Things To Do In Sussex 2023

Things to do in Sussex

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.

January

Things to do in Sussex in January:

Things to do in Sussex in January

Wassail!

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.

wassailing in Sussex

Horse racing

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.

Horse racing in Sussex

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.

February

Things to do in Sussex in February:

things to do in Sussex in February

Star gazing

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.

East Sussex Star Gazing

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.

Valentine’s Day

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.

romantic things to do in Sussex

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.

Sussex wedding show

March 

Things to do in Sussex in March:

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.

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.

Bewl Water dog show

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.

Hastings Jack on the Green

April

Things to do in Sussex in April:

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.

Arundel Tulip Festival

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.

Chichester cathedral Sussex

May

Things to do in Sussex in May:

West Sussex bluebell walk

Brighton Festival

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.

Brighton Dome

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.

Steyning West Sussex

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.

Eastbourne beer and Cider Festival
Photo credit to Graham Huntley

June

Things to do in Sussex in June:

rhododendrons in Sussex

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.

Cuckfield West Sussex

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.

South Downs Way

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.

Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex

July

Things to do in Sussex in July:

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.

Goodwood Festival of speed

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.

Jazz, Gin and Blues. Sussex

Gin Fest

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.

Gin Fest at Borde Hill

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.

Parham House Sussex

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 Hastings

August

Things to do in Sussex in August:

Worthing beach

Brighton Pride

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.

Brighton Pride

Loxwood Joust

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.

Loxwood Joust Sussex

Enchanted at Leonardslee

Dated are still awaited of this family festival that includes fairies, unicorns, tree walkers, mermaids, theatre, falconry and food!

EEnchanted Festival sussex

September

Things to do in Sussex in Sussex:

Cuckfield circular walk

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.

Rye, East Sussex

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.

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 and plants, and flowers, all with a Steampunk and vintage theme 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.

Eastbourne Walking festival

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.

October

Things to do in Sussex in October:

Best autumn walks in Sussex

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.

Sussex wine tour

Pumpkin picking 

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.

Sussex PYP pumpkin farms

November

Things to do in Sussex in November:

Duncton walk

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.

London to Brighton Run
Credit for photos to RM Sotheby’s Veteran Car Run

Bonfires

There’s a great selection of bonfire events across Sussex and you can find more details here: Sussex Bonfire events.

Lewes Bonfire
Photo credit to Carlotta Luke / Visit Lewes

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.

Sussex wine

December

Things to do in Sussex in December:

Sussex Christmas experiences

Christmas Illuminations

Wrap up warm, and make your way to Wakehurst for their gorgeous Glow Wild illuminations or to Leonardslee for their stunning Illuminated display.

Glow Wild at Wakehurst 2022

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.

winter solstice
Photo credit to Kaleido Shoots

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.

Bailiffscourt at Christmas

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may also like:

The 25 Best Places to Visit in Sussex

The Best Sussex Holidays

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