Festivals in Sussex 2024

Things to do

Festivals in Sussex 2024

Home to sprawling countryside, rolling hills, and a coastline that promises some of the most iconic views in the UK, Sussex boasts a rather spectacular backdrop, especially for a festival.

From motorsport and music to food and the arts, the array of festivals in Sussex is impressive to say the least, with something for everyone sitting within the jam-packed calendar. Dance the night away under the cover of stars, feast your way through local delicacies surrounded by the sound of the ocean, and watch incredible performances in front of historic landmarks – there’s no limit to what you can experience at one of these incredible events.

Ready to let loose the South Downs way? Here’s our round-up of the best festivals in Sussex, from springtime celebrations to summer shows.


Brighton Festival

Performers on the streets of Brighton during the Brighton Festival

Where: Various venues across Brighton

When: 4th – 26th May

Access: There are lots of car parks throughout Brighton, many of which include Blue Badge parking. Regular buses run across the city, making it easy to get from one venue to another.

Spread across the vibrant city of Brighton in East Sussex, this month-long arts festival is a true celebration of creativity from every corner of the world. Running since 1967, Brighton Festival is now the largest arts festival in the UK, with many venues hosting incredible showcases of talent, from jaw-dropping circus skills at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange to emotive theatre at Theatre Royal.

Some events are ticketed, but many are free, opening the arts up to everyone. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, there’s a wealth of opportunities to pop in for a live performance of a lifetime. Home to many excellent eateries too, it’s easy to create the perfect day out during Brighton Festival.


The Great Escape

A performer on stage at The Great Escape Festival in Sussex

Where: Various venues across Brighton

When: 15th – 18th May

Access: There are many car parks across Brighton, with frequent buses providing transport between venues.

With over 400 artists taking to 30 different stages across Brighton, The Great Escape Festival is the place to be for live music in East Sussex. The festival has a focus on new talent, giving you the chance to discover a new favourite artist as you travel around the city looking for your next foot-tapping show.

Download the free app from the website for information on who is playing where, or head to one of the spotlight shows to catch the likes of Faye Webster, whose unique blend of indie pop, folk, and R&B makes for a spectacular performance.


 Glyndebourne Festival

Looking across some water at the historic Glyndebourne House with people on the lawn for the Glyndebourne Festival

Where: Glyndebourne, Lewes

When: 16th May - 25th August

Access: There is a large free car park onsite and wheelchair spaces can be booked for the festival in advance.

One of the top events in Sussex, the famous Glyndebourne Festival has become a highlight of the year, with world-class operas taking to the stage. Speaking of, the fabulous indoor auditorium has long housed incredible singers and earned its place as one of the most celebrated opera houses in the world. While Glyndebourne boasts a year-round programme, it’s the spring and summer months that see the calendar come alive as the festival takes hold.

This year’s programme promises to be one of the best yet, with the likes of Carmen, Die Zauberflöte, and Tristan and Isolde just some of the beloved shows to be performed. An amazing cast of singers, directors, and conductors is set to bring these performances to life, while the beautiful house and gardens provide an exquisite backdrop. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the pretty gardens during the intermission, or visit one of the lovely restaurants for a delicious bite to eat. If you’re visiting Lewes this summer, this outstanding lineup of operas should be at the top of your to-do list.


Elderflower Fields

One of the bands at Elderflower Fields festival in Sussex

Where: Pippingford Park, Ashdown Forest

When: 24th – 27th May

Access: Car park passes can be purchased online.

Popular with families, Elderflower Fields is a relaxed festival in Ashdown Forest that boasts a plethora of fun and games for all ages. Kids can get creative with arts and crafts, attend a sports camp, or try kayaking (to name just a few), while adults can enjoy a session of meditation or a gin tasting – not to mention the number of activities families can enjoy together, including picnics, dance-offs, and yoga!

