Year of Culture celebrates the great outdoors this summer

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the great outdoors this summer as, courtesy of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019, it’s all right on your doorstep with an amazing range of events and activities taking place in the open air.

Pack up a picnic

First up, Friday 14 June sees us celebrating National Picnic Week with the help of our sponsors Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens. Leonardslee have scouted out the absolute best picnic spots around their beautiful grounds. All you need to do is turn up, choose your spot and select your food from their delicious picnic menus.

We are also dabbling with a little theatre in the outdoors. Get yourselves over to Dial Post Village Green to enjoy a tale or two about dreams from The Rudes Outdoor Theatre Group. Continuing the outdoor picnic theme, you have the chance to arrive early at 6pm on 6 June to enjoy your picnic before the performance starts. Remember to pack low backed chairs and rugs.

Poetry en plein air

You can imbibe some outdoor poetry in Horsham Park from 7 June when our very own ‘Poets’ Corner’ will be declared open.

A small area of Horsham Park is being transformed into a tranquil patch next to Park House Garden, celebrating the work of our famous poets – Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hilaire Belloc and of course our Year of Culture patron Julia Donaldson MBE, as well as the work of local poetry competition winners.

A Year of Culture sponsored poetry competition, organised by Friends of Horsham Park, saw us flooded with poems from the community reflecting lots of aspects of park life.

Come along to the awards ceremony at 5.30pm on 7 June when the winning poems will be announced, read out and displayed on a circle of 12 tree trunk seats.

Shortlisted poems will feature in a newly created poetry trail around the park.

Sponsor a Horsham Park poem

There is also an opportunity for local organisations to sponsor a poem at just £95. For more information email [email protected]

Racing wheelbarrows

Now if you really want to let your hair down at something truly unique (and possibly not to be repeated?) come along to Steyning for the St Cuthman’s Wheelbarrow Race. Our patron Julia Donaldson MBE has expressed an interest in this one, so you might just spot her in the crowds.

Rumour has it that St Cuthman arrived in Steyning pushing his aged mother in a wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrow broke down as he arrived in Steyning, so he stopped, made his home there and built a church – or so the legend goes.

This free family day out will commemorate St Cuthman’s arrival from 2pm on 23 June. Gather in the High Street to enjoy the Gala Parade of competitors, wheelbarrow racing in earnest, and a healthy dose of Saxon fancy dress.

Free fun and games

The return of Funday Sunday in Horsham Park on 7 July is a must attend for all families. This year the Funday incorporates the new Horsham Children’s Parade – a joyous jumble of imaginative models, costumes, upbeat music and dance. The parade will take to the streets throughout the town centre and come back to the park, uniting schools, children and families. It will then merge in with Funday Sunday to host some free fun art and craft activities back at Horsham Park.

More outdoor shenanigans are to found on Henfield Common on 13 July at the Henfield Summer Fair. Free to attend fun, frolics and sheep shows are on offer, and a Year of Culture twist this year includes a Bake Off, Grow Off and Craft Off competition.

Open air music at its best

And finally, we wrap up at Horsham’s Human Nature Garden (situated within Horsham Park)which is home to a number of outdoor music events throughout July and August. Brought to you by community group Horsham Garden Music Festival, you can enjoy a broad genre of music: country, local tribute bands, rock and pop.

Culminating with the Battle of the Bands extravaganza on 17 August – remember to post your vote on the People’s Choice Poll. View the full details at

So no excuse not to shake the cobwebs off and enjoy a great British summer on your own doorstep with these quintessentially English outdoor events and pastimes.

This is just a selection of the wonderful events happening right across our District. You can find full details of these events and more at, or pick up a #HDYOC19 programme from one of our many outlets across the Horsham District.

You can follow @hdculture2019 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date with the Year of Culture.

Posted in 2019, Events, News.

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