What's on this weekend? There are always good reasons to visit Sussex. Plan your May bank holiday events and activities from this selection of things to do and things to see in East and West Sussex.
Various dates and locations - National Garden Scheme
NGS gardens are mostly privately owned and open only a few times each year. They offer interesting planning and design, a good range of plants and gardens which have been tended with love and care, and a good cup of tea. Sussex NGS Gardens open this month.
Weekends throughout May - Artists Open House
Brighton & hove hosts the biggest free arts event in Britain, with over 1,000 artists exhibiting in 200 houses and studios across the city. Many Open House venues belong to one of the 14 Open House Trails, which cover different areas of the city and beyond. Artists Open House
Wed 04 / 11 / 18 / 25 May - 1812 Fireworks Concert
Eastbourne's traditional Wednesday evening music concerts at the bandstand culminating with Tchaikovsky's rousing 1812 overture accompanied by a spectacular Firework display. Eastbourne Bandstand
Fri 06 May - Sun 06 Jun - Brighton Fringe
England’s largest fringe festival encompasses thousands of events in venues across the city, site-specific work and one of the largest street festivals in the UK. Enjoy a programme of theatre, visual art, dance, comedy, music and film. Brighton Fringe
Fri 06 May - Sun 08 May - Antiques and Fine Art FAir
The grounds of Petworth House host a three day event with over 40 specialist dealers and exhibitors showing antiquities, decorative and unique works of art in a purpose built marquee with free parking nearby. Petworth antiques and fine art fair.
Sat 07 - Sun 29 May - Brighton Festival
England's largest international arts festival is an innovative commissioning and producing celebration of mixed arts offering an ambitious programme. This year welcomes award winning author Ali Smith as Guest Director. Brighton Festival
finishes Sat 07 May - Tulip Festival
Pashley Manor Gardens initiated the festival to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the tulip’s arrival in Europe from Persia. Approximately 22,000 bulbs are planted throughout the gardens. There will also be 2,000 cut tulips on display. Tulip Festival.
Sun 08 May - Ladies Day at Plumpton Races
A day of fun, fizz and fashion with prizes for the best dressed ladies, men and children. Alongside 7 races and the fashion competitions, there's a Shopping Village, live music, entertainers, and outdoor tables and chairs to relax. Ladies Day
finishes Sun 08 May - Bluebell Walks
Enjoy the 8 walks covering ground over three working farms and 23 acres at Arlington Bluebell Wood. Please check the website for bluebell updates due to nature/the weather. Arlington Bluebell Walks
Fri 13 May - Musuems at Night Open Evening
Look through some of the largest historic telescopes in the country and discover the Moon, planets, and deep sky objects. Or enjoy a cheese and wine supper for ‘Museums at Night’ - limited numbers so booking advised. Observatory Science Centre
Thur 19 - Sat 21 May - The Great Escape
Music festival and industry showcase event with over 350 bands playing venues throughout Brighton. Expect impromptu street gigs, club nights, label parties, industry showcases and outdoor gigs to add to the festivities. The Great Escape
Fri 20 May - Mon 30 May - Charleston Festival
Be entertained and stimulated at this year’s Festival and celebrate many anniversaries and landmarks. All events last just over an hour, unless otherwise stated, and take place in a traditional marquee in the grounds of Charleston farmhouse. Charleston Festival
Sat 21 May - Feast of St Pancras May Fayre
Lewes Priory hosts the Feast of St Pancras May Fayre. Sharpen skills in tug of war; archery and cannon firing and learn how to carve wood with a chainsaw. Try mosaics with two Roman goddesses, rolling the suede; falconry and enjoy music, drama and local cuisine.
Sun 22 May - Feathers, Flights and Beasts
A hands-on experience with some magnificent birds of prey including hawks and owls as well as learning how to handle a longbow and fire some arrows and Medieval Drumming throughout the day in the gardens and grounds at Herstmonceux gardens.
Fri 27 May - The Royal Escape race
Celebrating Charles II escape from the Oliver Cromell's republican Roundheads, the annual boat race from Brighton Pier to Fécamp, Normandy, France sees around 100 boats cross the English Channel. Royal Escape race
Fri 27 - Mon 30 May - Elderflower Fields
Bentley Estate hosts Sussex's family focused festival - three days of music and entertainment on two stages, childrens' activities and workshops, locally produced food & drink, a cocktail lounge in the woods - and Sunday's Elderflower Fields family picnic.
Sat 28 May - Heathfield Agricultural Show
The premier one day agricultural show in the south east with competitions for cattle, horses, pigs and sheep plus a flower show, country ways exhibitiors, vintage tractors and arena displays, events and trade stands. Heathfield Show
Sat 28 - Mon 30 May - Castle Seige
It is 1475 and Edward IV is King of England. Once again tensions have arisen between England and France, and seizing the opportunity a French force has crossed the channel, seized the Kings Ordinance (artillery) and surrounded the castle at Arundel. Castle Seige
Sat 28 - Mon 30 May - Borde Hill Horse Trials
Set in the landscaped parkland of the Borde Hill Estate, the cross-country course is a challenge at all levels and includes a water complex. The show-jumping showground provides spectators with a compact site surrounded by trade stands. Horse Trials
Sat 28 May - Sat 04 June - Sculpture in Particular
Pashley Manor Gardens features the work of eminent sculptors as well by local sculptors throughout the season. For these ten days there is an indoor display and sale of maquettes and small sculpture. Sculpture in Particular
Sun 29 May - Sun 21 Aug - Zimbabwean Sculpture
Zimbabwe's stone sculptors are producing some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking sculpture in the world. Pieces by Hilary Manuhwa are displayed in the grounds of Herstmonceux Castle where Hilary will be giving demonstrations and carving new pieces.
Mon 30 May - Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty returns to Drusillas. Visit her beautiful themed house and have a souvenir photo taken with the girl herself. Enjoy pampering in the Hello Kitty Beauty Parlour and a thrilling time on the Hello Kitty Secret Garden rides. Hello Kitty
Tue 31 May - The Fat Controller
The Fat Controller will be causing a locomotion, when he alights at Drusillas Park to take control of the efficient running of the railway. Make tracks to Tidmouth Hault and enjoy photo opportunities with Sir Topham Hatt himself. The Fat Controller
on-going to 26 Jun - Giant LEGO brick animal trail
Visitors to Arundel Wetland Centre can enjoy nine individually-designed LEGO brick characters animal trail, the only one of its kind in the UK. The giant animals, some up to twelve times life size, include Lottie the Otter, made of 15,500 bricks, and Kate the kingfisher.
on-going to 14 Nov - Forgotten Wrecks of WW1
Maritime Archaeology Trust exhibition about hundreds of First World War shipwrecks lying off Sussex shores. Lost through attack, scuttling, collision or bad weather, there are stories and artefacts recovered from wrecks, displayed at Eastbourne Redoubt Fortress.
on-going to 20 Nov - Pavilion blues; Disability and Identity
This exhibition uncovers the story of how Brighton’s Royal Pavilion became a specialist hospital for amputee soldiers during the First World War, giving over 6,000 servicemen treatment, rehabilitation and training from 1916 until 1920. Pavilion Blues
on-going - Folklore, Magic and Mysteries: Modern witchcraft and folk culture in Britain
Uique display of artefacts, manuscripts and documents relating to witchcraft, magic, folklore and Paganism, from the personal collection of ‘white witch’ Doreen Valiente. Her collection is acknowledged as the world's most important of its kind. Preston Manor
on-going to 08 Jan 2017 - Fashion Cities Africa
This first major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African fashion explore fours cities at the compass points of the African continent: Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery,