Things to do this long weekend | 3rd – 6th May

Our favourite month of the year is finally here – Fringe, Festival, open air theatre, open houses – May has got it going on. It’s great, but it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with everything suddenly happening all at once. So we’re here to (hopefully) help by bringing you our picks of the best of what’s going on in Brighton this long weekend.

Get your Fringe on

The Fringe officially kicks off on Friday and if you’re looking for somewhere to park your bum and soak up all the action, we’d always recommend a trip to Spiegeltent. Opening night there is always heaps of fun even if you’re not seeing anything. And, if you fancy a show, we’d recommend some joy-filled debauchery courtesy of Alfie Ordinary and his house of fun (Friday; 7pm; from £14.30), the dress-up-and-dance party of dreams with a cheeky Star Wars-themed night at eclectic arty party Fever Club (Saturday; 11pm; £11), or a slice of Boogaloo Stu‘s brilliantly bawdy bingo (Sunday; 7.30pm; from £8.80); Also well worth checking out this year is Fool’s Paradise, the new venue by St Peter’s Church that’s replacing last year’s Caravanserai. Head First Acrobats are the brains behind it and their adult-only show Godz, an acrobatic party with your favourite Greek gods, also launches on Friday (from £17). Funny, sexy, educational, sexy, impressive, sexy, cheeky and, er, sexy, it was one of our 2023 must-sees (see our review from last year’s production) and we’ll be back this year, too.
Spiegeltent, Old Steine Gardens, Brighton, BN1 1EH
Fool’s Paradise, St Peter’s Church, Brighton, BN1 4GU

Watch the Children’s Parade

It’s not just the Fringe that’s in full swing this weekend, the main Brighton Festival launches on Saturday, too, with the annual must-see Children’s Parade, a collaboration with Same Sky artists. Every year, around 5,000 children take to the streets for an explosion of bright colours, sculptures and sounds. Festival guest director Frank Cottrell-Boyce has chosen the theme ‘Dream again’ for this year’s schools and community organisations to get stuck in to, so we’ll be hoping all our dreams come true at this year’s parade. Cheer the procession on by following the route from Jubilee Street to Madeira Drive. While you’re there, check out the free interactive 100 Miles of String installation at Royal Pavilion Gardens and create your own pattern and web of dreams.
Saturday 4th May 2024 from 10.30am; free to spectate
Route runs from Jubilee Street to Madeira Drive

Go and see one of our favourite Fringe shows of 2023

Bla Bla Land is a smart and witty improvised musical from Brighton troupe Tea & Toast. In homage to the Oscar-winning La La Land, the performance is audience-led, taking the cast on an unscripted musical adventure night after night. Had a tough week? Check it out, this is musical escapism at its finest. Read our full review from last year here. And if you miss them on Friday, you can catch them next week too.
Friday 3rd May; 6.45pm; from £5
Bleach (upstairs at the Hare and Hounds), 75 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JF

Book tickets

Catch a revival of Brighton Open Air Theatre founder’s play

Brighton Open Air Theatre are back! They’re kicking off their tenth season with a brand-new production of late founder Adrian Bunting’s play Kemble’s Riot, which won ‘Best Play’ at its 2011 Fringe debut. The uproarious play dramatises the three months of riots that ensued at the Covent Garden Theatre in the 1800s when then-manager John Kemble put ticket prices up to pay for rebuilding after the theatre was destroyed in a fire. It’s perfectly suited to BOAT’s amphitheatre as the audience are very much a part of the anarchic action. Oh, and the sun is shining so it couldn’t be better timing. (Let’s just hope we haven’t jinxed it now.)
Friday 3rd May – Sunday 5th May; from £14.40
Brighton Open Air Theatre, Dyke Road Park, Dyke Rd, Brighton, Hove BN3 6EH

