The best virtual and home-based events in Sussex

WWT Arundel which is reopening to the public in July

WWT Arundel which is reopening to the public in July - Credit: Archant

Get your culture fix from the comfort of your living room with our guide to the best virtual events

Weald and Downland Living Museum, Singleton

From 6 July the museum looks forward to welcoming visitors back to enjoy their much-loved outdoor site, which is set in 40 acres within the beautiful South Downs National Park.

Entry to the museum will be through timed tickets which must be booked in advance by midnight the day before arrival. This applies to members as well as the general public.

There will be a takeaway service available on-site which includes hot and cold refreshments. Visitors are also encouraged to bring picnics.

Adults from £14, children from £6.50, children under five free.

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Arundel Wetland Centre

Catch up with spring’s new arrivals and boost your connection to nature at this lovely 65-acre site, with many types of habitat to explore.

This month look out for visits from woodpeckers, sandpipers and dragonflies.

Daily numbers are being restricted as a safety measure and members of the public and WWT members will have to pre-book online. Although play areas, cafés and shops will be closed, takeaway kiosks will be open.

Adult tickets from £12.45, children from £6.72, children under four free.


Beach Life, Eastbourne

Eastbourne’s Beach Life festival will undergo a change in format this summer, returning as a new drive-in movie event at Princes Park.

In response to social distancing measures, the two-day festival from 11-12 July will be taking Eastbourne to the movies, featuring two films a day on a giant screen, including Frozen 2, The Lion King, Grease and Mamma Mia.

Tickets are priced at £20 per car, and are available for purchase online only.


Music and Movies, Chichester

Chichester Festival Theatre and Chichester Cinema at New Park are working together to produce a drive-in cinema in Northgate car park over the August Bank Holiday weekend (28–31 August), alongside other outdoor events in Oaklands Park.

Arrangements will be put in place for the necessary social distancing, and all rules and guidelines prevalent at the time will be strictly adhered to throughout the event.

The Movies and Music Weekend will screen a programme of popular and classic movies to appeal to family and general audiences, who will watch them from their vehicles with the sound coming through their car radios (provision will also be made for bicycles and motorcycles).

Tickets will go on sale from 30 July at and when the full programme for the weekend will be available.


Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, near Horsham

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens reopened on 1 June and with 250 acres of park and woodland to enjoy, keeping a safe social distance shouldn’t be a problem. The management team is recommending joining as an annual member online or buying day tickets from the Leonardslee website to minimise queueing at the entrance. Toilets will be open and the café available for takeaways, with a click and collect service for the shops.

Dogs on leads are still welcome.

Adults £12.50, children four-17 £6.50, children under four free.


Denmans, Fontwell

Denmans is a contemporary country garden of four acres that lies on a gentle, south-facing slope sheltered by the South Downs to the north. It features plants from the Mediterranean and other warmer climates which blend with plants indigenous to West Sussex. Its informal feel is contained by carefully considered proportions, strong geometric shapes punctuating both the horizontal and vertical planes, and its indisputable link to the countryside in which it is nestled.

The tea rooms remain closed until further notice.

Entry is by reservation only, Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm.

Adults £9, £7 for children and seniors.

To book contact 01243 278950 or


National Gardens Scheme, across Sussex

NGS gardens in England began to reopen in June, with gardens that are re-opening listed on the website on a weekly basis.

All gardens will open in a system of pre-purchased tickets for a timed slot. Tickets must be purchased via the National Garden Scheme website.

Numbers of visitors per timed slot will vary from garden to garden, depending on size. These and all other relevant details can be found at a garden’s entry on the website.

Gardens will not offer teas or other refreshments, at some gardens people will be allowed to bring their own picnics. Access to toilets will only be provided in an emergency and so long as it does not involve access to a house.

The NGS website is also hosting virtual tours of many of its gardens, including several in Sussex.


Glyndebourne Open House

While sadly Glyndebourne has had to cancel all 2020 festival performances, the Open House festival throws open the opera house to everyone, everywhere, with a different production available to stream from 5pm each Sunday – so you can enjoy world-class opera in your living room for free.

Although details of the July programme had not been released at the time of going to press, the previous productions have included favourites such as Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutti. Black tie and Champagne picnics are optional but very much encouraged.


National Trust, across Sussex

From 3 June the National Trust began the long process of opening some of its gardens to the public. And among the first places to allow visitors were the grounds of Standen, near East Grinstead, and the historic gardens of Sheffield Park near Uckfield.

More recently added to the list were Rudyard Kipling’s former home Bateman’s in Burwash, the beautiful gardens of Nymans, near Handcross, and the magnificent 14th century stronghold Bodiam Castle. In all cases visitors need to pre-book 30-minute timed slots to go around the gardens – including if they are National Trust members. Each member of the party needs to have a ticket unless they are under five. New bookings are released every Friday, and bookings can be made up to 18 hours in advance.

Find out more at:


Hastings Adventure Golf

With golf courses across the country now open, it’s no surprise that its cheeky younger brother, the crazy golf course, is back.

Hastings’ seafront site on Pelham Place offers a choice of three courses – pirate, adventure or the classic crazy course as used in the annual world championships. Plus the ice cream kiosk and fish and chip counter are both open for takeaways. New opening hours are from 10am to 6pm.


Towner, Eastbourne

For six weeks in May and June artist Amy Leung has been leading live Thursday afternoon family craft sessions through the Towner gallery Eastbourne’s Instagram account @Hello_Towner.

The gallery has collected all the videos onto the Learn section of its website – complete with ingredients and activity sheets – so youngsters who missed the live sessions can learn how to make playdough, windchimes, bubble snakes, inks and experimental textiles.


Chichester Festival Theatre

Anyone struggling to find things to do with youngsters as lockdown turns into the summer holidays should visit Chichester Festival Theatre’s excellent Family Friendly web page.

Alongside details of Chichester’s Little Notes classes and a selection of colouring pdfs, there are links to some of the best online content available around the world, from Taika Waititi’s celeb-packed reading of James and the Giant Peach to David Walliams’ daily story times.


Shipley Arts Festival

For its 20th year the Bernardi Music Group’s Shipley Arts Festival has kept its programme going through online streaming.

On Sunday 12 July there will be a live stream from The Old Vicarage in Washington of a performance by the Bernardi Music Group, Stradivarius Piano Trio and soprano Julieth Lozano.

Updated programmes and virtual tickets for future concerts, including the world premiere of a Paul Lewis violin concerto by Andrew Bernardi on his Stradivarius on 28 June can be found at

Highlights from previous Shipley Arts Festival events, such as the premiere of White Storks by Helen Ottoway, are on the festival’s YouTube channel.