Get your art + culture fix: where’s open and what’s on?

We’re delighted to see so many of our arts partners reopening – a host of much-missed museums and galleries, artists’ houses, and performance venues. We’re dying to get our culture fix, and the list of exhibitions we’re wanting to see is growing ever longer by the day! To make planning a visit as easy as possible, we’ve gathered together everything you need to know in one place – where has reopened and where remains closed, when you can visit, what’s on, what changes and safety measures to expect, and how we can continue to support our local arts destinations. To make your visit that much more extra, we’ve thrown a hefty dose of local knowledge into the mix – read on to discover which hidden gems, tucked-away havens, boutiques, foody spots and watering holes our partners recommend.

Whether you’re planning a staycation, a weekend away, or a day out, stay modern, stay Sussex. Explore our route planner, join the dots and enjoy the best art, landscape and wine destinations on our doorstep.


Towner Gallery

Open now

If there isn’t a picture of Towner’s rainbow exterior on your Instagram then where have you been? Although Lothar Goetz’s mural Dance Diagonal has been extended in light of recent events, it won’t be around forever and needs to be seen. The icing on the cake right now is the unmissable exhibition Early Works: Alan Davie and David Hockney. Tickets for this can be booked online, but if you’re wanting to be more spontaneous, the exhibitions ‘Lawrence Abu Hamdan: All this time there were no landmines’ and ‘BRINK: Caroline Lucas curates the Towner Collection’, are free and don’t require advanced booking. There are plenty of measures in place such as floor markings, hygiene screens and hand sanitiser stations to make sure your visit is as safe and enjoyable as possible. Everything you need to know before visiting is here.

Staff pick: According to the team at Towner, no visit to Eastbourne is complete without a visit to Camilla’s Bookshop so make sure that’s at the top of your list.

Join the dots: Being so close to the coast, Eastbourne is only a stone’s throw away some of Sussex’s best coastline. The iconic cliffs of Seven Sisters are further along the coast in one direction, the sweeping Pevensey Bay in the other. Alternatively, escape inland to the countryside and pay a visit to the ancient (or is it?) chalk figure, the Long Man of Wilmington. See more on our route planner.


Click here to visit their website.



The garden is currently open for pre-booked visits. The aim is to reopen the farmhouse in Spring 2021.

There’s no denying that Charleston’s beautiful, rambling garden is an artist’s garden – in fact, the garden was central to the creativity of Charleston, and an inspiration to all of the Bloomsbury Group who lived and visited there. Like those that came before you, the garden is sure to inspire your writing, your photography, your painting or even your own garden makeover. Fancy a private visit for you and your friends? Charleston have set up timed tickets so that you can relax and enjoy the garden knowing you have it all to yourselves for a spell. (Up to six people)

Keep your eyes peeled for a weekend of digital programmes 25-27 September to mark Small Wonder, Charleston’s short-story festival. The full line-up will be announced early September. To stay in the know, follow them on social media.

Charleston are asking for donations to their emergency appeal, so if you feel able to support, find out more here.

Staff pick: Only a 15 minute drive away, you’ll find The Ram Inn in the heart of Firle – a great local pub bursting with character and good food. Join local artists, walkers, writers, farmers, farriers and vicars and tuck in. If you’re planning a staycation, they also offer B&B all year round.

Join the dots: It’s no exaggeration to say that Charleston is literally surrounded by art, landscape and wine. The options are seemingly endless – swing a cat and you’re liable to hit Farley’s House and Gallery, Rathfinny Wine Estate, Firle Beacon and Glyndebourne. See more on our route planner.


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Pallant House Gallery

Open Now

The perfect mix of historic and contemporary, Pallant House Gallery have reopened with a fresh-feeling makeover and exciting new rehang in the 18th century townhouse, and an extension of their much-acclaimed Barnett Freedman exhibition in the contemporary wing. Not only will you be able to get your art fix here – their collection of Modern British art is second to none, you’re sure to find some interior design inspiration in the historic townhouse. For some wholesome content, you can’t go wrong with Drawn to Nature: Gilbert White and the artists – a small exhibition packed with heart-warming, soul-restoring illustrations of adorable local wildlife, all inspired by the seminal book The Natural History of Selborne.

