Ardingly is an English village and civil parish in the Mid Sussex district of West Sussex, England. The village is in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty about 33 miles south of London and 33 miles east-north-east of the county town of Chichester.
There is a party going on in Ardingly in autumn and its going on in this little village just north of Haywards Heath. The party is called Autumn Lights, held in the South of England Showground and its a cracker!
Before you even get near the place you can hear the beat of the music in the distance and see the spotlights cutting into the night sky.
The event is very well organised and if travelling by car you are greeted by a daisy-chain of stewards in high vis jackets who direct you into a parking space. The parking is close by and its not too far to walk to the find the lights. The doors opened at 4pm but we turned up at 5:30pm and the weather was favourable, overcast but not very windy and as such the temperature was around 9 or 10 degrees which felt kind of warm.
After showing your ticket at the gate you enter the big field where its all happening. The air smells sweet, like a mixture of candy floss and hotdogs and it comes as no surprise as on the right of the field there are around 20 different types of food stalls, all lined up in two rows. Everything you would expect is there from burgers, hotdogs, noodles, fried chicken, pizzas and even Indian food to waffles, donuts, marshmallows, toffee apples and candy floss for the ones with a sweet tooth. All of these can be washed down with a mixture of drinks; water, coffee, tea, beers and lagers, milkshakes and even some mulled cider to get you into the Christmas spirit. The queue for the pub stall was a mile long, all night by the way.
To the left is a fairground, its not massive but has something for everyone. Smaller roller coasters for the kids and something a little faster for the adults.
A fairground wouldn’t be fair ground without the ‘win a teddy bear’ stalls which are fun if you want to test your skills after sinking a few. The whole place had a really nice vibe about it, and as it was ticketed so wasn’t too busy.
To the top of the field there were five hot air balloons. These were not inflated when we arrived but were setup, ready to do the night-glow to music later on.
We were treated to two fireworks displays on the night; the first was for the children and was pretty good. We would have been satisfied with just that one. Then at the end, the big one.
Tickets were reasonably priced at £16 for an adult and £10 for a child and it was so good, its already in the diary for next year!