From world-class theatre and outstanding art exhibitions, annual musical and literary festivals, family fun and some of the UK's best-loved sporting events at the Goodwood Estate, the thriving calendar of events taking place across the Chichester and surrounding areas offers something for all interests and ages.
Chichester boasts one of the UK"s most respected regional theatres which has a well-deserved reputation for high quality productions that often transfer to the West End or travel across the country. Year round, the programme features hugely popular musical productions, star-studded dramas, comedy and family entertainment.
Chichester and the nearby towns of Petworth and Midhurst are increasingly proving to be a cultural destination for art and culture lovers choosing the surroundings of the Sussex countryside in contrast to the bustle of the capital. Pallant House Gallery in Chichester stages a varied programme of exhibitions showcasing the very best in modern British art from 1900 to today. The permanent collection features work by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Damien Hirst, and Patrick Caulfield to name but a few, telling the story of British art from Post-Impressionism, right through to Contemporary art. Newlands House Gallery which opened in 2020 has attracted rave reviews for its exhibitions featuring great artists of the 20th Century, with shows so far featuring Helmut Newton, Julian Opie and Lee Miller. The gallery is set in an 18th century townhouse in the picturesque market town of Petworth, in the South Downs.
Each summer The Festival of Chichester draws audiences to a month-long festival of the arts where you can be immersed in live performances by artists from the worlds of classical music, jazz, poetry, theatre, literature and more besides. Annually, the renowned Petworth Festival brings opportunities to see a rich variety of live music, comedy and theatre, followed in the autumn by the festival’s literary week which hosts discussions by best-selling authors and personalities.
Goodwood’s sporting events draw visitors from across the world; the high-octane Festival of Speed celebrating motor sport is a mecca for car enthusiasts; known locally as Glorious Goodwood, the Qatar Festival is one of the pinnacles of the horseracing calendar, taking place each July; September brings The Revival, Goodwood’s celebration of vintage cars and fashion, which is staged entirely in period theme.
Midhurst, in the heart of the South Downs National Park is home to the Cowdray Estate, the home of British Polo. Each Summer the polo lawns host Europe’s premier polo tournament; the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup. A notable social occasion, spectators flock to see the international Polo stars in action, as well as enjoying a luxury shopping experience, and artisan food and drink.
Celebrating the presence of a lifeboat station at the seaside town of Selsey since 1861, the annual Lifeboat Day sees impressive displays on the water, live entertainment and family fun. It’s a great opportunity to sample some of Selsey’s famous seafood.
On top of this rich mix of events, history lovers and families will love the regular themed weekends at Weald & Downland Living Museum, where the past is brought to life with demonstrations and hands-on activities. Heritage Open Days during September conjures opportunities to see and experience some of the lesser known historical locations free of charge.
The festive season brings Christmas markets to the district as well as fantastic family entertainment and live entertainment, from theatre productions to intimate musical events.
Search our event calendar for not-to-be-missed dates for your diary...