From castles and the coast to beautiful Brighton, there are such a lot of enjoyable issues to do in Sussex with youngsters that it’s no shock we’ve returned for household holidays time and again.
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For this publish, I’m combining my high picks in West Sussex and East Sussex – and keep in mind that when you’re visiting locations like Camber and Rye, you’re truly nearer to Kent than Chichester within the west, so it’s simple to mix household sights in each counties.
However whether or not you’re on the lookout for concepts for wet days in Sussex, free issues to do or the prospect to get open air, you’ll be spoiled for selection with these 29 nice issues to do in Sussex with youngsters.
Sussex castles and historic homes
The archetypal fort, all towers and turrets in the course of its moat, Bodiam Citadel is one in every of my favorite household days out in Sussex.
In addition to exploring throughout the fortress partitions – as soon as among the many most palatial buildings of its day – there are actors giving talks and bringing the fort to life, dressing up, and the type of ugly historical past youngsters love.
You’ll be able to even spot bats alongside the way in which, together with homicide holes, or attempt your hand at actions like archery across the grounds.
Free to Nationwide Belief members, prebook tickets right here.
Learn extra about my go to to Bodiam Citadel with youngsters
Privately owned Arundel Citadel is an element fortress, half stately residence, and that mixture, in addition to the prospect to identify some jousting, makes it enormous enjoyable for youths.
The fort’s historical past stretches again over 950 years, and you’ll nonetheless enterprise into the eleventh century Preserve, in addition to climbing to the highest for some unbelievable views throughout the West Sussex countryside.
Within the grounds, you may watch battles being replayed and spot knights on horseback, in addition to medieval music and crafts, plus different family-friendly actions. Inside, the state rooms have been preserved of their opulent splendour as they’d have been when the Dukes of Norfolk remodeled the medieval fortress within the 18th and nineteenth centuries.
For extra of the finest castles in Sussex with youngsters, take a look at my high picks
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
This flamboyant iconic constructing was created for the Prince Regent, with all of the royal extravagance you would possibly anticipate. And this barely fairytale structure, mixed with lavish interiors, makes it excellent for a time out with youngsters in Brighton.
You should buy a kids’s path for a small price to identify a few of the animals dotted all through the opulent rooms, or amuse your self looking for all of the dragons on the Royal Pavilion.
When you get to the music room, employees actively inspired us to have a lie down on the carpet to see the chandelier rising to the gold patterned ceiling. Nice for a wet day in Sussex with youngsters too.
Take a look at the Brighton Pavilion Treasure Map Path as nicely, for a enjoyable strategy to spot a few of the quirky highlights close by too – get 10% off utilizing code MUMMYTRAVELS too.
Go to one in every of England’s most vital historic websites throughout college holidays and you’ll see battle re-enactments and different unbelievable actions that children will love, however there’s nowhere higher to convey the Norman Conquest to life at any time of 12 months.
Cease by Battle Abbey customer’s centre, which has interactive shows educating in regards to the occasions that led as much as the Battle of Hastings, in addition to strolling by way of the battlefield itself.
You could find the Harold stone, marking the spot the place the final Saxon king of England fell, and discover sculptures depicting Norman and Saxon troopers, in addition to seeing the ruins of the abbey constructed by William after his victory.
There may be additionally an out of doors playground, a café, and a kids’s discovery room.
Anne of Cleves Home, Lewes
This attractive Medieval home and museum in Lewes was initially constructed for Henry VIII’s spouse Anne of Cleves – though she by no means truly used it. And there’s an ideal mixture of training and enjoyable, with loads of possibilities for youths to get palms on and play throughout your go to.
Scattered all through the Anne of Cleves home, youngsters can discover exercise packing containers and garments they’ll gown up in, trails and quizzes, in addition to rooms with sixteenth century furnishings and a Tudor backyard.
Lewes Citadel & Barbican Home Museum
Only a brief distance from the Anne of Cleves Home is Lewes Citadel, with some wonderful scenic views and a mini-cinema that tells the historical past of the realm.
There are actions to obtain earlier than you allow and costumes for youths to vary into whereas they’re there, plus when you go to throughout college holidays, in addition they host historic actions for all ages.
The museum at Barbican Home subsequent door additionally has collections on native archaeology, from the prehistoric interval to the current.
Nymans Nationwide Belief, Hayward’s Heath
This Nationwide Belief web site has all the standard temptations for households, however it’s the gardens which set it aside – you may discover a heather backyard, sunken backyard, rose backyard and walled backyard amongst others…
Learn my evaluate of a time out at Nymans with youngsters
In Spring, Nymans is legendary for its snowdrops, however you’ll additionally discover camellias and magnolias. And from a baby’s perspective, a great deal of area to run round and discover all year long, together with seasonal flowers on the Winter Stroll.
