Family Events

Aliens, Zombies and Monsters! The Weird World of Aaron Blecha

Hove Museum & Art Gallery, 19 New Church Road, Hove
Until Tuesday September 4, 10am-5pm
Free admission
Popular children’s writer and illustrator Aaron Blecha reveals the tricks of his trade in this fun display. The Hove-based creator is best-known for books like Goodnight, Grizzle Grump! and the Shark School series and in this display will give museum visitors a peek into the process behind his work – starting from initial ideas and doodles to creating characters and finished books. Picture: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove.

Read our feature on Aliens, Zombies and Monsters.
Phone 0300 029 0900 or visit

Bear Grylls Survival Academy: Family Survival Course

Cowdray Estate, Midhurst

Course dates: April 21-22, May 5-6, June 9-10, June 23-24, July 14-15, August 4-5, August 11-12, August 18-19 and August 25-26

Designed to inspire fathers, sons, mothers and daughters, the 24-hour outdoor adventure is delivered by a range of instructors, handpicked by Bear Grylls, teaching a range of techniques. The Cowdray Estate was chosen as a location for its varied terrain, including dense woodland, a long stretch of the Rover Rother, lakes and steep difficult ground. Bear says, “I am super excited our Survival Academy is running at Cowdray. The courses on the estate are designed to be both challenging and empowering. They require courage, determination, positivity and a ‘never give up’ attitude.”

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Incredible Inventions Family Trail

Petworth House and Park, Petworth

Every day in August and until September 30

£3 per trail

Petworth is hosting a series of family-friendly events all about science and engineering in honour of the scientific achievements of Elizabeth Ilive (1769- 1822), who lived at Petworth House from the late 1780s. Petworth is inviting families to become an inventor extraordinaire and, using clues dotted around the Pleasure Grounds, as well as familiar puzzles like dot-to-dot and a word jumble, create their own unique invention. There is no right or wrong answer on this outdoor trail inspired by the cross-bar lever Elizabeth Ilive invented to help workers on the Petworth Estate lift heavy rocks. Once completed families are rewarded with a certificate to the Petworth Young Inventors Society. Picture: National Trust/Henry Jarvis.

Phone 01798 343929 or visit

Plan It, Build It, Test It Family Craft

Petworth House and Park, Petworth

Wednesdays in August

£2 per child

Petworth is hosting a series of family-friendly events all about science and engineering in honour of the scientific achievements of Elizabeth Ilive (1769- 1822), who lived at Petworth House from the late 1780s. Throughout August, there’s a wave of activity with drop-in crafts all about water. Families can have a go at making their own model raft. Once they’ve planned their design and made their raft, families then have the opportunity to sail their creation down the Petworth water table and through its locks. Will it sink? Will it float? In the spirit of science and engineering, if the raft doesn’t make it through the course then it’s back to the drawing board. Picture: National Trust/Emily Hills.

Phone 01798 343929 or visit

The Garden of Imagination

Borde Hill Garden, Borde Hill Lane, Haywards Heath

Wednesday-Friday August 1-31

£2 per trail, plus Garden admission/Friends free

The Garden of Imagination is a mystical trail running through the Garden and Woodland at Borde Hill with fantasy creatures and other worldly beings, including unicorns, fairies, giants and a golden phoenix. There will also be children’s activities on selected dates, including the chance to ‘meet a mermaid’ and ‘make your own fairy garden’. Picture: Alex Rickard Photography.

Phone 01444 450326 or visit

Musical Picnics

Borde Hill Garden, Borde Hill Lane, Haywards Heath

Sundays August 5, 12, 19 and 26, 1pm-3pm

Normal admission charges apply

Families are invited to bring their own picnic, kick back and relax to live music in the beauty of Borde Hill Garden. Picture: Alex Rickard Photography.

Phone 01444 450326 or visit

Arundel Festival

Various venues in Arundel

Saturday-Monday August 18-27

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Arundel Festival, which features hundreds of music, art, drama, family and free street theatre events. On its opening day, a giant 30 foot-long and 20-foot high moving, fire-breathing, musical dragon descends into the town square. It’s part of Dragon Heart Beats, a dramatic live music and street theatre experience, a darkly comic show featuring the dragon plus three other-worldly performers. Other street theatres performances include Hakuna Matata, a performer who’s just a little bit clumsy performing high-flying acrobatic tricks, Tot Rockin’ Beats, a family dance party in the town square, Juggling Jake, two giant stilt-walking French chefs called Hungry Chefs, Mechanical Fracture, a human statue otherwise known as Matt Walters, and extreme balloon artists Balloonatic. One of the most spectacular events of the festival is the Dragon Boat Race on Saturday August 25, when dragon boats of 12-16 rowers plus a drum beater race on the Arun. Other events include the Arundel Treasure Hunt, the Arundel Castle Family History Weekend, the Drip Action Theatre Trail and magic performed by Damian Jennings. There’s also a gallery trail, historic tours of Arundel, performances of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice from August 18-25 at the Priory Playhouse Theatre, London Road, Arundel, theatre at Arundel Jailhouse, There But Not There, a national commemorative project marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, at Arundel Cathedral and St Nicholas Church, a vineyard tour, A Tribute to Indian Valour, a talk by Brighton Royal Pavilion curator Jody East on how the Pavilion was turned into a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers, performances by The Hanover Band, a restaurant trail, a Teddy Bears Picnic at Arundel Lido, a talk by author Annabelle Thorpe about her new novel What Lies Within, walks and runs, Worthing Laughter Club, a sherry masterclass, a reading of the play Bette and Joan by The Singing Earth Music Company, live music and performance in Jubilee Gardens, ABBA on the Hill, an ABBA tribute band at the Kings Arms pub, a poetry workshop and poetry festival, a performance of Last Tango in Little Grimley by the Bury Players at Arundel Lido, a performance by six stand-up comedians at Arundel Jailhouse, a display of c20 performance cars in the High Street, an Indian pop-up stall, a creative writing workshop for children, yoga and meditation therapy, a mullet fishing competition, a vintage funfair, a flower and produce show, the annual duck race, a vintage parade and competition, The Waiters’ Race, ghost walks and the festival’s 40th anniversary party and fireworks.


MADhurst 2018

Various venues in Midhurst

Saturday-Monday August 18-27

This 10-day music, arts and drama festival, featuring classical, swing, folk and rock music, dance shows, comedy acts, an art trail and a Grand Finale with a carnival procession through Midhurst that concludes at the historic Cowdray Ruins for a day of entertainment including a dog show. More than 30 venues form the art trail. There is also a MADhurst Fringe event, featuring lunchtime concerts, Stedham Wartime Weekend and a promenade dinner.


Adventures of a Gruffalo

Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down

Tuesday August 21, 2pm-3pm

£6.50. Age 2+

Run by Wriggly, an expert in Gruffalo hunting, this workshop is an adventure in the wilderness where participants find the secret path and discover the storytelling circle to read the story of the Gruffalo. Children can get involved, helping with the voices of the animals and actions. Learn how to get camouflaged, search for clues and characters from the story, find habitat homes and see what’s really going on in the wood.

Phone 01825 830509 or visit

Holiday Fun with Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

The Steyning Bookshop, 106 High Street, Steyning

Wednesday August 22, 2.30pm

Tickets £4 per child. Age guideline 3-8

Sue Hendra  and Paul Linnet  are the dynamic duo behind a string of best-selling picture books, from Barry the Fish with Fingers, via Dave the Farting Cat, to the hit Supertato series. They will entertain children in the bookshop garden marquee with silly stories, awesome activities and maybe a song or two for good measure.

Phone 01903 812062 or visit

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