Fun places to go and days out around Sussex

Family Days Out in Sussex

There are loads of fantastic places to visit and fun family days out in Sussex. We hope that the ideas on this page will inspire you to take your children and teenagers out and about into the Sussex countryside, visit local family farms, adventure playgrounds, museums, galleries and heritage properties plus lots more besides.  Do let us know which are your favourites.

1Walking, Cycling & Open Spaces

1066 Country Walk from Pevensey to Rye via Bexhill and Hastings

Abbots Wood, signposted off the A22 between Hailsham and Polegate and also signposted off the A27 at Wilmington. BBQ, play area, walks, there are 2 circular trails; one of 1.9 miles and the other just under a mile, contact the ranger on 01323 870911

Ardingly Reservoir, West Sussex, RH17 6SQ, walks and limited cycling/horse riding.  Watersports Centre with pre-bookable activities.

Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trail, Bates Green Farm, Arlington, Tye Hill Road, Polegate BN26 6SH. Open every day from Saturday 2nd April until Sunday 8th May 2016. 8 different walks, farmer’s mini market, children’s quiz, refreshments, 01323 485151.  Please check details as the weather may affect the blooming of the bluebells and the season may change.

Arlington Reservoir and Osprey Trail: a 2.5 mile circular walk, open 9am until dusk

Arundel Castle & Gardens, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9AB. Open from 25 March – 30 October 2016, Tue – Sat; Mon in Aug and Bank holidays. The seat of The Dukes of Norfolk and set in 40 acres of sweeping grounds and gardens, Arundel Castle has been open to visitors seasonally for nearly 200 years. It is one of the great treasure houses of England, each having its own unique place in history and is home to priceless works of art. Come and see paintings and furniture, tapestries and stained glass, china and clocks, sculpture and carving, heraldry and armour in stunning room settings, 01903 882173.

Beachy Head, walks, views and countrysidecentre , open 10am – 4pm from March 2016 for summer only), 01323 737273.

Ashdown Forest, Wych Cross, RH18 5JP,once a Norman deer hunting forest, now the largest free public access space in the south east – walking, Forest Centre and riding with a permit, 01342 823583.

Bewl Water, Lamberhurst, TN3 8JH. Timetabled to open in spring 2016 when refurbishments are completed:  walking, cycling, fishing, model boating, boat trips, playground, crazy golf and hydro balling, (bridle path opening for cycling and horse riding is weather dependent ), free entry Mon – Fri in winter,  bike hire, 01892 890000

Black Cat Treasure Hunts, fun and affordable treasure hunt routes for families around Sussex, 07445 818996.

Boating from The Anchor Inn, Anchor Lane, Barcombe, Lewes BN8 5EA, summer only, 01273 400414

Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath RH16 1XP with outside adventure playground, woodland walks and children’s holiday activities. Open daily from 10.30am – 6pm (or dusk) between 28 March – 13 September, every Sun in September plus halloween 23 October to 1 November, 01444 450326

Boothland Wood , ancient woodland south of Uckfield for walks and cycling, 01825 762774.

Brighton Cycle Hire, under the station arches, bikes with child seats & benches can be booked, 01273 571555.

Chailey Common, walks and horse riding, no cycling, 01273 471600 and 01444 831098.

Chesworth Farm, Horsham; walking, riding, cycling via network of footpaths and bridleways, BN18 9AB, 01403 256890/215256.

Crowborough Country Park, Osbourne Road, 18 acre nature reserve, trail, ponds, 01892 652907.

Cuckmere Valley, National Trust land, a haven for wildlife, High and Over hill, chalk horse, 01323 423197.

Cuckoo Trail, 11 mile bridleway running from Heathfield to Polegate with an extension to Hampden Park in Eastbourne, 01273 481637 (ranger) or 01323 443126 (Wealden DC).

Devil’s Dyke, Devil’s Dyke Road, Poynings, nr Brighton. At nearly a mile long, the Dyke valley is the longest, deepest and widest ‘dry valley’ in the UK. Legend has it that the Devil dug this chasm to drown the parishioners of the Weald. On the other hand, scientists believe it was formed naturally just over 10,000 years ago in the last ice age. With a little exploring the Dyke’s story starts to reveal itself: The ramparts or walls of the Iron Age hill fort can be seen when you walk around the hill and the remains of the curious Victorian funfair can be found just a few minutes from the car park. Venture into the valley and you will discover a living carpet of flowers and a myriad of colourful insects, 01273 857712.

Eastbourne Walks, informative, historical, healthy and fun walking tours of the Sussex coast. Book via website, 07501891119

East Hill Park, Portslade, walled garden, full of mature shrubs and herbaceous borders, wildflower area, playground, football pitch, half basketball court, picnic area, wild gym, 01273 292929.

Forest Way, bridle and footpath running from East Grinstead to Groombridge, indirectly linked to the Worth Way from Three Bridges to East Grinstead.

Friston Forest, Exceat, between Seaford and East Dean off A259, walking, cycling, mountain bike hire, horse riding with TROT permit, 0300 067 4464.

Gildredge Park & Manor Gardens, Eastbourne BN21 1HA, family park, playground, tennis courts.

Hampden Park, Eastbourne BN22 9QR, lake, woodland, playground, bmx and skateboarding, arboretum, history garden.

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, 600 acres of ancient woodland, heathland and grassland together plus 3 miles of cliffs and coastline between East Hill and Fairlight. No cycling, 01424 451050 (main office) 01424 812767 (country park).

Hempstead Meadow, Open-Spaces Uckfield, nature reserve along the river Uck, wetland habitat, 01825 762774.

Hove Lagoon Paddling Pool, located between Kingsway & the seafront and close to an enclosed playground & skate park, 01273 290290 (seasonal).

Hove Park, the park covers almost 40 acres and features a mix of large areas of open grass, mature trees, flower beds and recreational facilities. At the eastern edge of the Park is the ‘Fingermaze’, a piece of public sculpture carved into the park and lined with stone and lime mortar. The Fingermaze is a giant fingerprint which incorporates a Cretan labyrinth within its whirling design. Playground, football pitch, tennis courts, basketball court, miniature railway, café, 01273 292929.

Kings Road Paddling Pool, Brighton, mushroom spout & water pads, castles & toys plus sand, 01273 290290 (seasonal).

Motcombe Gardens, Eastbourne Old Town BN21 1PU, duck pond, lawns, originally part of a farm yard the 9th Duke of Devonshire gave the garden to the town of Eastbourne in 1909.  The pond is the source of the Bourne stream from which ‘East Bourne’ got its name.  There is an historic round flint-built dovecote with a conical tiled roof standing on an upper level.

Park Wood, Hellingly, semi-natural woodland with walking trails, 03708 506506.

Pooh Sticks Bridge and Pooh Corner Shop, on Ashdown Forest, Hartfield on B2026, 01892 770456

Preston Park, Brighton, largest urban park in the city with playground, football pitches, cricket fields, bowling greens, basketball courts, tennis courts, softball pitch, rounders/stoolball pitches (on request) and cycle velodrome, large rockery, chalet café, 01273 292929.

Princes Park, Eastbourne BN22 7LL, putting, playgrounds, ‘Splashtastic’ (seasonal), model boating lake and Pistachios in the Park café open daily.

Queens Park, Brighton, wildlife garden planted by a local herbalist who runs workshops in the garden, grade two listed clock tower, built in 1915 from Redbrick and Portland stone, playground, tennis courts, wildlife pond and garden, cafe, 01273 292929.

Railway Land Nature Reserve, Lewes, 25 acres of meadowland and woodland reclaimed from the old rail yards, 01273 487798.

Rye Harbour Nature reserve, TN31 7TU, explore the saltmarsh, discover the local wildlife and history, information centre (10am – 5pm), open daily, 01797 227784.

Saunders Park, Lewes Road (by Sainsbury’s), play area, paddling pool (seasonal), community garden, basket ball court, padding pool enquiries: Freedom Leisure 01273 290290

Seaford Head Local Nature Reserve, cliffs, downland, grassland and a shingle beach and home to many nationally rare and significant species of plant, bird and insect.  Peaceful walks and stunning views of the Seven Sisters and Cuckmere River Valley.

Seven Sisters Country Park, Exceat, between Seaford and East Dean off A259, 280 hectares of chalk cliffs, meandering river valley and open chalk grassland for walking, rock pooling, cycling to beach and canoeing on the meanders etc, tea rooms, visitor centre – open summer only and lots of children’s/family activities organised by Sussex Wildlife Trust, 0345 6080193.

Shinewater Park, Eastbourne BN23 8AT, playground, lakes, all-weather court, BMX and skate park, fishing by permit ( 01323 410000 remove).

