1 Event. Ice skating on the Prom. This year’s rink, next to the Regis Centre, is bigger and better than previously, measuring 30 x 20 metres, so the whole family can enjoy a traditional style rectangular ice rink. If skating isn’t your thing or if you’re looking to park your children somewhere for an hour, in addition to the rink, there are Arctic Jump trampolines, children’s rides, Christmas market huts, a German-style swing grill and a bar. Book tickets, which range from £7.50-£27, at: ticketcrowd.co.uk/ice-skating-on-the-prom for the venue which is open daily, except Christmas Day, 10am-9pm, until January 5.
2 Theatre. The Wizard of Oz. Don your ruby slippers and join Chichester Festival Youth Theatre as they journey along the yellow brick road in a wonderful adventure for all the family. This faithful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic novel was originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and features all the beloved songs from the 1939 classic film, including Over The Rainbow, If I Only Had a Brain and We’re Off To See The Wizard. Showing at various times from December 14-29, tickets start at £10 and are available from: cft.org.uk or call 01243 781312.
3 Concert. Chichester Voices. To put you in the real spirit of Christmas, a carol concert, led by the choir is titled ‘A Boy was Born. An evening of festive music with audience participation.’ Accompanied by Richard Allum, the choir is directed by Andrew Naylor. As well as enjoying the music, audience members have the satisfaction of supporting charities linked to Bognor Regis Rotary Club. Tickets cost £14, concessions £12, on the door at St Thomas A’Becket parish church, Church Lane, Pagham PO21 4NU. To buy in advance for the concert, at 7.30pm, on December 19, contact John Bunderla-Davies on 01243 268288 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Event. Jingle Bell Jog. Get yourself fit before Christmas by joining in a Santa dash around Priory Park in central Chichester and, at the same time, raise vital funds for the Sussex Snowdrop Trust. Walkers, joggers and runners of all abilities and ages are welcome to do as many laps of the 1km route as they wish. Entry costs £33 for a family, £12 for adults, £7 for under-15s. Registration is from 10am and the jog starts 10.30am on December 15. For details email: email@example.com
5 Concert. Cavatina. A concert of seasonal music given by the a cappella choir Cavatina, at St Mary’s Church, Barnham, follows their successful concert there in the summer. The programme, on December 18, at 7.30pm, will include settings of many popular Christmas carols and songs, plus a ‘Three Minute Messiah.’ Refreshments will be available. The concert is in aid of 4Sight, which provides support to people with visual impairment in the Bognor Regis and Chichester area. Tickets, costing £10, are available on the door or by calling 01243 551467.
6 Event. The Edes House Christmas Tour. The Grade 1 listed building in West Street, Chichester, is a fine example of a 17th century merchant’s home and was built by maltster John Edes and his wife, Hannah. It has been restored by current owners West Sussex County Council and is used for special council occasions as well as being available for hire. The house will be open for visitors on December 16, at 10.30am and 2pm. Book through The Novium Museum in Tower Street, Chichester, online at: thenovium.org or by calling 01243 775888.
7 Concert. Christmas by Candlelight. Professional singer Rachael Hawnt, a finalist in the BBC1 TV show All Together Now, accompanied by Ashley Cutler on piano, will be at a Slindon College festive fundraising event on December 19. The school is developing a sensory garden and proceeds from the concert will go towards the project. The concert, at the school, is from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. Tickets are £22.50 and available by calling 01243 814647. The event will also include a raffle, cash bar and free on-site parking. Guests are asked to dress in occasion wear.
8 Event. Christmas Market. The last two days of Chichester’s Christmas Market in North Street and East Street will be on December 14 and 15. The market will feature an array of stalls, providing an opportunity for visitors to pick up some unusual Christmas gifts, festive groceries and tipples. Hayling Island Donkey Sanctuary will be at the market with their much-loved nativity scene including live donkeys. Stallholders will include many local traders and a seating area will be provided for visitors to enjoy the freshly prepared street foods, while The Famous Last Stand bar will add to the festivities by serving mulled wine . Opening times are 9am-8pm on Saturday and 9am-4pm on Sunday.
9 Theatre. The Wizard of Oz. Spillers Pantomimes has teamed up with the Regis Centre in Bognor Regis once again, to create one of its best ever family pantomimes – The Wizard of Oz. This fun-packed show is a production full of laughter, comedy, spectacle and traditional pantomime nonsense. Actors are Kevin Short as The Wizard, Jamie Bannerman as The Lion (last seen as Abanazar in Aladdin), Scottish duo Lemetti and Mirren as The Scarecrow and Tin Man, Vicky Edwards as the Good Witch, Drew Donnell as the Wicked Witch (last seen as Cruella in Cinderella) and introducing Katie Bennett as Dorothy. Performances continue until January 4. To check times and book tickets, visit the website at: alexandratheatre.co.uk or call 01243 861010.
