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The Muddy Sussex Half Term Guide

Got children to keep entertained for the whole week? Freaking out just a little bit? Don’t worry, here are some suggestions to get you out and about and keep everyone smiling. Good luck!

Oz Whole Day Spectacular, Groombridge Place, 28 May – 5 June


The yellow brick road leads to Groombridge Place this half term where Wizard of Oz themed performances, workshops and face painting will capture the spirit of the well loved musical. The zip wires, giants swings and the like will all be avaialable as usual. Adult entry costs £14.95, children £10.95, family tickets are £45 and members get in free.

Family-friendly app tours, Theatre Royal, Brighton, 4, 11, 18, 25 June


On Saturday mornings in June, Brighton’s Theatre Royal is letting you borrow iPads and guide yourself on backstage tours using a new app. You can explore parts of the building not open to the public, meet characters from the past and present, learn fun facts and take part in games. It’s suitable for children aged 7+, starts at 10.15am and costs £7.50.

Fun Family Activities, Hastings Pier, 3 & 5 June 


photo – Helen Pope

Hastings’ newly reopened pier has a host of free child-friendly activities this summer. On 3 June youngsters can make a windmill and try a fishing game (drop in 11.00am -3.00pm) while on 5 June the first in a series of Science on Sea family workshops will use experiments and audience participation to investigate forces (11.00am- 1.00pm – limited places so arrive early). look out for later events like making puppets and wind chimes on 25 June and a theatre workshop on 9 July.

Mini Landscapes: craft workshop, Petworth House, 2 – 3 June

Family visitors in the grounds at the west front of Petworth House, West Sussex. The west front was entirely rebuilt between c.1688 and 1702.

As part of the Capability Brown anniversary celebrations, young visitors to Petworth can take inspiration from his fabulous gardens to produce their own miniature 3D landscape. The craft workshop runs 11.00am – 12.30pm and costs £6 per child. Booking is essential on 0844 249 1895.

Children’s  workshops, Design and Craft Fair, West Dean College, near Chichester, 3-5 June


Kids can make a moving lobster puppet, hand build a clay totem and design a stained glass window at workshops during this design fair in association with MADE  – the organisation behind the big annual Brighton craft event. There’s a huge list of workshops for adults too.  Ticket cost £12.50 for adults workshops and £6 for Childrens’ workshops. Show entry is £10 for adults and free to under 16s including access  to West Dean’s award-winning gardens.

Project: Oggbots, Crawley 3 June, Brighton 4-5 June, Horsham 11 June


A UFO has crashed and young volunteers are needed to help save the crew. Build a robot and take it with you on a sci-fi theme treasure hunt meeting mysterious characters and trying not to get caught by shady agents. The Brighton searches this weekend depart from Jubilee Library every 15 minutes  10.00am – 12.00pm and 1.30pm – 3.00pm – see the website for other areas. Each adventure (devised in collaboration with MakerClub) lasts an hour and a half and kids even get to learn the basics of electronic engineering. Children’s tickets are £8 and adults go free, aimed at ages 7-11.

Wiggly Week, Fishers Farm Park, Wisborough Green, 28 May – 5 Jun


Believe it or not, there was probably a time when you’d have enjoyed nothing better than unearthing bugs and peering at them. Take your children to Fishers Farm for Wiggly Week and they can get up close and personal with all sorts of exotic creatures while you study your fingernails in the background. There will be cornsnakes, geckos (now they are cute) and my own personal phobia – tarantulas. Delightful.

Woodland Tribe: Build Your Own Adventure, The Warren, until 5 June


Last weekend of the Brighton Festival and Fringe and still some stuff on to keep young ones enthralled. At The Warren children and adults have been using  hammers, nails, saws, rope and a huge quantity of wood to co-create the adventure playground of their dreams.  Help add the finishing touches in a two hour session that’s a dynamic mix of design and build. It costs from £10 per participant (£5 for adult non-participants) or a much better value £6.50- £10.25 per family. There’s a maximum of 30 places per session.

Arundel Castle ‘Siege’, 28-30 May


Arundel Castle will be laid to siege for three days over the bank holidays and showcasing its ancient weaponry with sword fights, archery demonstrations and the firing of canons. Noisy fun.

Pinocchio (Ballet Theatre UK), Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Sun 29 May


Join the disobedient, long-nosed puppet on his quest to become a real boy as he overcomes obstacles, faces consequences and even ends up in the belly of a whale in this inventive performance from Ballet Theatre UK. Accompanied by a stunning classical score this production sounds like a great all-round family option. Adult tickets from £18, Children’s from £15.

Funk the Family, Hove Park, 28 May

Helen Farquarson- - cheeky baby stage

Kids-friendly one-day festival Funk the Family comes to Hove Park this Saturday with soul, Latin, funk, reggae, disco, hip hop and free trapeze and diabolo workshops, archery, breakdancing and more. An adult-only version runs the following day. Adults weekend tickets cost £45.

Lavant House Stables, open morning, 30 May


Kids can meet the donkeys, take a pony ride and let off steam in the play area at Lavant House stables free open day near Chichester. Refreshments are available and there’s also a picnic area.

Family Fun Day, Fontwell Park, 30 May


A family fun day at Fontwell Park race course will kick off half term off with a mini zoo, laser quest and an inflatable assault course, fun fair, pony rides and more.



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