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What’s on in Sussex at Christmas 2023

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.

Carols by Candlelight at Bailiffscourt, Climping

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.

South of England Showground

Stir-up Sunday, The Spread Eagle, Midhurst

Sunday 26 November 2023 – £75 per person

Stir-up Sunday at The SPread Eagle Hotel, Midhurst, West Sussex

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.

Stir-up Sunday

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).

Christmas Wreath Workshop

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.

West Dean Gardens

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. 

Horsham Christmas Market.

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.

Book your visit with Santa

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

Bluebell Railway SteamLights and Bluebell Railway Santa Special

Weald and Downland Christmas Events

Christmas Fair at Great Dixter

Advent – A Christmas Experience & Market

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

Christmas shop

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.

Arundel at Christmas

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.

Vintage and Very Nice Christmas Market

What’s on in East Sussex this Christmas?

Brighton Clock Tower Christmas Lights

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

Christmas Skating Brighton Pavilion
Skating at Brighton Pavilion

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

Hastings Pop-up Emporium

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.

Brighton Christmas Festival and Market

Father Christmas and Christmas Market in Battle

Battle Abbey at Christmas
Battle Abbey at Christmas

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

Rustic Christmas wreath against wooden boards at Sussex Christmas market.
Christmas Wreath

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 2023Festive 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. 

Christmas in Rye

Great Dixter Christmas Fair

Great Dixter Christmas Fair, East Sussex
Christmas Fair at Great Dixter, East Sussex

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.

Tickets £8

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.


Tuesday 3rd of November 2020

Looks lovely

Christine mansoor

Monday 18th of November 2019

A great website thank you so much. Lots of places to go that I wouldn't have known about . Merry Christmas

Kathryn Burrington

Monday 18th of November 2019

Our pleasure! And thank you, you too.