CROWDS came out in force to enjoy the May Day bank holiday yesterday.

All across the county people gathered in their numbers at events to see in the first day of May - associated with maypole dancing and the crowning of the May queen.

In Hastings they enjoyed the Jack in the Green Festival in Old Town complete with wild costume parades.

In a traditional custom that dates back to 1889, revellers covered themselves in green face paint and garlands to become Jack in the Green, making for a colourful spectacle.

At Arundel Castle hundreds enjoyed watching Morris dancers perform.

The Victory Morris group performed in their black tricorn hats, red waistcoats and black trousers with bells on their shins, waved sticks and handkerchiefs, which started in the 15th century origins.

The traditional dancers take their name from Nelson’s flagship and were at Arundel Castle as part of a May Day tour.

Morris dancer Jim Seal, 66, said: “We did the Cotswold morris dance. We were lucky we had no rain.

“I enjoy the camaraderie and getting out and dancing, and the tradition.”

Meanwhile in Ardingly visitors enjoyed the best of the countryside at the Spring Garden and Leisure Show, celebrating the best of British countryside and and its produce.

The day was chilly with temperatures in Brighton reaching a maximum of 11C with cloud interspersed by sunny spells. Temperatures are expected to rise to 15C today.

Brighton Swimming Club swimmers hit the beach yesterday morning for a May Day swim.

Yvonne Luna, keen swimmer and owner of beachfront art studio Swimming in Art, said: “It was a little bit choppy actually - a bit rough.

But the sea was a bit warmer.

“Normally there aren’t so many swimmers on a Monday.

“But I think it was the fact it was a bank holiday we did have a quite good turnout.”