Places to Visit in Mid Sussex

Places to Visit in Mid Sussex (and sometimes a little further afield)

Find more Places to Visit:

View attractions in the Brighton & Hove area

View attractions in the Crawley & Horsham area

View attractions in the Eastbourne, Wealden & Lewes area

* Animals, Sealife and Nature
* Walking, Cycling and Open Spaces
* Places of Historic Interest and Gardens
* Museums and Galleries
* Railways, Buses and Boats
* Play Centres
* Adventure Parks and Family Fun
* Exploring Science
* Outdoor Pursuits
* Theatres and Cinemas
* Family Restaurants and Cafes


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Family Farms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Godstone Farm Surrey RH9 8LX. Indoor and outdoor play areas, ‘The World of Dinosaur Roar’, soft play, ride-ons, go karts, trampolines, farm animals, petting zoo, pony and tractor rides.

Heaven Farm Furners Green, Uckfield TN22 3RG. 100-acre farm on the Greenwich Meridian, with nature walks, wallabies, deer, seasonal bluebell trail, tea room, indoor play barn, ice cream parlour, adventure golf and camping.

Plaw Hatch Farm Sharpthorne RH19 4JL – 01342 810201. Working community-owned farm with organic farm shop, dairy, cheese store, butchery, garden and events.

Tablehurst Farm London Road, Forest Row RH18 5DP – 01342 823173. Working farm hosting regular community events, with farm shop and café, free to visit and see how food is grown.

The Mac’s Farm Ditchling BN6 8TG. Working organic egg farm with family friendly campsite with fire pits, reptile rehoming centre, cocktail shack, PYO organic eggs & regular family music events.

Washbrooks Family Farm Brighton Road, Hurstpierpoint BN6 9EF – 01273 832201 Metrobus 273. Family farm with farm animals, tractor rides, large indoor and outdoor play areas, ride-ons, soft play, gift shop and tea rooms. Open 9.30am – 5pm, closed between Christmas and New Year.
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Animals, Sealife and Nature

Arundel Wetland Centre Mill Road, Arundel BN18 9PB – 01903 883355. Nature reserve in the South Downs with guided boat safaris through the wetland habitat. With adventure playground, children’s weekend and holiday activities and a visitor centre with gift shop and café. Open every day except Christmas Day 10am – 4.30pm.

British Wildlife Centre Newchapel, Surrey RH7 6LF – 01342 834658. Home to over 40 species of British animals including red squirrel, otters, badgers, foxes and deer. Open at weekends, on bank holidays and during school holidays.

Butterfly Gardens at Middleton Common Farm Middleton Common Lane, Ditchling – 01273 054996. Over 1,000 free flying tropical butterflies from all over the world are housed inside a 3000 square foot polytunnel. On site farm shop offering drinks and snacks.

Donkey Walking Experiences East Clayton Farm, Storrington Road, Washington RH20 4AG. All walks are accompanied by a farm host who will guide you and help you manage your donkeys.

Drusillas Park Alfriston just off the A27, BN26 5QS – 01323 874100. Zoo animals, interactive displays, extensive adventure playgrounds, rainforest-themed carousel ride, Safari Express Train and Hello Kitty Secret Garden including three children’s rides; a specially designed Hello Kitty car ride, a teacup ride and a ‘Reach for the Sky’ hopper ride. Plus restaurants, cafes and a splash park in the summer. Open every day 10am – 6pm in summer and 10am – 5pm in winter.

Knockhatch Adventure Park on A22 at Hailsham BN27 3GD – 01323 442051. Animals and birds, year-round indoor soft play at ‘Froggies’, children’s farm, go karts, outdoor playgrounds, rides, jumping pillows, Wave Runner water slide and Pirates Cove paddling pool. Special features at Halloween and Christmas, open 10am – 5.30pm 361 days of the year.

National Cat Centre and Nature Trail, Chelwood Gate RH17 7TT – 01825 572850. The largest cat rehoming centre in the UK, 2km nature trail, lake and donkey field. Adoption Centre currently closed to the public.

Pulborough Brooks (RSPB) RH20 2EL – 01798 875851. Located in the Arun Valley nature reserve, includes plenty of nature-themed activities from bug hunting to den building and pond dipping to bird watching. With guided walks, café and shop. Good access for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Visitor centre open every day 10am – 4pm.

Stoneywish Nature Reserve Spatham Lane, Ditchling BN6 8XH – 01273 843498. Meadows, wetlands and woodland full of native flowers and a wealth of wildlife. Plus farm animals, nature walk, play area and campsite. Open every day 10am – 5pm 1st April – 30th September.

Tilgate Park, Crawley RH10 5PQ Metrobus 271 and 273. Outdoor play area, hedge maze, tea shop, woodland and lakeside walks, Go Ape, Golf Centre, Smith and Western restaurant, fishing and water sports with Tilgate Watersports. Tilgate Nature Centre – 01293 521168 open winter 10am – 4pm, summer 10am – 6pm, last admission 1 hour before closing.

Wilderness Wood Hadlow Down, near Uckfield TN22 4HJ – 01825 830509. 62 acres of woodland and nature trails, lots of children’s activities, wild camping, café and shop. The wood is open every day 9am – 5pm or until dusk, the cafe is open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm, plus bank holidays.

Woods Mill Nature Reserve Henfield BN5 9SD – 01273 492630. Headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust and an environmental education centre with pre-bookable regular and holiday activities. The 47-acre nature reserve provides a peaceful setting comprising coppice woodland, meadows and a reed-fringed lake. Open all year, except for two weeks at Christmas, admission free, donations very welcome, no dogs except assistance dogs.

