Get ready for the festive season with Experience West Sussex

Now that we’re midway through November, the holiday season suddenly doesn’t seem so far off, does it? If you haven’t already, it’s time to start that present list, plan your Christmas lunch with friends or family and get in the festive spirit at one of West Sussex’s many Christmas markets.

Whether it’s organising your festive feast with all the trimmings or finding the tallest tree for your home, we’ve put together a list to help you get ready for the occasion.

If you’re stuck for gift ideas, don’t forget to check out our independent gift guide for inspiration on finding something unique for your friends and family!

Get in the jolly spirit at a Christmas market

As Christmas stalls and markets pop up all over the county, filling the air with the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, it’s hard not to feel festive.

Sing along to festive favourites and Christmas carols with live music at the South of England Showground’s Winter Fair in Ardingly, visit Arundel by Candlelight to peruse the independent gifts and watch the magical lantern parade or stop by the Weald and Downland Museum’s Christmas market near Chichester for some unusual gifts and crafts, as well as tasty seasonal treats.

Take the little ones to a wintery wonderland

There is nothing better than the magical build-up toward the holiday season, so why not take the kids to Tulleys Christmas Experience in Crawley where they can soak up the excitement with ice skating, ginger bread decorating, bear making workshops, sleigh rides and encounters with elves, Father Christmas and real live reindeer?

In traditional festive fashion, why not head to Fishers Farm Park , near Wisborough Green, to watch a live pantomime that will have all the family laughing, singing and shouting along? The Magic of Christmas event will see the farm transformed into a sparkling grotto, with a chance to pick your own toy from Father Christmas’ Toy Factory!

Alternatively, hop aboard Santa’s steam train for a magical journey to Santa’s grotto and back on the South Downs Light Railway near Pulborough. The whole family will enjoy this unique experience, with a special gift for the little ones and a festive drink for the grownups to enjoy.

These magical events are likely to sell out quickly as the holidays approach, so be sure to book early!

Find the perfect Christmas tree and unique decorations

As it gets closer to the big event, you’ll want to find the perfect tree to put your gifts underneath and decorate with festive baubles. Luckily, there are plenty of spots in West Sussex to pick your own and take it home.

Sussex Trees at Goddenwick Farm near Haywards Heath have trees up to 14 feet tall, with resident reindeer, pygmy goats, alpacas, ducks and peacocks to spot on your visit, too.

Closer to Horsham, the Furze Firs plantation has vast fields of fir trees, surrounded by local wildlife – plus, here you can even cut your own!

If you’re feeling inspired, why not head to Wild Sussex near Pulborough to take on a workshop to create your own wreath using plants, berries and willow, and choose the perfect tree to take home after?

Once you’ve found your ideal tree, you’ll need to decorate it! Check out our independent gift guide for inspiration on where you can find locally made gifts and ornaments that will look right at home, nestled amongst the branches, or pop along to one of the Christmas markets mentioned above to see what treasures you find.

West Sussex is the perfect spot for a wintery trip with loved ones, four-legged friends or even for a solo adventure. Whether exploring some of our beautiful parks, forests and countryside, visiting village fairs or hopping on a steam train to Santa’s Grotto, we’re sure you’ll make plenty of memories during your trip and bring home some unique trinkets to help you feel ready for the holidays! For more inspiration of things to do or what’s on around the county, visit our website.

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