South Downs National Park  and South Downs Way, including Ditchling Beacon, which is the second highest point on the South Downs National Park with spectacular views across the weald. As the name suggests, Ditchling Beacon was one of the chain of fires lit to warn of impending invasions. It was once an Iron Age hillfort, with its steep northern slope used as a natural defence. It’s now managed by The National Trust and Sussex Wildlife Trust, 0300 303 1053  You can get to Ditchling Beacon via Breeze Buses, (open top in summer/weather permitting)

Stoneham Park, Hove, playground, community run café, 5-aside football pitch, basketball court, rock garden, 01273 292929 .

Stanmer Park, Falmer off the A270 Lewes Road, Brighton, landscaped park with lots of walks plus Stanmer House, Stanmer Church, Nourish Community Farm and Stanmer Forge (open on Saturdays), Free, 01273 292929.

St Ann’s Well Gardens, not far from Hove seafront, wide range of native and exotic trees giving the gardens their unique character and providing shelter and tranquillity for wildlife. Nature conservation is important in the park – there are designated fenced off areas, a scented garden for the visually impaired and a well stocked pond with a biological filter system, playground, tennis courts, bowling green, cafe, 01273 290000

St Helens Park Local Nature Reserve, Langham Road Hastings, managed by St Helens Park conservation society.

The Helen Garden, Eastbourne BN20 7XL, putting, boules, playground, 01323 410000

The Level, Central Brighton, playground with play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities, including those in wheelchairs. The whole area is fenced and has a water drinking fountain, bins and seating, including picnic benches. There is attractive but hard-wearing planting, grassy areas for informal play and trees for shade. Extensive sand play area, boardwalk running through sand area and paths through the grassy areas.  Petanque terrain, sensory gardens and The Velo Cafe building has public toilets, including a disabled toilet.

Tilgate Park, Crawley, woodland, lake, picnic area, playground, nature reserve, watersports on the lake at weekends/school hols, Go Ape, Smith and Western restaurant, golf course & driving range, 01293 521168.

Uckfield Millennium Green, access via Ridgewood Recreation ground, hard surfaced path, dog free picnic area and lots of wildlife.

West Park Local Nature Reserve, Uckfield, relatively small – 11 hectares of woodland, grassland, sandstone outcrops. Can be muddy in winter!

Worth Way, bridle and footpath running from Crawley (Three Bridges) to East Grinstead and then indirectly linked to the Forest Way which continues to Groombridge, 01273 482670.

2Family Farms

Blackberry Farm, Whitesmith BN8 6JD – 18 acres of beautiful Sussex, home to over 200 animals and wildfowl who are all extremely friendly, most can be petted or fed by hand and there are always members of staff on hand to tell you all about them. There’s also a large outdoor play area, “Clucky’s”undercover adventure playbarn and sensory zone, family fun picnic area and baby area. Own a Pony for the day and Young Farmers Holiday Clubs at half term and school holidays, 01825 872912. Open daily from 10am until 4pm in winter, 5pm in spring and autumn and 6pm in the summer. 

Blackstock Farm, Grove Hill, Hellingly, Near Hailsham, BN27 4HF, animals, nature trails, indoor farm, play area including trampolines, zip wire, soft play, farm shop and cafe, 01323 848006.

Church Farm Tours at Coombes, near Lancing, open for lambing from March 12th – April 17th  in 2016 – over 1,000 lambs and 80 calves will be born here. Book in advance for group tours during the summer, open some Sundays and school holidays for individual bookings, 01273 452028.

Fishers Farm Park, Newpound Lane, Wisborough Green, West Sussex, RH14 0EG.Lots of animals and adventure playgrounds, summer splash attack and beach, indoor soft play area, toddler – 10yrs, open daily from 10am – 5pm, 01403 700063.

Godstone Farm, Tilburstow Hill Road, Godstone, Surrey RH9 8LX. Family farm, playgrounds, indoor playbarn, tractor rides, Woodland Maze etc, open daily from 10am – 4.30pm in winter and until 5.30pm from Feb half term until October half term,  01883 742546.

Heaven Farm, Furners Green, Uckfield, TN22 3RG. 100 acre farm with nature walks, bluebell nature trail (in season), tea rooms, rural life museum, camping etc, 01825 790226.

Holmbush Farmworld, Holmbush Farm World, Crawley Road, Faygate. Near Horsham RH12 4SE, indoor playground and tea rooms open daily from Feb half term; if you wish to visit the farm you can book a tour with a minimum of 4 people, 01293 851110.

Middle Farm Countryside Centre, Middle Farm, Firle, Lewes, BN8 6LJ. Family farm, playground & play hay barn, restaurant and farm shop, open year round from 10am – 5pm (last entry 4pm), 01323 811411.

Seven Sisters Sheep Centre, East Dean, open 5th  March – 2nd  May to coincide with lambing and again during school summer holidays from 2nd  July – 4th September, 10.30am-5pm, 01323 423302.

Sharnfold Farm and Farm Shop, Stone Cross, farm trail, animals, play area, PYO, coffee shop, farm shop with traditional butcher, tractor and trailer rides every weekend and during school holidays, closed Mondays, 01323 768490.

Spring Barn Farm, Kingston Road, Lewes BN7 3ND, Family Farm with animals, camping, playbarn, outdoor playground and maize maze (in season), open from 10am – 5.30pm, 01273 488450.

Tulleys Farm, Turners Hill, Crawley RH10 4PE. Cafe, maize maze (in season) plus small collection of friendly furry animals, goats and small birds, Turners Hill, big Halloween celebrations, 01342 718472.

Washbrooks Family Farm, Brighton Road, Hurstpierpoint BN6 9EF. Family farm with animals, indoor and outdoor play areas, tea rooms, 01273 832201.

Animals, Sealife & Nature

Arundel Wetland Centre, Mill Street, Arundel BN18 9PB. Nature reserve in the South Downs, with guided boat safari, hand feed the collection birds, Pond Skaters play area, children’s holiday activities, visitor centre with cafe. Open daily from 9.30am, 01903 883355

3Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum Halland BN8 5AF, House, There’s a host of activities to keep everyone happy. Have fun at the adventure playground and explore the willow tunnels, ride on the miniature railway (open weekends and school hols , visit the motor museum, feed the birds on the wildfowl reserve or discover the ancient houses on a woodland walk. Open daily from mid March until late October; 10am – 5pm; winter opening: most weekends and school holidays from 10am – 4pm, 01825 840573

Blackstock Farm, Grove Hill, Hellingly, BN27 4HF, open farm walks, small playground & small indoor soft play area, closed in winter, 01323 848006

Blue Reef Aquarium, Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW. Close encounters with seahorses, sharks, giant octopus and hundreds of other aquatic creatures plus underwater walk-through tunnel, open from 10am, last admission April to October 5pm, November to March 4pm, 01424 718 776

Brighton Sealife Centre, Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1TB. The world’s oldest operating aquarium with over 1,500 creatures, interactive rock pool experience and underwater tunnel, new Rainforest Adventure, open every day 10am – 5pm, 01273 604234 or 0871 4232110 (booking line)

British Wildlife Centre, A22 Newchapel, nr Lingfield. More than 40 native wildlife species in natural settings – red squirrels, otters, wildcats, foxes, owl display, deer park and much more. Open every weekend and bank holiday and daily during state school holidays, February to October 10am – 5pm, November to January 10am – 4pm, last admission one hour before closing, 01342 834658

Drusillas Park, Alfriston Rd just off the A27, BN26 5QS. Zoo, interactive displays, extensive adventure playgrounds, Thomas the Tank Engine Train,  Hello Kitty Secret Garden including three children’s rides; a specially designed Hello Kitty car ride, a tea cup ride and a ‘reach for the sky’ hopper ride. There’s also a Hello Kitty house and beauty parlour,  open daily 10am – 5pm or 6pm depending on season, 01323 874100

Earnley Butterflies, Birds and Beasts, 133 Almodington Lane, Earnley, Chichester, PO20 7JR. Walk among tropical butterflies, see exotic birds and get close to many beasts. Wander through a maze of 17 covered theme gardens, see the artefacts from the shipwrecked HMS Hazardous sunk in 1706 and walk through the 20th Century in the Rejectamenta Nostalgia centre. Limited opening in winter 10am – 3pm weekends and half term until 8 March, then from 10am – 5pm (6pm on bank holidays & school holidays) between 14 March – 1 November, 01243 512637

Huxley’s Birds of Prey Centre, Located at Hilliers Garden Centre, Brighton Road (A281), Horsham RH16 6QA. Open on Sun in Winter and from Easter – October half term from Wed – Sun plus bank holidays from 10am, birds of prey displays, gardens, Japanese water feature, 01403 273458  or 07761695876

Knockhatch Adventure Park, On A22 at Hailsham, Hailsham BN27 3GD, animals, falconry, indoor year round soft play at Froggies and children’s farm, go karts, outdoor playgrounds and paddling pools, Wave Runner water slide, Knockhatch Mining Co motion simulator and Pirates Cove paddling pool (check website for opening dates for each attraction), ski slope, 01323 442051  DISCOUNT VOUCHER

National Cat Centre & Nature Trail, Chelwood Gate, Ashdown Forest, RH17 7DE, the largest cat rehoming centre in the UK, 2km nature trail, visitor centre with Top Cat cafe and adoption centre, open daily from 10am – 4pm, 01825 741330, 03000 12 12 12

Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, on B2192 between Ringmer and Halland BN8 5AJ; up to 1,000 animals enjoying a happy and peaceful life including horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, rabbits, chipmunks, tortoises, terrapins and exotic birds. Visitor centre, coffee shop, gift shop and picnic area. Open daily from 10am – 4pm, lots of children’s holiday activities and regular monthly toddler group from March – October (£3), visits to the centre are free – donations very much appreciated, 01825 840252

RSPB Mallydams Wood, Peter James Lane, Fairlight, Hastings, TN35 4AH, wildlife rehabilitation centre, education centre and woodland nature reserve. Guided walks, badger watching, local visits and residential stays, 0300 123 0723.