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Walking, Cycling and Open Spaces

Ardingly Reservoir West Sussex RH17 6SQ – 01444 892549. The Kingfisher Trail nature walk and limited cycling/horse riding. Ardingly Activity Centre water sports centre with pre-bookable activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, rowing and raft building.

Arundel Castle and Gardens Arundel BN18 9AB – 01903 882173. Open 1st April – 31st October, Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm, plus bank holidays and Mondays in August. With restaurant, coffee shop, gift shop and 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, and is home to priceless works of art; view paintings, furniture, tapestries, stained glass, china, clocks, sculpture, carving, heraldry and armour in stunning room settings.

Ashdown Forest Centre Wych Cross RH18 5JP – 01342 823583 Metrobus 270. Once a Norman deer hunting forest, Ashdown Forest is now one of the largest free public access sites in the South East, and the ‘home’ of Winnie the Pooh. Walks, Forest Centre and riding with a permit.

Batchelor’s Field Recreation Ground Bolney RH17 5PE Tarmac pump track designed and built by the company who built the 2012 Olympic BMX Supercross track.

Beacon Bikes London Road, Albourne BN6 9BQ – 07542 188633. Electric bike hire and free off road parking. A hidden gem, tucked away and secluded from the road. Located within the Q Leisure complex 4 miles from Brighton, near Hassocks. The Beacon Bikes Cafe is a family and pet friendly cafe offering homemade and organic cakes and savouries and award winning, freshly ground coffee. The setting includes a full size, all weather football pitch where children can cycle, play football, or run around safely in a no-traffic environment.

Black Cat Treasure Hunts – 07445 818996. Fun and affordable walking, cycling or driving treasure hunt routes around Sussex for families and groups, choose a ready-to-use hunt or a personalised adventure for a special event.

Borde Hill Garden Haywards Heath RH16 1XP – 01444 450326. With a 17-acre garden, outdoor adventure playground, zip wire, woodland walks, cafe, gift shop, plant sales and children’s holiday and Halloween activities. Open daily from mid February to mid November, generally 10am – 5pm and 10am – 6pm on weekends in July and August, woodland closes in mid September for the winter.

Boothland Wood ancient woodland south of Uckfield for walks and cycling, full of bluebells in spring.

Buchan Country Park Horsham Road, Crawley RH11 9HQ. Regularly recognised as one of the best green spaces in the UK, covering 170 acres. Great access for pushchairs and wheelchairs, numerous picnic sites, sculptures, plenty of wildlife, fishing via Crawley Angling Society. Free parking, donations welcomed.

Burgess Hill BMX track RH15 8RW. The Burgess Hill BMX track opened in 2014 in Leylands Park. The track is the only one of its kind in Mid Sussex.

Chailey Common 450 acres of walks, horse riding and cycling on paths only to protect the wildlife habitats and grazing livestock.

Chesworth Farm Horsham RH13 0AA. Walks, Sussex Wildlife Trust Nature Tots timetable, bridleways, cycling via a network of footpaths, main paths are wheelchair accessible, 90 acres, open all day, free entry.

Devil’s Dyke Devil’s Dyke Road, Poynings, near Brighton. 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. The ramparts or walls of an Iron Age hill fort can be seen when you walk around the hill and the remains of a curious Victorian funfair can be found just a few minutes from the car park. Venture into the valley and discover a living carpet of flowers and a myriad of colourful insects. Open dawn until dusk, National Trust seasonal events are held on site.

Ditchling Common woodland and heathland walks across the 27 acre site and around a pond with ducks, geese and swans, picnic tables, free parking.

Forest Way footpath, bridleway and cycle path running approx 10 miles from East Grinstead to Groombridge, with seats and picnic benches along the route. Indirectly linked to the Worth Way from Three Bridges to East Grinstead.

Hempstead Meadow Open-Spaces Uckfield, nature reserve along the River Uck floodplain, important wetland habitat.

Horsham Park a haven of green spaces with ducks on the lake, colourful flower-beds, a Sensory Garden and Human Nature Garden. There are tennis courts, football pitches, a large skate park, café, picnic benches and play area.

Knepp Safaris Dial Post RH13 8NN – 01403 713230. Visit one of the largest rewilding projects in lowland Britain. Encounter herds of wild ponies, cattle, deer and pigs as they roam 3,500 acres of Sussex, driving the forces of habitat regeneration. Plus, stay over in a treehouse, yurt, hut or camp in a wildflower meadow.

Lake Wood Uckfield. Once part of the Rocks Estate, the mix of natural and manmade features create dramatic and beautiful views. Look out for the rocky sandstone outcrops with high cliffs that overhang the picturesque 3-acre lake and the cave-like boathouse carved out of rock, as well as signs of the wildlife that this varied woodland supports.

Pooh Sticks Bridge and Pooh Corner Shop in Ashdown Forest, Hartfield on B2026, TN7 4AE – 01892 771155.

 

 

 

 

Skateboard and Scooter Parks at St John’s Park, Burgess Hill; Victoria Park, Haywards Heath; Bolnore Village, Whitemans Green & Henfield

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

Tilgate Park, Crawley RH10 5PQ Metrobus 271 and 273. Outdoor play area, hedge maze, tea shop, woodland and lakeside walks, Go Ape, Golf Centre, Smith and Western restaurant, fishing and water sports with Tilgate Watersports. Tilgate Nature Centre – 01293 521168 open winter 10am – 4pm, summer 10am – 6pm, last admission 1 hour before closing.

Uckfield Millennium Green access via New Road, Ridgewood or park at Ridgewood Village Hall. Hard surfaced path, dog free picnic area and lots of wildlife.

Warnham Nature Reserve Horsham – 01403 756238. Walks across the 92 acre site, wildlife, pond-dipping, cafe and Visitor Centre.

