Summer Holidays incoming! Fab things to do with the kids.
School's out for the summer - and Muddy's here with your ultimate guide to the best of the holiday action in Sussex. Never hear 'I'm bored!' again.
Summer Holidays at Drusillas Park, Alfriston, July – Sept
Meet amazing animals, get soaked at the splash park, go wild in the adventure playgrounds and scream if you wanna go faster on the rides! Drusillas is the complete day out, packed with activities and entertainment for the whole family plus a fabulous zoo. Plenty of places to eat and drink too. A must.
Wetland Explorers, Arundel WWT, July – Sept
Pick up a free activity trail postcard and get exploring Arundel WWT’s pathways, reedbeds and waterways (the latter are best discovered by boat, book online). Use the Activity Trail Map to find all 12 activity boards dotted around the site, and find new ways to experience nature, from butterfly counting to colour collecting and much more. And don’t forget a pit-stop at the cafe while the kids enjoy the adventure playgrounds.
Summer Holiday Activities at Amberley Museum, Amberley, July – Sept
A cracking one to visit over the summer holidays, and there’ll be additional activities for families announced soon so keep an eye on the website. Discover the South’s industrial heritage, learn about technology through the years, and have fun riding the narrow gauge train and historic bus around the 36 acre site.
Summer of Fun at Fishers Farm, Wisborough Green, July – Sept
Let the fun begin! Fishers is another complete day out, with heaps for the kids including rides, activities, playgrounds, a splash pad, farm animals to meet and pet, pony rides and umpteen fun things to do. Meanwhile, you can sit back with a coffee and enjoy watching them exhaust themselves. Plenty of places to eat and drink or bring a picnic. Happiness guaranteed.
Knockhatch Adventure Park, Hailsham, July – September
Day-long adventures await at Knockhatch, the third of Sussex’s large-scale kids’ attractions packed with rides, play areas, adventures, a zoo, an owl sanctuary and plenty more. A full and tiring day out for primary-school kids, that’ll end with big smiles all round.
National Trust Venues, East and West Sussex, July – Sept
National Trust days out are what summer holidays are made for. Explore beautiful parks, woods, gardens and houses, fuel up at the onsite cafe and browse the gift shops and quirky additions like Bodiam Castle’s second-hand bookshop. This summer there’s plenty going on, from a story trail at Nymans near Haywards Heath and arty fun at Petworth House to a mindfulness trail around Sheffield Park plus orienteering for older kids, and giant chess and croquet at Uppark House and Garden. Pick up spotter sheets to explore Rudyard Kipling’s home Bateman’s, and enjoy some fairytale adventures at the moated Scotney Castle.
Dragons and Mythical Beasts, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, 21-22 July
This brand-new, spellbinding adventure comes from the same team behind West End smash Dinosaur World Live. Unveil dark secrets and come face-to-face with magical, mythical creatures including unicorns, trolls and even the Tooth Fairy (who isn’t as sweet as you might think). But be careful you don’t wake the dragon…… A brilliant interactive show for all the family.
Elderflower Fields, Pippingford Park, 23-27 July
The much-loved family festival is set to return over the Bank Holiday weekend and will be the perfect way to celebrate life returning to a more even trajectory (oh gawd, imagine that!). The theme this year will be Night-Time Animals vs Mythical Creatures. Excitingly, to make up for last year’s cancellation, this year the site will remain open for an extra night, and families can enjoy a chilled-out day in the gorgeous grounds with all the usual vendors open, plus potentially some self-led activities and access to the Ashdown Forest.
Comedy Club 4 Kids, Minerva Theatre, Chichester, 24 July
Kick off the holidays with an afternoon of rowdy comedy fun, featuring the best comedians from the UK and world circuit doing their thing – just without the rude bits. Side-splitting capers for everybody over 6.
Paw Patrol Trail at County Mall, Crawley, 26 July – 15 Aug
Do your little ones love Ryder, Skye, Chase and the gang? To celebrate the new Paw Patrol film, County Mall will host 22 brick models of the cast and buildings, spread around the shopping centre. Kids can take part in a trail to find all the figures including a hidden Ryder who can help them enter a competition to win some amazing prizes including family tickets to the film, dinner and a goodie bag. Perfect entertainment for the kiddos while you stock up on essentials.
Enchanted Leonardslee, Lower Beeding, various dates 30 July – 8 August
A gorgeous mini-festival set in the stunning grounds of Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, featuring an enchanted woodland trail, mythical creatures including unicorns, fairies and mermaids, market stalls, arts and crafts, food and drink, a vintage fairground, unicorn rides, circus performances and live music. The most magical way to spend an afternoon.