10 Music. BSO: Last Night of the Christmas Proms. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra returns to one of its regular venues, Portsmouth Guildhall, for a glittering evening of popular seasonal music. The audience is invited to kick off Christmas with a fun-packed concert for all the family, featuring classics old and new, all wrapped up with a sprinkling of magic and sparkle. The concert is on December 22, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets, at £27, are available online at: portsmouthguildhall.org.uk
11Event. Christmas at Amberley. Amberley Museum’s 36-acre site is full of surprises, especially during the festive season. Visitors can ride the Christmas train to visit Father Christmas in the 19th century ticket office. Visit the market stalls, enjoy children’s activities and take a frosty stroll joining in on the family Christmas trail. The museum is open for weekends December 14 and 15 and 21 and 22, 10am-5pm. For details, visit: amberleymuseum.co.uk or call 01798 831370.
12 Event. Father Christmas Sleigh Experience. Step into Father Christmas’ restored Russian troika sleigh on December 14 and 15 and 18-22 in St Martin’s Street in central Chichester, off East Street. The cost of meeting Santa is £4 per child, with funds going to Chichester Downs Syndrome Support Group. For further details, see the Facebook page: father christmas chichester.
13 Music. Christmas Extravaganza. Kensington Brass – the internationally known group of Royal College of Music graduates who all play a variety of brass instruments – will be performing their exciting Christmas Extravaganza, exploring a wide range of festive music arranged in the ensemble’s own unique and interesting way. There will be amusing commentary and outstanding brass playing to highlight the versatility of brass instruments and showcase individual talents. This show has something for all ages and tastes. It’s being put on at St Nicholas Church, Arundel (BN18 9AT) by the church’s friends’ organisation on December 13, at 7pm. Tickets, priced from £10 to £25, are available by calling 01903 882262.
14 Music. Christmas Music with the Luc Family. Celebrate Christmas with the Luc family, who will perform a programme of festive and light classical music, including Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite arranged for piano duet, pieces for piano and cello and more. Festive refreshments will also be provided after the concert, which is at Christ Church, Old Market Avenue, Chichester PO19 1SW on December 23, at 6.30pm. Tickets are £10 and available from the box office at The Novium, Tower Street, Chichester, online at: thenovium.org or by calling 01243 775888.
15 Event. Sail to Santa. Families can board an elf-powered boat for a gentle ride through the reedbeds of the WWT Centre at Arundel to visit Father Christmas. Try the Naughty or Nice-0-Metre before you board, then experience the magic of a festive visit with Father Christmas inside his ‘frosty’ grotto and receive a WWT goody bag. The unusual trip can be booked on December 14 and 15, from 10.30am-3.30pm and can be booked online at: wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/arundel/whats-on/sail-to-santa-1/5428 and costs £6 per child, £2 per adult plus regular centre admission price, which is free for WWT members.
16 Event. Christmas Market. Organic horticulture and education centre Tuppenny Barn will be holding a market on December 15 at its premises, off Main Road, Southbourne. A wide range of stalls is promised for shoppers with Christmas gifts, many of which are hand-crafted. Nibbles, too, will be available during the event, which is free to visit and is open from noon to 4pm.
17 Music. Messiah. The Hanover Band bring this seasonal masterpiece home to St Nicholas Church, London Road, Arundel, as the culmination of their UK tour. The master of this work, Andrew Arthur, conducts the magnificent Hanover Band Chorus, The Hanover Band and soloists Erica Eloff, soprano, William Towers, alto, Bradley Smith, tenor and Edward Grint, bass. The concert is on December 21, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £20-£45 with under-30s free. Call the box office on 0333 666 3366.
18 Event. Boxgrove Priory. A busy seasonal worship programme in a historic setting offers a warm, seasonal welcome to all. Festive events at the priory preserve an element of reflection and preparation for Christmas itself and the celebratory mood is never far from the surface. Those wishing to immerse themselves in the true spirit of Christmas in the glorious setting of one of Sussex’s most notable church buildings are invited to attend the traditional carol service, followed by mince pies and mulled wine at 5.30pm on December 22. Christmas Eve has the ever-popular children’s crib service at 4pm with Midnight Mass, in which the priory glows with both candle light and human warmth, starting at 11.30pm. Admittance to all events is free and everyone is welcome.
19 Event. Santa’s Grotto. Santa and his elves will be waiting to greet children in a specially decorated grotto at Arundel Museum in Mill Road, by the river (BN18 5PA). The big man in red will be available on December 14, 15, 21 and 22, from noon to 4pm. Cost is £4 for one child and £7 for two. Other family activities are being organised in the school holidays, with games days from December 28-30, 10am-4pm, when visitors are invited to enjoy games, puzzles and a chance to relax with a hot drink after Christmas. The museum will also be open. Games are free, donations welcome. Children’s author Sandra Saer will be reading from her books Star Sandwiches and Moon Custard & The Giant and the Mouse on December 28, 20m-4pm.
20 Art. Artel 100. Works by artists who usually exhibit in the Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester will be displayed in the New Park Centre’s bar in the city until January 10, from noon to 10pm daily. Film-goers will be able to look around as they wait but anyone can call into the community centre to view the show. Work is in a variety of media, from paint and print to textiles and ceramics. Each piece is 30cm x 30cm and priced at £100.