Events and things to do in Sussex - September 2016

Seven Sisters Sheep Centre

Seven Sisters Sheep Centre - Credit: Archant

Our guide to the best events in and around Sussex. Edited by Erica Gilbert

Seven Sisters Sheep Centre

Gilberts Drive, East Dean

Sussex is set to lose one of its most popular and treasured tourist attractions, the Seven Sisters Sheep Centre, which is to close its doors to the public one last time on 4 September this year.

The Sheep Centre, which is owned and run by Terry and Pam Wigmore, has been running for 29 years and in that time has become an institution for many people in the local area and beyond. Sadly now though the flock is to be dispersed as the centre closes to allow Terry and Pam a well-deserved retirement.

If you have not yet visited the centre then this is your last chance! Open every day between 10.30am-5pm.

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The All England Jumping Championships - 1-4 September

All England Jumping Course, Hickstead

Hickstead introduced a brand new national competition, the All England Jumping Championships, in 2011 – and since then the show has gone from strength to strength.

Along with two different sections for amateur riders, there is something for every calibre of national rider from 1m to a £6,000 1.40m Grand Prix. Crucially, the show makes it possible to extend the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in the famous International Arena to a much wider audience than in the past.

There’s even an opportunity to jump some of Hickstead’s famous natural obstacles – a brilliant introduction for a future Derby star.

Ocean Film Festival World Tour 16 - 2 September

Corn Exchange, Brighton: 01273 709709

7.30pm. The Ocean Film Festival showcases the world’s most amazing ocean films above and below the water’s surface.

Brought to you by the producers of the Banff Film Festival UK Tour, this extraordinary collection of short films documents the beauty and power of the ocean. Tickets: £15, £13 concessions.

The Wind in the Willows - 2-4 September

Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, Haywards Heath

11am and 4pm. Ratty, Badger, Mole, Toad and the other colourful characters making up Kenneth Grahame’s classic story of life on the riverbank are coming to Wakehurst this September for a critically acclaimed outdoor theatre production which promises music, songs and laughter.

Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival - 2-4 September

The packed programme for 2016 will include lectures, trade stalls, observing (weather permitting), planetarium shows, family workshops, daily raffles and a chance to camp under the stars. On Sunday (4 September) there will be a range of children’s activities throughout the day.

Crowborough Open Studios - 3-4 September

The artists of Crowborough are busily preparing to welcome the public to their working studios, and exhibitors’ houses, for the town’s third Open Studios event. Exhibitors this year come from a wide range of artistic backgrounds, amateur and professional.

Coastal Currents Arts Festival - 3 September-2 October

Hastings and St Leonards

Coastal Currents Arts Festival presents a wide variety of events, exhibitions and performances as part of ROOT 1066, alongside the ever-popular Open Studios programme (3-4 and 10-11 September).

Into the tress - 3-4 September

Pippingford Park, Nutley, Uckfield

Into The Trees is a fascinating family day out taking visitors into the amazing world of trees, woods and forests and will open their eyes to the ways in which we can play, work, learn and explore among the leaves, branches and trunks. Taking place in the heart of one of the south of England’s most amazing landscapes, Into The Trees offers the rare chance to explore and enjoy protected ancient woodland in the Ashdown Forest. Tickets: family from £22, adult from £8, child from £5, under fives free.

Together the People - 3-4 September

Preston Park, Brighton

Together the People is an independent, greenfield, non-camping music and arts festival. The family-friendly festival is open to all ages and will be returning to Preston Park in Brighton this September, where it will host three music stages and see the return of the Incredible Moving Picturehouse.

This year the Soapbox stage hosts talks, debates, poetry, spoken word and acoustic performances from local contributors and beyond. The music line up includes Beach Boy Brian Wilson, former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, Britpop pioneers Suede, Peter Hook playing New Order and Joy Division hits and cult favourites The Horrors.

Magnard Ensemble Gala Concert - 3 September

Roebuck Inn, Laughton

In association with The Villages Music Festival, a gala concert featuring the Magnard Ensemble. Laughton-born Jon Farey (French horn) returns with his wind ensemble for a special fundraising concert in support of their debut recording, featuring a variety of chamber music for winds.

Tickets are priced at £15 (£12 concessions) and available at Laughton and Ripe Village Stores and from The Roebuck Inn – or 01323 811244.

An Evening with Jane Austen - 4 September

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Spend a magical evening in the company of Jane Austen’s most memorable characters, from the comic absurdity of the Dashwoods to Persuasion’s passionate Wentworth and Anne – not to mention the charming duplicity of the notorious Mr Wickham. Starring Adrian Lukis (Mr Wickham in the classic 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) and Caroline Langrishe. Includes an interval glass of white wine or soft drink in the dazzling State Banqueting Room.

Tickets: £32.50/£28.50 (members).

Heritage Open Days - 8-11 September

The UK’s biggest annual grassroots celebration of cultural heritage, offering a cavalcade of free walks, talks, tours, open houses, exhibitions, performances and demonstrations.

Across England, bands of bell ringers will ring the changes in church towers and cathedrals, costumed interpreters will bring to life historical heroes and heroines, stories will be shared, doors to hidden places unbolted and gates to secret gardens flung open.

