Cultural Attractions, Events and Festivals

There is a rich heritage of local festivals and cultural events.  Each year Mayfield and Five Ashes host:

  • Mayfield Mayfair. This builds on the traditions of May festivities and Spring Fairs which have taken place locally for hundreds of years.  Nowadays many local schools take part in the traditional Maypole dancing joined by a local side of Morris Men and a group of mummers
  • Bonfire Parade. Mayfield takes its turn among the villages of East Sussex to host a bonfire parade where up to 20 bonfire societies, accompanied by drums and bands, parade through the village with lighted torches in commemoration of the burning of martyrs in the 16th century

while every two years there is the

For opera lovers, Glyndebourne is half an hour away, while the homes of many literary figures such as Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West are open to the public nearby, along with other properties and places associated with the Bloomsbury set, Henry James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and AA Milne.

Mayfield is home to two amateur drama groups, the Phoenix Players and the Wateryard Theatre group, while professional theatres are to be found nearby in Tunbridge Wells (Assembly Hall and Trinity Theatre), Eastbourne (Congress Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre and Winter Garden), Bexhill (De La Warr Pavilion), Hastings (White Rock and Opus) and Brighton (Theatre Royal, Rialto, Open Air, Malborough Pub and Theatre).

For cinema enthusiasts as well as the local multiplexes (Odeon at Tunbridge Wells and Hastings, Cineworld at Eastbourne) there are also three highly rated independent cinemas nearby (Picture House Uckfield, Kino Hawkhurst and Curzon Eastbourne) showing major releases, independent films and live streaming.

There is also the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery

Search on the table below to find cultural activities and events in the area.