There are household trails by way of the grounds, and don’t miss the wood walkways within the bamboo backyard, plus you may go contained in the medieval-style manor home (truly lots newer than it appears), partly ruined in a hearth in 1947.
Petworth Home and Park, Petworth
One other Sussex Nationwide Belief property, Petworth Home and Park in west Sussex is a unbelievable household time out, with its grand home, enormous grounds and wonderful gardens.
Set within the coronary heart of the South Downs, it’s tempting to spend sunny days exploring outdoors, together with the deer park and the remainder of the grounds, usually with household trails that can assist you discover.
However do save time to enterprise inside too. Impressed by the Baroque palaces of Europe, Petworth Home has its personal spectacular assortment of artwork and sculpture, the earliest English globe nonetheless in existence (which as soon as belonged to the ‘wizard’ earl of Northumberland) and hyperlinks galore to well-known artists.
Learn my evaluate of a time out at Petworth with youngsters
Newhaven Fort, Newhaven
This 150-year-old fort is large enjoyable for the entire household, together with well-behaved canine! One of many string of forts constructed through the Napoleonic wars to protect towards invasion, it was nonetheless used proper up till the Fifties.
Inside Newhaven Fort, you may expertise what a (simulated) World Struggle Two air raid was like from inside an air raid shelter. And the fort, constructed into the cliff itself, additionally has an journey playground for youths and a formidable 10 acres for youths to run round in.
Animal sights in Sussex
Sea Life Brighton
The world’s oldest working aquarium, the Brighton Sea Life Centre is just a shell’s throw away from the ocean itself with greater than 150 creatures to identify throughout the placing Victorian constructing, together with within the Day and Evening Space.
Exhibiting how the oceans change over the course of 24 hours, the show features a bioluminescent seaside.
In addition to a wide range of completely different underwater habitats to discover and a stamp path, there are common particular occasions, behind the scenes tour, and the UK’s first glass-bottom boat, to not point out the now compulsory underwater tunnel.
Blue Reef Aquarium, Hastings
Set proper on the beachfront, the Hastings aquarium may not be the largest in Sussex however it’s very simple to whereas away a couple of hours wandering round – and preferrred if you end up by the seaside in Sussex on a wet day.
Look out for the porcupine pufferfish and the stonefish, two of the extra uncommon inhabitants together with rays, sharks, vibrant reef fish, seahorses and the fairly fabulous big pacific octopus.
There are two pages of animals to tick off in a kids’s information as you go round, together with some nice information for mini marine biologists.
Learn extra about our time out at Blue Reef Aquarium, Hastings right here
Drusillas Park, close to Alfriston
Don’t let the identify idiot you – Drusillas Park is a lot greater than your common park, it is likely one of the finest zoos in Sussex and when you’re on the lookout for a theme park in Sussex with youngsters, this could high your checklist.
The animals embody smaller creatures like crimson pandas, lemurs and meerkats, in addition to penguins, otters and monkeys (to not point out birds, reptiles and much more).
However there are additionally play areas galore – journey playgrounds open air, gentle play, mazes, a splash zone, in addition to some kid-friendly rides which might be preferrred with youthful kids. You’ll be able to very simply spend all day right here.
Knockhatch Journey Park, Hailsham
This East Sussex household attraction has extra than simply animals, though with its petting farm and owl sanctuary, there’s a lot there for small animal-lovers.
You too can spot meerkats and extra within the Jungle Kingdom, and take a look at a few of the particular zoo initiatives run at Knockhatch Journey Park.
There are additionally some enjoyable rides for all ages, together with dinosaur-themed thrills and waterslides, together with indoor and outside play areas – plus some added extras like go karting and bungee swings for a price.
Huxley Birds of Prey Centre, close to Horsham
Meet an owl, watch a chook show, and be taught all about some wonderful birds of prey at Huxley Birds of Prey Centre, together with buzzards, kestrels and falcons.
Additionally they provide experiences the place you will get hands-on time with raptors, or go on a stroll within the countryside with a hawk, a lot of them appropriate for kids and designed for small teams.
This isn’t one when you’re visiting Sussex with toddlers although: the Huxley Birds of Prey Centre is just for ages 3 and up.
Fisher’s Journey Farm Park, Wisborough Inexperienced
For a enjoyable time out with youthful youngsters, head to Fisher’s Journey Farm Park, which is heaven for little animal lovers – and has loads of play choices as nicely.
Meet farmyard animals from bunnies, chicks, lambs and youngsters to alpacas, cows and horses, in addition to an opportunity to get (gently) palms on with day by day animal dealing with classes, plus occasional feeding classes.