Goodwood Revival - 9-11 September

Goodwood, Chichester

Get ready to step back in time to a golden era in motorsport. Expect to see breathtaking wheel-to-wheel action, thundering air displays, fur and frocks, tweeds and trilbies, style, glitz and glamour, and English eccentricity at its very best, all delivered in true Goodwood style.

Root 1066 Festival - 10 September-2 October

Marking the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings, ROOT 1066 International Festival promises to bring innovative and fresh perspectives on the history and legacy of 1066 from today’s best British and French artists.

ROOT 1066 will be composed of spectacular indoor and outdoor events across 1066 Country in East Sussex staged by internationally renowned artists and companies. Glyndebourne Opera, Chris Levine, Wildworks Theatre, Marcus Harvey and Turner Prize shortlisted Fiona Banner – plus many more – will present specially commissioned works, exhibitions and shows.

Sussex Wildlife Trust

Woodland fun for under-fives across Sussex

Sussex Wildlife Trust Nature Tots are back for more muddy fun and games this September. Bring your little ones along to weekly sessions from 10am-noon to explore the woodland with a range of hands-on bushcrafts including sawing, den building and making mud monsters in the trees. Child-led achievable activities are designed to boost confidence, physical development and creativity.

Nature Tots groups are based in Henfield, Crawley, Horsham, Brighton, Eastbourne or Beckley near Rye. Each week is themed around wildlife and the seasons, providing a wonderful opportunity to learn from nature. Suitable for ages three to five, all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival - 17-18 September

The Stade, Hastings

11am-7pm. Treat yourself to delicious seafood and regional wine at Hastings’ renowned Seafood and Wine Festival. With more than 40 stalls there will be plenty of locally caught fish to try as well as a range of dishes and tasty treats from local producers and restaurants, plus cookery demonstrations. Superb live music and street entertainment complete the lively festival atmosphere, making this an unmissable event.

Rye Arts Festival - 17 September-1 October

Music, book talks, historical walks, film, theatre, art exhibitions and children’s events – more than 60 events are packed into this year’s annual Rye Arts Festival.

Literary talks will be given by Joan Bakewell and Loyd Grossman and theatre will include a 10-person capacity theatre in a caravan that will offer two, 15-minute plays on the opening Saturday. Tickets from £5 to £20.

Battle of Britain Day - 18 September

Newhaven Fort, Fort Road, Newhaven

10am-4pm. A day filled with 1940s nostalgia and entertainment, commemorating the Battle of Britain. Featuring Maestro Big Band, Lancing Brass Band, living history displays and studio tempo dancers.

Tcha Limbergers’s Budapest Gypsy Orchestra - 23 September

Frant Church, High Street, Frant

8pm. Soaring music with an outstanding purity of sound, this brilliant seven-piece orchestra is led by violin and guitar virtuoso Tcha Limberger. Tickets: £18 from Frant Stores, Britten’s Music Shop, Tunbridge Wells or online at

This House - 23 September-29 October

Minerva Theatre, Chichester: 01243 781312

Set in the engine rooms of Westminster, James Graham’s This House strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes: the whips who roll up their sleeves and on occasion bend the rules to shepherd and coerce a diverse chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments. Tickets: £20.

Michaelmas Mop Fair - 24-25 September

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

11am-4pm. Could you be a castle servant, butler or gong scourer? Come along to the annual hiring fair where there are lots of medieval jobs to choose from. Plus meet the castle cooks and see what they’re preparing for the Michaelmas feast. Tickets from £8.20/£4.10 concessions.

Brighton Art Fair and Made Brighton - 23-25 September

Corn Exchange, Brighton

10am-5pm. A joint art, craft and design fair featuring 50 each of the best contemporary artists and designer/makers across all media. A varied show which will be full of exciting, original and unique work. |

Charleston Small Wonder Festival - 28 September-2 October

Charleston near Lewes, the former home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, celebrates the short story in September with its unique five-day festival, Small Wonder. Central to the festival is the Charleston Award for a Lifetime’s Excellence in Short Fiction, which this year goes to prize-winning author Ali Smith CBE.

Other literary heavyweights in the festival programme include Eimear McBride and Lionel Shriver and young writers Kevin Barry, Lisa McInerney and Petina Gappah.

There are compelling themes including refugees, sex and death and interactive elements such as a literary death match and short story slam. Small Wonder also hosts the BBC National Short Story Award and the festival finale will be Juliet Stevenson reading Poems that Make Grown Women Cry.

Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning - 30 September

Macmillan’s famous world’s biggest coffee morning takes place this September and every slice of cake eaten and cup of coffee poured has the power to help change lives for people living with cancer.

The actual date is Friday 30 September but coffee mornings can be held when and where it suits you and your guests, whether that’s at home, at work, or in the community.

The website has everything to set up a coffee morning – apart from the drinks and cake – as well as how to find a nearby event.

Endearing Freaks? The Martin Brothers Potters - Now until 13 November

Standen House and Garden, West Hoathly Road, East Grinstead

This exhibition of antique ceramics looks back at the Martin Brothers potters with works from collections all round the UK.

Best known for their quirky and eccentric Wally birds, they forged their way into the hearts of the British public over Sunday night tea in the Antiques Roadshow.