Find out more about their safety measures here.

Staff pick: For after-work drinks, there’s only one place you’ll find the Pallant House team, The Hole In The Wall pub – the perfect spot for a bit of lunch and some craft beer. Fishbourne Roman Palace, just outside of Chichester, has the largest collection of roman mosaics in situ, as well as beautifully recreated gardens. Due to reopen soon, it’s well worth a visit.

Join the dots: Enjoy the unique triangle of art, landscape and wine here in Sussex with a visit to the neighbouring Tinwood estate – known for their world-class Sussex Sparkling, and nearby Kingley Vale – an ancient forest with what are thought to be Britain’s oldest living trees. See more on our route planner.


Click here to view their website.



Open now

With glorious gardens and a spacious, airy restaurant complete with full height windows opening out on to the terrace, Depot is the perfect place to venture out to eat. They’re also part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme throughout August, which means you can enjoy up to 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks. In good weather, you might even be treated to a barbecue – the locally caught mackerel fillets are on point.

As the cinema reopens it’s doors, the programme features films made or set in Sussex, with Summerland, Hope Gap, Perfect 10 and Carmilla – another great way to enjoy Sussex! As you would imagine, Depot has implemented all the measures you’d expect to make you feel safe and relaxed when you visit – find out more here.

Staff pick: Rumour has it there is a floral haven spitting distance from Depot in the shape of Grange Gardens. I know, we had no idea either! Beautiful gardens dating back to 1542 smack-bang in the centre of Lewes town.

Join the dots: Get back to nature with a visit to Malling Down Nature Reserve, within walking distance of Lewes. This chalk grassland is littered with rare wild flowers and butterflies, and has gorgeous views out to sea. For the full Sussex Modern experience, top off the day with a visit to a nearby vineyard – Rathfinny Wine Estate in one direction, Wiston Estate the other. See more on our route planner.


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Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft

Open Now

Set in the Ditchling countryside, this bijou museum packs quite the culture-punch! The striking architecture gives way to beautiful displays of their permanent collection and the history of craft in Ditchling. Currently, you can see the fascinating exhibition Tillage – an exploration of work by artist John Newling who is a pioneer of public art with a social purpose. To make sure everyone is safe and comfortable, visitor numbers have been limited so we recommend booking your tickets in advance. Find out more about Ditchling’s safety measures here.

Stay connected and engage with their online #CreateToRelate programme – you’ll find a wealth of inspiring tutorials for adults and children on their Instagram.

Staff pick: The Green Welly is the local café of choice, a great lunch spot in the charming village of Ditchling. Also worth a look are local jewellers Pruden and Smith across the road where you can find out more about the continuation of arts and crafts in the village of Ditchling.

Join the dots: Fully embrace the art, landscape and wine of Sussex – take in the dramatic scenery of nearby Devil’s Dyke, and sit back, relax and unwind at the world-class winery Albourne Estate. You can’t take the views home with you, but you can certainly take home a bottle or two. See more on our route planner.


Click here to visit their website.

Hastings Contemporary

Open Now

Nestled in the heart of Hastings’ quaint and obscenely photogenic Old Town, a newly reopened Hastings Contemporary is serving up the full gallery experience once more. Contemporary art? You know it. Modern British art? And some. Impressive architecture? Absolutely. Striking seafront views? Unrivalled. Gallery café? Spot on! They’re reopening with a brand-new exhibition about legendary British abstract artist Victor Pasmore, and it’s ticking a lot of our boxes. This is going to be a popular one, so be sure to book your ticket in advance.

