Half term sorted! 19 fab things to do
School's nearly out for the spring and that can only mean one thing. Muddy's here with your ultimate curated guide to the best family and kid-friendly activities in Sussex!
Fun on the Farm at Fishers Farm, Wisborough Green
Always a brilliant day out. Fishers Farm is open once more, with nearly all the outdoor attractions running. Think jumping pillows, vintage funfair rides, the terrifying Skyfall, tractor and trailer rides, barrel bug safari, farm animals and heaps more to keep the kids happy. Eat lunch at the Saddle Rooms restaurant or from the outdoor Farmers Grill. If the weather is nice, the Splash Attack water park will be open so prepare for a soaking. Guaranteed to please – and exhaust – kids and pre-teens. Book online.
Drusillas Park, Alfriston
Another fantastic family day out with large play areas, exotic animals including meerkats, monkeys and flamingos, fun rides and a dinosaur-themed playground and walk-through. You can also take a ride on the Safari Express train through the zoo. The splash pad will be fired up so don’t forget the swimming costume (or more realistically, the coffee while you sit and watch the kids get soaked). Another full day out for primary school age kiddos.
Knockhatch Adventure Park, Hailsham
Another fantastic venue for a fun day out. Make sure you book your visit in advance. Outdoor play areas, a rowing lake, a dragon’s castle, a farm, owl sanctuary and zoo area and the bumpy Quadapillar Train Ride are all among the attractions on offer.
Natural World, Weald & Downland Living Museum, Singleton
Step back in time and discover how people lived long ago at this open-air museum near Chichester. Over half term there’ll be daily events for children with a focus on the natural world, ranging from arts and crafts to rolling their own candle or plant pot, shadow drawing and face painting. A great choice for educational outdoor fun. Check the website daily for details of the following day’s event.
Amberley Green Week at Amberley Museum, West Sussex
The newly refurbished nature trails at Amberley Museum will be in full leaf for half term, all ready for this fantastic Green Week to celebrate World Environment Day, which falls into half term on June 5. Along with the trails, there’ll be hands-on family arts and crafts activities with a green theme. Plus the usual Amberley Museum attractions depicting the South’s working past in a former quarry, and stalls from local community organisations.
Illustration Workshops at Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft, Ditchling
Three fun-filled workshops based around the John Vernon Lord exhibition, focusing on creating illustrations that will be turned into lino prints. Each afternoon will feature a different theme, from felt puppets to book binding. Sign arty kids up for one, two or all three.
Roam Free at Wakehurst Place, East Grinstead
To tie in with Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme of nature, half term at Wakehurst will be packed with ways to connect with nature and grow happy thoughts. Mindfulness trails, feel-good challenges and pre-bookable family workshop exploring the benefits of sound. Plus the usual stunning gardens and grounds to explore.
Eco Explorers Family Trail, Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath
All kids can get involved in this nature trail at Borde Hill Garden – and they’ll all win a prize at the end, too. Join Ethan the Eco Explorer who loves to find ways to look after nature and care for our planet. Kids can also collect fallen finds from around the garden to put in their special nature box. A lovely way to spend the day at one of the most beautiful spots in Sussex.
Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
Head to this National Trust hotspot for a super Spring scavenger hunt – kids will love exploring the gardens scouting for clues from bountiful blossom to beautiful birdsong. You can all tuck into a BBQ afterwards too.
Nymans, Haywards Heath
Well, hello petal! Come and play at this romantic National Trust garden and ruin near Haywards Heath. Look out for bugs, birds and animals around the grounds – if you’re the first to spot one, call out ‘hello petal’ and the person with the most calls, wins! Each creature will share some of the secrets of its life with eager explorers – as long as they remember the proper greeting, of course. Charming fun.
Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
Follow in the footsteps of famous artists exploring the Pleasure Garden at Petworth House. Using the Art Adventurer trail map, children can find picture frames dotted around the grounds and draw everything from landscapes to portraits and sights of nature. Take a walk in the famous deer park and spy herds of these magical creatures.
Standen House and Garden, East Grinstead
Grab a spotter sheet from the visitor reception at Standen and go on a hunt for signs of spring – they’re everywhere! Children will be fascinated by the woodland residents of this lovely house and garden, including creepy crawlies, birds and squirrels. Fun and fresh air, plus the usual National Trust cafe and gift shop.
SUP and kayaking at Ardingly Reservoir
Get them out on the water at Ardingly in a kayak, canoe or SUP. Book in advance to hire or BYO. This gorgeous and tranquil venue is well worth a visit even if watersports aren’t your thing – a stroll around the 4km Kingfisher Trail will wear out little legs nicely.
Canoe and kayak hire from Fluid Adventures, River Arun or Chichester Harbour
Paddle up the River Arun from Pulborough or head out onto Chichester Harbour from Itchenor in a hire canoe or kayak from Fluid Adventures. Buoyancy aids for you and the little ones included. If yours are too young to paddle, be warned, this is one heck of a workout for the arms. I speak from experience.
Watersports at Hove Lagoon, Hove
Kids can learn sailing and wakeboarding with a half-term course at Hove Lagoon – and you can head off to a cafe or spa whilst they’re out on the water. Courses for 6-8 year olds, and 8-12s, and coastal sailing and wakeboarding for 12+.
Arundel WWT, Arundel, from April 12
The WWT at Arundel has plenty of space for socially distanced days out and with 65 acres of wetlands teeming with spring wildlife activity, you should find enough to keep the kids happy. Make sure you visit Pelican Cove to see the rare Dalmation pelican with a wingspan of up to 11 feet.
Knepp Estate, Dial Post
Brilliantly served with footpaths and bridleways, Knepp kept many a Sussex wanderer sane over the last year of lockdowns. Kids will adore the space and there’s wildlife galore including rare and wonderful sights like nesting wild white storks, nightingales, turtle doves and herds of free-roaming pigs, cows, deer and ponies, some of which have babies at foot. Keep Fido on a lead and don’t approach the animals.
RSPB Pulborough Brooks, Pulborough
The trails, toilets and car parks at this lovely wetland nature reserve are open, along with the gift shop and playground and a cafe serving takeaways so it’s a great one to visit if you want a bit of predictability – ie a parking space. Wild Families events run over the holidays.
Bluebell Railway, Uckfield
For a super family day out, board the Bluebell Railway at Sheffield Park and travel through 11 miles of scenic Sussex countryside. Kingscote is a great stop for the kids to hit the playground and let off steam, then head back to Sheffield Park for a visit to the museum. An absolute winner.