Family Events

Hastings Jack in the Green Festival

Hastings Old Town, Hastings

Friday-Monday May 4-7

The annual Jack in the Green Festival is a four-day May Day celebration that has been described as “thee celebration of Morris dancing and traditional merriment, centring on the symbolic figure of Jack in the Green and culminating in a wild costumed parade – one of the most bizarre in Britain”. It includes music from local bands, historic and social events, and family fun. The weekend culminates on May Bank Holiday Monday with the Jack in the Green parade, which begins at 9.45am at the Fisherman’s Huts in Rock-a-Nore Road in the Old Town, and finishes on the West Hill, where there will be traditional folk dancers and music. The festival ends with the ‘slaying’ of Jack to release the spirit of summer for this year. Among the artistes and performers are ceilidh band Banter with caller Fee Lock taking participants through the dances, Rottingdean country singers The Copper Family, singer and fiddle player Molly Evans with multi-instrumentalist Jack Rutter, Hastings a-cappella vocal harmony group Now and Then, Hastings female harmony group Rattlebag, ceilidh band Take the Biscuit with caller Sheena Mason, Sussex/Kent band Wakin’ Snakes, which has an Early American and cajun sound.

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Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales

The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley

Monday May 7, 2pm and 4.30pm

Tickets £12.50

Under the sea, out on the farm and into the jungle, these terrific tales are woven together with live music, puppetry and a whole host of colourful characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s best-loved titles: Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze. Funky moves, toe tapping tunes and giggles are guaranteed!

Phone 01293 553636 or visit

Sarah and Duck’s Big Top Birthday

The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley

Thursday May 17, 1.30pm and 4pm

Tickets £14.50

Join Sarah and Duck and a host of your favourite friends as they plan a birthday party for Scarf Lady in their garden. Told through a fantastic blend of puppetry, storytelling and music, Sarah and Duck’s Big Top Birthday will take you and your children on a magical adventure.

Phone 01293 553636 or visit

Faerie Festival

Pleasant Rise Farm, Alfriston 

Friday-Sunday May 18-20

Tickets £10-£77.50

This mystical weekend has grown over the years, as founder Matthew Callow explains: “I first began Faerie Festival when I left school at 16. It all started in a small town hall in Kent and over the years has grown into a three day gathering held on a beautiful campsite in the Sussex countryside. We have a long list of bands, workshops and other entertainment scheduled throughout the event. Folk seem to travel from all corners of the UK as well as abroad to attend! I chose ‘Faerie’ as the theme as I wanted something that reflected nature and magic. And who else would reflect this better?!” As well as live music, entertainment, talks and workshops, children’s activities, and a mystical market village, there will be many new workshops, including a giant drumming session with Inta Africa, at this year’s festival. The live music line-up includes performances by Celtic psy-folk band Flutatious, Perkelt, which performs unique Celtic medieval speed folk music, Celtic rock band Medicine and British/Colombian indie/folk singer Vanessa Forero. Daytime acts include Pixiephonic, Touch The Earth and Dancing Hare. Among the activities are yoga, tarot, meditation into Mother Earth and how to read tea leaves. Picture:

Phone 07845 438340 or visit

Me and My Bee

Studio, The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley

Saturday May 19, 11am

Tickets £7/family of four £26

Multi award-winning theatre company, ThisEgg, invites you to save the world – one bee at a time. A new comedy for children and adults alike. Plant the seed for change, join the Bee Party. Before it’s too late.

Phone 01293 553636 or visit

Elderflower Fields – The Family Festival

Pippingford Park, Nutley, Uckfield

Friday-Monday May 25-28

Tickets £1-£130

This is an award-winning three-day festival for families with children, billed as a wild weekend adventure with music, sports, nature and the arts. On Dragonfly Hill is the Dragonfly Stage where bands play, theatre shows are staged and sports including mountain boarding and disc golf are played. It’s also the stage for the Sunday family picnic on Sunday. The Nightjars is an eclectic corner of the festival, home to the Woodland Stage, which is a venue for smaller, more intimate performances, a spoken word tipi called the Wowpow, the Woodland cafe and bar and the Green People Woodland Spa. In the Lazy Glades, families can wind their way through sunlight-dappled glades to find food vendors, family activities and a shady spot to relax. The Urban Woods host woodland sports and adventures including skateboarding, climbing, slacklining, parkour and more. The Tumbledown Meadows host sports and adventure activities, and this year there is the new Leapfrog Lawns, home to the Arts Camp, where crafty activities, silly sports and a science dome are located.


Castle Siege

Arundel Castle, Arundel

Saturday-Monday May 26-28, 10am-4pm

It is 1474 and England’s new king Edward IV has secured the throne during the wars of the Roses. The scenario is that a French raiding party has seized the castle. The Earl of Arundel is with the king and the English must take the castle back.  Visitors will experience aspects of a 15th century siege, with fully armoured knights fighting, replica cannons firing and a tented encampment.

Phone 01903 882173 or visit

Steyning Festival

Various venues in Steyning, Bramber, Beeding, Ashurst, Washington and Ashington

Saturday-Saturday May 26-June 9

Local, national and international talent is showcased during a fortnight of diverse programmed events, an artistic festival run by the community with the community and for the community. The programme covers theatre, music, visual arts including an art trail, walks and tours, literature, talks and community events.

Phone 01903 812062 or visit

The Big Bank Holiday Family Fun Day!

Fontwell Park Racecourse, Arundel Road, Fontwell, Arundel

Sunday May 27, first race 2pm, last race 5.30pm

u18s free

Enjoy seven jump races on this family day, which features new attractions for 2018 as well as returning favourites including the funfair, inflatables and face painting. The entertainment on the day is free.

Phone 01243 543335 or visit

Wildfires Festival

Wiston House, Steyning Road, Steyning

Monday-Wednesday May 28-30

Tickets £4-£99

Wildfires is a festival that brings communities together from around the country and the globe to experience God’s presence. During the three days, participants spend time together partying, praying, worshipping, growing in community and welcoming the Spirit into their midst. Spaces are devoted to delving deeper into the heart of who we are and who God is, with children and youth work prioritised. There’s a Wildfires camping village with communal areas and marquees, and participants have access to the Big Church Day Out South on May 26 and 27.

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