West Park Local Nature Reserve Uckfield. Relatively small reserve covering just over 8.5 acres of woodland, grassland, marshy areas and sandstone outcrops. Boardwalks provide easy access around the site.

Wolstonbury Hill in the South Downs, Pyecombe, has been an important landmark for thousands of years. Iron Age farmers grazed animals on its summit and the Romans left pottery remains on its slopes.

Worth Way A 7 mile long shared-use route from Three Bridges to East Grinstead used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders and indirectly linked to the Forest Way which continues to Groombridge.

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Places of Historic Interest and Gardens

Alfriston National Trust Clergy House and Gardens The Tye, Alfriston, Polegate BN26 5TL – 01323 871961. Rare 14th-century Wealden hall-house and cottage garden with children’s activities during school holidays. Closed during the winter, reopens on 1st April. See website for opening times.

Arundel Castle and Gardens Arundel BN18 9AB – 01903 882173. Open 1st April – 31st October, Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm, plus bank holidays and Mondays in August. With restaurant, coffee shop, gift shop and 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, and is home to priceless works of art; view paintings, furniture, tapestries, stained glass, china, clocks, sculpture, carving, heraldry and armour in stunning room settings.

Bignor Roman Villa Bignor RH20 1PH – 01798 869259. Discovered over 200 years ago, one of the largest Roman villas to be open to the public, with fine mosaics, tea room and gift shop. Open 9th April – 31st October Monday and Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 4.30pm, open 7 days a week in August.

Borde Hill Garden Haywards Heath RH16 1XP – 01444 450326. With a 17-acre garden, outdoor adventure playground, zip wire, woodland walks, cafe, gift shop, plant sales and children’s holiday and Halloween activities. Open daily from mid February to mid November, generally 10am – 5pm and 10am – 6pm on weekends in July and August, woodland closes in mid September for the winter.

Chichester Cathedral PO19 1RP. Chichester Cathedral has welcomed people through its doors for over nine centuries. This beautiful building, and its services and events, are open to all.

Fishbourne Roman Palace Roman Way, Chichester PO19 3QR – 01243 785859. Roman palace with the largest mosaics in situ in the UK, recreated formal gardens and family activities. Open March – September, 10am – 5pm, February, October and November, 10am – 4pm.

Herstmonceux Castle Estate Hailsham BN27 1RN (use Wartling Road for sat nav) – 01323 834444. Magnificent moated castle, set in 300 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. Grounds open February – November, 10am – 7pm in summer and 10am – 5pm in winter. The estate is also home to the Observatory Science Centre.

High Beeches Gardens High Beeches Lane, Handcross RH17 6HQ (just off the A23) – 01444 400589. 27 acres of beautiful woodland and water gardens. Open daily April – October 1pm – 5pm closed on Wednesdays, last admission 4.30pm.

Jill Windmill Clayton, South Downs BN6 9PG. Built in 1821, this 19th century corn windmill has been restored to full working order. Open most Sundays and bank holidays from May – September, 2pm – 5pm. Check website, as these days rely on volunteer stewards being available.

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens Brighton Road, Lower Beeding, Horsham RH13 6PP – 08718 733389. This magnificent Grade I listed garden was nearly lost forever and has been the subject of the largest garden restoration in England and possibly Europe. With Michelin starred restaurant, boutique hotel, sculpture trail, wallaby enclosure and art gallery. Open 364 days a year.

Nymans House and Gardens (National Trust) Handcross, Haywards Heath RH17 6EB – 01444 405250 Metrobus 271 and 273. Natural play trail, lovely walks in the Millennium Wood, cafe, gift shop, second-hand bookshop and family programmes in school holidays. Gardens open daily all year round. Check website for opening times and dates for visiting the house.

Parham House and Gardens Pulborough RH20 4HS (for satnav use RH20 4HR) – 01903 742021. Well-loved family home; its foundation stone was laid in 1577 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. With collections of period furniture, needlework, clocks, paintings and award winning gardens. Check website for opening dates and times of seasonal events.

Priest House North Lane, West Hoathly RH19 4PP – 01342 810479. Early 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 17th and 18th century country furniture and the garden is planted with over 170 culinary, medicinal and household herbs. Open March – October 10.30am – 5.30pm, open Sundays 12pm – 5.30pm. Closed Mondays except bank holidays.

Sheffield Park and Garden (National Trust) TN22 3QX – 01825 790231. Four lakes form the heart of the garden, with paths circulating through the glades and wooded areas surrounding them. Each owner has left their impression, which can still be seen today in the layout of the lakes, the construction of Pulham Falls, the planting of Palm Walk and the many different tree and shrub species from around the world. Parkland open daily dawn till dusk, the garden is open daily between 10am – 5pm, check website for details of seasonal events.

Standen House and Garden (National Trust) West Hoathly Road, East Grinstead RH19 4NE – 01342 323029 Metrobus 84. Arts and Crafts family home with Morris and Co interiors, great views, woodland walks and family woodland play area. Open all year round, check website for dates and times of seasonal events.

Sussex Prairie Garden Henfield BN5 9AT – 01273 495902. Britain’s largest ‘Prairie’ or ‘Naturalistic’ garden, with eight acres of stunning garden to roam around. Open June to mid-October, check website for dates and times of events.

Wakehurst Gardens and Millennium Seed Bank Ardingly, Haywards Heath RH17 6TN – 01444 894066 Metrobus 272. ‘Kew in the Country’, botanic gardens run by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. With lots of walks, children especially love the rocky Himalayan Garden. Explore the Adventurous Journeys natural play spaces, Rock Walk and Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, plus restaurant, café, plant and gift shop. Open daily at 10am, see website for details of seasonal events.

