Festive events and things to do in Sussex - December 2014

Glow Wild at Wakehurst Place

Glow Wild at Wakehurst Place - Credit: Archant

A selection of Sussex events to enjoy this Christmas

1-3 December - Miracle on 34th Street

7.30pm. A white bearded gentleman claiming to be the real Santa Claus brings about a genuine miracle, spreading joy throughout New York City. Featuring all-time classic songs. Tuesday and Wednesday matinees 1pm. Tickets: £21.40-£25.40

Theatre Royal, Brighton: 0844 871 7677


2-4 December - Dracula

South East Dance and Mark Bruce Company

Most Read

7.30pm. Bram Stoker’s haunting, erotic tale is brought to life in a heart-wrenching and magical dance theatre production.

Jonathan Goddard plays the infamous vampire Count, whose sinister and ruthless ambitions challenge the very fabric of Victorian society. As his victims and opponents rally against him they must face the darkness and savagery within themselves. Recommended age 14 years plus. Tickets: £15

The Old Market, Hove: 01273 201801


4-7 December - Glow Wild

Lantern Festival at Wakehurst Place. New magical lantern festival. Wonder at the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree and marvel at the illuminated lantern trail. Decorate your own lantern to help light up the way as you explore the gardens by night. Enjoy festive food and drink and join the choir singing carols in the Carriage Ring under the tree. Late-night festive shopping for Christmas gifts. For more information visit www.kew.org/lanterns

7, 14 and 21 December: visit Santa in his grotto on the Sundays before Christmas. He will be in the stables – come along and leave a message on the wishing tree.

Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, Haywards Heath: 01444 894066


6 December - ABC Animal Sanctuary Christmas Fayre

West Chiltington Village Hall

12pm-3.30pm. There will as usual be lots of stalls selling all manner of items including jewellery, toys, books, tea and home-made cakes, arts and crafts and much more. Meet Buddy the Shetland pony as well as Lisa and Homer the pygmy goats (right).

The Sanctuary is in desperate need of volunteers and people who can help with maintenance and odd jobs, such as fencing, building and barn repairs.

For more information please contact Cheryl on 07584 359311 or email cheryl@abcanimalsanctuary.com


6 December - Sussex Wildlife Trust

Festive Beach Clean at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

10am-1pm. Make a difference – your local wildlife will appreciate your efforts in joining a clean-up of rubbish washed up along the beach by autumn storms. This is also an ideal opportunity to see many wintering birds at one of Sussex Wildlife Trust’s flagship reserves. Your achievements will be rewarded with hot soup at Lime Kiln Cottage afterwards. Please bring work gloves if you have them. Meet at Rye Harbour car park, no booking necessary.

For more information visit www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/events or contact Lime Kiln Cottage Information Centre on 01797 227784


6 December - Arundel by Candlelight

From 1pm onwards. Arundel by Candlelight features a Christmas Market with a wide range of stallholders who are hand-picked for the quality and variety of their products; the food and drink providers include seasonal treats such as roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and hog roasts.

Festive entertainment features traditional carols, Father Christmas, brass bands and local choirs. Her Grace, the Duchess of Norfolk, will officially switch on the Christmas tree lights.


6-7 December - Festive Food and Drink Fayre

The South of England Showground, Ardingly

9am-4pm. The South of England Agricultural Society has Christmas wrapped up this year, as it gets ready to finish the events season off in style with its annual Festive Food and Drink Fayre. Shoppers will be able to choose from an abundance of preserves and pickles, traditional mince pies, delicious sausages and hams and farmhouse cheeses.

Tickets: Adults £2.50, Seniors/Students £2, SEAS members and under 16s free. Tickets available on the door


6-7, 13-14, 20-23, 24 December - 40th Anniversary Santa Specials

Kent and East Sussex Railway

Families will meet Santa Claus onboard the festively decorated trains during the return journey to Northiam Station. Children should also look out for the elves, whose sacks are full of lovely presents.

For more information and bookings tel: 01580 765155 or visit www.kesr.org.uk


10-21 December - Snow Play What would you do if one year winter decided to stay and moved into your house? You would have icicles in the kitchen and snow all over your bed. Well that’s what happens in this snowy spectacular show where you are guaranteed a white Christmas, no matter what the weather or the time of year. Ages 3 years plus. Tickets £10.

The Capitol, Horsham: 01403 750220


13 December - Jools Holland

7pm. Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra will once again return to the Brighton Centre with his annual autumn/winter tour. British icon Marc Almond and Rumer, singer/songwriter and vocalist extraordinaire, will be joining him on stage. Tickets: £36.

Brighton Centre, Brighton: 0844 847 1515


4 December - Christmas at Ghyll Manor

Rusper, near Horsham Annual Christmas Cocktail Party. You will be greeted with a Champagne cocktail, a delicious range of canapés prepared by Head Chef Graham Digweed, and the chance to enjoy the fantastic jazz band throughout the evening. Champagne and canapés £20 per person.


14 December: Festive Afternoon Tea with the Slinfold Concert Band

Enjoy an afternoon of live music accompanied by a scrumptious festive Sunday afternoon tea. Featuring a repertoire of Christmas tunes and big band classics served with cocktail sandwiches and freshly baked scones, plus chocolate Yule log, ginger cake or warm mince pies. £19.95 per person, or enjoy a Royal Festive Afternoon Tea with Champagne for £24.95 per person.

For more information telephone: 03301 230 371.


16 December - Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Live from the Royal Opera House

7.15pm. Christopher Wheeldon’s full-length ballet based on Lewis Carroll’s book is an exuberant piece of storytelling featuring an instantly recognisable cast of characters, among them a tap-dancing Mad Hatter, a tetchy White Rabbit and a raucously bad-tempered Queen of Hearts. Tickets: £16.50

Connaught Studio, Worthing: 01903 206206


18-20 December - White Christmas

The Old Market, Hove

Mixing the tongue-in-chic retro glamour of a vintage supper club and cabaret with live music from the in-house band and guest performers, White Christmas takes you from the Fortiess through to the Noughties. With headline live entertainment, aerial artists, dancers, DJ acts, walkabout performers and cabaret, White Christmas will whisk all its guests back to glitzier times. Tickets: £16.50

The Old Market, Hove: 01273 201801


21 December - Lorraine Bowen’s Christmas Singing Workshop

10.45am. Cabaret artist and entertainer Lorraine Bowen will get you singing and swinging through festive acapellas, rounds and popular Yuletide songs and carols. There will be tips and tricks to inspire singing with confidence, great diction and seasonal cheer. You will round off the afternoon leading (with Lorraine conducting) an audience singalong in the auditorium followed by a screening of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Workshop: 11am-4pm, Concert: 4.45-5.30pm, Film: 6pm. Tickets £20

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill: 01424 229111


21-22 December - Robin’s Winter Adventure

A young boy’s incredible journey with a feathered friend. But will facing his fears turn out to be the greatest adventure of all? An uplifting tale of change, bravery and friendship told with puppetry, poetry, music and magical design. Tickets: £7.50. Family: £26.

The Hawth, Crawley: 01293 553636


23-31 December - Jack and the Beanstalk

This classic fairytale gets the Lyngo treatment, so expect lots of surprises, a gripping story and beautiful images as Jack sells his cow for five magic beans and finds himself in the land above the clouds. It’s a show for the over threes (and their giants) with something for everyone – enormous shoes, tiny houses, showers of silver and gold and a big, leafy explosion. Tickets £10.

The Capitol, Horsham: 01403 750220


27-28 December - A Christmas Carol

Ballet Theatre UK

2.30pm and 7.30pm. Come on a magical journey down the dark and twisting streets of Dickensian London. Along the way there will be joy, laughter and a little heartbreak in this enchanting blend of traditional ballet and captivating theatre.

Ballet Theatre UK’s retelling of the classic novel brings a cavalcade of colourful characters vividly to life, from Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser immune to festive cheer, to the three ghosts who help him understand the true meaning of Christmas. Tickets: £10-£18.50 (under 16s half price). Recommended for ages eight years and up.

The Dome, Brighton: 01273 709709


Christmas with the National Trust

• Alfriston Clergy House, Decorated House - 29 November-21 December daily (except Thursday and Friday)

• Bateman’s, A Kipling Family Christmas - 29 November-31 December daily

• Standen, Woodland Santa - 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 December

• Bodiam Castle, Christmas Lunches - 6-7, 13-14, 20-23 December

• Sheffield Park, Advent Ambles - 1-31 December daily

• Petworth House, A Country House Christmas - 6 December-2 January

• Nymans, A 1920s Christmas - 1 December-6 January


Best of the rest…

• Amberley Museum Santa Days - 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 December

• Plumpton Racecourse Christmas Raceday - 15 December

• Fontwell Park Boxing Day Racing - 26 December

• West Dean Gardens Visit Father Christmas - 13-14, 20-21 December

• Weald & Downland Museum Museum at Christmas - 26-28 December

• Worthing Museum Crafty Christmas drop-in - 20 December

• Bluebell Railway Reindeer Train Specials - (new for 2014) 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 December