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
  • an annual Art Trail in April / May
  • a Slow Short Film Festival.  The second festival, on 1st September 2018, is to be confirmed.

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.  On small screens, click on “+” buttons for more details.

AttractionDistance (miles)Minutes by carBrief description
Alfriston1840A beautiful village set on the South Downs Way with a historic High Street and buildings such as the 14th century Clergy House
Alfriston Clergy House1940National 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
Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells1025Classical, opera, music, musical, family, dance, spoken word, variety theatre
Batemans920National Trust property. Home of Rudyard Kipling, Jacobean house, water mill, gardens, tea shop
Battle1630Home to the ruined Benedictine Abbey above the site of the Battle of Hastings, this charming town has many attractions, restaurants and galleries
Brighton2860Home to the Brighton Pavilion, an arts and cultural centre with quaint shopping areas. Home to Brighton and Hove Albion, the nearest premier league team
Brighton Open Air Theatre2955425 capacity Open Air Theatre in Dyke Road Park, Hove open from 1st May to 30th September
Congress Theatre, Eastbourne2150 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 Pavilion2250Established in 1935, modern ever since. Exhibitions, comedy, music, peformance, broadcast & film, family shows, workshops
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne2250Grade II listed small Victorian Theatre presenting major touring productions and one-night shows
Dunloran Park1120Landscaped park and grounds totalling approximately 78 acres with a 6-acre lake, a Grecian temple and ornamental fountain
Eastbourne2345"Endless blue skies, sweeping South Downs countryside, colourful art scene and warm sunshine". Home to the Eastbourne International Airshow and Eastbourne International Tennis Tournament
Electric Palace 2355Compact, arthouse cinema, screening classic and world films, with a bar and a live-events programme.
Glyndebourne1525Home to the world famous annual Glyndebourne Festival Opera, an opera house sete in an English country house
Hailsham Pavilion1430Fully independent cinema, live music venue and theatre. Mainstream and classic films, plus music shows and theatre productions in an Edwardian auditorium.
Hastings Old Town2250The extent of Hastings before the 19th century. Annual events include the Old Town Week, Jack In The Green, the Seafood and Wine Festival, and the Bonfire Procession.
Herstmonceux Castle1635Herstmonceux 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, Hawkhurst1330Boutique entertainment venue with HD projection and sound. The first purely digital cinema in UK. Glyndebourne live screenings
Lamb House2855National Trust. Georgian house with literary associations including Henry James
Leeds Castle2855“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!
Lewes1735Landmarks include Lewes castle and medieval buildings, there are antique and book shops, plenty of pubs, food and accommodation plus it is the centre of the Sussex bonfire tradition
Lewes Little Theatre1735Home of Lewes Theatre Club and thriving Lewes Theatre Youth Group, six to eight main stage productions per year andadditional touring events
Malborough Pub & Theatre, Brighton2655Fringe theatre, queer performance with great food and a friendly crowd. LGBTQ+ pub theatre
Monks House, Rodmell2245National 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, Hastings2350high quality concerts, recitals, opera, dance, art films, theatre, workshops, literary groups, lectures, the visual arts and more
Pashley Manor Gardens1025A winner of the HHA / Christie's Garden Of The Year Award. The Gardens provide the perfect setting for sculpture. Each year the work of many eminent sculptors is displayed as well as work by local artists.
Picture House, Uckfield1020Award-winning 2 screen independent cinema. New releases, classics, theme nights and cultural screenings from National Theatre and Royal Opera.
Rialto Theatre, Brighton3055Performing arts theatre: music, comedy, drama, fringe, events
Royal Tunbridge Wells920Site of the Chalybeate Spring (hence the "Wells"), historic buildings & architecture, imposing sandstone formations, shopping and a wide range of festivals
Rye2855"Perched on a hill, the medieval town of Rye has an unhurried atmosphere and enchanting streets that draw visitors with their warm welcome"
Salomans Estate and Museum1230Set in 36 acres of rolling gardens, parkland and woods, it includes an impressive Victorian theatre, as well as accommodation and event space
Sissinghurst Castle Garden1940National 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 Garden1940National Trust. Arts and Crafts family home with Morris & Co. interiors, set in a beautiful hillside garden
The Curzon, Eastbourne23503-screen cinema showing main releases, live streaming of National Theatre and RSC productions and some foreign-language releases
The Forum920An independent music venue in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent with a standing capacity of 250.  It has hosted many famous singers and acts.
The Hub Theatre, Haywards Heath2145Central Sussex College’s working theatre environment with the latest industry-standard technology to provide students with an outstanding theatre space
Theatre Royal, Brighton2955Grade 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 Wells1020Once 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 Theatre1840112 seat theatre based in an old oast house. Home to the Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club
Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells1025Mix of classical theatre/music/films/visual arts and children's theatre with animation and puppetry.
Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery1025Special exhibitions, collection of Tunbridge wooden ware, objects of the month. Explorer backpacks, gallery trails and colouring books for children.
White Rock Theatre, Hastings2250Large venue for classical and rock music, stand-up comedians, circus, panto and community events.
Winter Garden Theatre, Eastbourne2350Wide variety of entertainment including tea dances, old-style music shows, comedy club and conferences in the Floral Hall and Gold Room