As the days grow shorter and our thoughts turn to the festive season, the historic towns and villages of Sussex look dazzling decked in fairy lights. Sadly this year, many events have been cancelled, however, there are still some Christmas Markets in Sussex where the mulled wine flows and chestnuts are roasting.

Carols by Candlelight, Bailiffscourt, Climping, West Sussex

above: Carols by Candlelight at Bailiffscourt, Climping, top image: Arundel at Christmas by Nigel Cull Photography

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If you can’t visit these events due to isolating or social distancing you may like to check out our Sussex Gift Guide. Our guide is packed with local arts, crafts, food, wine, experiences and Sussex inspired gifts from Sussex people and businesses. All worthy of your support at this time. 

What’s on in West Sussex this Christmas

(scroll down for East Sussex)


Winter Wonderland at South of England Showground Ardingly

5-6 December 2020 | Adults  £6.75, senior citizens/students £5.85, under 16s go free

Another fabulous Christmas market in Sussex is held annually in the South of England Showground. A giant snow globe, chocolate workshop and vintage carousel transform the South of England Showground into a winter wonderland. Santa will be holding court in his magical grotto and there’ll be clothing, accessories, gifts and greetings pavilions. More than 60 food stalls will tempt your tastebuds.

South of England Showground


Shopping at West Dean Gardens


The gardens and gift shop are open at West Dean during December 2020

You’ll find many unique gifts, not available on the high streets, as well as beautiful festive decorations and cards. Or give an experience and buy a voucher for a Gardens visit with afternoon tea.

West Dean Gardens


Horsham Christmas Market

5th, 12th, 18th, 20 & 24th December 2020

Discover festive goodies and delicious Sussex street food from local suppliers and traders while listening to the music played from the bandstand at Horsham Christmas Market at the Carfax. 

Horsham Christmas Market.


Christmas at Amberley Museum

5th & 6th, 12th & 13th, 19th & 29th December 2020

Father Christmas is visiting Amberley Museum on selected weekends in December when the museum will be open from 10am to 4pm. Explore the 36-acre site and festive activities with market stalls, children’s crafts and a family Christmas trail.

Pre-Booking is required to see Father Christmas.

Website | Book your visit with Santa


Bluebell Railway SteamLights

14th November 2020 to 5th January.2021 | Third-class compartments (up to 8 people) – £120.00  First-class compartments (up to 6 people) – £150.00

Bluebell Railway in Uckfield will light up the winter nights with thousands of colourful lights orchestrated to music and with festive scenes along the way amongst the trees and clearings.

You can even add a hamper to your journey for a small extra fee

Bluebell Railway SteamLights


Christmas Craft Fayre & Santa’s Grotto, Storrington


Just one of the many Christmas markets in Sussex held each year with festive gifts and decorations aplenty. Free parking and free entry. Children can also visit Santa (payable on the day).


Weald and Downland Living Museum Christmas Market

CANCELLED FOR 2020 but you can still meet Father Christmas

Find that perfect gift and enjoy a great day out at this bustling Christmas Market with over 150 stands selling arts, crafts, food, unusual gifts and much more. As well as craft and trade stands, there will be festive music and tasty seasonal treats to sample and buy.

Prices: £8 for adults (over 18s), free children aged 0-17 years, free disabled people (plus a single helper). Entry is free for Annual Members. Tickets include admission to both the Museum and to the Christmas Market.



The Kennels’ Christmas Market, Goodwood


A fabulous collection of hand-picked stalls selling with local produce, festive gifts and artisan food and drink. It’s also a rare chance to buy produce from the Goodwood Estate not normally available to the public. This is a relatively small market but the stalls are excellent.

Admission is complimentary but non-members must pre-register here.

The Kennels’ Christmas Market


Experience Christmas in Bognor Regis


Christmas in Bognor Regis, West Sussex

There’s a wonderful range of events in Bognor Regis this Christmas including an exciting mix of street performers, live music, late-night shopping, Santa Express train rides and a live character hunt! You’ll find a full list of events on the Love Bognor Regis website.



Ice Skating on the Prom, Bognor Regis


Ice Skating is back, bigger and better with an ice rink covering 600 square metres of real ice on Place St Maur des Fosses. Santa’s Grotto, children’s rides, Christmas market chalet, a life-size snow globe, a German-style swing grill and a bar all add to the festive cheer in Bognor Regis this Christmas.

Ticket prices are £8.50 for adults, £7.50 for children and seniors, £7.50 for students (with a valid student card) and £27 for a family of four.

Ice Skating on the Prom


Stir-up Sunday, The Spread Eagle, Midhurst


Join Historic Hotel’s Executive Chef Martin Hadden on the last Sunday before advent in stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst making a wish, as he shares the secrets about how to make the perfect Christmas pud in this festive and fun workshop.

This is followed by either a delicious two-course roast lunch or a festive afternoon tea, while The Spread Eagles elves will carefully wrap and dress the puddings so that they are ready to be taken home to be cooked on Christmas Day.

Stir-up Sunday

Stir-up Sunday at The SPread Eagle Hotel, Midhurst, West Sussex


Christmas Wreath Workshop at The Spread Eagle, Midhurst


Join a two-hour workshop with local florist Kate Smith with morning tea and coffee and homemade biscuits, followed by a two-course lunch with a glass of wine. Price £55 per person (all materials included).