RSPB Pulborough Brooks, Pulborough RH20 2EL, Visitor Centre and reserve is open all year and boasts a great variety of habitats including wetlands, woodland, and heathland and is a haven for a wide range of wildlife. Nature trail open sunrise to sunset daily, visitor centre & cafe 9.30am – 5pm,  01798 875851

Stoneywish Nature Reserve, Spatham Lane, Ditchling BN6 8XH, open 31 March – 31 October  Open Fri – Mon in term time, school holidays open daily; meadows, wetlands and woodland full of native flowers and home to a wealth of wildlife, as well as farm animals and play area, camp site, 01273 843498

Sussex Horse Rescue Sanctuary, Hempstead Lane, Uckfield TN22 3DL. Open Sun 11am – 4pm from Easter until Gala Day (2nd Saturday in September), 01825 762 010

The Llama Park at Ashdown Forest, Wych Cross, Forest Row RH18 5JN. 30 acre park with llamas, alpacas and reindeer, cafe, playground and shop. Open from 10am – 5pm, 01825 712040

Tilgate Park Nature Centre, Crawley, Tilgate Park, Crawley, Nature centre (free in winter, £2 for over 17′s and £1 for 2-16yrs), outdoor play area, woodland and lakeside walks, Smith & Western restaurant, fishing and boating with Dynamic Adventures, Golf Centre, 01293 521168

Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down, Near Uckfield TN22 4HJ. Approx 62 acres of woodland and nature trails, lots of children’s activities and wild camping. Open Wed – Sun in termtime and daily during school holidays – check website for full details, 01825 830509

Woods Mill Countryside Centre Woods Mill, Henfield BN5 9SD, headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust and an environmental education centre. The 13-acre nature reserve provides a peaceful setting comprising coppice woodland, meadows and a reed-fringed lake, pre-bookable holiday activities, open year round except for two weeks at Christmas, free, no dogs, 01273 492630

4Places of Historic Interest & Gardens

Alfriston National Trust Clergy House & Gardens, The Tye, Alfriston, Polegate, Sussex BN26 5TL, rare 14th-century Wealden ‘hall-house’ and cottage garden with children’s activities during the school holidays. Open weekends only 1 – 16 March, 17 March – 20 December open Sat – Wed, open Good Friday, 01323 871961

Anne of Cleves House and Museum, 52 Southover High Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1JA. Visit the medieval, half timbered house, a gift to Anne of Cleves from Henry VIII; discover how the Tudors and Elizabethans lived, worked and relaxed at home.  It also contains the Museum of Lewes history, displays about Tom Paine and the Wealden iron industry.  Open 1 February to 16 December 10am – 5pm (11am opening on Sun & Mon and Bank Holidays), 01273 474610

Arundel Castle and Gardens, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9AB, Open from 25 March – 30 October 2016 from Tue – Sun, Mon in Aug and Bank holidays, The seat of The Dukes of Norfolk and set in 40 acres of sweeping grounds and gardens, Arundel Castle has been open to visitors seasonally for nearly 200 years. It is one of the great treasure houses of England, with its own unique place in history and is home to priceless works of art. See paintings and furniture, tapestries and stained glass, china and clocks, sculpture and carving, heraldry and armour, 01903 882173

Bateman’s National Trust House, Bateman’s Lane, Burwash, East Sussex TN19 7DS, former home of Rudyard Kipling with gardens, walks, watermill and tea-room. Lots of children’s activities during the school holidays, open daily from 11am – 4pm or 5pm (depending on time of year), 01435 882302

1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey & Battlefield, High Street, Battle, East Sussex TN33 0AD. English Heritage insight into the Battle of Hastings and 1066 – explore the abbey ruins and the award-winning audio exhibition which brings to life the dramatic story of the Norman Conquest, open weekends until 14 February & from 20 February – 24 March 2016, open Mon – Fri during February half term, summer opening times not yet available so check website , 01424 775705 or 776787

Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum , Halland BN8 5AF. There’s a host of activities to keep everyone happy. Have fun at the adventure playground and explore the willow tunnels, ride on the miniature railway (open weekends and school hols , visit the motor museum, feed the birds on the wildfowl reserve or discover the ancient houses on a woodland walk. Open daily from 28th March until late October; 10am – 5pm; winter opening: most weekends and school holidays from 10am – 4pm, 01825 840573

Bignor Roman Villa, Bignor, RH20 1PH. One of the largest Roman villas to be open to the public with fine mosaics, museum tearooms and gift shop, open daily 10am – 5pm, 1 March – 31 October, 01798 869259

Bodiam National Trust Castle,  Bodiam, near Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN32 5UA. Story book castle – the exterior is virtually complete and the walls rise dramatically above the moat – there are battlements to explore and spiral staircases to climb.  Castle open daily  (excluding 24/25 December) from 10.30am – 4pm or 5pm (or dusk, depending on time of year). Lots of family friendly events especially during school holidays, 01580 830196

Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath RH16 1XP with outside adventure playground, woodland walks and children’s holiday activities. Open daily from 10.30am – 6pm (or dusk) between 28 March – 13 September, every Sun in September plus halloween 23 October to 1 November, 01444 450326

Camber Castle, TN31 7TD, Henry VIII’s forgotten castle which guarded the entrance to Rye and Winchelsea harbours, sits in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, unrestricted viewing from the outside, access via guided tours only, open from 30 March until October, times to be confirmed on its website.  School visits can be arranged at any time, 01797 227784

Charleston Farmhouse, Charleston, Firle, Lewes BN8 6LL, Bloomsbury in Sussex. Charleston was the home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury group. The interior was painted by the artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, and together with their collection forms a unique example of their decorative style. Open 25 March – 3 November 2015, Wednesdays to Saturdays 1 – 6pm (12 – 6pm July, August, September)  guided tours only. Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays 1 – 5.30pm, free flow tickets and therefore the best day to come with small children, 01323 811626

Denmans Garden, Fontwell BN18 OSU. Beautiful four acre garden owned by Michael Neve and John Brooks, artistically planted. Plant centre and cafe, open 10am – 4pm all year, 01243 542808

Firle Place, Firle, Lewes BN8 6LP, new licensed tea rooms.  House open 30 May- September, Sunday – Thursday 2 – 4.30pm; tearooms open on house opening days from 12.30 01273 858307

Fishbourne Roman Palace, Fishbourne Road West, Fishbourne, West Sussex PO19 3QR. Roman palace with the largest mosaics in situ in the UK, recreated formal gardens and family activities, Sat and Sun in January, everyday in February from 10am – 4pm, everyday March – October 10am – 5pm, November – 15 December 10am – 4pm, 16 December to 31 December Sat and Sun only 01243 785859

Glynde Place,  Glynde BN8 6SX , home to the VIIth Viscount and Viscountess Hampden, is a magnificent Elizabethan country house sitting high on the Sussex Downs, looking over the Weald. Originally built in the mid 16th century, it has been lived in by only three families in more than five centuries. Extensive alterations and improvements were carried out in the 18th century, including building the new stable block, adjacent church and the distinctive wyverns gates by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham. Today, Glynde Place offers a glimpse of life in a traditional English country house, from its origins over 500 years ago to the present day. It is closed during 2016 for extensive refurbishment. 01273 858 224

Great Dixter, Northiam, TN31 6PH, Tudor house with a famous 20th century Arts and Crafts garden, open 25 March – 25 October, Tue – Sun plus bank holiday Mondays from 11am – 5pm (house from 2pm), 01797 252878

Hastings Castle, Castle Hill Road, Hastings, East Sussex TN34, visit the ruined castle, visit the dungeons and learn about life under siege in 1066 country, closed November – February, February/March open weekends only, March to Easter weekends only, Easter – end October open daily, 01424 201609 / 01424 422964

Hastings Lifeboat Visitor Centre, East Beach Street, The Stade, Hastings Old Town, open daily 10am – 4.30pm except January/February when open weekends only, 01424 425502

Herstmonceux Castle Gardens & Grounds, Hailsham BN27 1RN, magnificent moated castle, set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland and superb Elizabethan gardens.  The Castle is not open to the public, however guided tours are conducted at an extra charge and subject to availability.   Lots of special events, see What’s On. The estate is also home to the Observatory Science Centre 100+ interactive exhibits, workshops, shows and telescope tours. Castle gardens & grounds are open: 25 March – 1 November 10am – 6pm (5pm in Oct/Nov), 01323 833816

Hever Castle, Hever, Nr Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7NG. Gardens/maze, playground, water maze (take a change of clothes), open daily 13th February – 2nd November (Wed – Sun after half term in Feb/Mar), seasonal opening for some attractions, 01732 865224

High Beeches Gardens, High Beeches Lane, Handcross, West Sussex RH17 6HQ (just off A23). 27 acres of beautiful woodland and water gardens, spy treasure trail (download from, tearoom. Open daily except Wed, 1pm -5pm (tea room from 11am), 19 March – 1 November, 01444 400589.

