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. Visits to Christmas Markets in Sussex, where the mulled wine flows and the chestnuts roast, are sure to get you into the festive mood.
Sussex has a fabulous range of Christmas markets and festive events to enjoy. Here’s our selection for 2023.
You may also 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.
What’s on in West Sussex this Christmas?
(scroll down for East Sussex)
Winter Fair at South of England Showground Ardingly
Saturday 18th November, 9am – 5pm
Sunday 19th November 9am – 4pm
Adults £7.88, senior citizens/students £6.53, under 16s go free with a suggested donation of £1, Members free.
A fabulous Christmas market 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
Sunday 26 November 2023 – £75 per person
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.
>>> Looking for a gift for someone special? Check out our Sussex gift guide for some unique Sussex produced and inspired gifts.
Christmas Wreath Workshop at The Spread Eagle, Midhurst
Tuesday 28th November 2023 – limited availability
Tuesday 5th December 2023 – limited availability
Monday 11th December 2023 – limited availability
Thursday 14th December 2023
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 £87.50 per person (all materials included).
Shopping at West Dean Gardens
The gardens and gift shop are open at West Dean during December 2023
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.
Horsham Christmas Market
Awaiting details for 2023
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.
Christmas at Amberley Museum
2-3, 9-10 & 16-17 December 2023
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.
Browse the Christmas Craft Market in Humphrey’s Barn.
Pre-Booking is required to see Father Christmas.
Bluebell Railway Santa Specials and Steam Lights
Santa Specials | 25 & 26 November, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 & 24 December
SteamLights | 17 November – 30 December – book early
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
Weald and Downland Christmas Events
Sat–Sun 25–26 November 2023 – Pre booking essential
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. You’ll also get to see where ‘The Repair Shop’ is filmed.
Prices: From £15.50 for adults (over 18s), free children aged 0-5 years, £7.50 5-17 years. Various family tickets are also available. Entry is free for Annual Members. Tickets include admission to both the Museum and to the Christmas Market. See website above for more ticket prices.
Visit Green Father Christmas
Dates for 2023 TBA
The Kennels’ Christmas Market, Goodwood
02 & 03 December 2023 10:00 – 16:00 hrs
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 free – see Kennel’s Christmas Market website for more details.
Arundel at Christmas, Arundel
Throughout December 2023
This Arundel by Candlelight has become Arundel at Christmas with a series of smaller event being held throughout December.
As always 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).
Highlights include the Christmas Farmer’s Market, Festive Sundays with roaming street entertainment, seasonal menus at our restaurants and cafes, Christmas performances by local choirs, festive swims at Arundel Lido, and, of course, the opportunity to visit Santa’s grotto.
Vintage and Very Nice Christmas Market, Chichester
12 & 13 December 2021
With a wide range of local traders and makers offering unique Christmas gift ideas, the market takes place in the Assembly Room, the Council House, North Street Chichester.
What’s on in East Sussex this Christmas?
Sussex Christmas Market, Brighton
25 November 2023. 11:30 – 18:00 hrs
26 November 2023. 10:00 – 16:00 hrs
This huge Christmas market is held at Brighton Racecourse and with over 75 stalls you’ll find unique and interesting gifts not available on the high street. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton
28 Oct 2023 – 07 Jan 2024
With the Royal Pavilion as a backdrop, this has to be one of the most beautiful ice rinks in England. The ice is powered entirely by green energy. There’s also a rink side bar and restaurant serving warming snacks, a selection of drinks, mulled wine and hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Tickets are £18 for adults (12 and over), £14 for under 12s with discounts for group bookings and lower prices for off peak. Check the website for more details and to book your tickets at the Royal Pavilion Ice RInk website.
If you’d like to avoid the excess of Christmas then you might want to check out this guide to visiting the Burning of the Clocks in Brighton.
Hastings Pop-up Emporium
- Sat 4 & Sun 5, Sat 18 & Sun 19 November 2023 – 11 am – 4 pm – The Stade Hall, Hastings Seafront, Hastings Old Town
- Sat 02 & 03 December 2023 – 11 am – 4 pm – The Stade Hall, Hastings Seafront, Hastings Old Town
This Christmas Pop Up hosts a wonderful selection of talented local makers, creatives and small businesses from Hastings and the surrounding areas. Entry is free.