Christmas Wreath Workshop


Arundel by Candlelight, Arundel


A well-loved Sussex Christmas market that rivals many of those found in our larger cities for the quality and range of hand-picked stall-holders including seasonal treats from roasted chestnuts and mulled wine to hog roasts. Christmas trees light-up the shops, restaurants and pubs, creating a beautiful festive scene, while in the town square stands a traditional tall Christmas tree (donated by the Duke of Norfolk’s estate).

Arundel by Candlelight

Arundel by Candlelight


Après Ski Party, Goodwood


Don your ski gear and most colourful winter woollies and head out to the Putting Green at Goodwood for a festive celebration. Dance the night away with the DJ and enjoy the toffee vodka luge, a chocolate fountain, snow machine, photo booth and great food!

Tickets must be booked in advance and cost £20 per person (includes a welcome shot of toffee vodka) or £30 per person (includes a welcome shot of toffee vodka and food).

Après Ski Party


Chichester Christmas Market


Over 60 carefully selected festive stalls in the pedestrianised areas of North Street and East Street, with The Cross as the central point, in the heart of this historic city. Chichester is such a fabulous setting for a festive Christmas Market.

Sunday to Tuesday from 9 am to 6pm, Thursday to Saturday from 9am to 8pm

Chichester Christmas Market


Carols by Candlelight at Bailiffscourt, Climping


Enjoy the beautiful voices of The Agnes Collective in the intimate setting of the 13th Century chapel followed by a festive lunch, afternoon tea or evening dinner. Tickets from £55 per person.

Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight, Bailiffscourt, Climping, West Sussex


Christmas by Candlelight at the College, Slindon College


Following the huge success of last year’s festive fundraiser, Slindon College is holding another ‘Christmas by Candlelight at the College’. Local vocalist Rachael Hawnt will return to perform live with Ash Cutler accompanying her on the College’s grand piano, helping to raise funds for the college’s Sensory Garden Project.

  • Bubbles and canapes on arrival
  • Christmas Choir
  • Guest vocalist Rache; Hawnt accom[anied by Ash Cutler on the piano
  • Raffle
  • Cash bar
  • Free on-site parking

Slindon College is a stunning Georgian House and it is hoped the new garden will be a restful and calming area for its pupils as well as being a fun, educational tool.

Tickets are £22.50 and available to purchase by calling 01243 814647. Guests are kindly asked to dress in Occasion Wear.

Christmas by Candlelight at the College



What’s on in East Sussex this Christmas


Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton


With the Royal Pavilion as a backdrop, this has to be one of the most beautiful ice rinks in England. There’s also a rink side bar and restaurant.

Royal Pavilion Ice RInk

Christmas Skating Brighton Pavilion


Hastings Old Town Pop-up Emporium

For 2020 the Hastings Pop Up Emporium is an online event. You can find details of all the contribution artists and small business on the Pop up website Remember to head to each seller’s shops to shop direct from them and you can also find more of their work over at #apopupchristmas on Instagram too! 


Vintage Christmas Market, Rotherfield Village Hall


This vintage Christmas market in Sussex offers stalls selling handmade crafts, vintage wares, candles, antiques, vintage fashion, Christmas wreaths, homemade cakes and confectionery, plus there will be local artists showcasing their work.

Just £1 entry for adults (free for children under 16), with a free cup of tea or coffee. Visitors can enjoy a stroll around the market and then relax in our pop-up café with a slice of our homemade cake!

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Father Christmas and Christmas Market in Battle


At 1:50 Father Christmas’s sleigh is escorted with a musical parade down the High Street to his Grotto at Memorial Hall. Father Christmas sees children in his Grotto from 2:15 till 4:45. There are refreshments, entertainment and Christmas market in the hall. Children’s rides take place on the Abbey Green and at
5pm Lights switched on by Father Christmas.

There’s free parking all day in the town’s Rother District Council car parks and the Battle Abbey car park.


Battle Late Night Shopping is going ahead in 2020!

Battle is continuing with it’s late night shopping events now that shops have re-opened. Shops will stay open until 8pm on Thursdays. There are a range of unusual and independent shops in Battle High Street and lots of new openings recently so do visit if you haven’t dropped by Battle recently.

Many shops also provide online shopping and on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout December there is free car parking in the town in the Rother and Abbey car parks. 


Battle Abbey at Christmas


Frost Fare at Charleston near Firle


Charleston Farmhouse near Alfriston in East Sussex opens its newly restored eighteenth century barns for their Frost Fair. Discover some of the South’s finest designers and creators selling beautifully crafted gifts.

Step into the Threshing Barn for winter lunches, hot chocolate and mince pies. A selection of natural wreaths, garlands and Christmas trees are for sale in the Barnyard and for the creative, there are craft activities in the Outer Studio. The Snow Queen will be welcoming visitors in her enchanted Christmas grotto.

Check the Charleston website for ticket availability (£5) and details. Booking recommended

white Christmas wreath on door


Christmas in Rye


Rye Christmas Festival starts in the morning with Santa arriving by boat at Strand Quay. Visit festive stalls, Father Christmas in his grotto and see the reindeer. Eat food from street vendors as you’re entertained by street performers. Enjoy carols, pantomime and the colourful procession as it wends its way through Rye’s ancient streets.

Christmas in Rye

Christmas in Rye, East Sussex


Carols by Candlelight, St George’s Church, Kemp Town, Brighton


A carol service for everyone, featuring NHS Community Choir Brighton and The Choir of St George’s Church. Join us for a drink and a mince pie from 5.45 pm. Carols by Candlelight service at 6.30 pm. During the service, there will be an opportunity to hang a star on the Christmas Tree in memory of a loved one.


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