Jill Windmill, Clayton, South Downs BN6 9PG, built in 1821 and restored to full working order, open most Sundays and Bank Holidays (check website, as these days rely on volunteers stewards being available) from May – September, 2 – 5pm, entry by donation, souvenir and tea shop.

Lewes Castle & Barbican House Museum, 169 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1YE. Climb to the top of this 1,000 year old Norman Castle for stunning views across Sussex.  In the Barbican House you’ll find the Museum of Archaeology and a mini cinema which tells the story of Lewes from prehistoric to medieval times. Open daily, Tue – Sat 10am – 5.30pm and Sun, Mon and bank holidays, 11am – 5.30pm (closed Mon in January), 01273 486290

Merriments Gardens & Wild Bird Centre, Hawkhurst Road, Hurst Green TN19 7RA. The Garden is open mid March – mid October from 10am – 5pm Mon – Sat and 10.30 on Sun, 01580 860666 (probably more of an adults day out)

Michelham Priory, Upper Dicker, near Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 3QS.  Tranquil, moated gardens, see the foundations of the 13th century priory and explore the main house, watermill, play area and family activities during the summer. Interactive medieval gallery in the 14th century Gatehouse.  Open daily from 13 February – 18 December 2016, 11am – 4pm (until 29 February) 10.30am – 5pm (until 31 Oct), 1 November – 18 December 10am – 4pm 01323 844224

Newhaven Fort, Fort Rd, Newhaven BN9 9DS, the story of a Victorian Fortress and demonstrations of the Fort’s role during two World Wars. Explore the tunnels, gun emplacements, Blitz street shelter simulation, playground, Searchlight Cafe. Open every day from 1 March to 30 September 10.30am – 6pm,  and in October until 5pm, with last admission one hour before closing. Dogs welcome on a lead. 01273 517622

Nymans National Trust House and Gardens, Handcross, Haywards Heath, RH17 6EB. Gardens open daily all year, house open from 1 March – 31 October 2014. Family programme in school holidays, natural play trail and lovely walks in the Millennium Wood, 01444 405250

Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst, near Wadhurst, East Sussex TN5 7HE. English garden located on the Sussex and Kent border in the heart of South East England’s garden country. Pashley offers a sumptuous blend of romantic landscaping, imaginative plantings and fine old trees, fountains, springs and large ponds. Open 1 April – 30 September 11am – 5pm. Closed Mon &  Sun except bank holidays and special events, 01580 200888

Parham House and Gardens, Storrington, Nr Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 4HS (satnav: use RH20 4HR). Well-loved family home – only three families have lived here since its foundation stone was laid in 1577 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I with collections of period furniture, needlework and paintings. Deer park with award winning gardens. Open from 27 March  to end of September on Wed, Thu, Friday, Sun and bank holidays, Sun only in October, gardens & big kitchen 12pm – 5pm, house from 2pm – 5pm, last admission 4.30pm (check website for seasonal changes), 01903 742021

Petworth House and Park, GU28 0AE (sat nav use GU28 9LR), the vast late 17th-century mansion is set in a beautiful 283-hectare (700-acre) deer park, landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown and immortalised in Turner’s paintings. Inside, the house contains the National Trust’s finest collection of pictures, with numerous works by Turner, Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake, ancient and Neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons. The servants’ quarters contain fascinating kitchens and other service rooms.  Family multimedia guide and trails plus children’s activities in the house. House open 19 March – 6 November, grounds, restaurant and shop open all year, 01798 342207

Pevensey Castle, Castle Road, Pevensey, East Sussex BN24 5LE, with a history stretching back over 16 centuries, Pevensey Castle chronicles more graphically than any other fortress the story of Britain’s south coast defences.  Beginning in the 4th century as one of the last and strongest of the Roman ‘Saxon Shore’ forts, two-thirds of whose towered walls still stand. It was the landing place of William the Conqueror’s army in 1066. During the century after the Conquest a full-scale Norman castle, with a great square keep and a powerful gatehouse, was built within one corner of the fort. In the 1250s the towered bailey wall was constructed, and soon put to the test during the great siege of 1264.  Open weekends only until 24 March, then daily from 25 March until early November, 01323 762604

Polegate Windmill, Park Croft, Polegate, BN26 5LB, open Sun and bank holidays from Easter until the end of October plus Wed in August from 2 – 5pm.

Preston Manor, Preston Drove, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 6SD. ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ Edwardian manor house, open 1 April to 30 September Tues – Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 2 – 5pm, last admission 4.15pm. Closed Mon (including bank holidays), 01273 292770/03000 290900

Priest House, North Lane, West Hoathly, West Sussex, RH19 4PP. 15th century hall house with a traditional cottage garden.  Once owned by Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Anne of Cleves, Mary I and Elizabeth I, it is now furnished with 18th and 19th century country furniture and the garden is planted with 170+ culinary, medicinal and household herbs.  Open March – October 10.30am – 5.30pm;  Sun 12pm opening. Closed Mon except bank holidays, 01342 810479

Priory of St Pancras in Priory Park, Cockshut Road, Southover, Lewes, BN7 1HP (Satnav use BN7 2XA). Here, in the 11th century, monks came from Cluny in France to establish the first Cluniac priory in England. The Priory survived for 450 years until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537. The site with its evocative remains retains an air of tranquility and serenity. The sweep of the South Downs which frame the site provides a spectacular setting for an afternoon out. There is much to see at Priory Park. Interpretation panels allow you to walk in the footsteps of medieval monks and imagine how the buildings once looked. A recreated herb garden grows plants that monks would have used for medicinal, culinary and ceremonial purposes. Free entry, open all year.

Rye Heritage Centre, Strand Quay, TN31 7AY, story of Rye, Rye Town Model sound and light show, working collection of Old Pier amusement machines, historic and ghost audio walking tours available for hire, Open daily from 6 February until September; 10am or 10.30am & 4.30pm or 5pm, weekend only in the winter season01797 226696

Rye Castle Museum, the Ypres Tower, East Street, TN31 7JY,  the Ypres Tower was built in the 14th century as part of the town’s defences, various exhibits include a replica of the gibbet with skull of John Breads,  a new model of the changes in the local shoreline, and the Ypres Tower Embroidery,  created by a team of stitchers and depicting the Tower’s roles through nine centuries of history — as defense, private home, prison, mortuary, museum. Also Captain Pugwash Treasure Hunt and swords, armour and chainmail to view and helmets and costumes for children to try on, check website for times and special events, 01797 226728

Royal Pavilion, 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1EE. Built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV, in stages between 1787 and 1823, the Royal Pavilion is remarkable for its exotic oriental appearance both inside and out. This magnificent royal pleasure palace was revered by fashionable Regency society. Open daily 10am – 5.15pm October – March (closed 24, 25 & 26 December) and 9.30am – 5.45pm April – September, 03000 290900

Sheffield Park and Garden, TN22 3QX, informal landscape garden laid out in the 18th century by ‘Capability’ Brown and further developed in the early years of the 20th century by its owner, Arthur G. Soames, parkland open daily dawn till dusk, gardens 10am – 5pm, family activities during school holidays, woodland play trail, 01825 790231

Standen National Trust House and Garden, West Hoathly Road, East Grinstead, RH19 4NE, Arts and Crafts family home with Morris & Co interiors, great views, woodland walks and family woodland play area. Open all year, check timings on website. 01342 323029

St. Mary’s House, Bramber BN44 3WE. Medieval house and 5 acres of gardens – still lived in. House open between May and end of September on Sun, Thur & bank holiday Mon, 2 – 6 pm (last entry at 5pm), more widely open for pre-booked groups from April to end of September, 01903 816205

Wakehurst Place Gardens and Millennium Seed Bank, Selsfield Rd, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6TN. ‘Kew in the Country’, botanical gardens run by the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, with lots of walks (children especially love the Himalayan Garden), Adventurous Journeys natural play spaces, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, restaurant, cafe, shop, open daily at 10am 01444 894066