Alongside the near-infinite choice of activities, a lineup of musicians take to the stage to fill the forest with jolly tunes, from Johnny Cash tributes to seven-piece bands with a penchant for Latin rhythms. There’s a wonderful focus on sustainability at Elderflower Fields, so make sure to take your own refillable water bottle as there will be no single-use plastic in sight – you can even take your trusty travel mug for a discount on hot drinks!


Steyning Festival

Colourful flags in a field at the Steyning Festival in Sussex

Where: The Big Top, Steyning

When: 24th May – 2nd June

Access: There is parking across Steyning as well as public transport to the town via cross-country services.

With a huge focus on community spirit, Steyning Festival has long been a beacon for local culture. Spanning 10 days of festival fun in and around Steyning, a jam-packed roster of events ensures there’s something for everyone, from stand-up comedy to beautiful walks across the South Downs.

Take part in some eco-exploration as you discover sustainable ways to enjoy your stay in West Sussex, sit back and enjoy one of the many fabulous live performances, and let some live music sweep you off your feet. From science to silly songs, there’s a great lineup of children’s entertainment too, making this a great one for the whole family.


The Cheese and Chilli Festival

People sat in deck chairs at The Cheese and Chilli Festival in Sussex

Where: Oaklands Park, Chichester

When: 22nd – 23rd June

Access: Nearby council car parks are available for attendees to the event.

If you’re familiar with Dorset’s epic food festivals then chances are you’ve already come across this spicy spectacle, and if you haven’t, you’re in for a fiery treat! Oh yes, returning to Chichester for its second year, The Cheese and Chilli Festival is back to tickle the taste buds and delight the senses.

Turning up the heat for 2024, this hot take on a food festival promises a mouth-watering array of things to see, do, and taste, from mouth-watering food stalls to cooking demonstrations to help you make the most of your chillies and cheese at home. Providing the ultimate show to accompany your dinner, live music plays throughout the weekend, while the chilli-eating competition promises a teary show indeed (well, for those taking part, anyway). Round up the whole family, this is a great day out - and it’s dog-friendly!


Festival of Chichester

A choir performing in front of a church during Festival of Chichester in Sussex

Where: Various venues across Chichester

When: 15th June – 21st July

Access: There are lots of car parks around Chichester, as well public transport links to the city from nearby towns and villages.

Held across five weeks and boasting around 100 events in total, the Festival of Chichester is a huge celebration of the arts and promises something for every taste, from classical music to thrilling theatre. A mix of local and international performers take to the stage across the festival, with venues ranging from Roman palaces to cinemas and churches.

Alongside live performances, a series of exhibitions offer a glimpse behind the creative eye, while walking tours take you on a historic stroll. With community at the heart of the festival, it’s a great opportunity to explore the city and all the local businesses within, from cosy cafés where you can plan your next steps over a giant piece of cake to the wonderful independent shops that promise a range of lovely mementoes.


Love Supreme Festival

People performing downward facing dog during a yoga workshop at the Love Supreme Festival in Sussex

Where: Glynde Place, Glynde

When: 5th – 7th July

Access: Festival buses go from Brighton and Lewes or car park passes can be purchased online for the festival car park, which is a 10-minute walk from the festival. 

When it comes to jazz, nowhere does it quite the Love Supreme Festival in East Sussex, with a giddy mix of jazz, funk, and soul artists filling the weekend with soul-stirring beats. This year’s lineup includes the great Chaka Khan, Olivia Dean, Joss Stone, and Kool & the Gang to name a foot-stomping few.

In between the sensational sets, a variety of wellness activities are on hand to soothe the soul, while the secret swimming pool provides the perfect place for a cooling dip. Refuel during your festival frolicking with a visit to the food village, which promises stall after stall of lip-smacking vendors, from freshly made tacos to fries piled high with every kind of topping imaginable.


Festival of Speed

A classic car on a race track at Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex

Where: Goodwood House, Chichester

When: 11th– 14th July

Access: Car park at Goodwood House.