>>> Read about the Burning of the Clocks, Brighton’s winter solstice festival
Brighton Christmas Festival and Market
Friday 18 November – 24 December 2023
The main festival and Christmas Market take place in the Old Steine and new Valley Gardens that run from The Royal Pavilion to St Peter’s Church. However, the event is city-wide event with many popular attractions and venues joining in.
With over 150 festive stalls, the festival includes two purpose-built entertainment venues, live shows, fairground and the chance to visit Santa’s Workshop.
There will be an Après Ski zone for adults with mulled wine and all the Alpine feels. Brighton Christmas Festival and Market will be a sparkling winter attraction in Sussex this winter.
Brighton Christmas Festival is FREE to enter for you to wander around, browse the Christmas Markets and soak up the festive atmosphere. Ticketed attractions including Santa’s Workshop will be on sale soon. Advance booking is recommended for these.
Father Christmas and Christmas Market in Battle
Saturday 25 November 2023
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. Tickets on the door only.
There are refreshments, entertainment and Christmas market in the hall. Children’s rides take place on the Abbey Green and at 5pm the lights are switched on by Father Christmas in his sleigh.
There’s free parking all day in the town’s Rother District Council car parks and the Battle Abbey car park.
Learn more about Battle Christmas events
Battle Gala Night and Late Night Shopping
Late Night Shopping Thursday 07 December 2023
With traders in fancy dress, choirs and bands all around town and Santa’s grotto in the Almonry, you’re guaranteed a magical time at Battle’s popular annual gala night and late night shopping!
Sample what the unique, independent shops and cafes have to offer. The shops will stay open until 8pm on Thursdays in the run up to Christmas. There are a range of unusual and independent shops in Battle High Street which are worth check out.
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.
A Taste of Sussex at Battle Abbey School
Saturday 25 November 2023 (to coincide with Battle’s Santa Parade and light switching on ceremony)
Shop from a wide range of food and drink, hand-crafted gifts and wares from local artisans, makers and producers.
There’s mulled wine and hot chocolate, a tombola, raffle and other festive treats.
Tickets are £5 (under 16s free) on the door. 14:00 -17:00 hrs
Designer and Maker Fair at Charleston near Firle
25–26 November 2023, 10:00 – 16:00 hrs
Charleston Farmhouse near Alfriston in East Sussex opens its eighteenth Hay Barn for their Designer and Makers Fair. Discover some of the South’s finest designers and creators with over 30 stalls selling beautifully crafted gifts.
A selection of natural wreaths, garlands and Christmas trees are for sale. There are various outdoor stalls and activities so dress warmly.
Caccia & Tails café will be serving Italian-inspired festive treats to fuel your retail therapy.
Tickets £5 in advance or £6 on the door. Check the Charleston website
Christmas in Rye
Saturday 18 November 2023 – Festive Late Night Shopping
An evening event with lots of fabulous independent shops open late until 8pm, music performances and festive treats. The perfect opportunity to start getting into the festive spirit and to get your Christmas shopping started.
Saturday 2nd December 2023 – Christmas in Rye
Santa’s Grotto, market stalls selling handmade gifts and crafts, live entertainment, High Street races, and more. Sample hot food and festive drinks and mulled wine as you listen to the carol singers, brass band and street performers.
Great Dixter Christmas Fair
Saturday 25 November 09:30 – 12:30 hrs
With over 40 craft and designer makers selling their wares within the house, garden and outbuildings at Great Dixter this is a lovely festive event. There are also demonstrations, food tasting and live music.
Enjoy a complimentary ‘Health shot’ on arrival and a Christmas biscuit before exploring an interesting range of ceramics, textiles, food and jewellery. You can also explore the house and gardens.
Wadhurst Christmas Market and late night shopping
Friday 01 December 2023 from 16:00 – 20:00hrs
With over 40 stalls, Wadhurst Christmas Market in the Commemoration Hall includes all the special Christmas staples such as festive food and drink, beautiful handcrafted artisan gifts, ceramics, art, sculpture, carved and polished wooden tableware and decorations.
Shops are open late and there’s a brass band.