West Blatchington Windmill,  Holmes Avenue, Hove BN3 7LE. Take the family to this unusual c.1820 smock windmill built on a collection of barns on the outskirts of Brighton & Hove. Open May – September on Sun and bank holidays 2.30 – 5pm, 01273 776017/03000 290900

West Dean Gardens, West Dean, Nr Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0QZ1. Highlights include 300 foot long Edwardian pergola, newly restored Sunken Garden, walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses and a beautiful parkland walk with views over the South Downs.  Open daily from 10.30am – 4pm (5pm summer), closed January, 01243 818210

Windmill Hill Windmill, open mainly 1st/3rd Sun 2.30-5pm plus bank holiday Mon from 5 April until 18 October, 01323 833033

5Museums & Galleries

1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey & Battlefield, High Street, Battle, East Sussex TN33 0AD. English Heritage insight into the Battle of Hastings and 1066 – explore the abbey ruins and the award-winning audio exhibition which brings to life the dramatic story of the Norman Conquest, Weekends only until 14 February 2016, 15 – 19 February daily, 20 February – 24 March weekends only, 25 March opening to be announced (check website) 01424 775705/01424 776787

Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre, Station Rd, Ford, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9LT, home to a collection of listed buildings and monuments, many of which have been rescued from around Sussex.  There are also vintage vehicles, rural crafts, woodland walks plus over 50 events planned for 2016, open February half term and then from 2nd  March – 30th October 2016, Wed to Sun & bank holidays, plus every day during local school holidays, 10am – 5pm, last entry 4pm,  01798 831370 DISCOUNT VOUCHER IN THE SPRING BRIGHTON & HOVE & MID SUSSEX FAMILY GRAPEVINES.

Battle Museum, The Almonry, High Street, TN33 0EA, local history museum plus displays that include dinosaur footprints,  artefacts from the Roman Bathhouse at Beauport Park, a Saxon battle-axe believed to be a unique relic of the Battle of Hastings,  the world’s oldest effigy of Guy Fawkes and the story of the Battle gunpowder industry, as well as cases on the World Wars of the 20th Century , open 1 April – 31 October from Mon – Sat, 10am – 4.30pm, 01424 775955

Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum, Halland  BN8 5AF. Wildfowl reserve with vast collection of swans, geese, ducks, cranes & flamingos, Motor museum with over 100 veteran, vintage and classic cars, Miniature railway, woodland trail, playground, tearoom. Open weekends, bank holidays and half term until 1 March, 10am – 5pm (house from 12noon – 4pm); miniature railway open on selected days from 14 February, check website for summer opening, 01825 840573

Bexhill Museum of Costume, Egerton Road, TN39 3HL, Costume Collection, Sargent Collection of local history and Motor Racing Gallery. Open Daily 1 February – 4 December, Mon, Sat, Sun, bank holidays 11am -5pm, Tue – Fri 10am – 5pm, 01424 787950

Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton, 194 Dyke Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 5AA. Quirky celebration of natural history including magnificent display of stuffed birds, butterflies and fossils and bones dating back to dinosaur times. Open 10am – 5pm daily except Thu; Sun & bank holidays open from 2pm – 5pm, free, 03000 290901

Brede Steam Engine Society Waterworks Lane, Brede TN31 6HG – The Giants of Brede, museum of water heritage pumping machinery, mainly from the steam era, open first Saturday each month all year round  plus Bank Holidays from 10am – 4pm, 01323 897310

Brighton Fishing Museum, 201 Kings Road Arches, The Lanes, Brighton BN1 1NB. 27′ traditional Sussex fishing boat, plus prints, photos and fishing memorabilia from 1700′s onwards, telling the story of the fishing community in Brighton and seafront life. Open daily, run by volunteers, admission free, 07786 396179

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion, 4/5 Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1EE, history of Brighton, pottery, fashion & style, performance & more, mostly free, open Tue – Sun (open bank holidays except Christmas) 10am – 5pm, 01273 290900

Brighton Toy and Model Museum, 52-55 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 4EB. Under the arches of Brighton station. Over 10,000 toys and models including two working model railways, open Tue-Fri from 10am – 5pm, Sat 11am – 5pm, closed Sun, 01273 749494

Brooklands Aviation & Motor Museum, Brooklands Rd, Weybridge KT13 0SL. The birthplace of British motorsport and aviation and of Concorde, 4D theatre experiences on weekdays (except bank holidays), open daily 10am – 5pm, winter 10am – 4pm, 01932 857381 ex221

Christ’s Hospital Museum, Horsham RH13 0YP. Open on Tue & during term time, 01403 247444, call before visiting

Crawley Museum Centre, Goffs Park House, Old Horsham Road,Crawley RH11 8PE, permanent displays of Crawley’s history, from the Stone Age to the development of the new town, plus changing exhibitions, open Wed, Sun & bank holiday Mon, 2pm – 4pm, free, 01293 539088

Cuckfield Museum, Queens Hall, High Street, Cuckfield, RH17 3EL. Open Wed from 10am – 12:30pm; on Friday and Sat from 10am – 4pm. 01444 473630

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea TN40 1DP, Grade I listed Modernist icon and an international centre for contemporary arts on the seafront with exhibitions, theatre, music, family events etc, De La Warr Cafe Bar and Kitchen serves kids menu and you can buy toys & gifts in the De La Warr store, disabled access and baby changing facilities, open Mon – Sun 10am – 5pm, 01424 229111

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Lodge Hill Lane, Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6 8SP. Exhibitions of the works of craftspeople and artists who were drawn to the village, newly re-opened from Tue – Sat and bank holidays from 11am – 5pm and on Sun from 12pm – 5pm. See website for more information or call 01273 844744. Under 16’s free entry.  Children’s activities – may need to be pre-booked.

Eastbourne Heritage Centre, opposite the Winter Gardens, BN21 4BT, permanent exhibition about Eastbourne plus temporary exhibits including: Picture Postcards, WW11 – Front Line Eastbourne & Cinema display telling story of Eastbourne’s original nine cinemas, up to 28 March Sat 10am – 4pm, 30 March to October 31 Mon, Tue, Thu 2pm – 5pm, Fri 10am – 1pm, Sat 10am – 4pm, closed Good Friday, Wed & Sun, 01323 411189

Eastbourne Lifeboat Museum, King Edward’s Parade, free entry, open weekends in January and February from 10am – 3pm, March seven days 10am – 4pm, April to October seven days 10am – 5pm, October to December seven days 10am – 4pm, 01323 730717

East Grinstead Museum, Old Market Yard, Cantelupe Road, East Grinstead, RH19 3BJ. Includes footprint of an Iguanodon and Curator’s Corner with sand pit to dig for treasure, open from Wed – Sat 10am – 4pm, Sun and bank holidays 1pm – 4pm, 01342 302233

Filching Manor Motor Museum, Jevington Road, Polegate, BN26 5QA, home to the Foulkes Halbard collection about the record breaking Campbell family’s achievements including Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird K3 world record breaking boat, along with other famous Campbell cars, boats and memorabilia, open only by arrangement to groups, 01323 487124 / 487838

Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, Johns Place, Bohemia Road, TN4 1ET.  A rich mix of fine paintings and china, the cultures of other lands, well-known personalities such as John Logie Baird and Robert Tressell, and a contrasting view of local wildlife today and as it would have been 150 million years ago. There are plenty of special features for children, with fossils that transform into dinosaurs, prehistoric crocodiles and fish, a diorama of local animals and birds, Native American Galleries complete with tipi and buffalo, and a display on Hastings born conservationist, Grey Owl.  The most spectacular part of the museum is the magnificent Durbar Hall constructed for the Indian and Colonial Exhibition of 1886 as part of an Indian Palace.  Open April to October Tue to Sat 10am – 5pm (4pm Nov – Mar) and Sun from 12noon – 5pm, free, 01424 451052

Hastings Fisherman’s Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road, TN34 3DW, original lugger, photos, models, stories, paintings, nets etc, open daily, free – donations requested, 01424 461446

Hastings Flower Makers’ Museum, 58A High Street, TN34 3EN, displaying original tools and materials from the artificial flower-making trade, open daily all year except Sun, 10am – 4pm, 01424 427793

Hastings Old Town Hall Museum, High Street, TN34 1EW, introduction to the history of the Old Town, housed in the Regency town hall, the museum displays are arranged as a walk back in time through the history of Hastings Old Town. Topics covered include seaside holidays, wartime, the fishing industry, the Napoleonic garrison, smuggling, Titus Oates, Tudor and medieval life, the Cinque Ports and the Norman and Saxon mint, reconstructions of a fisherman’s cottage, a Georgian drawing room, a Cinque Ports ship, open until 31 March Fri, Sat, Sun 10am – 4pm, 1 April to 31 October daily except Mon, 10am – 5pm, 1 November to 31 December daily 10am – 4pm, 01424 451052

