It's the summer holidays at last and after the last couple of years we've had and a slight upturn in the weather, there's no better time to start getting out into the great countryside around East Sussex! Here are some of the great attractions and events on in the region for entertaining your little ones this summer.
Bluebell Railway operates along an 11-mile track between Sheffield Park and the market town of East Grinstead, stopping at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote stations along the way.
The steam railway commenced train services in August 1960, and is now home to one of the finest collections of vintage steam locomotives and carriages – many of which were preserved straight out of service from British Railways.
During a visit, you can learn about the history and science of the industrial age, experience the thrill of getting up close to a working steam locomotive and luxuriate in the comfort and style of a bygone era. Families can enjoy getting hands-on in the interactive exhibitions in 'SteamWorks!', and children can explore in the play and picnic areas while parents relax with a cuppa from one of the catering outlets.
Borde Hill Garden
This heritage Garden is renowned for its rare shrubs and champion trees, created from specimens accumulated by the great plant collectors and tended with passion by four generations of the Stephenson Clarke family. Borde Hill combines outstanding vistas with tranquil outdoor garden rooms, including the fragrant Rose Garden and scenic Italian Garden.
Visitors can also enjoy woodland walks, picnics by the lakes, or watch the kids play in the Adventure Playground. There are unique events throughout the season including Roses in Bloom, live music in the Garden throughout the summer, and family trails during the school holidays. Dogs on leads are welcome. House and garden tours available for groups (15+ people).
Make memories that last and enjoy a great family day out at the award-winning Drusillas Park.
Drusillas offers a loving home to over one hundred exotic animals, including sloths, and penguins!
However, animals are only half the fun! Swing, jump and climb your way across Drusillas large adventure play areas, get lost in Mungo’s Maze and take to the skies on a whole host of amazing children’s rides including the Hippopotobus, the Flying Cheetahs, and the Rainforest Carousel. There’s even a chance to grab your swimming costume and splash about on the Get Wet! splash pad.
When you fancy a break from all the running around, sit back and relax as you journey deep into the heart of the zoo on the Safari Express train.
Tiptoe through the jaws of a mighty T-rex and bravely step into dinosaur territory in the newest attraction Jurassic Jungle.
In the heart of Sussex visit this 100 acre award winning farm with beautiful Bluebell woodland and nature trail with wallabies and deer.
Visitors to the area can stay in the spacious caravan and camping site, which is always popular so book well in advance.
On site there are:
The Stable Tea Rooms offering coffee, light lunches and cream teas.
Visit Latchetts Ice Cream Parlour and sample the delicious homemade Gelato Ice Cream made from the milk of the farms very own cows.
Book a Chocolate and Ice Cream Party.
The Doves Play Barn for young children to play safely in a controlled space.
Other Seasonal Events throughout the year.
Entry to the farm is free. Dogs welcome on leads.
The Heritage Trail and Gardens at Paradise Park are the perfect day out for all ages. The Museum of Life is one of the finest exhibitions of its type in the country with life size moving dinosaurs and a spectacular collection of fossils, minerals and crystals.
The Planthouses have a spectacular collection of the world’s flora. The gardens are one of Newhaven’s hidden secrets with several small lakes, waterfalls and fountains.
The Sussex History Trail meanders through the gardens with handcrafted models of Sussex landmarks. Children’s activities include Crazy golf, miniature railway, play areas and amusements.
Anne of Cleaves House Museum
Anne of Cleves House formed part of Anne’s annulment settlement from Henry VIII in 1540. The House is a wonderful example of a late medieval timber framed building. The earliest parts date from the late 1400’s, and there were further additions up until the 17th century.
Today you can catch the atmosphere of how people lived during Tudor times in the kitchen, bedroom and parlour, which have authentic domestic furnishings.
The house also contains the Museum of Lewes History and the Wealden Iron Gallery which illustrates this local Tudor industry.
The pretty gardens behind are inspired by Tudor planting schemes and contains traditional plants including a medlar tree. The café and Tudor tea garden has a separate access to the museum which allows non museum visitors to come and enjoy a drink in the setting of this beautiful former home.
One of Britain’s most perfectly picturesque medieval Castles.
The castle rises majestically from the moat, with spiral stairs, towers, battlements and ruins where knights once roamed – Bodiam Castle is a place where you can let your imagination run free.
Visit the café or tea-room for homemade meals and cakes.
Open all year around, except 24 & 25 December.
Visit the website here.
Lewes Castle was begun soon after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, by the Norman William de Warenne, a close friend of William the Conqueror. The impressive Barbican Gate was added in the 14th Century.
Climb the steep zig zag steps to the Keep to get stunning panoramic views of the Sussex countryside all the way from the Downs to the coast.
The adjoining Barbican House Museum is home to the Museum of Sussex Archaeology with artefacts and a mini cinema which tells the story of Lewes and the castle from early prehistoric to late Medieval times.
The museum is also home to the Battle of Lewes Tapestry which depicts the battle that opened the way for the eventual introduction of representative democracy.
Michelham Priory House and Gardens
Michelham Priory boasts England’s longest medieval water filled moat and offers a great day out for all the family. The moat encircles a site steeped in history dating back to 1229, from its foundation by Augustinian canons, through the destruction caused by the dissolution of the monasteries in Tudor times and into its later life as a country house.
On this picturesque island you will find the magnificent Tudor mansion, impressive 14th-century gatehouse with an interactive medieval gallery, working watermill and forge, replica Bronze Age roundhouse and Elizabethan Great Barn. In the 7acres of grounds discover the kitchen garden, physic and medieval herb garden. Visit the website for the regular events program throughout the year.