This summer, visitors can watch Roman soldiers descend on Fishbourne Roman Palace & Gardens, take part in fun history-themed activities at Lewes Castle & Museum and explore a huge contemporary craft fair in the stunning grounds at Michelham Priory House & Gardens.
The Sussex Archaeological Society has a busy calendar of events over the school holidays and is offering great value for family days out, with something different for every day of the week at its historic properties across the county, so summer is sorted with plenty of activities for all ages.
On Medieval Mondays at Lewes Castle & Museum in East Sussex, children can dress up in armour, battle dragons and take part in games and crafts at the impressive Norman castle every week from 11am to 1pm, with additional archaeology-themed activities every Thursday. No booking is required and all activities are included in the cost of admission, so families can make the most of visiting – from panoramic views at the top of the castle to the diverse collection of artefacts in the adjoining Museum of Sussex Archaeology. Admission starts at £8 for an adult and £4 for a student or child.
Down the hill at the intimate Anne of Cleves House, activities on Tudor Tuesdays include spinning, sewing, drawing, crafts and games in the property’s Tudor Garden between 1pm and 4pm. Activities are included in the cost of admission, which starts at £6 for an adult and £3.50 for a student or child.
For those who want to make a day of visiting both Lewes Castle & Museum and Anne of Cleves House, which are a ten-minute walk apart, combined tickets are available, priced at £13.50 for an adult and £7.50 for a child.
At Michelham Priory House & Gardens in East Sussex, visitors can get close to nature and explore the abundant gardens, enjoy a picnic on the lawns and take part in family drop-in sessions every Wednesday, with activities on a different theme every week, from pre-history to wildlife. Activities are included in admission to the historic house, which dates from 1229 and is set within a stunning island, surrounded by the largest medieval moat in the country. Parking is free and the site has a revamped children’s play area, with a range of homemade cakes and local produce available at the café.
From Friday 29 to Sunday 31 July, the grounds will be transformed as craftspeople from the Sussex Guild return to show off their wares at the Contemporary Craft Fair. Entry is included in admission, with tickets available on the door only during that weekend.
Just a short walk or cycle from Chichester city centre in West Sussex, visitors to Fishbourne Roman Palace can explore the magnificent mosaics at the largest Roman home north of the Alps and join in with Roman-themed activities every Thursday. Admission is £12 for an adult and £6 for a child.
Over the weekend of 30 – 31 July, soldiers of the Ermine Street Guard will be setting up camp and giving thrilling displays in the Palace’s formal garden, providing live demonstrations of how the Roman Army prepared for combat. Pre-booking tickets online is recommended for this popular event, with prices starting at £15 for adults and £8 for a child.
Andrew Edwards, chief executive of Sussex Archaeological Society, said: “Our summer programme of events offers great days out for all the family, with activities for all ages and the chance to explore fascinating museum collections and our stunning historic properties.
“As the county’s largest heritage-based organisation and charity, we pride ourselves on offering excellent value for visitors and hope these events and activities will inspire young people to engage with the incredible history of Sussex, as well as keeping them entertained during the holidays.”
For more information on all events and tickets prices, visit https://sussexpast.co.uk.