Celebrating life on two and four wheels, the Festival of Speed has earned its spot amongst the top motorsport festivals in the world through a mix of daring stunts, immersive experiences, and the chance to meet your motoring heroes.

Held in the grounds surrounding the beautiful Goodwood House near Chichester, this high-octane festival is a glamorous mix of garden party and motorsport madness, creating an experience unlike any other. Get up close to some of the latest and greatest F1 vehicles, see the new supercars making their exciting debut, and watch in awe as people take on the hillclimb in everything from stunning classic cars to racing legends.


Beach Life Music Festival

Eastbourne Pier from the prom in Eastbourne

Where: Eastbourne Bandstand, Eastbourne

When: 13th – 14th July

Access: There are several car parks nearby, with four disabled parking bays close to the Grand Parade.

Bringing that summer festival vibe to Eastbourne, the Beach Life Music Festival returns to East Sussex for another year of waterside entertainment. Enjoying a new location at the Eastbourne Bandstand with one of the best beaches in Sussex as your backdrop, this free festival invites everyone to come and let loose while a great round-up of local bands create the perfect summer playlist.

Make the most of the beachfront locale with a wander in the sand or you can pay a visit to the popular seafront market, which will be taking place along the prom during the weekend. The Ironbourne Triathlon championships will also be going on over the weekend, making this the perfect time to visit Eastbourne and soak up the action-packed goings on.


Good Vibrations Society

A marquee in the middle of a field at Good Vibrations Society festival in Sussex

Where: Pippingford Park, Ashdown Forest

When: 2nd – 4th August

Access: Paid parking is available on site a short walk from the festival.

Aside from The Beach Boys, no one knows good vibrations quite like the folks down at the Good Vibrations Society. A weekend-long ode to music, wellness, and nature, this feel-good festival is here to nourish the soul amidst the peaceful surroundings of Ashdown Forest. From free yoga workshops and wild swimming to guided walks through the wooded surroundings, Good Vibrations promises an array of activities to enjoy.

On the music front, headliners Goldie, Leftfield, and Morcheeba will be filling the forest with the very best tunes, while a range of food and drink vendors offer up refreshing and oh-so-filling delights – just what you need after a day of dancing! From the young to the young at heart, this ray-of-sunshine-festival is for every age, so kick off your everyday shoes and let the good vibes wash over you.


Into the Wild Festival

A statue of the Green Man at the Into the Wild Festival in Sussex

Where: Chiddinglye Estate, RH19 4QS

When: 22nd – 26th August

Access: There is parking at the festival but lift sharing and public transport is recommended to fit into the sustainable ethos of the festival.

Unleash your wild side at the UK’s top nature festival! Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Into the Wild is all about rewilding, whether it’s the festival-goers or the world around us. Nestled in the beautiful scenery of West Sussex, sprawling meadows and Dark Skies sites create the perfect backdrop to this homegrown celebration of nature.

Over 200 workshops and activities run across the weekend, from wild crafts and incredible speakers to archery and martial arts – there really is something for everyone! World music fills the air throughout the festival, while delicious food ensures tums stay nice and full. Children will love the array of activities on offer, while adults can kick back and relax in the sauna.


Arundel Festival of the Arts

Looking across a field of flowers at Arundel Castle

Where: Various venues across Arundel

When: TBC (Usually August)

Access: There are multiple car parks around Arundel.

Shining a light on the rich history that surrounds Arundel, as well as the many wonderful local businesses that thrive there, the Arundel Festival of the Arts is an annual celebration of everything creative. Spanning the entire town, this 10-day feast for the senses enjoys an eclectic mix of entertainment, from dances beneath historic backdrops to artistic trails that lead you on a journey of discovery across the town.

Parades turn the cobbled streets into displays of colour and smiling faces, while the many shops and cafés pull out all the stops to join in with the celebrations. Join a walking tour to learn more about Arundel’s past, settle down for a comedic showdown outside a bustling pub, or head to Arundel Lido for a refreshing dip before continuing your tour of the town. A visit to Arundel Castle and its surrounding gardens is always a must when in the area!


