Sussex - Calendar


January

Wrap up warm & take the binoculars

Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve is a shimmering wetland beauty, and at this time of year huge numbers of wintering birds make an appearance: wigeons, shovellers, Bewick’s swans and mallards are much in evidence and you might spot peregrines, hen harriers and barn owls hunting from the skies.

Black-tailed godwits and wigeon, Pulborough Brooks, Sussex, England by Anne HarwoodBlack-tailed godwits and wigeon at Pulborough Brooks © Anne Harwood

February

Tuck in at Rye

Rye’s week-long Scallop Festival is a major fixture on the Sussex culinary calendar, when this gorgeous medieval town’s profusion of restaurants offer all sorts of scallop-themed dishes, and there are tasting events, live music and cooking demonstrations.

Scallop Festival, Rye, Sussex, England by Oliver CampionJust one of the many ways that scallops are served in Rye © Oliver Campion

March

Follow Pooh’s footsteps to the North Pole & Heffalump Trap

Wander in the wilds of Ashdown Forest and get happily lost on the heathy heights, where the Winnie-the-Pooh stories were set, and have a game of Poohsticks at the instantly recognisable Poohsticks Bridge.

April

Arty treasures

Head over to Chichester to see who’s being exhibited at the Pallant House Gallery, or seek out the Ravilious paintings at Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery.

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, Sussex, England by Pallant House GalleryBrowsing through Pallant House Gallery © Pallant House Gallery

May

Garden glory in late spring

You’re spoilt for choice, with some world-class gardens. For starters, though we know we’ve left some brilliant ones out: Nymans, Sheffield Park, Wakehurst Place, High Beeches, Great Dixter, Borde Hill, West Dean and Woolbeding Gardens.            

June

Meet the county set

Ardingly’s showground hosts the three-day South of England Show: heavy horses, livestock displays, equestrian events, hound events and large dollops of local colour.

July

Take in one of Sussex’s great outdoor museums

There’s plenty happening at the Amberley Museum and Weald, where craftspeople demonstrate all manner of bygone industrial activities. Also visit the Weald and Downland Museum, with its re-erected historic buildings from all over the Southeast and where you can sign up to courses on a wide range of rural matters.

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Sussex, England by Weald & Downland Open Air MuseumOne man went to mow, went to mow a meadow © Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

August

Cycle to the beach

Beat the crowds and take the cycle paths to Sussex’s best sandy beaches: from Chichester southwards to West Wittering and from Rye to Camber Sands.

West Wittering beach, Sussex, England by West Sussex WeekendsPerfect sands can be enjoyed at West Wittering © West Sussex Weekends

September

Rockpools & cliffs

Browse the rockpools at Cuckmere Haven and head up the Seven Sisters for the finest cliff walk in the Southeast. Stop for a drink at the Tiger in East Dean and walk back through Friston Forest.

October

No need to go to New England when you’ve got this

Autumn colours at Sheffield Park are quite something as the maples, tupelo trees, birches, eucryphias and swamp cypresses combine to make a spectacular show, enhanced by the reflections in the lakes. Lots of visitors, and the car park fills up; but you can come by steam train on the Bluebell Railway from East Grinstead or by bus from Brighton, Lewes, Haywards Heath or Burgess Hill.

November

Bonfire Night, Sussex-style

Lewes’s ear-shattering 5 November celebrations feature huge torch-lit parades in fancy dress, marching bands, a burning tar barrel race and huge effigies of Guy Fawkes, politicians and others who are ceremonially blown up at various firework displays all around town. And it’s not just in Lewes: throughout autumn (from September onwards) various towns in East Sussex have their own similar celebrations.

Bonfire, Lewes, Sussex, England by Mitotico, ShutterstockA man photographs the bonfire in Lewes © Mitotico, Shutterstock

December

Royal exotica

Take a pre-Christmas trip to Brighton’s Royal Pavilion: Indian fantasy outside, Chinoiserie to the nth degree inside. You’ll hardly believe your eyes. Then hire skates and try out the seasonal ice rink in front of the Pavilion.

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