Henfield Museum, Henfield Hall, Coopers Way, High Street, Henfield, BN5 9DB. Open from Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat 10am – 12noon, Sat 2.30 – 4pm also, Wed 2.30 – 4.30pm, closed bank holidays and bank holiday weekends, 01273 492507

Horsham Museum, Causeway House, 9 Causeway, Horsham RH12 1HE. Open 10am – 5pm, Monday-Saturday, free admission. Closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays, 01403 254959

Hove Museum & Art Gallery, 19 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4AB. Toys, cinema, local history & fine art, lots of children’s activities. Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri and Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 2 – 5pm, closed Wed. open on public holidays, free, 01273 290200 / 03000 290900

How We Lived Then, Museum of Shops, 20 Cornfield Terrace, Eastbourne, BN21 4NS, Around 100,000 exhibits displayed on four floors of authentic shops, room settings and with various displays covering 100 years of shopping and social history, open daily from 10am, closing times vary according to season, 01323 737143

Hurstpierpoint Museum, Village Hall, Hurstpierpoint BN6 9UY, two large unmanned display cabinets containing local history items and information, open Mon, Tue and Wed 9am – 1.30pm, Thu and Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat 9am – 1pm, Sun closed, and open whenever the Village Centre is open, 07985201335 / 01273 834251

Jerwood Gallery, Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings TN34 3DW, the permanent home of the Jerwood Collection of 20th and 21st century British art.  On display in seven dedicated rooms, the collection comprises paintings as well as works on paper and prints by British artists working between the WW1 and the 1960′s, open Tue – Sun (& bank holiday Mon) 11am – 5pm, closed all other Mon, 01424 728377

Lewes Castle & Barbican House Museum, 169 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1YE. The Museum of Sussex Archaeology and a mini cinema which tells the story of Lewes and the castle from prehistoric to medieval times, open daily from March to October, 10am – 5.30pm, opening at 11am on Sun, Mon & bank holidays, (closed Mon in January), November to February open 10am – 3.45pm, 01273 486290

Marlipins Museum, High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 5DA, the story of Shoreham’s maritime and local history in one of the oldest Norman buildings in Sussex . Open May – October, Tue – Sat 10.30am – 4.30pm, 01273 462994

Museum of Naval Firepower, Priddys Hard, Heritage Way, Gosport PO12 4LE. Museum of naval warfare created within 18th century buildings at the Royal Navy’s former armaments depot of Priddy’s Harden, open daily April – October 10am – 5pm; November – March, Sat & Sun only, 10am – 4pm, 023 9250 5600

Newhaven Fort, Newhaven Fort, Fort Rd, Newhaven BN9 9DS, the story of a Victorian fortress and demonstations of the fort’s role during two world wars. Explore the tunnels, gun emplacements, Blitz Shelter simulation, playground, cafe. Open daily March – September  10.30am – 6pm, October 10.30am – 5pm, 01273 517622

Newhaven Local and Maritime Museum at Paradise Park, Avis Road, BN9 0DH, owned and operated by Newhaven Historical Society, open March to October, Tue – Fri 2pm – 4pm, Sat, Sun & bank holidays  2pm – 5pm, 01273 515404

Petworth Cottage Museum, 346 High Street, Petworth, GU28 0AU.  Estate worker’s cottage furnished as it might have been in the early 20th century, when it was occupied by a seamstress who worked at Petworth House. Run by The Petworth Cottage Trust, open Tue to Sat and all bank holiday Mon from 1 April to 31October, 2pm – 4.30pm, 01798 343496

Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum, Royal Parade, Eastbourne, BN22 7AQ.  The Redoubt Napoleonic fortress has stood guard on the South Coast for over 200 years. Discover history through the large military collection plus events and children’s military training ground.  Open every day from 21 March – 16 November 2016, 10am – 5pm until September then 10am  – 4pm in October & November, 01323 410300

Rye Heritage Centre, The Old Sail Loft, Rye Strand Quay, Rye, TN31 7AY, the story of Rye set within the famous Rye Town Model sound and light show, plus historic and ghost audio walking tours for hire, and a host of working Old Pier amusement machines, open daily from 6 February 10am or 10.30am, closing 4pm, 4.30pm or 5pm depending on time of year, November to December open at weekends. 01797 226696

Rye Castle Museum 3 East Street, Rye TN31 7JY and Ypres Tower, Gun Garden, Rye TN31 7HH, Museum reopens at Easter (consult website for days and times), Ypres Tower open daily, 30 March – 31 October 10.30am – 5pm, 1 November – 29 March 10am – 3pm,  01797 226728

Seaford Museum in the Martello Tower, BN25 1JH, local history museum with children’s events in school holidays. Displays from a general store, dressmakers parlour, the contents of toy, chemist, ironmonger and photographer’s shops as well as Victorian schoolroom, Victorian kitchen and wartime kitchen, domestic appliances from the first half of the 20th century, early typewriters and copiers to computers plus radios and television sets. There is a working model of Seaford railway station in 1926. Opening times: Good Friday to end of BST, Suns and bank holidays  11am – 4pm, Wed and Sat from 2.30pm – 4.30pm; end of BST – Easter, open Sun and bank holidays 11am – 4pm, 01323 898222 (24 hour answerphone)

Shipwreck Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings, TN34 3DW, tells the stories of shipwrecks that have happened off the Hastings coast, explore shipwrecks, find out how you can find your own dinosaur remains on the beach and discover what global warming means for the coastline. Open November – March, Sat & Sun, 11am – 4pm; daily April – October 10am – 5pm, 01424 437452

Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, Tangmere, Nr Chichester, PO20 2ES, home to an impressive display of historic aircraft and a unique collection of aviation memorabilia stretching from the First World War through to the Cold War.  Amongst the many attractions are numerous interactive displays and several aircraft simulators for visitors to experience. Open daily from 1 February – 30 November; 10am – 5pm from March – October and 10am – 4.30pm in February & November, 01243 790 090

Towner, Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, BN21 4JJ, contemporary art museum with lots of family activities and events, Our Place: Annual Schools Exhibition 2016 is at the Towner from 24 March – 5 June, gallery is open Tue – Sun from 10am – 5pm (plus bank holiday Mon), free, 01323 434670

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0EU. Fascinating collection of historic buildings dismantled from their original location and reassembled in 40 acres of Sussex countryside, woodland walks, picnic areas and farm animals. Open 2 January – 28 February 2016 10.30am – 4pm, Wed, Sat and Suns (daily during February half term). Open main season daily, 29 February – 27 November, 10.30am – 6pm during BST & 4pm during Winter. Closed 28 Nov-March 2017. 01243 811348

Winchelsea Court Hall Museum, small local history museum about Winchelsea and the Cinque Ports, open 1 May – 30 September, Tue – Sat 10.30am – 4.30 pm, Sun  2pm – 4.30 pm, 01392 714559

Wings Museum, Unit 1, Bucklands Farm, Balcombe, West Sussex RH17 6JT.  WW2 remembrance museum with a fascinating insight into life in WW2.  Variety of themed displays of original memorabilia and relics relating to the Home Guard, Battle of Britain, Blitz, Home Front, RAF, Bomber Command, 8th USAAF, D-Day and Beyond, the Russian Front.  Open every Sat & Sun from 5 March – end of October, 10am – 5pm, 07769 688064

6Railways, Buses & Boats

Beech Hurst Miniature Railway  Beech Hurst Gardens, Haywards Heath, RH16 4BX. Half a mile of track run by volunteers, two tunnels and signals, Sat, Sun & bank holidays from 25 March – October plus Wed during summer school holidays from 2 – 5pm.  (Timetable on website)

Bentley Miniature Railway, one mile track run by volunteers at Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum, near Halland, open Sun from 15 February to 1 November,  Sat from 21 March – 31 October, and school holidays, 11.30am – 5pm or 11.30am – 4pm depending on time of year, 0845 8672583

Bluebell Railway, now fully operational from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park Station TN22 3QL, volunteer preserved steam railway. Open weekends and school holidays in winter (January – March and November – December), February half term and April – October open most days subject to special events taking place, consult website for the timetable of train services, 01825 720800

Breeze Buses, buses to Devil’s Dyke (No 77). Once you’re there try a walk to Poynings (two miles), Upper Beeding (five miles and then take the 2A back), Patcham (three miles and then catch the 5A bus back), 01273 292480

Breeze Buses, take the bus to Ditchling Beacon (No 79), the 2nd highest point on the South Downs with spectacular views across the weald. Once you’re there try a walk to Patcham (3.5 miles and then catch the 5A bus back) or Lewes (5.5 miles and then catch the 28/29 bus back), 01273 292480

Breeze Buses, take the bus to Stanmer Park (No 78), where you’ll find open spaces to play or picnic, Stanmer House and Stanmer Museum which is open most weekend afternoons, 01273 292480

Brighton Marina Water Tours, Pontoon 5, West Jetty, Brighton Marina, Brighton, BN2 5UP, tours run by Ross Boat Trips around the harbour plus powerboat rides, 07958 246414 / 07836 262717

City Sightseeing – Eastbourne and Beachy Head, departs from Eastbourne Pier Head, Grand Parade,  daily 26 March – 28 September. Book online or via bus driver/street seller or Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre, 07808 713957

Dotto,  Eastbourne’s Mini Train, runs along the seafront, hop on, hop off between Holywell Retreat and Sovereign Harbour, 2016 timetable not yet announced by Stagecoach, 0871 2002233

Eastbourne Kayak and Surf Hire, BN21 4BY, by the Wish Tower, open from 29 April (weekends only in May) until 25 September 2016 depending on weather, book by phone or email or just turn up, 07917 863791

Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway BN23 6QJ plus playground and lake, indoor model railway, picnic area, cafe, open daily from 19 March – 1 November 2016, 01323 520229

Goffs Park Light Railway, Horsham Road, Southgate RH11 8PB, 1,250 foot long miniature railway run by Crawley Model Engineers, open Sun 2pm – 5pm, Easter – October, 01293 528612

Hove Park Miniature Railway, BN3 7QA, runs approximately every other Saturday afternoon and bank holiday Mon from late March until late October, 2 – 5pm (check track days on website), operated by the Brighton and Hove Society of Miniature Locomotive Engineers.