Staff pick: Here’s a top tip from the team at Hastings Contemporary – once you’ve finished exploring the Old Town, head a little way out to St Leonards on Sea. Rumour has it the beaches are much quieter, and there’s plenty of boutiques to catch your eye. Head to Goat Ledge, a brightly coloured seafront fish hut, beach bar, and ice cream café, indulge in a Hastings Fish Roll and enjoy eating it right on the beach!

Join the dots: Ramp up the culture and take in the full Coastal Culture Trail with not one, not two, but three award-winning galleries by the sea – Hastings Contemporary, De La Warr Pavilion, and Towner Gallery. Alternatively, head in the opposite direction and explore Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, a scenic wonderland of shingle and saltmarsh. See more on our route planner.


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Open Now

Glyndebourne’s creative response to COVID-19 has seen them embrace the potential of their gorgeous gardens – and why not? they’re glorious! Since reopening in early July, they have opened their gardens to the public, scheduled an array of outdoor musical performances, and made delicious takeaway picnics and afternoon teas available. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all tickets to their events are sold out, but keep the faith, and a watchful eye on their website, and you may well be rewarded!

Of course, a great night in is still on the cards courtesy of Glyndebourne Open House. You can watch a different Opera performance online at home every week throughout August. Go all out, invite some friends, get dressed up and have a picnic.

Glyndebourne are continuing to raise money through their emergency appeal, details of which can be found here.

Staff pick: Where do Glyndebourne staff head for a socially-distanced catch up? Depot, no less! “Lewes Depot cinema has a lovely outdoor space for food and drink”.

Join the dots: Within walking distance is the flower-strewn grassland of Malling Down Nature Reserve, but cast the net wider for plenty of options. You can increase your culture dosage at Farley’s House and Gallery – home of the Surrealists, indulge in a glass of the good stuff at the scenic Bluebell Vineyard Estates, or let the breath-taking views wash over you at nearby Firle Beacon. See more on our route planner.


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De La Warr Pavilion

Open Now 

Go for the iconic Modernist architecture, stay for the fascinating exhibitions. We recommend the contemporary installation Zadie Xa: Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation, but make sure you don’t miss the monumental drawings by artist Marc Bauer – extended until 6 September. As well as the galleries, the café bar, terrace bar, shop, and the independent record store Music’s Not Dead are all open – a real one stop shop!

The De La Warr is doing plenty to make sure their visitors are safe and happy, read more about their new measures here.

Staff pick: Top off your visit with a drink, or a bite to eat at staff favourite Rocksalt-on-sea, a great bar just opposite the De La Warr with plenty of outside seating. Ask yourself, is a visit to the seaside really ever complete without some good fish and chips?

Join the dots: Just along the coast you’ll find the sweeping views of Pevensey Bay – perfect for relaxing. Alternatively, explore the quaint 13th century Pevensey village and the nearby wildlife haven, Pevensey Levels. See more on our route planner.


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West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Open Now

Feeling creative? Caught the crafting bug whilst in lockdown? West Dean have got you covered! Their new campaign, Make Time to Make includes no less than 300 arts and crafts short courses – anything from day-long beginners workshops to advanced courses! There’s ceramics, weaving, foraging, photography, basket-making, calligraphy and SO. MANY. MORE. The perfect creative treat for yourself, or for a loved one. If you’re after something more relaxing, you can now pre-book a visit to West Dean’s idyllic gardens – there’s a kitchen garden, glasshouses, spring gardens and more.

Staff pick: Unanimously, the staff’s favourite spot is the Gardeners’ Cottage! A visit to the gardens is not complete without settling in to admire the views with a cup of tea at the Gardeners’ Cottage. Do I sense a cream tea in your future?

Join the dots: West Dean is only a stones-throw from Tinwood Estate’s glorious vineyards, perfect if your sunny afternoon is crying our for something stronger than a cup of tea. Swing by and indulge in a glass of Sussex Sparkling, or treat yourself to a bottle of something special to take home. See more on our route planner.


Click here to visit their website.