There are additionally tractor trailer rides, bouncy pillows, a maze, journey golf, and different indoor and outside play.
For extra farms in Sussex with younger youngsters, take a look at Spring Barn Farm, Blackberry Farm Park and Center Farm as nicely.
Different household days out in Sussex
British Airways i360 Brighton
With its remark pod rising to 138m up the 162m excessive tower, the i360 is the nation’s highest remark tower outdoors London.
Proper on the seafront looking to the outdated West Pier, there’s additionally a beachside cafe. On a transparent day you may see for miles alongside the coast, with town’s finest views because the Brighton ferris wheel was closed.
Purchase free cancellation tickets right here
This steam practice journey takes you to classic practice stations for a beautiful household journey, with a wide range of sights together with museums, engine sheds and kids’s play areas at every cease alongside the 11 miles between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead.
Followers of Downton Abbey can even acknowledge one of many stations from the present and there are common occasions and festivals all year long as nicely.
The entire route takes round 40 minutes, however all the time test the Bluebell Railway web site upfront to ensure of the timings of the trains that day.
Toddlers can even love the Bentley Miniature railway, a one-mile monitor together with a cease on the historic woodland of Glyndebourne Wooden. (The favored Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum subsequent door closed in 2018)
Rye Treasure Path
I by no means tire of wandering across the cobbled streets within the attractive city of Rye – however youngsters don’t are likely to have the identical consideration span for wonderful outdated teaching inns and fairly 14th century doorways that adults do.
Which is the place the Rye Homicide Thriller Treasure Path is available in. We’ve tried these Treasure Trails in locations across the nation – this one sees you trying to find clues across the former Cinque Port city, overlaying round a mile and lasting about 90 minutes.
Preserve an eye fixed out for the mermaid on the inn signal, whereas close to the Landgate – one of many historic gates into Rye and the one one nonetheless standing – you will get nice ice cream from Knoops (or sizzling chocolate on a cold day).
Out of Bounds, Angmering
The Out of Bounds exercise centre has one thing for everybody, preschoolers to adults – you might play laser tag or journey golf, bounce on leaping pillows or youthful youngsters can go wild in a large gentle play.
There’s even clip’n’climb for one thing extra adrenaline-fuelled. Splendid for a wet day in Sussex with youngsters or when you’re on the lookout for an lively time out.
Treasure Island Eastbourne
Yo ho ho and plenty of household enjoyable. There’s an 18-hole pirate themed loopy golf course at Treasure Island Eastbourne that’s excellent for wannabe buccaneers, together with play tools following the identical pirate theme.
EDIT: The outside pirate ship play space, the favored Lengthy John Silver type shipwreck with a zipper wire, slides, and bridges, plus its separate toddler part, is at the moment fenced off. The gentle play continues to be open, however bear in mind earlier than you go to.
Open air in Sussex
Ashdown Forest, close to Wych Cross
When you’ve got somebody in your home that loves Winnie the Pooh then a go to to Ashdown Forest must be in your checklist of locations to take your loved ones, because it served because the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wooden each within the story and the illustrations.
The unique Pooh Sticks bridge is only a 10 minute stroll from the automotive park, so collect sticks alongside the way in which to play or convey your personal – the bridge and sport are so fashionable that discovering sticks alongside the path could be tougher than you anticipate!
Please don’t injury bushes to play Poohsticks with your loved ones, it’s higher to return ready.
For extra Winnie the Pooh places, Ashdown Forest has two walks that can assist you uncover them – you may obtain them right here – and with 10 sq. miles to discover, you gained’t be wanting different inspiration to get open air.
Wakehurst, close to Hayward’s Heath
A whopping 500 acres of woodland and backyard to discover, the sister web site to Kew Gardens is residence to the Millennium Seed Financial institution and like Kew, has common family-friendly occasions.
There’s all the time one thing to see at Wakehurst, whether or not it’s the gardens in all their glory all year long, the adventurous log path, pure play areas together with a labyrinth and woodland that features a ‘residing fossil’, a tree as outdated as dinosaurs.
Children aged 16 and beneath enter free as nicely, plus there’s a Youngsters’s Heritage backyard with mud kitchen and loads of probability to get them digging.
Woods Mill Nature Reserve, Henfield
This wonderful nature reserve has ponds, lakes, and a beautiful meadow for youths of all ages to take pleasure in.
With wetland and woodland habitats among the many 47 acres of Woods Mill Nature Reserve, you would possibly get fortunate and spot a woodpecker, an owl, or perhaps a nightingale when you’re there on the proper time of 12 months.