Kent & East Sussex Steam Railway, Tenterden, Northiam and Bodiam Stations, vintage steam and historic diesel trains dating from Victorian times, special events including Thomas the Tank Engine days, some train services during half term week February, main season from 25 March – 31 October, 01580 765155/01580 762943 (24 hr talking timetable)

Lavender Line, Isfield TN22 5XB, preserved railway – travels for a two mile round trip between the village of Isfield and Worth halt near Uckfield. At Isfield you will find the headquarters of the Lavender line which includes the original Victorian station and signal box. Open Sun, bank holidays,  some weekdays in the summer and for special events (check public timetable) 11am – 5pm, 01825 750515,  Santa Specials at weekends in December.

Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, the world’s smallest public railway, one-third full size steam & diesel locomotives take passengers along the 13½ miles of track from the Cinque Port town of Hythe, terminating in Dungeness, a National Nature Reserve and one of the largest shingle landscapes in the world. With four stations in between, all within walking distance of a
beach, 01797 362353

Sussex Voyages, Gate 3, Lower Quayside, The Waterfront, Sovereign Harbour Marina BN23 5UZ rigid inflatable and power boat trips from Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, summer season, 01293 888780

Uckfield & East Grinstead British Rail Lines – leave your car behind and explore Sussex by train – stopping at Oxted & Hurst Green, Lingfield, Dormans, East Grinstead, Ashurst, Eridge, Crowborough, Buxted, Uckfield,

Volks Electric Railway, Madeira Drive, Brighton, the world’s oldest operating electric railway operates a 15-mins service most days between 25 March to 4 September 2016, 01273 292718

Party Bouncy Castle RGBPlay Centres

Barney’s Playbarn, Bell Lane, Uckfield, for ages 0 – 12, height restriction 4ft 8ins, reduced rate toddler mornings Mon/Thu until 1pm term time, 9am – 5pm weekdays, 10am -6pm weekends, 01825 764575

Blackstock Farm, Hellingly, playbarn for toddlers – 7yrs. Check opening days carefully as Blackstock Farm is now open as an open farm with a small soft play area,  01323 848006

Dino’s, Downs Leisure Centre, Seaford, under 10’s, different areas for different aged children, open 9am – 6pm most days, varying on Mon, check website, 01323 490011

Fun-Net Café, 156 High Street, Uckfield; baby sensory area & playframe for u8’s, 01825 760924

Funplex, The Hyde Business Park, Bevendean, Brighton, BN2 4JE, indoor softplay adventure centre & laser tag parties, open daily 10am – 6pm, 01273 957898

Froggies Indoor Soft Play at Knockhatch on A22 Hailsham Bypass, Hailsham BN27 3PR, with dedicated under 3′s toddler area, open 10am – 5.30pm, 01323 442051  DISCOUNT VOUCHER

Hailsham Leisure Centre, two soft play frames, for ages 0 – 10yrs, children must be under 148cm tall, separate play area for under 3′s, open daily 9am – 6pm, 01323 846755

Leo’s Play Den, 1-3 Pevensey Road, Eastbourne BN21 3HJ, babies – 12yrs, open Mon – Thu & Sun 10am – 6pm, Fri and Sat  9.30am – 6.30pm, 01323 749022

Lewes Leisure Centre , Ocean Adventure, play area over three levels, under 8’s, open weekends 9am – 6pm, Mon, Wed 12.30pm – 6pm, Tues, Thu 1.30pm – 6pm, Fri 1pm – 6pm, unless booked for private parties, 01273 486000

Monkey Bizness, Cliffe Industrial Estate, Lewes, maze of play frames, toddler area for 2 – 5yrs and main frame suitable for 5 – 12yrs, open Mon – Fri 9am – 6pm, Sat 9am – 5pm, Sun 10am  – 5pm, 01273 311566

Old Boat Corner Community Centre, Hollingbury, Brighton, toys & outdoor play area, open from 9am-1pm, Tue-Fri, 01273 540779

Out of Bounds, Golfers Lane, Angmering, BN16 4NB, THE family entertainment centre, Clip n’ Climb, bowling, softplay, footgolf, laser tag, adventure golf, open 7 days a week, 01903 788588

Peacehaven Leisure Centre,  Magic Castle, two level soft play area for children under 10 or 145cm max, open Mon – Sun 9am – 6pm unless booked for parties,  01273 588858

Playstation Eastbourne, 3 & 4 Commercial Road, Eastbourne BN21 3XE, soft play adventure area for children aged 6 months – 12yrs, 01323 411527

Indoor adventure play at Fort Fun Adventure Park, Royal Parade, Eastbourne, BN22 7LQ, children u11’s, 01323 642833

Sama Fun Factory, Circus Parade, Brighton BN1 4GW, soft play area for 0-11yrs or 5’2”, open Mon – Fri 9.30am – 6.30pm, Sat 9am – 10am (Open Play), 10am – 12pm (Drop and Shop), 12pm – 3pm (Parties), 3pm -5pm (Open Play), Sun 10am – 4pm, 01273 605335

Tiny Tim’s, Hangleton Community Centre, Harmsworth Crescent, Brighton BN3 8BW, soft play on three levels, up to 9yrs, weekdays daily drop-in 9am – 5pm, 01273 292962

Treasure Island, Royal Park, Eastbourne BN22 7AE, Buccaneer’s soft play area on two levels, babies – 12yrs, open daily 9.30am – 6pm, 01323 411077

Westows Indoor Play & Football Centre, Hove, BN3 5HX, two level soft play area and a separate soft play area for under 3s, height restriction 4’10”, 01273 721338

Adventure Parks & Family Fun7

Black Cat Treasure Hunts,  fun and affordable treasure hunt routes for families around Sussex, walking, cycling or driving, 07445818996

Brighton Marina  BN2 5WA, shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, bowling, cinema, fitness, casino, children’s rides, mini-golf, boat trips, fishing, sailing, diving, free outdoor ping pong & chess tables, 01273 693636

Brighton Palace Pier, rides, amusement arcades, food outlets, souvenirs, 01273 609361

British Airways i360, seafront near the West Pier, 162m tower with passenger viewing pod climbing to 138m making it the tallest moving observation tower in the world.  360-degree views of the Sussex coastline up to 26 miles, opening summer 2016, 03337 720 360

Drusillas Park, Alfriston Road just off the A27, BN26 5QS, zoo & extensive adventure playgrounds, 01323 874100

Eastbourne Pier, restored camera obscura, amusement arcade, soft play, glass blower, crafts, Victorian tea rooms, now reopen for business after devastating fire in July 2014, 01323 410466

Flamingo Park, East Beach Street, Hastings, TN34 3AR, rides and attractions for all the family, 01424 715133

Fort Fun Adventure Park, Royal Parade, Eastbourne, BN22 7LQ, Aquasplash Land (seasonal), theme park rides, indoor soft play, adventure golf, outdoor role play village, inflatables 01323 642833

Harbour Park Amusement Park, Windmill Road, Littlehampton BN17 5LH. Rides for all ages, adventure golf, arcade, picnic greens, soft play area, 01903 721200

Hastings Adventure Golf, Hastings Old Town Seafront, TN34 3AJ, a complex of 3 x 18 hole miniature golf courses, providing facilities suitable for players of all ages this is the National Centre for Miniature Golf in the UK and the home of the annual World Crazy Golf Championships every October.  Open 9am – 10pm from Apr – Oct and from 10am – 4pm (5pm at weekends) from Nov – late Mar, closed 24th – 26th October, [email protected]

Knockhatch Adventure Park, On A22 at Hailsham, Hailsham BN27 3GD, animals, falconry, indoor year round soft play at Froggies, go karts, outdoor playgrounds and paddling pools, ski slope, some activities not available during the winter, 01323 442051 DISCOUNT VOUCHER

