Arts Festival takes place every September in and around the picturesque, historic town of Rye in East Sussex.

The festival attracts a stimulating array of authors, performers and artists, both high profile and emerging, national and international.

Event highlights include the Euphonia Company who return to Rye with their most ambitious project yet – a fully staged performance of Verdi’s tragic masterpiece, La Traviata. There will also be folk and jazz music, a series of classical concerts including a week-long residency by the Piatti Quartet, plus a packed literary programme including a talk on 24 September by the Daily Telegraph’s gardening writer Sarah Raven who will talk about the gardens created at Sissinghurst by Vita Sackville-West.

The English Concert, one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world, closes the Festival on Sunday 28 September at St Mary’s Church, Rye.

For more information visit


17-18 September - New Horizons Appeal Autumn Gift Fair

The Autumn Gift Fair offers something different to the normal high street scene with an exclusive preview night on 17 September and fair day on 18 September. This exclusive shopping event attracts discerning shoppers looking for quality and individuality.

The event helps to raise money for the local St Catherine’s Hospice that cares for terminally ill people over the age of 18 years and takes place in the beautiful grounds of the privately owned Knepp Castle in Shipley.

For more information visit


19-21 September - Borde Hill Outdoor Cinema Festival

8pm-10pm. Be the first to enjoy outdoor cinema at Borde Hill Garden and enjoy three nights of movie magic under the stars. Films include The Great Gatsby (2013 version) and The Grand Budapest Hotel. For more information visit Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath: 01444 450326


25 September-1 October - Small Wonder: The Short Story Festival

Small Wonder, Charleston’s annual short story festival, features a plethora of exceptional writers and events. All events take place at Charleston, the former country home of the Bloomsbury group. Tickets from Brighton Dome Ticket Office 01273 709709.

For full programme visit Charleston, Firle, Near Lewes.


26 September - Macmillan Cancer Support World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

It’s Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event. People across the UK will be holding coffee mornings, where donations on the day are made to Macmillan.

All you need to do is sign up and Macmillan will send you a lovely Coffee Morning Kit, full of everything you need for a successful soiree. It makes inviting your friends and raising the money really easy.

For more information visit


26 September - Sir Thomas Allen

8pm. Sir Thomas Allen, one the finest lyric baritones of the late 20th century and internationally renowned star of the great opera houses in the world, sings Schubert’s sublime Winterreise in the beautiful Frant Church. He will be accompanied by Joseph Middleton, piano, considered by The Times to be “the cream of the crop of the new generation”. Tickets £16, available from Frant Stores or online or by telephone from Paul Barber 01892 750665.

Frant Church, Frant, near Tunbridge Wells


27-28 September - Bodiam Mop Fair

11am-4pm. After the harvest and Michaelmas celebrations comes the mop fair, an annual hiring fair in medieval England. Come and see the medieval jobs on offer and see if you would make the grade to become a castle servant, labourer or gong scourer. Free event (normal admission charges apply).

Bodiam Castle, Robertsbridge: 01580 830196


27 September-5 October - Coast and Country Walking Festival

A brand new walking festival in Sussex and the South Downs National Park launches this September with a microbrewery inspired tour of the South Downs and even the chance to try Nordic walking.

With over 70 walks to try, ranging from short family walks to strenuous day-long hikes, the new Coast and Country Walking Festival covers Eastbourne, the South Downs and the Sussex Weald over two weekends of diary-packed events.

The Coast and Country Walking Festival is organised by both Eastbourne Borough Council and Wealden District Council.

Many walks are free of charge; however booking is required on all walks.

For more information or to book a place, visit


September Food Festivals

-Pevensey Food and Wine Festival, Pevensey Castle (30-31 August)

-The Big Nibble, Horsham (6-7 September)

-Horsham District Food and Drink Festival (6 September-5 October)

-Big Bite Artisan Food Festival, Hotham Park, Bognor Regis (13-14 September)

-Fiery Foods Festival, Victoria Gardens, Brighton (19-21 September)

-Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival, The Stade, Hastings (20-21 September)

-Parham Autumn Foraging and Estate Life (28 September)


22-27 September - Hay Fever

7.45pm. Misjudged meetings, secret seductions and scandalous revelations proliferate during one outrageous weekend in Berkshire. Noël Coward’s hilarious comedy of bad manners stars Felicity Kendal. Thursday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm. Tickets: £11.90-£37.90

Theatre Royal, Brighton: 0844 871 7677


24-25 September - A Doll’s House

7.30pm. Torvald and Nora Helmer have it all: a loving marriage, three beautiful children, and a secure financial future as a result of Torvald’s new appointment at the bank. But Nora has a secret, and the arrival of an unexpected visitor on Christmas Eve threatens to tear their lives apart forever…

Tickets: £16.

Connaught Theatre, Worthing: 01903 206206