AttractionDistance (miles)Brief description
Alfriston Clergy House https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/alfriston-clergy-house19National Trust property. Medieval thatched Wealden hall-house and picturesque (Arts & Crafts) garden. Follow in the steps of the Bloomsbury set of writers and artists in a walk to the house
Argos Hill Windmill http://www.argoshillwindmill.org.uk2A Grade 2* listed building dating from 1835, one of only 50 surviving post mills in England, a landmark and a fine example of Sussex millwrighting
Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells http://www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk10Classical, opera, music, musical, family, dance, spoken word, variety theatre
Batemans https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans7National Trust property. Home of Rudyard Kipling, Jacobean house, water mill, gardens, tea shop
Brighton Open Air Theatre http://www.brightonopenairtheatre.co.uk29425 capacity Open Air Theatre in Dyke Road Park, Hove open from 1st May to 30th September
Chartwell https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell23National Trust. Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill
Congress Theatre, Eastbourne http://www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk/about-us/venue-information/congress-theatre21 Grade II* listed, purpose built, theatre and conference venue built in 1963. host to touring West End musicals and plays, ballet, opera, comedy and live music
De La Warr Pavilion http://www.dlwp.com22Established in 1935, modern ever since. Exhibitions, comedy, music, peformance, broadcast & film, family shows, workshops
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne http://www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk/venue/devonshire-park-theatre22Grade II listed small Victorian Theatre presenting major touring productions and one-night shows
Electric Palace http://www.electricpalacecinema.com23Compact, arthouse cinema, screening classic and world films, with a bar and a live-events programme.
Herstmonceux Castle http://www.herstmonceux-castle.com16Herstmonceux Castle Gardens and Grounds is a 300 acre estate including woodland, formal themed gardens and a 15th century moated castle. It is an International Study Centre for Queen’s University in Canada and hosts students, tourists, residential conferences, corporate events and weddings
Kino, Hawkhurst http://www.kinodigital.co.uk13Boutique entertainment venue with HD projection and sound. The first purely digital cinema in UK. Glyndebourne live screenings
Lamb House https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lamb-house28National Trust. Georgian house with literary associations including Henry James
Leeds Castle https://www.leeds-castle.com/home?28“THE LOVELIEST CASTLE IN THE WORLD”. Discover almost 900 years of history and explore 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens. The whole family will enjoy the maze and grotto, thrilling falconry displays, punting on the moat, adventure playgrounds and more!
Lewes Little Theatre http://www.lewestheatre.org17Home of Lewes Theatre Club and thriving Lewes Theatre Youth Group, six to eight main stage productions per year andadditional touring events
Malborough Pub & Theatre, Brighton http://www.marlboroughtheatre.org.uk/26Best fringe theatre, queer performance with great food and a friendly crowd. LGBTQ+ pub theatre
Monks House, Rodmell https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/monks-house20National Trust property. Nestled in the heart of rural Sussex, Monk’s House is a tranquil 17th-century weather-boarded cottage which was inhabited by Leonard and his novelist wife Virginia Woolf from 1919 until Leonard's death in 1969. You can explore the house and gardens
Opus Theatre, Hastings http://www.opustheatre.co.uk23high quality concerts, recitals, opera, dance, art films, theatre, workshops, literary groups, lectures, the visual arts and more
Pevensey Castle http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pevensey-castle21A medieval castle and former Roman Saxon Shore fort. An English Heritage site and a Scheduled Monument
Picture House, Uckfield http://www.picturehouseuckfield.com10Award-winning 2 screen independent cinema. New releases, classics, theme nights and cultural screenings from National Theatre and Royal Opera.
Rialto Theatre, Brighton http://www.rialtotheatre.co.uk/30Performing arts theatre: music, comedy, drama, fringe, events
Scotney Castle https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/scotney-castle10National Trust property. Country house, romantic garden, 14th century moated castle - all in a beautiful wooded estate. Scotney Castle is a great place to visit as a family. With plenty of activities on offer and over 780 acres of parkland and woodland to explore as well as the house and garden and Old Castle, there’s so much here for all the family to enjoy.
Sheffield Park and Gardens https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheffield-park-and-garden15National Trust property. Acres of landscape garden bordered by historic parkland and woodland. Something for everyone with family activities
Sissinghurst Castle Garden https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden19National Trust. Historic, poetic, iconic; a refuge dedicated to beauty. Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and created a world renowned garden.
Standen House and Garden http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/standen-house-and-garden19National Trust. Arts and Crafts family home with Morris & Co. interiors, set in a beautiful hillside garden
Sussex Farms Museums and Nature Trail, Horam horammanorfarm.co.uk8The Museum and nature trails show country life as it was 100 years ago. Inside are areas displaying agricultural tools, stable equipment, the dairy, forge and countryside sports.
The Curzon, Eastbourne http://www.eastbournecurzon.net233-screen cinema showing main releases, live streaming of National Theatre and RSC productions and some foreign-language releases
The Hub Theatre, Haywards Heath http://www.hubtheatre.co.uk21Central Sussex College’s working theatre environment with the latest industry-standard technology to provide students with an outstanding theatre space
Theatre Royal, Brighton http://theatreroyalbrighton.com/29Grade II listed building presenting a range of West End and touring musicals and plays, opera and ballet as well as Creative Learning events, workshops and courses. Capacity of 952.
Therapy Room Comedy Club, Tunbridge Wells http://www.facebook.com/TherapyRoomComedyClubTunbridgeWells/10Once a month attracting the finest stand ups from around the world. Relaxed surroundings where you can watch great comedy, dance, eat, drink and chat.
Tonbridge Oast Theatre http://www.oasttheatre.com18112 seat theatre based in an old oast house. Home to the Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club
Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells http://www.trinitytheatre.net10Mix of classical theatre/music/films/visual arts and children's theatre with animation and puppetry.
Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery http://www.tunbridgewellsmuseum.org10Special exhibitions, collection of Tunbridge wooden ware, objects of the month. Explorer backpacks, gallery trails and colouring books for children.
White Rock Theatre, Hastings whiterocktheatre.org.uk22Large venue for classical and rock music, stand-up comedians, circus, panto and community events.
Winter Garden Theatre, Eastbourne http://www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk/venue/winter-garden23Wide variety of entertainment including tea dances, old-style music shows, comedy club and conferences in the Floral Hall and Gold Room