2023 is well and truly under starters order and I know many of you are busy planning the months ahead. With that in mind, and with so many fabulous events and venues in our area, here is our guide to the best of what’s on in Sussex in 2023. We will be updating this post throughout the year so feel free to check back in.
Things to do in Sussex in January:
Wassailing is an Anglo-Saxon 12th night tradition. The purpose is to call upon the spirits to ensure a good harvest. The tradition varies and involves anything from partaking in warm spiced cider or ale to singing, dancing, and blessing the trees in an orchard. There are various wassailing events in Sussex including on the 15th of January at the Weald & Downland Living Museum in West Sussex and on the 21st of January at Michelham Priory in East Sussex. Booking is required for both.
Horse racing is always a great way of getting outside and getting your heart pumping. There is horse racing in Sussex at Plumpton Racecourse on the 18th and 30th of January and at Fontwell Park on the 16th of January.
Bexhill After Dark
If you’re missing the Christmas illuminations, head over to Bexhill on Sea on the 28th of January for Bexhill After Dark. This is a free light art festival focussed on the seafront. There will be light-up installations, Kathak dancing, and an illuminated parade.
Things to do in Sussex in February:
The South Downs Dark Skies Festival runs from the 4th to the 17th of February and there are plenty of places to enjoy the dark skies in Sussex. But on the 25th of February, head to the Beachy Head Story near Eastbourne for a closer look at the stars above using Eastbourne Astronomical Society’s telescopes. You should catch a glimpse of the Andromeda Galaxy as well as Jupiter’s moons, the rings around Saturn, and if it’s the right condition, Dog Star, Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull and the Plough.
Brighton’s half marathon
You’ve still got time to train for this year’s Brighton half marathon on the 6th of February. It’s flat, fast and finishes with a good leg stretch along the seafront.
From abseiling down the i360 in Brighton to romantic meals and pole dancing, there are lots of events organised in Sussex for Valentine’s Day. We’ll be posting more details next week.
Sussex Wedding Showcase
February really is the month of love in Sussex, and on the 26th of February Michelham Priory in East Sussex is hosting a wedding event in their Elizabethan Great Barn featuring dozens of wedding experts to provide tips and ideas for your big day.
Things to do in Sussex in March:
Eastbourne half marathon
If the Brighton half marathon was too easy for you, make your way to Eastbourne on the 5th of March for the Eastbourne half marathon. The race starts in Princes Park and follows the promenade towards Beachy Head and then back to Sovereign Harbour.
Walk This Way Festival
Bewl Water’s Big Dog Day Out
Calling all dog lovers. Head down to Bewl Water in East Sussex on the 25th of March 2023 for a day of agility, dog shows, dog stalls, and lots of reasons to paws for thought.
Rathfinny Technical Wine Tasting at One Garden Brighton
Compare and contrast the characteristics of magnum and standard-sized bottles of sparkling wine and learn why winemakers consider the magnum format to be excellent for ageing wines. Assistant Winemaker Robert Bacon of Rathfinny Winery will be leading this exciting and educational event. Thursday, March 30th at 6:30 pm.
Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green
Over the weekend of the 28th of April to the 1st of May, the Jack in the Green Festival in Hastings Old Town includes Morris dancing, drumming, concerts, ceilidhs and a grand procession as we all get ready to throw open the doors to summer.
Things to do in Sussex in April:
Arundel Tulip Festival
Although it is usually in April, the actual date of the Arundel Tulip Festival is yet to be announced as it is weather dependent. That said, this is a glorious event that takes place in the grounds of Arundel Castle with Arundel Cathedral in the background.
Chichester Art Trail
The Chichester Art Trail is a chance to see the work of over 150 artists across a number of different venues. This year the trail runs across the weekends of the 22nd and 23rd of April, and the 29th of April to the 1st of May.
Things to do in Sussex in May:
Brighton Festival runs from the 6th to the 28th of May and is a celebration of progressive mixed arts. The event includes an impressive programme of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, books and outdoor spectacles.
Steyning County Fair
Steyning High Street transforms back into an old market town with livestock, country crafts, rural fare, music and entertainment and a dog show. Dates to be confirmed.
Beer & Cider by the Sea
From the 19th to the 21st of May 2023, Western Lawns in Eastbourne will be home to this food and drink festival which will include 100 real ales, ciders and perries along with entertainment from live bands.
Things to do in Sussex in June:
Cuckfield Music Festival
From the 17th to the 24th of June 2023 you can enjoy a programme of musical events in a number of different venues in and around Cuckfield.
The Annual South Downs Way Walk
A nine-day walk that covers the full 100-mile length of the South Downs Way. The next walk is from the 9th to the 17th June 2023.