Out of Bounds, Golfers Lane, Angmering, BN16 4NB, THE family entertainment centre, Clip n’ Climb, bowling, softplay, footgolf, laser tag, adventure golf, open 7 days a week, 01903 788588

Paradise Family Leisure Park, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 0DH. Planet Earth museum, Dinosaur Safari, Paradise Gardens including mini Sussex buildings and landmarks, Plant House and Local Maritime Museum, Play Zone including miniature train and crazy golf, 01273 512 123

Smugglers Adventure, St Clement’s Caves, TN34 3HY, explore the sandstone caves in search of smugglers, bootleggers and warring gangs – prepared to be scared! Reopens 13 February until early November, times vary, 01424 422964

Treasure Island, Royal Park, Eastbourne BN22 7AE, Buccaneer’s soft play, adventure golf, outdoor adventure park and paddling lagoon (summer only and weather dependent), 01323 411077

Yellowave Beach Sports, Brighton beach, beach volleyball, beach soccer, tag rugby, clubhouse for hire & private parties, 6yrs+, 01273 672222

8Exploring Science

Observatory Science Centre, Wartling Rd, Herstmonceux BN27 1RN, hands on science with 100+ interactive exhibits both indoors and out and lots of children’s and family workshops. The centre is open every day from 30 January – late November 2016.  10am – 6pm (5pm in winter months). Last admission two hours before closing, 01323 832731

South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre, Kingsham Road, Chichester, PO19 8RP (southern end of Chichester High School campus, sat nav PO19 8AE)  not open to casual visitors but group visits for clubs and societies etc, plus eight or nine presentations to the public every month but times and days vary, more info on public showings 01243 774400, ticket hotline for group bookings 07818 297292dates and times of public shows, please call us on:

10Outdoor Pursuits

Amazon Outdoor Events at Knockhatch Adventure Park, Hailsham, paintball events, off-road karting, It’s A Knockout games etc, 11yrs+, 0844 2570433

Arena Pursuits, Rosemary Lane, Flimwell TN5 7PT (near Bewl Water), 6yrs+, family quad bike trek, family paintball games, bushcraft etc, 01580 879614

Bewl Water Outdoor Centre, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JH water sports, rock climbing and residential centre, 8yrs+, 03000 415200

Blackland Farm, East Grinstead RH19 4HP, climbing, zipwire, abseiling, canoeing, archery, orienteering etc, 01342 810493

Bowles Activity Centre, Eridge Green TN3 9LW, charity for experience & adventure, ski slopes, rock crags, ropes courses, archery range, indoor pool, 8yrs+, 01892 665665

Extreme Ventures, rock climbing, abseiling, bouldering, mountain biking, high/low ropes, team building etc, 07835 528548 or 01732 446252

So Sussex, outdoor activities eg canoeing, mountain biking, fishing, woodland activities etc, 07739 050816

actor rgbTheatres and Cinemas

88 London Road (formerly Emporium Theatre), 88, London Rd, BN1 4JF, rep theatre, cafe & bar, exhibition space,  [email protected]

Brighton Centre, King’s Road, BN1 2GR, 01273 290131, box office 0844 847 1515

Brighton Dome: Concert Hall, Corn Exchange, BN1 1UE, Studio Theatre, theatre, concerts, 01273 709709

Brighton Little Theatre, Clarence Gardens, BN1 2EG, not-for-profit theatre company staging at least 10 plays a year, 0844 888 0432 (box office); 01273 777748 (enquiries)

Brighton Rep Theatre @ The Globe, Middle St, Brighton BN1 1AL, 0845 0171077

Cineworld, Brighton Marina  Brighton Marina BN2 5UF, eight screens, 0871 200 2000 (booking line)

Cineworld Crawley Leisure Park, RH10 8LR, 15 screens, 0871 200 2000

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Grade 1 listed Modernist icon & arts centre with family shows, music & theatre, 01424 229111

Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Preston Circus, BN1 4NA, Kids Club on Sat am; Toddler Time for pre-school children; Big Scream! screenings for parents with babies under one, 0871 902 5728

Eastbourne Theatres: Congress Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre, Royal Hippodrome, Winter Garden, 01323 412000 (box office)

Hailsham Pavilion, George Street, Hailsham BN27 1AE, theatre, live music & cinema, 01323 841414

Hawth Theatre, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6YZ, main theatre and Studio plus exhibition spaces, 01293 553636

Komedia Brighton, 44-47 Gardner St, North Laine, BN1 1UN, comedy, cabaret, music, 0845 293 8480 (box office)

Lewes Little Theatre, Lancaster Street, Lewes BN7 2PX, 01273 474826 (opens a week before each production)

New Venture Theatre, Bedford Place, Brighton BN1 2PT, box office 01273 746118, general enquiries 01273 808353

Picture House Uckfield with Kids Saturday Morning Movies 10.30am, 01825 764909

Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, community-run arts venue, exhibitions, film club, music, spoken word, 01273 464440

Seaford Little Theatre, 4 Steyne Road, Seaford BN21 1HA,  tickets from Stitch, 13 Broad St, 01323 351882, general enquiries 01323 490444

The Nightingale, 29-30 Surrey Street, BN1 4GH, opp Brighton station, new writing, performance and dance

The Old Market, Upper Market Street, Hove BN3 1AS, music, theatre, dance, comedy, 01273 201801 (box office)

Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton BN1 1SD, with Skips Club After School Club, monthly events for 6 – 10yrs; Family Workshops, 0844 871 7627 (box office)

Wick Theatre Company at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Street, Southwick, BN42 4TE, box office 01273 597094

Underground Theatre, 1 Grove Road, Eastbourne BN21 4TL, box office  0845 680 1926


Blackberry Wood, Streat Lane, Streat near Ditchling BN6 8RS, at the foot of the Downs near Hassocks and Plumpton, no phone bookings or enquiries but book online, answerphone messages 01273 890 035

Chestnut Meadow Camping & Caravanning Park, luxury park, near Bexhill, reopens 28 April 2016, bookings from 8 January01424 892361

Crowborough Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Goldsmiths Recreation Ground, TN6 2TN, located next to the leisure centre and close to a playground with recreation hall, parent and child room, open 17 March – 31 October 2016, booking 01892 664827

Fairfields Farm, Eastbourne Road, Westham, Pevensey, East Sussex BN24 5NG, open 24 March – 31 October, 01323 763165

Feather Down Farm Days family glamping farm holidays at 33 locations UK-wide including Lunsford Farm, Hastings TN35 4HH, Mill Farm at Petworth and Canfields at Horsham RH12 3DL, 01420 80804

Forest Garden Shovelstrode, Shovelstrode Lane, Ashurst Wood RH19 3PH. Yurt camping, 07957 621672

Heaven Farm, Furners Green, Uckfield, TN22 3RG, tents from 1 May, touring caravans all year, 01825 790226

Horam Manor Touring Park, Horam, Heathfield TN21 OYD, open March to October, 01435 813662

The Macs Farm, Ditchling BN6 8GT, quirky campsite with fire pits, football pitch, rescue reptiles, cocktail horsebox, The Outdoors Project activities on Sundays for children, 01273 845189


Norman’s Bay Camping and Caravanning Club site, Near Pevensey Levels, BN24 6PR, open 17 March – 31 October01323 761190

Plaw Hatch Farm Walk, Old Plaw Hatch Farm, Sharpthorne, RH19 4JL, (groups only) 01342 810201

Saddlescombe Farm Backpackers Campsite, just off the South Downs Way near Devils Dyke, on National Trust land, open 1 April – 1 September, 01273 857712

Scotts Farm, West Wittering, 30 acres, walking distance of the beach, 01243 671720

Stoneywish Nature Reserve, Spatham Lane, Ditchling BN6 8XH, March to October, 01273 843498

The Secret Campsite, Barcombe, BN8 4TD, real camping with nature, tents only plus secret shelters to hire, opens 25 March 2016, 01273 401100

Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down, Nr Uckfield TN22 4HJ, wild camping in beautiful woodland glades, complete with fire pit and cooking grill, shelter and rustic furniture, 01825 830509

Wimbles Farm Wild Camping eco camping & Shepherd’s Hut (available all year), Heathfield, 01435 810390

Wowo Campsite, Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park TN22 3QT, complete with shepherd’s huts and Mongolian yurts! 01825 723414


Brighton City Airport (Shoreham), Cecil Pashley Way, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 5FF, 01273 467373, Visitor Centre open weekdays 10am – 3pm, 12noon – 3pm and prebookable tours conducted by volunteers 01273 441061

Brighton Scenic, pleasure flights, guided sightseeing tours departing from Shoreham Airport, 07918 902721

These listings are prepared well in advance, so please check days and opening times before travelling, many attractions close at least one day a week.

Cartoons drawn by Lesley Harvey.