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Singleton, Chichester PO18 0EU – 01243 811363. Fascinating collection of historic buildings dismantled from their original locations and reassembled in 40 acres of Sussex countryside, includes woodland walks, picnic areas and farm animals. Open January – 23rd December, 10.30am – 6pm during summer and 10.30am – 4pm during winter, see website for details of seasonal events.

West Dean Gardens West Dean, near Chichester PO18 0RX – 01243 818318. Highlights include a 300-foot-long Edwardian pergola, sunken garden, walled kitchen garden, arboretum, Victorian glasshouses and a beautiful parkland walk with views over the South Downs. Open daily 10.30am – 5pm in summer and 10.30am – 4pm in winter.

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Museums and Galleries

Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre nr Arundel BN18 9LT – 01798 831370. Home to a collection of listed buildings and monuments linked to the area’s industrial past , many of which have been relocated from around Sussex. There are also vintage vehicles, rural crafts and woodland walks, plus many events planned throughout the year. Open February – October, Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 4.30pm, November – January, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm, see website for opening dates and times of events.

Booth Museum of Natural History 194 Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 5AA – 03000 290901. Quirky celebration of natural history including magnificent display of stuffed birds, butterflies and fossils, and bones dating from dinosaur times. Open Monday, Tuesday and Saturday 10am – 5pm, plus Wednesday 2pm – 5pm in term time and 10am – 5pm in school holidays, admission free.

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton BN1 1EE – 03000 290900. History of Brighton; pottery, fashion and style, performance and more. Open Tuesday – Sunday, plus bank holiday Mondays, 10am – 5pm, free entry for local residents with proof of address.

Brighton Toy and Model Museum 52-55 Trafalgar Street, Brighton BN1 4EB – 01273 749494. Under the arches of Brighton station. Over 10,000 toys and models in over 60 different display areas, including two working model railways. Open Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 11am – 5pm, closed Sundays and Mondays.

Cuckfield Museum Queens Hall, High Street, Cuckfield RH17 5EL – 01444 473630. Telling the history of Cuckfield from 1092. Open from February, Wednesday and Saturday 10am – 12.30pm, admission free, but donations welcome.

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft Lodge Hill Lane, Ditchling BN6 8SP – 01273 844744. Exhibitions of the works of craftspeople and artists who were drawn to the village. Under 18s free admission. Children’s activities may need to be pre-booked. Open Thursday – Sunday and bank holidays 10.30am – 5pm.

East Grinstead Museum Old Market Yard, Cantelupe Road, East Grinstead RH19 3BJ – 01342 302233. Telling the story of East Grinstead and the surrounding area from its early beginnings to the present day. Open Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm, admission is free, donations very welcome.

Henfield Museum Henfield Hall, Coopers Way, High Street, Henfield BN5 9EQ – 01273 492507. The collection ranges from prehistoric flint artefacts telling of the earliest human activity in the area to objects from the 20th century. Temporary, themed exhibitions are staged three or four times a year. Open Monday – Saturday, check website for times.

Hurstpierpoint Museum Village Centre, Trinity Road, Hurstpierpoint BN6 9UY – 07985 201335. Two large unmanned display cabinets containing local history items and information, one permanent display and one themed display which is changed about four times a year. Open Monday – Wednesday 9am – 1.30pm, Thursday and Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 1pm, plus accessible when the Village Centre is open, closed Sundays.

Marlipins Museum High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5DA – 01273 462994. The story of Shoreham’s maritime and local history in the oldest secular (non-religious) building in Sussex. Open May – October, Tuesday – Saturday 10.30am – 4.30pm, admission is free.

The Novium Museum Tower Street, Chichester PO19 1QH – 01243 775888. Built over the remains of a Roman bath house and with three floors of fantastic exhibitions. The Novium Museum tells the fascinating story of Chichester District and its rich heritage. It looks after 500,000 artefacts, both on display and in storage. Located close to Chichester Cathedral and opposite Chichester Library. Open Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4.30pm and Saturday, 10am – 5pm, admission free.

Tangmere Military Aviation Museum nr Chichester PO20 2ES – 01243 790090. 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. Among the many attractions are numerous interactive displays and several aircraft simulators for visitors to experience, plus the Cockpit Cafe. Open daily March to October, 10am – 5pm and February and November 10am – 4pm.

Upside Down House Seafront, Brighton BN1 2LN – 07761 802281. An amazing museum of illusions including a variety of designed rooms in a luxurious beach house located on Brighton Seafront in between the i360 and Brighton Beach Club. Don’t forget to take lots of photos. Open Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturdays and bank holidays, 10am – 9pm and Sundays 10am – 8pm.

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Singleton, Chichester PO18 0EU – 01243 811363. Fascinating collection of historic buildings dismantled from their original locations and reassembled in 40 acres of Sussex countryside, includes woodland walks, picnic areas and farm animals. Open January – 23rd December, 10.30am – 6pm during summer and 10.30am – 4pm during winter, see website for details of seasonal events.

Wings Museum Unit 1, Bucklands Farm, Balcombe RH17 6JT – 07769 688064. World War 2 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, The Blitz, The Home Front, RAF Bomber Command, US 8th Air Force, D-Day and the Russian Front. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.

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Railways, Buses and Boats

Beech Hurst Miniature Railway Beech Hurst Gardens, Haywards Heath RH16 4BB. Almost half a mile of track run by volunteers; includes two tunnels and automatic colour signals. Operating 2pm – 5pm weekends and bank holidays from Easter – end September, plus Wednesdays during summer school holidays. See website or Facebook page for timetable which is published in spring each year.

 

 

 

Bentley Miniature Railway Ringmer, Lewes BN8 5AF – 0845 8672583. One mile of track run by volunteers. Trains run every weekend from Easter – end of September, plus October half term, mid-week operation during August and other East Sussex school holidays. See website for detailed timetable and details of seasonal events.