Henfield Festival of Gardens and Arts
A celebration of the community and culture of Henfield, this festival includes open gardens with artists’ work and live music in the village. It runs from 10th to the 11th of June 2023.
The Bexhill Festival of Music
From the 2nd of June 2023 to the 9th of July 2023, this festival showcases internationally renowned performers, live music, and local talent. The lineup includes country and western, jazz, choral, folk, rock and roll, and classical.
Things to do in Sussex in July:
Goodwood Festival of Speed
A motoring extravaganza and celebration of all things vehicular. Definitely one for the petrol heads, it runs from the 13th to the 16th of July and tickets sell fast.
Jazz, Gin and Blues
On the 30th of July, the sound of world-class jazz and blues will fill the air at the Enchanted Woodland at Loxwood Meadow in West Sussex.
Grab your wellies and head to Borde Hill near Haywards Heath for Gin Fest on the 8th of July 2023 and discover a selection of independent Sussex and worldwide gin distillers, with live entertainment all day.
Sussex Steam Rally
In the stunning grounds of Parham House, this two-day event on the 8th and 9th of July 2023 is a chance to see an impressive exhibition of steam traction engines and vintage vehicles.
Hastings Pirate Weekend
Dust off your parrots and hooks, because on the 15th and 16th of July, the Hastings Pirate Weekend is back. There will be live music, side shows, pirate acts, parrots, storytelling, quizzes, treasure hunts and lots of pirates!
Things to do in Sussex in August:
The UK’s biggest LGBTQ Pride festival runs from the 4th to the 7th of August and was described by Attitude Magazine as “Historic, inspired and unparalleled. Brighton Pride is one of the best international pride festivals, we love it”. Enough said. It’s epic.
Grab your sword and step back in time with this immersive Medieval and jousting festival at Loxwood Meadow in West Sussex. On the 5th and 6th, and 12th and 13th of August enjoy jousting, feasting, drinking mead, and more.
Enchanted at Leonardslee
Dated are still awaited of this family festival that includes fairies, unicorns, tree walkers, mermaids, theatre, falconry and food!
Things to do in Sussex in Sussex:
Rye Arts Festival
From the 15th to the 30th of September make your way to gorgeous Rye and enjoy music, drama, literature, talks, walks, film and fringe.
Steyning Food and Drink Festival
Confirmation of 2023 dates is awaited for the fabulous celebration of local produce that is Steyning Food and Drink Festival.
Floral Fringe Fair
On September 2nd and 3rd at Loxwood Meadows, West Sussex you can enjoy an eclectic collection of artists and makers, vintage stalls, street food, artisan food and drink producers, classic cars, plants, and flowers, all with a Steampunk and vintage theme, great music and dancing or just with a great hat.
Eastbourne Walking Festival
From the 15th to the 24th of September 2023, this walking festival promotes the health and wellbeing benefits of walking. This event has something for everyone whatever your age or mobility and is designed to introduce and inspire visitors and residents of Eastbourne to the incredible trails, paths, and stories of discovery throughout this Victorian town.
Hastings Steampunk Festival “Flight of The Jabberwocky” 2023
Oh yes! The Hastings Steampunk Flight of The Jabberwocky 2023 Event at the fantastic White Rock Theatre includes entertainment on and off stage, workshops, games, and exhibitors as well appearances from Dark Mad Hatter, Shane Milligan, Peaky Blinder, Peter Meril, The Silent Companions, The Traveling Freakshow and more! It’s on the 16th of September.
Things to do in Sussex in October:
The grape harvest
Dates for this will vary according to how ready the grapes are (and could be as early as September), but Tinwood, Leonardslee and various other Sussex vineyards offer a number of fabulous harvest experiences.
With a number of PYO farms across the county, some open for pumpkin picking early in October. You can find more information here: PYO pumpkins.
Things to do in Sussex in November:
London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally
An absolute favourite here at Sussex Exclusive, the beginning of November sees the RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Likely to be the 5th of November, confirmation is still awaited.
There’s a great selection of bonfire events across Sussex and you can find more details here: Sussex Bonfire events.
The Bubbles and Botanicals Fair
Ease into the Christmas season with this celebration of Sussex sparkling wine and craft gin and a chance to try before you buy! 18th November – TBC.
Things to do in Sussex in December:
Wrap up warm, and make your way to Wakehurst for their gorgeous Glow Wild illuminations or to Leonardslee for their stunning Illuminated display.
Brighton’s Burning the Clocks
A procession of lanterns that are then ceremonially burnt on the seafront, before a firework show to celebrate the winter solstice. Date TBC.
Christmas carols at Bailiffscourt
Enjoy a unique Christmas experience in the tiny candlelit Medieval chapel at evocative Bailiffscourt near Worth in West Sussex. Dates to be confirmed.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may also like: