Spring forward! The clocks are about to change, the days are getting longer and East Sussex is playing host to lots of fantastic spring events and activities. Here are a few suggestions to tempt you to get out and about this April.


ZooLab Animal Encounters, Michelham Priory, 4, 11 and 12 April

Visit Michelham Priory in April and get up close and personal with a live exotic animal show by ZooLab. See snakes, frogs, a tarantula, cockroaches and more.

This ethical animal encounter lasts for one hour, offering the opportunity to see real creatures and critters up close and perhaps even handle them if you’re feeling brave!


The Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden, selected dates in April

Although based in Tenterden, Kent, the Kent & East Sussex Railway steams across the county border to Northiam and Bodiam. The line was the first light passenger railway in Britain in the early 20th century. It’s celebrating the 50th anniversary of its reopening this year.

For those who would like to experience the glamour of yester-year, why not book the Wealden Pullman Dining experience. Enjoy lunch or dinner in luxury surroundings as you steam through the Rother valley.


Castle Water Wildlife Walk, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, 10 April

Join the team for a circular walk of approximately 6km, starting out from Brede Lock. The route will follow the River Brede across the sheep fields to Henry VIII’s Camber Castle, before heading to the birdwatching hide overlooking Castle Water to look at some of the wetland birds.


Hastings Rocks International Film Festival, Hastings, 12 to 14 April

The third edition of this international film festival is taking place at the Printworks, a unique arts space in the old Hastings Observer building. The film festival is home to independent films that push boundaries across all genres. Over 66 films were shown at last year’s event so there’s something for everyone.


Military Vehicles, Veteran and Vintage Cars Display, Hastings, 14 April

View the display of military vehicles, and veteran, vintage and classic cars at The Stade, at the end of the annual AA Military Road Run from Sevenoaks. The road run, organised by the Invicta Military-Vehicle Preservation Society, raises money for Combat Stress, the leading UK charity for veterans’ mental health.


The Garden Show, Firle Place, Lewes, 19 to 21 April

The Garden Show at Firle Place is an annual springtime event set in the beautiful surroundings of Firle Estate, in the heart of the South Downs National Park.

The event takes place over three days. The show features specialist growers, garden related goods, artisan designs, homeware products, fashion accessories and delicious country foods. There are daily talks, activities for young and old, expert advice and a variety of music and entertainment.


Spring Photography Workshop, Sheffield Park and Garden, 19 April

Perfect your photography skills at this beginner’s spring photography workshop.

The course is led by professional photographer Roger Bloxham. It will allow you to add to your knowledge base, develop a range of photography skills and try out new techniques with fellow enthusiasts. You will also get access to the garden before it opens to the public, offering a unique opportunity to practise your skills in the peace of the garden in the early morning light.


Tulip Festival, Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst, from 22 April

In late April and early May, Pashley Manor is carpeted with over 45,000 tulips, creating stunning scenes for visitors to enjoy. A hundred varieties of spectacular tulips are planted in colour themed garden ‘rooms’ throughout the grounds and in pot displays.

And once you’ve finished strolling through the gardens, you can enjoy light lunches and homemade cakes on the Manor’s terrace.


Step into spring guided walk, Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, 28 April

Welcome the start of spring by joining the National Trust guides for the first guided walk of the season.

The walk starts from Birling Gap, heads to Shooters Bottom and then through the Meadow and Horseshoe Plantation. Walkers will head up to Belle Tout lighthouse and over to Lookout Hill before heading back to Birling Gap. A gentler option is available for those who prefer flat levels.


Let us know your favourite things to do this spring in the comments section below. For more ideas on places to visit, read last month’s article What’s on in March.

Image: The Pullman dining train, Kent & East Sussex Railway