Family days out in Sussex

Easter holiday activities in Sussex

kids happy faces

Brilliant family days out in Sussex are easy to plan because there's so much choice! As well as the beaches, the Downs and the glorious country-side of the Sussex weald, there are zoos and activity centres, farms and nature reserves, toy museums and leisure centres - all offering a wide range of fun activities for all ages. You could also check out our what's on for families in Sussex page; it's regularly updated with current events suitable for children. Our outdoor activities page is also worth a visit if you're planning a trip to this area.

Planning family days out in Sussex? Use this page and our 'What's on' section to help you (see button on left). If you've any questions please use our contact us form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Travelling by car or by train to this part of Sussex couldn't be easier.

Your family day out in Sussex can start within about an hour of leaving London!

What's Your Best Family Day Out in Sussex? - tell us your story here.

Why not fly kites with your children on the South Downs?
Visit our new Kite shop for a great range of kites.

Visit Washbrooks Farm in the historic village of Hurstpierpoint
A lovely family day out with younger kids! Washbrooks Farm is easy to reach from either the station in nearby Hassocks ( a 5 minute ride in the local taxi), or by car it's 5 minutes from the A23. There's an animal enclosure, both indoor and outdoor play areas, a cafe and tractor rides. Many happy hours were spent here when our own children were younger.
Open 9.30-5.30pm

Stoneywish Nature Reserve in Ditchling
Similarly easy to reach, Stoneywish Nature Reserve in Ditchling includes lakes teeming with birds and wildlife, a 'Shaker' style herb garden, 50 acres of fields with wonderful play equipment for children. We absolutely lived here when our sons were little, especially as it was only a short walk from home. The location of Stoneywish, in the heart of Sussex, just a short walk from Ditchling and the South Downs, means that a visit here will easily blend in with your plans for a lovely family day out in Sussex. They also having camping facilities.

Lunch and picnics for family days out in Sussex

When you come to Ditchling, you could also have coffee or lunch in one of the local cafes or tea shops. Alternatively, you could create a diy lunch by stopping en route at our new deli in Ditchling called 'The Larder', and treat yourselves to delicious fresh French bread, fig and honey bread, rosemary bread, cheese, olives and yummy chocolate brownies made by a local mum.

Ditchling Museum is currently closed for major refurbishment, but it will be larger and more impressive when it re-opens in a year or two. Of course, there's always 'Ditchling Tea Rooms' just opposite the church, which provides full cooked lunches and afternoon teas. Need ideas for creating your own delicious picnic? ... visit The Picnic Site which is full of great recipe ideas and games for family days out in Sussex.

Site Build It!

Family Days out in Sussex a little further from Ditchling

Check individual websites for directions

Drusilla's Zoo and activity centre - about 12 miles east of Brighton
About half an hour's drive from this part of Sussex (take A27 from the junction with the A/M23 just north of Brighton) is this great Zoo and children's activity centre near the delightful Sussex village of Alfriston. This was definitely one of the most popular family days out in Sussex with our kids when they were younger - a full day here was never quite enough. Even in the rain they loved it because there were so many fun activities to get involved in, including an indoor barn. Today, Drusillas has hundreds of exotic animals from monkeys and otters to penguins and meerkats. There are also great areas to let off steam such as, Go Wild! Go Bananas! Amazon Adventure and Eden’s Eye. Thomas the Tank Engine offers a train service 362 days a year. Don’t miss close encounters in Lemurland or the zoo's brand new walk-through parrot aviary.

Sussex Castles
Across East and West Sussex, there are many wonderful ancient castles, some little more than ruins through to others that are still lived in; so check out our Sussex castles page.

Alfriston Clergy House
We have had some delightful family days out here with our sons. The Clergy House dates from the Medieval period and has been superbly restored. The cottage garden is also designed and planted to be appropriate to the 14th century. A visit here, combined with a lovely walk along the River Cuckmere and lunch in a local pub, makes a really lovely outing with children.

Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum
Also about half an hour's drive east is this delightful museum and wildlife centre, offering tea rooms, a shop, formal gardens, woodland trails, a collection of wildfowl, a children's adventure playground, motor museum and a collection of antique art ... something for everyone, from little kids to Grannie and Granddad. This venue offers another lovely family day out in Sussex.

Bluebell Railway
Further north, the Bluebell Railway is fabulous for all kids - big and small and makes a great day or half-day out. The volunteer run Bluebell Line was the UK's first preserved standard gauge passenger railway, re-opening part of the Lewes to East Grinstead line of the old London Brighton & South Coast Railway in 1960. Since then it has developed into one of the largest tourist attractions in Sussex, yet it still remains true to its objectives of the preservation for posterity of a country branch line, its steam locomotives, coaches and goods stock, signalling systems, stations and operating practices.

You can also combine your train ride with a visit to the lovely Sheffield Park.

Pooh Corner
Pooh Corner in Hartfield, East Sussex is situated at the edge of the Ashdown Forest and offers information about all the locations mentioned in A.A.Milne's famous 'Winnie the Pooh' books. It also has a shop full of 'Pooh-phernalia' and an online penpal facility for fans of the famous bear.

Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle is a fascinating place for families to visit and offers a range of interesting events and activities. Combine your trip with a meal at one of the local pubs in the historic town of Arundel. In summer, it's also pleasant to take a boat out on the River Arun.

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton is an absolute must for everyone. Our sons adored it ... especially the 'privy' which hung directly over passers-by below! They spent many wonderful afternoons here with their visiting cousin from America, and she loved it too! Set in 50 acres of beautiful Sussex countryside, the Open Air Museum is a very special place. Wander amongst a fascinating collection of nearly 50 historic buildings dating from the 13th to the 19th century, many with period gardens; visit farm animals, woodland walks and the picturesque lake. While there are facilities to eat there, you could also consider going to a beautiful old pub in the nearby village of Charlton called The Fox Goes Free. We have eaten there several times now, both at lunch-time in the garden and indoors in the evening; the food and service have been excellent and the setting delightful. Family days out in Sussex must include a trip to this fascinating open-air museum.

Fishers Farm
Fishers Farm Park is the award-winning all-year family attraction located in Wisborough Green in the heart of the West Sussex countryside. It offers a unique mixture of farm animals and adventure play - the ideal place for family visits, birthday parties, school trips and group outings. The Park is designed for families with children 2-11 years old and makes a fantastic family day out in Sussex.

Guided Ghost Walks in Sussex
If you and your family are feeling brave ... we've never done one of these guided ghost walks, but they have been recommended by friends. So, if you want a spooky family day out in Sussex, add this to your itinerary.

Sussex Water Sports
Sussex Water Sports is a family run business based right on the beach at Goring Gap in Worthing, West Sussex, where they have some of the best watersports conditions in the whole country. In addition to their online UK Water Sports Shops and Worthing Water Sports Shops they also have a fleet of top quality kayaks for hire and in the summer months they also operate high adrenaline Ringo Rides from the beach using their wakeboarding boat.

Family Days Out in and around Brighton

Want an indoor activity? Why not try Brighton Sealife Centre?
With over 150 marine species and 57 displays, this is heaven for kids! Situated on sea front at Brighton, just by the pier, this is a great family day out. If you're feeling brave, you could then tackle Brighton's famous Pier. Just near the Sealife Centre, is the world famous, Harry Ramsden's Fish and Chip Restaurant. If you're going to visit Brighton then you'll need to stay on the A/M23 or the train until you reach this lively city. Make sure that you add The Brighton Sealife Centre to your list of great ideas for family days out in Sussex.

Brighton pier

Visit Brighton Pier as part of one of your familys day out in Sussex.

Volks Railway, Brighton
This is an absolute 'must' for any family visiting Brighton; I remember going on this lovely little train when I was young. The Volks Railway was the first public electric railway in the world. It was opened on 4 August 1883 by Magnus Volk, the man who designed and built the railway from scratch. Today the railway can carry up to eighty passengers along the beach for one and a quarter miles. The trains operate weekdays from 10am to 5pm, and until 6pm on weekends and bank holidays, in the summer. The season usually runs from late March until mid-September. Four trains run every hour between Black Rock and Brighton Pier. A trip on the Volks Railway will be something that your kids will want to do on all of their family days out in Sussex!

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
This is a wonderful place to take kids because it is so totally different to anywhere they will have visited before. Originally a farmhouse, between 1815 to 1823 John Nash used new technology to transform the Pavilion into the Indian style building that exists today. It is such a bizarre mixture of highly ornate decoration and furnishings that the whole family will love visiting the Pavilion. The Kitchens are especially fascinating. Indoor family days out in Sussex don't get much better than this!

Opening Hours:

October to March 10.00am-5.15pm (last tickets at 4.30pm)
April to September 9.30am-5.45pm (last tickets at 5.00pm)
Closed from 2.30pm on 24 December and all day on 25 & 26 December

Brighton Fishing Museum
Located on the seafront just a few moments walk from the pier, this delightful small museum is well worth a visit; our sons and their friends loved it. Run by a team of keen volunteers 7 days a week and with free entrance, the museum traces the history of Brighton's fishing community back to the 1700s. A trip here makes a fascinating part of one of your family days out in Sussex.

Brighton Toy Museum
This is a little gem! Situated in the heart of the North Laines area of Brighton, just below the Station, Brighton Toy and Model Museum is fascinating. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, the Museum includes a vast array of toys and models to interest all children and adults.

What is Your Family's Best Day Out in Sussex?

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BBC film series 'A Very English Village' now available on dvd
If you can't visit the Sussex South Downs just yet, or come to the Downland villages in person, why not have a look at the section about the acclaimed series of films set in and around Ditchling and made by resident film-maker, Luke Holland? You can also purchase the full series or just a couple of the films from this part of the site.

Go to 'What's on for families in Sussex' section

Go to our Outdoor activities page for other ideas for fun family days out in Sussex

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