There’s no cost to go to both when you’re on the lookout for free days out in Sussex with youngsters (though donations are welcome), plus there’s a pop-up cafe for drinks and snacks.
Lengthy Man of Wilmington
The spectacular Lengthy Man of Wilmington (also called the Wilmington Big or Inexperienced Man) measures 72 meters, and it’s a unbelievable uncommon time out for youths of all ages.
The hill determine, round six miles from Eastbourne is over 300 years outdated – though no-one is aware of fairly what he’s purported to symbolise. You’ll be able to mull it over as you wander alongside the scenic trails to provide the finest view of the Lengthy Man.
The stroll isn’t nice for buggies, however a brief stroll to the toes of the Lengthy Man is ideal for the littlest.
Hastings Nation Park
For an ideal day open air with youngsters in Sussex, it’s exhausting to beat Hastings Nation Park – not least as a result of you may normally take the East Hill Cliff Railway, the steepest funicular railway within the UK, from Rock-a-Nore Street to achieve it. Edit: the East Hill Cliff Railway is briefly closed for repairs
The reserve appears out to the ocean with some wonderful views of the south east coast from the cliff tops. In the event you’re fortunate, you may see so far as the coast of France, and you’ll usually look out to Beachy Head within the west and Dungeness in Kent within the east.
In addition to the cliffs, you may discover coastal woodlands, grasslands and pasture among the many 345 acres – there’s a leaflet displaying a few of the walks to obtain.
Seashores in Sussex with youngsters
One of the vital fashionable sandy seashores in Sussex, that is large sky territory, south of England type.
Backed by dunes which beg to be scrambled up and down, the seaside appears to stretch off endlessly, particularly when the tide’s out, with sea swimming pools to paddle in and open sand for kite flying and sandcastle constructing.
Canines are allowed year-round, though on a lead and in restricted zones from Could to September.
In the event you’re on the lookout for nice locations to remain in Camber Sands, take a look at my evaluate of Salt Bay cottage
One other of these countless fantastic stretches of sand that Sussex specialises in, West Wittering seaside appears out to Chichester harbour, in addition to the South Downs.
It’s fashionable, particularly in summer time – the queues of vehicles ready to park have been changed by a prebooking system, so you may assure a spot. Click on right here to e book
The Blue Flag seaside is a favorite with kite surfers (and kite flyers) whereas there are a lot extra dunes and tide swimming pools to discover between paddling and digging within the sand.
No canine are allowed within the Blue Flag bathing space (the realm in entrance of the seaside huts, between groynes 14a to 18) from Could to September, however are welcome elsewhere and on the entire seaside outdoors these instances.
A mixture of shingle and sand, Littlehampton seaside has one thing to please everybody. On the japanese finish, there are all of the traditional British seaside treats, with souvenirs, doughnuts and ice cream stalls lining the entrance – to not point out a little bit practice which tootles up and down, and groynes separating the banks of sand.
It’s additionally residence to the UK’s longest bench, half place to sit down, half artwork sculpture with its shiny colors and swirling loops.
On the opposite aspect, throughout the river Arun, it’s additionally a mixture of sand and shingle, however the sand dunes have been named a Web site of Particular Scientific Curiosity. It’s additionally among the finest canine pleasant seashores in Sussex, the place they’re welcome all 12 months.
EDIT: The ferry which normally runs through the summer time is closed for the foreseeable future.
Broomhill sits simply east of Camber Sands – and whereas it isn’t as well-known, or have fairly the identical picturesque setting within the dunes, it additionally tends to be much less crowded when you’re on the lookout for a quiet Sussex seaside with youngsters.
The sand and shingle seaside stretches off into the gap at low tide right here too, however there’s no lifeguard facility and fewer amenities than Camber (suppose an ice cream van fairly than a restaurant). There’s a kitesurfing centre, and it’s usually fashionable with sand buggies.
Canines are welcome between October and April, or on a lead within the marked zones from Could to September.
For extra concepts of nice sandy Sussex seashores with youngsters, take a look at my high picks
Locations to remain in Sussex with youngsters
For extra concepts of locations to remain in Sussex with youngsters, take a look at some nice self-catering in East Sussex and West Sussex, in addition to accommodations on Reserving.com.
Or take a look at my evaluate of Salt Bay, the stunning cottage in Camber Sands the place we stayed.
*First printed 2020, final up to date 2023*
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Disclosure: This publish incorporates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I’ll obtain a small fee
Photographs: Arundel Citadel/Brighton Pavilion/Battle Abbey/Lewes Citadel/Hastings seafront/eagle owl/Ashdown Forest/Wakehurst/Wilmington Big/West Wittering courtesy Depositphotos, i360 courtesy VisitBritain, all others copyright MummyTravels