Goodwood Revival

Someone in vintage 60s clothes sat on a vintage bike at the Goodwood Revival festival in Sussex

Where: Goodwood House, Chichester

When: 6th - 8th September

In September, Goodwood House pulls out all the stops once more for the famous Goodwood Revival, where historic motor races combine with a fabulous period dress code! The only event of its kind, the weekend long celebration of all things classic features a royally good lineup of events, including the Revival Car Show, rip-roaring races, and some excellent shopping opportunities.

‘Revive and Thrive’ lies at the heart of this festival, which encourages guests to mend and restore rather than buy new. This can be seen through the fabulous outfits that sweep over the estate, with everything from the swinging 40s to the 60s making an appearance in true vintage style - the ‘Best Dressed’ competition is always a wonderful show! Whether you want to explore some beautiful classic cars or step back in time in a pair of vintage shoes, this is the place to be. 


Worthing Food and Drink Festival

Worthing Pier with a Ferris Wheel in the background

Where: Steyne Gardens, Worthing BN11 3DW

When: 7th – 8th September

Access: There are lots of car parks around town, with the main multi-storey car park on Buckingham Road, which is a short stroll to the gardens.

Back for its fifth year, the Worthing Food and Drink Festival serves up lashings of fun and food, with a side of ocean views for good measure. Local food producers create a diverse selection of toothsome treats to discover, whether you’re looking for something hot off the grill for now or something sweet and delicious for later, with everything from burgers to brownies making an appearance.

A lovely selection of arts and craft stalls also line the food festival, providing the perfect excuse for a bit of retail therapy as you decide which food stand to visit next. Worthing is full of lovely spots to uncover, including the pretty parade that runs along the sea and Worthing Pier, which reaches out into the glistening ocean.


Lewes Bonfire Night

A giant bonfire at Lewes Bonfire Night in Sussex

Where: Various locations across Lewes

When: 5th November

Access: The town gets very busy during Lewes Bonfire Night and public transport stops running to the town from early afternoon onwards. Parking is scarce and there are road closures during the event, so it’s best to arrive as early in the morning as possible.

One of the biggest (and brightest) events in Sussex, Lewes Bonfire Night is a highlight of the county’s calendar, drawing in thousands of visitors each year. Bustling processions make their way through the streets, sporting costumes linked with the various societies that organise the event and huge burning crosses and effigies ready to be tossed on the fire. 

Alongside the giant bonfires that sprout up across the town, you can also enjoy the traditional barrel run, which sees teams dragging flaming barrels down the street before rocketing them into the river. The entire atmosphere is utterly infectious, with lots of activities and entertainment around to fill your evening with plenty of fun and games. Wrap up warm and get ready for a bonfire night unlike any other.


Excited to make the most of the impressive calendar of events in Sussex in 2024? Explore our beautiful holiday cottages and start planning your fun-filled break.

More reading

Best holiday cottages for groups

Best holiday cottages for groups

From country houses with hot tubs to coastal retreats with sea views and space galore, these holiday cottages are perfect for a group holiday.

Property 1 year ago Annie Cowen
Places to eat in Battle

Places to eat in Battle

Cosy tearooms, mouth-watering restaurants and traditional pubs make Battle a fantastic choice when it comes to a great meal out.

Things to do 2 years ago Annie Cowen
Beaches in Sussex

Beaches in Sussex

Discover shingly coves, beaches backed with towering cliffs and seas perfectly suited to every watersports imaginable along the mighty coast of Sussex.

Places to Go 2 years ago Annie Cowen
Best holiday cottages with hot tubs for a romantic getaway

Best holiday cottages with hot tubs for a romantic getaway

Make your next romantic getaway extra special with one of our beautiful holiday cottages with a hot tub.

Property 3 months ago Annie Cowen