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. There are numerous Christmas Markets in Sussex where the mulled wine flows and chestnuts are roasting.
Santa will be popping up all over the place! Here are just a few of the many events to enjoy in East and West Sussex this Christmas. We’ll be adding more as we hear about them.
above: Carols by Candlelight at Bailiffscourt, Climping, top image: Arundel at Christmas by Nigel Cull Photography
What’s on in West Sussex this Christmas
(scroll down for East Sussex)
Christmas Craft Fayre & Santa’s Grotto, Storrington
Saturday 10th November 2019
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
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
Saturday 30th November to Sunday 1st December 2019, 10 am to 4 pm
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.
Experience Christmas in Bognor Regis
End of November 2019 to 5th January 2020
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
Thursday 21st November to Sunday 5th January 2019
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.
Christmas Dining and Shopping at West Dean Gardens
22nd November to 22nd December 2019
Book your Christmas lunch or dinner for groups of 10 to 90 guests in the impressive State Rooms at the historic country house of West Dean. For further information contact 01243 818258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
above: The State Rooms at West Dean at Christmas, below: West Dean Gardens Shop by Steve Tattersall
The Gardens Restaurant at West Dean will also be offering a delicious traditional three-course Christmas lunch on Mondays to Fridays from 2nd to 20th December 2019. While there, don’t forget to pop by the shop for some fabulous Christmas present inspiration. 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.
Winter Wonderland at South of England Showground Ardingly
23rd & 24th November 2019 Adults £6, concessions £5, under 16s free with a paying adult.
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.
Stir-up Sunday, The Spread Eagle, Midhurst
24th November 2019 SOLD OUT
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.
Christmas Wreath Workshop at The Spread Eagle, Midhurst
26th November, 5th & 11th December 2019, 10.30 am
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 at Amberley Museum
7th/8th, 14th/15th & 21st/22nd December 2019
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.
Bond Spectacular Christmas Party, Fontwell Park
Saturday 7th December 2019
For the ultimate Christmas night out in the lead-up to Christmas head to Fontwell for their brand new Bond-themed Christmas Party Night. Whether it’s the office Christmas party or a festive get together with friends, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the season. £55 per person
Arundel by Candlelight, Arundel
Saturday 7th December 2019, 12 noon to 9 pm
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).
Après Ski Party, Goodwood
13th and 14th December 2019, 7 pm to 1 am
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).
Chichester Christmas Market
Saturday 7th to Sunday 15th December 2019
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
Carols by Candlelight at Bailiffscourt, Climping
15th, 16th & 17th December 2019
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.
Christmas by Candlelight at the College, Slindon College
Thursday 19th December 2019, 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm
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
- 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.
What’s on in East Sussex this Christmas
Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton
2nd November 2019 to 19th January 2020 from 10 am until late
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.
Hastings Old Town Pop-up Emporium
- Sunday 10 November 2019 – 11 am – 4 pm – The Stade Hall, Hastings Seafront, Hastings Old Town
- Friday 29 November 2019 – 4 pm – 8 pm – All Saints Hall, All Saints Street, Hastings Old Town
- Sunday 08 December 2019 – 11 am – 4 pm – The Stade Hall, Hastings Seafront, Hastings Old Town
A Christmas Pop Up at various Hastings locations which is full of local makers, creatives and small businesses from Hastings and the surrounding areas. Entry is free.
Vintage Christmas Market, Rotherfield Village Hall
02 November 2019
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!
Father Christmas and Christmas Market in Battle
30 November 2019 1:50 pm to 5 pm
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 Gala Night and Late Night Shopping
12 December 2019 5:45 pm to 9 pm
With traders in fancy dress, choirs and bands all around town, games, competitions and more, you’re guaranteed a magical evening at Battle’s popular annual gala night and late night shopping!
Festivities start at 5.45pm with a new public fancy dress competition to be judged outside the Battle Abbey Gatehouse, all are welcome. From 6pm until 9pm you can enjoy free car parking in the town, visit the Battle Museum for fun and games and sample what the unique, independent shops and cafes have to offer.
Frost Fare at Charleston near Firle
Saturday 23rd to Sunday 24th November 2019, 11 am – 5 pm
Charleston Farmhouse near Alfriston in East Sussex opens its newly restored 18th-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
Christmas in Rye
Saturday 7th December 2019 from 10.30 am until late with street procession at 4.30 pm
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.
Carols by Candlelight, St George’s Church, Kemp Town, Brighton
20th December, from 5.45 pm
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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