 

 

Bluebell Railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park Station TN22 3QL – 01825 720800. Volunteer preserved steam railway. See website for the timetable of train services and special and regular events.

Breeze Buses no 79, weekends and bank holidays from Brighton Station to Ditchling Beacon. The Beacon is the second highest point on the South Downs with spectacular views across the Weald. Once there take a walk to Patcham (3.5 miles) and catch the 5A bus back, or Lewes (5.5 miles) and catch the 28/29 bus back. To check how the buses are running  call 01273 886200.

Brighton Marina Watertours Pontoon 5, West Jetty, Brighton Marina BN2 5UP – 07836 262717. Tours run by Ross Boat Trips around the harbour, along the coast and to the Rampion Wind Farm, plus power boat rides in summer.

City Sightseeing Brighton. The tour will give you a real flavour of the city, offering views of the striking Royal Pavilion, Regency architecture, Brighton Marina, Victorian aquarium, famous Brighton Pier and i360 Observation Tower. Tours depart from the Palace Pier. Operating April – October, book online or via bus driver/street seller.

Goffs Park Light Railway Horsham Road, Southgate RH11 8PB – 07517 184543. 1,250-foot-long elevated track miniature railway run by Crawley Model Engineers. Open Sundays and bank holiday Mondays 2pm – 5pm, late March – late October.

Hove Park Miniature Railway The Droveway BN3 6LS. Operated by the Brighton and Hove Society of Miniature Locomotive Engineers. Runs approximately every other Saturday afternoon and bank holiday Monday from late March – late October, 2pm – 5pm, check track days on website or Facebook page. Under 3s ride for free.

Lavender Line Isfield TN22 5XB – 01825 750515. 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. Trains run from 11am – 5pm, Sundays, bank holidays, some weekdays in the summer and for special events, check public timetable for further information.

Shoreham Harbour Lifeboats Kingston Beach, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6RN – 01273 596376. Visit the lifeboat station and its state of the art Tamar all weather lifeboat. The boathouse on Kingston Beach comprises a large boat hall, crew training room, drying facilities for wet kit, changing facilities and a viewing platform for the public. Open 10am – 2pm Monday – Friday and 10am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday, free to visit, donations very welcome.

South Downs Light Railway Pulborough Garden Centre, Stopham Road, Pulborough RH20 1DS – 07518 753784. The trains take you on an exciting trip through the gardens from Stopham Road Station. Open March – September, see website for timetable of train running times and special events.

Uckfield and East Grinstead British Rail Lines Leave the car behind and explore Sussex by train – stopping at stations all over Sussex and along the Sussex coast.

Volks Electric Railway Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1EN – 01273 292718. The UK’s oldest electric railway, hop on, hop off along the seashore, trains run from Easter – early November, dog friendly, see website for timetable.

Wey and Arun Canal Centre located behind the Onslow Arms in Loxwood RH14 0RD – 01483 505566. Operating March – October, runs every Wednesday, Friday – Sunday, subject to volunteer availability. All canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and small unpowered craft are welcome on the canal.

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Play Centres

Active Play and Bounce Kings Centre, Moat Road, East Grinstead RH19 3LN – 01342 328616. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 session times, soft play, ride-ons and bouncy castle suitable for walking – 4 years old.

Active Play and Bounce The Bridge Leisure Centre, Broadbridge Heath, Horsham RH12 3YS – 01403 211311. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 2 session times, soft play and bouncy castle suitable for walking – 4 years old.

Antics Softplay Triangle Way, Burgess Hill RH15 8WA – 01444 876000. Antics is an indoor soft play adventure zone, which promotes fun, healthy play for under 12s, max height 140cm (4ft 7ins), in a safe, clean environment. With 3 tiers to explore, kids will love the excitement, adventure and creative play that Antics offers. Open Monday – Friday 9.15am – 5.30pm, Saturday and Sundays, 9am – 1pm.

Barney’s Play Bell Lane, Uckfield TN22 1QL – 01825 764575. For 0 – 12 year olds, height restriction 142 cm (4ft 8ins), Tuesday – Friday, 9.30am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 4.30pm.

CJ’s Play Café Three Bridges Road, Crawley RH10 1HL – 07824 161118. No admission fee, small charge for use of the soft play area, open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm, close at 2pm on Tuesday, check Facebook page for weekend opening hours.

Dolphin Cafe Pasture Hill Road, Haywards Heath RH16 1LY – 01444 457337. Sports centre cafe with active soft play area for under 8s, open every day.

Doves Play Barn Heaven Farm, Furners Green, Uckfield TN22 3RG – 01825 790424. Made from sustainable wood with ride-ons, rope bridges, slides and ball pond. For 0-8 years, with cafe and ice cream parlour, open every day.

Fun Abounds Bell Lane, Uckfield TN22 1QL – 01825 768479. Trampoline and parkour centre with café.

Happyscamps Play Café 1st Floor, 12 Swan Walk, Horsham RH12 1HQ – 01403 754597. Indoor soft play for 0 – 5 year olds.

High Places The Triangle, Triangle Way, Burgess Hill RH15 8WA – 01444 876000. Colourful arena featuring 16 fun themed climbing walls towering over 20 feet high, each showcasing striking designs. Book in advance or attend an open session.

Hope Hive Pilgrim House, St Dunstan’s Road, West Worthing BN13 1AA. Children’s role play centre offering fun and stimulating role play for young children to grow their imagination and creativity. Children can visit a variety of role play areas and small world activities, open Monday – Friday, see website for session times.

JumpIn Inflatable Fun 5-7 Jubilee Road, Burgess Hill RH15 9TL – 01444 241595. All ages welcome, 25,000 sq ft inflatable theme park with obstacle course, giant ball pit, 5 metre slide and toddler soft play area.

