The beautiful scenery and evocative environment around Bognor Regis was immortalised by William Blake as ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ when he wrote Jerusalem whilst living here in the 19th century. The town continues to have a vibrant local arts community, with theatre, exhibitions, trails and workshops running throughout the year, as well as an active live music scene.


William Blake was an English poet, painter and printmaker. One of his most famous works is a book called Songs of Innocence and Experience. Situated in the village of Felpham, just to the east of Bognor Regis, Blakes’ Cottage is where the poet and artist lived from 1800 to 1803. The cottage is one of only two houses to survive of the nine residences that Blake occupied during his lifetime. It was here that he wrote the words to the hymn Jerusalem, and where he was accused of treason. His three-year sojourn in the cottage marked the beginning of the most important period in Blake’s creative life. The work of The Big Blake Project, an imaginative celebratory map has been installed in and around the Felpham/Bognor Regis area as part of the William Blake Trail. If you want to learn more about Blake’s work please visit



There are numerous opportunities to enjoy live and live streamed performances in Bognor Regis. Part of the Regis Centre, the 357-seat Alexandra Theatre offers everything from dance festivals to comedy, family half-term fun to classical music and tribute bands.  Making Theatre Gaining Skills is a production and training enterprise, based at the new Bognor Makerspace. It produces a range of touring productions, events and workshops while providing unique skills training for unemployed people and those with learning difficulties or mental health issues. They hosted the superb Bognor Puppet Festival in July 2022 and run a popular comedy night in the form of the Bognor Institute of Laughter. The famously retro Picturedrome cinema’s live streaming of theatre is extensive – in 2023 alone you can watch the Royal Opera House’s The Barber of Seville, Best of Enemies at the National Theatre and the Royal Ballet’s take on Sleeping Beauty. The University of Chichester’s Performing Arts department is based at their Bognor Regis campus – look out for performances that are open to the public on the campus, as well as their performances at the Alexandra Theatre.


The Bognor Regis Art Society has an annual exhibition at nearby Arundel , as well as ad hoc events throughout the year, and the Rose Green Arts and Craft Centre is great for seeing and buying an eclectic mix of works. An exciting seam of emerging talent comes in the form of the University of Chichester’s Arts show – the department is now based at their Bognor Regis campus and the public can attend the show. The graduating BA students hold public exhibitions every year in June which are free to enter, with parallel exhibitions showcasing the work of their first and second-year students. In addition to their own students, the university celebrates “Future Artists”, with an invited showing of work by Year 12 pupils from 15 schools and colleges in the region. To find the campus visit and for more general information visit


The Bognor Coastal Art Trail is a seven-mile strip that stretches from Pagham to Elmer. The trail allows visitors and residents to see local artists working and display their art in their own creative space. People who live here often discover nearby artists they didn’t even know about. The work varies enormously, from raku-fired ceramics to landscape paintings in oils. You can drop in on demonstrations, see the materials, tools and equipment on display and even have a go yourself. It’s a unique opportunity to purchase works of art as well, which make brilliant presents for yourself or loved ones. Previous year’s event included pen line and ink wash drawings of racing cars and bikes by Peter Hutton, stained glass works by Jan Simpson and ocean-inspired jewellery by Tia Rolfe. Don comfortable walking shoes and don’t forget to download a trail guide from the website,


The Southdowns Music Festival has been held here since 2013 and consists of great music, dance, live sessions, craft markets and workshops. Usually held in late September, visit to buy tickets for this year’s event. Founded in 2014, Bognorphenia CIC organises live music events to raise funds to provide a free Music Project for young people, including mentoring and skill sharing, making the project all-inclusive and working towards the Our Generation Young People’s Day Annual Event. Keep an eye on their website at for upcoming events. For a rousing bit of waving your Union Jack about, Proms in the Park is run by the Town Council and is a free evening of musical entertainment at the Hotham Park bandstand, usually in September. Live Music venues include the Hothampton Arms and Rocks featuring the Pass Café. The Alexandra Theatre offers various styles of live music performers throughout the year, the Picturedrome streams live opera – visit for details – and the Bognor Regis Music Club has live recitals.



Possibly inspired by William Blake’s cottage, or just the motivating mix of sea air and views of the Downs, Bognor Regis has a rich history when it comes to authors and novels. The settings range from June Vernau’s Flight Fantastic, which is based on the town’s famous Birdman competition and aimed at teenagers, to Philippa Gregory’s novel Tidelands, set in the civil war. Philippa studied at Sussex University and lived in West Sussex. If you are a fan of Christmas, pick up a copy of A Feast of Christmas Stories, a collection of 16 short tales by Sussex-based authors. David Walliams featured the town in his children’s adventure story, Code Name Bananas, about a gorilla called Gertrude and an orphan named Eric. Jane Austin’s novel Sanditon, H.G. Wells’s Wheels of Chance (a cycling caper) and After the Party by Cressida Connolly are three more options well worth reading. You can found out more by visiting the Heritage Trust Partnership’s excellent guide at

Heygates Bookshop, photo by Peter Flude


From “The Punch & Judy Man” to “Don’t Forget the Driver”, Bognor Regis has a long history connected with film & TV production, cinemas, film festivals, clubs & societies.  Despite this, many movie buffs in the region are unaware of its rich history – what’s taken place in the past, and what’s going on today.  To redress that balance, local film enthusiast, Simon Meade, has created an online Arun Film hub which, as it grows, will be packed with local film information for the Arun area, with links to fascinating film-related facts.

To explore the site, please visit

Sill photo of Tony Hancock in

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