Get stuck in to some new food

There’s a new restaurant by the seafront from the team behind Alberta’s, Shelter Hall‘s got a launch party for its four new kitchens opening this weekend with live music and DJs, Halisco are celebrating their birthday with a Mexican ‘tacover’ at Brick Brighton on Sunday (superb tacos, margs, plus a mariachi band at 7pm), and there are new cafes springing up all over the city. As ever, Brighton and Hove eateries are coming up trumps in providing us with a wide array of top nosh. Check out our new guide to foodie news here. Bring your appetites!
Shelter Hall’s kitchens open from 4pm on Friday 3rd May

Feast on an epic brunch

Still on the food theme, weekends in BOTI land involve a lot of brunching. Throw a bank holiday into the mix and we’re in brunch heaven. Never more so than this weekend because there’s an excellent collab taking place on Bank Holiday Monday: Alberta’s and Bloody Bens have teamed up to bring you a bloody great brunch experience at The Windmill. Alongside top-notch Bloody Marys, you can expect some of the goodies from Alberta’s new Bonito venture (the hash browns!) to feature on the menu, as well as tasty fare like fried chicken and waffles. Hot on the heels of a glowing review in the FT Weekend, you need to book this one!
Monday 6th May; 11am – 4pm
The Windmill, 69 Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FL

Treat your belly at Foodies Festival

Yep, ‘Gastro-Glasto’ is back. You’ll get mouthwatering interactive demos from multi-award-winning and Michelin-rated Brighton and Sussex chefs. Think 64 Degrees’ Michael Bremner, Etch’s Steven Edwards, Lost In The Lanes’ Sophie Taverner, Chilli Pickle’s Alun Sperring, and The Bell in Ticehurst’s Mark Charker, for starters. You can also take your pick from tutored masterclasses; shop at artisan food and drink stalls; test your mettle at a chilli-eating competition; and, of course, eat and drink your way around the producer stalls. Tunes-wise, Scouting For Girls are back on Saturday, with Sister Sledge headlining Sunday and the Symphonic Ibiza Orchestra bringing it home on the Monday. We’ve got a discount code for you, too: pop FOODIES20 in at the checkout and you’ll get 20 percent off the ticket price.
Preston Park, Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 6SD
Saturday 4th – Monday 6th May; 11am – 9pm (8pm Monday); adult day tickets from £21 (a proportion of ticket sales goes to support homelessness charity Crisis)

Check out some artists’ open houses

A whopping 180 houses across Brighton, Hove and beyond are opening their doors to the public for four weekends this May for the Artists Open Houses spring edition and its 42nd year. This weekend, we’re checking out Quebec Workshops on Quebec Street in Hanover – we’ve got our eye on some of Zilla Design’s pop-of-joy appliqued sweatshirts. And, welcome news: they’ve got a tearoom in the courtyard for that post-hill-climb energy boost. Dave Pop Art’s house is always full of fairground-inspired fun (look out for the banners he designed for Brilliant Brighton around the city centre, too). This year, he’s joined by satirical artist Haus of Lucy. And we’ll also be heading to brochure designer Sarah Arnett‘s gorgeously maximalist The Little Picture Palace. She’ll be selling original collages, as well as showcasing jewellery from Vivienne Ridley, vibrant leather accessories by Holly M Atelier, cushions by Maria Tilyard and more, plus one-off performances and a Sunday salon every weekend.
From Friday 3rd May and every weekend in May; various times and locations; free

Go to market

There’s a(nother) new market in town! Big Market is landing in Circus Street on Saturday for Brighton Fringe with food and drink, music, plants, and local makers’ stalls, plus free hula hoop, and arts and crafts workshops to try your hand at.
Saturday 4th May; midday – 7pm; free
Market Square, Circus Street, Brighton, BN2 9AS

Wake up and smell the flowers

No, literally. The bluebells in Stanmer Park are at their peak brilliance right now and they smell absolutely glorious. If you overdo it at the weekend, the carpets of deep-violet flowers in the Great Wood are the perfect antidote. Refuel afterwards with brunch at Alberta’s (see above). Or head to the famous Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trail for almost a mile of the blue beauties.
Stanmer Park, Brighton, BN1 9QA