Little Street Rudgwick, Horsham RH12 3JJ – 01403 451677. The indoor play town encourages role play and imagination and features a pizza parlour, beauty salon, supermarket, construction site and vets.

Mini Mayhem County Mall Shopping Centre, Crawley RH10 1FD – 01293 538377. Family-run soft play and role play centre for 0 – 10 year olds. With four fun areas, a separate area for under 5s, and babies under 1 away from the main play frame. Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 4.30pm and Sunday 10am – 4.30pm.

Out of Bounds Golfers Lane, Angmering BN16 4NB – 01903 788588. Family entertainment centre, Clip ‘n’ Climb, ten pin bowling, soft play, jumping pillows, adventure nets, footgolf, laser tag and adventure golf, plus cafe. Open 7 days a week.

 

 

 

 

 

Sharky’s Soft Play Henfield Leisure Centre, Northcroft, Henfield BN5 9QB – 01273 494984. The soft play is open for children up to 12 years old, with a separate play area for under 3s.

Springboard House 52 Hurst Road, Horsham RH12 2EP – 01403 218888. With soft play, role play room and sensory room.

Treasure Chest Faraday Road, Crawley RH10 9PX – 01293 549009. Soft play for children up to 11 years old, with cafe, open daily 9.30am – 5.30pm.

Urban Jump Heathfield TN21 8AW – 01435 863277. Trampoline park, foam pits, climbing walls, ninja warrior track, soft play, toddler area and café. Open in term time Friday – Monday ,10am – 5pm,  open 7 days a week during school holidays.

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Adventure Parks and Family Fun

 

 

 

Black Cat Treasure Hunts fun and affordable walking, cycling or driving treasure hunt routes around Sussex for families and groups, choose a ready-to-use hunt or a personalised adventure.

Brighton Karting at QLeisure London Road, Albourne BN6 9BQ – 01273 834403. 800 metres of pure adrenaline plus some of the finest facilities in the country make QLeisure outdoor karting well worth a visit. A fast, furious, frenetic and exhilarating track that will provide you with plenty of challenges and an invigorating race for you and your friends.

Brighton Marina BN2 5WA (postcode for sat nav to free multi-storey car park BN2 5UT). Shops, restaurants, bars, cafés, bowling, cinema, fitness, casino, children’s rides, mini-golf, boat trips, fishing, sailing, diving, free outdoor ping pong and chess tables.

Brighton Palace Pier Madeira Drive BN2 1TW – 01273 609361. Traditional rides, amusement arcades, rides with VR headsets, indoor Palace Play area with a height restriction of 0.9m – 1.8m plus toddler area for under 0.9m, food outlets and souvenirs.

Brighton Zip Madeira Drive BN2 1TB – 01273 671405. The longest zip wire on the South Coast, boasting a 300m long run along Brighton beach and a 24 metre drop zone, you can even tandem ride as two people can ride simultaneously, min height requirement; 1.3m min age; 6 years old.

British Airways i360 Lower Kings Road BN1 2LN – 03337 720 360, on the seafront near the West Pier. 162m tower with passenger viewing pod climbing to 138m, making it the tallest moving observation tower in the world. Stunning 360-degree views of the Sussex coastline for up to 26 miles, with adjacent shop and exhibition.

Drusillas Park Alfriston just off the A27, BN26 5QS – 01323 874100. Zoo animals, interactive displays, extensive adventure playgrounds, rainforest-themed carousel ride, Safari Express Train and Hello Kitty Secret Garden including three children’s rides; a specially designed Hello Kitty car ride, a teacup ride and a ‘Reach for the Sky’ hopper ride. Plus restaurants, cafes and a splash park in the summer. Open every day 10am – 6pm in summer and 10am – 5pm in winter.

Globalls 1-5 The Village, The Waterfront, Brighton Marina BN2 5WA – 01273 911510. Brighton’s very own 12-hole indoor ultraviolet crazy golf courses. Based on an aquatic theme, players can enjoy putting amongst wonderful life size neon glowing sculptures and vivid wall art. Fully air-conditioned, perfect for any day of the year. See website for opening times and dates.

Go Ape Tilgate Park, Crawley RH10 5PQ – 01603 895500 Metrobus 271 and 273. The high ropes course features a tricky Treetop Challenge for the really daring, and a gentler Treetop Adventure for younger climbers.

Hollywood Bowl Brighton Brighton Marina BN2 5UT – 0844 477 0484. With 26 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a Hollywood-themed VIP area for the ultimate bowling experience, fantastic food and drinks in the Hollywood Diner, a super stylish bar and an awesome amusements area.

Hollywood Bowl Crawley RH10 8LR – 0844 826 1457. With 28 bowling lanes, a private VIP area, an American themed bar diner, an extensive amusements area and plenty of free parking.

Hype Virtual Reality at The Piltdown Man pub on the A272 near Uckfield TN22 3XL – 07481 821103. Immersive VR roller coaster experiences, seasonal feature, closed on Mondays, suitable for age 6 and above.

Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf & Cafe Brighton, Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1EN – 01273 694718. 2 exciting 18-hole golf courses based on a Caveman and Treetop theme, beach view, 70 seater roof terrace café.

Jurassic Beach Adventure Golf, Kingsway, Hove BN3 2WW. 18 fun and challenging Jurassic-themed holes to explore, plus a coffee shop.

Out of Bounds Golfers Lane, Angmering BN16 4NB – 01903 788588. Family entertainment centre, Clip ‘n’ Climb, ten pin bowling, soft play, jumping pillows, adventure nets, footgolf, laser tag and adventure golf, plus cafe. Open 7 days a week.

Paradox Place Brighton, House of Illusions & Wonders, 94 Gloucester Road BN1 4AP – 01273 964000. Four floors to explore, full of fun, interactive, family-friendly photo opportunities.

Pier Pressure Escape Rooms, 33 Upper North Street, Brighton BN1 3FG – 01273 220388. Brighton’s biggest escape room venue with five top rated games to choose from, recommended for 12 years and above.

Puzzle Parade Brighton, 94 Gloucester Road BN1 4AP – 01273 040066. Interactive outdoor treasure hunt in the heart of Brighton, recommended for 6 years old and above.

Southwater Country Park Southwater, Horsham RH13 9UN – 01403 731218 Metrobus 98 and 398. Located next to the Downs Link off-road trail, with Visitor Centre, cafe and paddling beach. Stroll around to the Dinosaur Island playground or hire bikes, canoes or kayaks.

 

 

 

 

The REC Roller Rink, Albion Way, Horsham RH12 1AH – 01403 274642. Independent roller skate rink with disco lights, funky music and smoke machine. Specialising in parties, freshly cooked burgers, slushies, freakshakes, ice cream and a licensed bar.

Treasure Trails – 01872 263692. The fun way to explore, trails available for multiple locations across Sussex.

Upside Down House Seafront, Brighton BN1 2LN – 07761 802281. An amazing museum of illusions including a variety of designed rooms in a luxurious beach house located on Brighton Seafront in between the i360 and Brighton Beach Club. Don’t forget to take lots of photos. Open Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturdays and bank holidays, 10am – 9pm and Sundays 10am – 8pm.

 

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Exploring Science

Observatory Science Centre Wartling Road, Herstmonceux BN27 1RN – 01323 832731. Hands-on science and discovery with 100+ interactive exhibits both indoors and out, telescope tours, science shows and regular children’s and family workshops. The centre is open every day, 10am – 5pm in summer and 10am – 4pm in winter, check website for dates and times of events.

Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Visitor Centre Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 2FN. Hands-on educational exhibition with lots of interactive displays, games and videos, as well as a 360˚ virtual reality experience that will take you out to the wind farm itself. Open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm, plus bank holidays. Free entry.

South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre Kingsham Road, Chichester PO19 8RP (sat nav PO19 8EB) – 01243 774400. Volunteer-run educational outlet, welcomes group visits from clubs and societies, plus makes eight or nine presentations to the public every month, times and days vary, see website for details.

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Outdoor Pursuits

Blackland Farm Grinstead Lane, East Grinstead RH19 4HP – 01342 810493. Wide range of outdoor activities including climbing, bouldering, zipwire, abseiling, canoeing, archery, low and high ropes and orienteering.

Branching Out Adventures Halland, BN8 5AF – 01825 280250. Introducing you to the thrill of treetop activity and adventure in a safe professional environment. At Branching Out there is something for everyone; low ropes, high ropes, giant swing, climbing wall and speed zipwire. Closed December and January.

Brighton Footgolf Hangleton Lane, Hove BN3 8EB (formerly Benfield Valley golf course) – 01273 761001. Game for the whole family (3 years and above) involves kicking a football into a hole in as few kicks as possible, 9 or 18 hole courses available.

Extreme Ventures – 07835 528548. Outdoor climbing at Harrison Rocks, Groombridge, rock scrambling and rock climbing.

Go Ape Tilgate Park, Crawley RH10 5PQ – 01603 895500 Metrobus 271 and 273. The high ropes course features a tricky Treetop Challenge for the really daring, and a gentler Treetop Adventure for younger climbers.

So Sussex outdoor and woodland activities and Family Festivals Elderflower Fields and Into the Trees

Southwater Watersports Southwater Country Park, Cripplegate Lane RH13 9UN – 01403 734424 Metrobus 98 and 398. Canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, raft building, orienteering, dinghy sailing, mountain bike hire, team building and family activities.

The Cow Putt is a farm-themed 18 hole adventure golf course based at the tranquil Heaven Farm Furner’s Green, near Uckfield. Plenty of free parking available.

Tilgate Park Watersports The Boat House, Tilgate Drive, Crawley RH10 5PQ Metrobus 271 and 273. With a wide range of activities in and out of the water and acres of countryside to discover. Rowing boat hire, canoeing, kayaking, raft building, stand up paddle boards, mountain biking, orienteering and open water swimming.

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Theatres and Cinemas

Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts University of Sussex BN1 9RA – 01273 678822. Presenting a seasonal public programme including music, film, theatre, dance, live art, digital practices, discussion and debate.

Brighton Centre King’s Road BN1 2GR, general enquiries 01273 290131. Comedy, dance, music, theatre and live kids’ shows.

Brighton Dome Church Street BN1 1UE – 01273 709709. Theatre, comedy, workshops and concerts.

Brighton Little Theatre Clarence Gardens BN1 2EG – 0844 888 0432. Not-for-profit theatre company staging at least 10 plays a year.

Chequer Mead Theatre De La Warr Road, East Grinstead RH19 3BS – 01342 302000. Purpose-built 320 seat venue for music, comedy and drama, plus The Apron Bar and Coffee House, function spaces and drama summer schools.

Chichester Festival Theatre Oaklands Park, Chichester PO19 6AP – 01243 781312. One of the UK’s flagship theatres, renowned for the high standard of its productions. It welcomes children and families and is proud to be a member of Family Arts Standards. Baby changing facilities are provided along with special refreshments and high chairs in the café and lots of space in the foyers for buggies and lively toddlers. Workshops and holiday activities designed to explore the productions on and beyond the stage are also on offer.

Christ’s Hospital Theatre Horsham RH13 0LJ – 01403 211293. In addition to housing Christ’s Hospital’s drama department and student productions, this fully-equipped, modern theatre provides a venue for a wide range of professional entertainment, including top quality theatre, comedy and music which are open to the public.