Chichester Festival Theatre

Open August Bank Holiday

Although indoor performances likely won’t be resumed until Autumn, undeterred, Chichester Festival Theatre are moving the party outdoors instead. Over the bank holiday weekend, the highlight of their Movies and Music Weekend is the Drive-in Cinema. Go back in time for the black and white classic Some Like It Hot, channel those vintage vibes for Grease, or keep the whole family entertained with Pixar’s latest Onward. Tickets are on sale now.

If you’re staying in and fancy a change from Netflix, be sure to check out CFT At Home. There’s a wide range of excellent performances that have generously been made available to watch online.

Staff pick: In Oaklands Park, right nextdoor to Chichester Festival Theatre, you can now get your hands on some tasty pizza courtesy of Caper & Berry. With drinks, desserts and sides all available, that’s dinner covered – an al fresco feast with the added bonus of a view of CFT’s iconic modernist architecture.

Join the dots: Earn your pizza and work up an appetite with a long, scenic walk amidst the ancient Yew trees of Kingley Vale. CFT’s Chichester neighbour, Pallant House Gallery, could be just the thing to sate your cultural appetite. See more on our route planner.


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Farley’s House and Gallery

Open Now

Soak up some culture at the quirky and unique home of Surrealists Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. Although the house is not currently open to the public, the sculpture garden is an absolute joy – you wouldn’t be the first to sit in the garden pretending the estate is yours! The special exhibition Lee Miller and Picasso can now be enjoyed in a spacious, industrial warehouse opposite the Gallery. Numbers are limited so it’s essential to book in advance.

Join the dots: From one artist’s home to another, Charleston, once the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, is a hop, skip, and a jump away through unspoilt countryside. Head towards the coast and you’ll run straight in to Rathfinny Wine Estate, a local winery with the most enviable views in the county. Their Wine & Seafood Kitchen offers delicious food and drink which can be enjoyed alfresco in the vineyards. Idyllic. See more on our route planner.


Click here to visit their website.


Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

Not currently open

Although the building is currently closed to the public, the University of Sussex grounds are still open for visitors. If you’re into Modernist architecture, the campus, designed by architect Sir Basil Spence is something to behold! The buildings, all of which are now listed, are distinctively stylised and ooze mid-century vibes. The recently refurbished Attenborough Centre is just one of the highlights.

Staff pick: A top tip from the team at ACCA is to combine a visit to the campus with a stroll in Stanmer Park, or a walk along the South Downs Way to Lewes. Take a much-deserved break at architectural gem, the Lewes Arms, or the outdoor lido Pells Pool. When passing through Falmer Village, assemble an enviable picnic of local organic produce for the journey at the Park Farm shop.

Join the dots: From Falmer there is plenty of exquisite Sussex countryside to explore – nearby Devil’s Dyke is amongst the most iconic spots with it’s plunging valleys and dramatic skyline. A perfect spot to kick back, drink in the views, and drink in some world-class English wine is nearby Albourne Estate. See more on our route planner.


Click here to visit their website.


Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Not currently open

Brighton Museums are hoping to reopen in mid-September, but in the meantime whet your appetite by checking out their blog. The latest article is all about New York hairstylist to the stars, Kenneth Battelle – think Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy – and how the Royal Pavilion inspired the design of his memorably unique salon. Let’s just say that the Pavilion is not known for its minimalist décor…

Staff pick: Just because you can’t explore the interiors, doesn’t mean you can’t sit for a while and marvel at the wholly maximalist architecture of the Royal Pavilion! According to the team, the best spot is from the independently run Pavilion Gardens Café. This outdoor café enjoys sunshine most of the day, and uninterrupted views of the Pavilion estate.

Join the dots: Venture to the village of Ditchling and you will be rewarded with the picturesque Ditchling Common, the small but perfectly formed Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, and the award-winning Ridgeview Wine Estate – they don’t call it Ridgeview for nothing! See more on our route planner.


Click here to visit their website.


So where will you get your art + culture fix?

Wherever your local Sussex adventures take you, be sure to share them with us using the hashtag #StayModernStaySussex.


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