Duke of York’s Picturehouse Preston Road, Brighton BN1 4NA – 0871 902 5728. Kids’ Club Saturdays at 10.30am.

Hawth Theatre Hawth Avenue, Crawley RH10 6YZ – 01293 553636. Main theatre and Studio plus workshops and summer schools.

Haywards Heath Music Society St Wilfrid’s Church, Haywards Heath RH16 3QH – 01444 456227. Virtuoso International musicians performing live and local.

Komedia Brighton 44-47 Gardner Street BN1 1UN – 01273 647100. Comedy, cabaret and music.

Orion Cinema Cyprus Road, Burgess Hill RH15 8DX – 01444 243300. Cinema with art deco facade and 2 screens showing the latest mainstream releases.

Picture House Uckfield High Street, TN22 1AS – 01825 764909. Independent three screen cinema and restaurant plus The Lounge VIP cinema experience.

Ropetackle Arts Centre Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5EG – 01273 464440. Community-run purpose-built arts venue; exhibitions, film, live music, comedy, dance and spoken word.

The Capitol Theatre North Street, Horsham RH12 1RG – 01403 750220. A multi-purpose arts venue with a 410-seat theatre, 2 cinema screens, studio theatre, meeting room and gallery space. No babysitter? No problem – Box Office Babies gives you the chance to enjoy a trip to the cinema whilst spending time with your little one.

The Old Market Upper Market Street, Hove BN3 1AS – 01273 201801. Music, theatre, film, dance, comedy, workshops and exhibitions.

 

 

 

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Family Restaurants and Cafes

 

 

 

Bluebell Railway The Bessemer Arms, Platform 1, Sheffield Park Station TN22 3QL. Family pub/restaurant with children’s activity lunch boxes.

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft Lodge Hill Lane, Ditchling BN6 8SP – 01273 844744. Café and children’s trails.

Dolphin Centre Cafe Pasture Hill Road, Haywards Heath RH16 1LY – 01444 447816. Sports centre cafe with soft play area for under 8s – charges apply.

Heaven Farm Furners Green, Uckfield TN22 3RG – 01825 790888. The Stable restaurant and tea room.

Home Coffee House The King’s Church, 33-35 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill RH15 9LR – 01444 244215. Large café with toddlers’ soft play area and plenty of room for buggy parking.

Kings Centre Café Moat Road, East Grinstead RH19 3LN – 01342 328616. Sports centre cafe with soft play area for 2 – 8 years.

Kiosk in the Park located in the middle of St Johns Park, Burgess Hill next to the tennis courts. Serving hot dogs, jacket potatoes, waffles, coffee and ice creams. Open from April.

Latchetts Farm Heaven Farm, Furners Green, Uckfield TN22 3RG – 07542 853842. Creamery serving handmade ice creams, sorbets, cakes, chocolates, pancakes, waffles & traditional sweets.

 

Mabel’s Tearoom Victoria Way, Burgess Hill RH15 9NF – 01444 246822. Serving home-style breakfasts, brunches, lunches, loose-leaf tea, coffee and sweet temptations. All available to eat-in or takeaway with many vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on the majority of the meals. Plenty of room to park buggies.

Notcutts Garden Centre Common Lane, Ditchling BN6 8TN – 01273 846844. Large family café with seasonal events.

Nymans House and Gardens (National Trust) Handcross, Haywards Heath, RH17 6EB – 01444 405250 Metrobus 271 and 273. The Riding House family friendly café with children’s activity lunch boxes in summer.

Sharpthorne Organic Café Top Road, Sharpthorne, East Grinstead RH19 4PQ, 01342 811321. All organic, with many ingredients locally sourced and meat from Tablehurst Farm in Forest Row.

Sheffield Park and Garden (National Trust) Sheffield Park, Uckfield TN22 3QX – 01825 790231. The Coach House family friendly café with children’s lunch boxes in summer.

Slake 20 High Street, Lindfield RH16 2HH. Independent café opposite Lindfield pond.

Standen (National Trust) West Hoathly Road, East Grinstead RH19 4NE – 01342 323029 Metrobus 84. The Barn family friendly café with children’s activity lunch boxes in summer.

Tea Thyme London Road, Hassocks BN6 9NA – 07903 203311. Large cafe with covered area and ‘paint your own’ items area for children – charges apply.

The Coach and Horses School Lane, Danehill RH17 7JF – 01825 740369. Family pub/restaurant with sandpit, swing and slide.

The Farmers Lewes Road Scaynes Hill, Haywards Heath RH17 7NE – 01444 831899. Family pub/restaurant with large children’s play area.

The Mug Tree Tea Room Ship Street, East Grinstead RH19 4EF – 01342 457100. Award winning, breastfeeding friendly café with craft activities & themed events.

The Red Lion Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath RH17 7DE – 01825 740836. Family pub/restaurant with children’s play area and regular seasonal events.

The Sportsman Cuckfield Road, Goddards Green BN6 9LQ – 01444 233460. Family pub/restaurant with children’s play area, individual dining pods and family events.

The Wheatsheaf Wheatsheaf Road, Henfield BN5 9BD – 01273 492077. Family pub/restaurant with large wooden pirate ship, swings and kids’ menu.

Tory’s Café in the Park RH16 4HT – 01444 458795. Meet, eat & play in Victoria Park, Haywards Heath.

UpCountry Garden Centre Lewes Road, Scaynes Hill RH17 7NG – 01444 831311. Large café with outdoor play area.

Wakehurst Ardingly, Haywards Heath RH17 6TN – 01444 894066 Metrobus 272. Family friendly café with children’s lunch boxes.

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**END**

Page last updated – March 2022

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.

If you have any additions, updates or deletions, please email [email protected]

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