Shipley Scarecrow Trail, Shipley, 1-31 August
This summer, the residents of Shipley have created a home-made scarecrow trail through the village! Grab yourself a map from any of the local pubs sponsoring the event – The Selsey Arms in Coolham, the Countryman Inn in Shipley, the George and Dragon in Shipley and the Crown Inn in Dial Post – and see how many you can tick off. Lovely rural fun, plus a visit to a pub – hashtag perfect day out. While you’re on, King’s Mill in Shipley is worth a visit too.
The Labyrinth Challenge, South of England Showground, Ardingly, 5-8 August
Fancy a crack at a 1,000ft long inflatable obstacle course? Well, who wouldn’t?! The Labyrinth Challenge will come to Ardingly’s South of England Showground this summer. Think of it as the biggest soft play you’ve ever been to. There’ll also be a circus, funfair and plenty of inflatable attractions, including a smaller course for those under 1.2m who can’t try the main course. Under 2’s free.
The Lion Inside, Oaklands Park, Chichester, 9 August
A lovely outdoor performance based on the award-winning book by Rachel Bright and Jim Field, suitable for littlies aged three and up. Mouse is fed up of being ignored by all the other creatures and wishes he could roar like Lion. But as he discovers, even the smallest of us can have the hearts of a lion.
The Secret Garden, The Hawth Amphitheatre, Crawley, 10 August and Brighton Open Air Theatre, 29 August
This outdoor adaptation of the famous tale, in which orphaned Mary Lennox discovers friendship, fun and laughter at her uncle’s country estate on the Yorkshire Moors, has folk music woven through it and promises to be magical.
The Twits, Brighton Open Air Theatre, 11-14 August
Meet Mr and Mrs Twit, the most vile, despicable, smelly and revolting couple imaginable, and discover if the brave Roly-Poly bird and clever Muggle-Wump monkeys can stop their ghastly plans – and them – in their tracks! Roald Dahl’s classic is evergreen, as are the laughs, and a circus-style setting brings slapstick family fun to BOAT.
Mr Stink, Borde Hill Garden, 13 August
Everybody’s welcome to celebrate Annabelle’s 10th birthday party – other than Chloe’s whiffy new friend, Mr Stink. David Walliams’ bestseller, about an extraordinary and rewarding friendship between 12-year-old Chloe and a homeless man, will be performed in a wonderful outdoor setting at Borde Hill Garden. Humorous and heart-warming.
Medieval Weekend, Arundel Castle, 14-15 August
Avast, fair maiden! Turn back the clock for this weekend of festivities – revels, perchance – from the bygone days of yore, at the stunning setting of Arundel Castle. Birds of prey, sword-fighting, music, food, archery and much more. Perfect for all ages, with plenty to do and a sensational castle backdrop.
Hexwood School of Sorcery, The Capitol, Horsham, 19 – 22 August
Maisey Hexwood was born into a family of gifted witches and wizards. Now it’s time for her to follow in their footsteps and study sorcery. There’s just one problem – she’s terrible at magic! Will she ever be able to embrace all her mishaps and love herself, warts and all? Laughs galore, fab music and warm fuzzy feelgoods guaranteed at this family-oriented performance. Suitable for ages 4+.
Star Wars: A New Hope, 21 Aug, Cinestock @Saltdean Lido, Brighton
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away – OK so hopefully you know the rest, but no matter how many times you’ve seen it, the first, the original and arguably the best Star Wars is always a joy. Take the fam along to catch it on the outdoor big screen at the gorgeous Saltdean Lido.
Pop Princesses, 27 Aug, The Capitol, Horsham
If you’ve got a tweenager who loves pop, book them in for the afternoon of their dreams at The Capitol. Four fabulous fairy-tale princesses just love to sing, and they’ll be belting out your – sorry, your child’s – entire playlist, from Little Mix and Ariana Grande to Taylor Swift and internet sensation JoJo Siwa. We absolutely defy you not to sing along.
Jumanji: The Next Level, 27 Aug, Cinestock @Newhaven Fort
Open-air cinema, the social and cultural highlight of summer 2020, is here to stay! Catch this family-friendly caper, sequel to the much-loved Jumanji. the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. Newhaven Fort is a glorious setting, perfect for exploring before the film kicks off.
The Bonfire Society Firework Festival, South of England Showground, Ardingly, 28 August
Possibly a tad early for a bonfire and firework display but hey, we didn’t get them last November so instead the Bonfire Society will hold its annual championships at the South of England Showground this August. Live music, a food village and fun for all the family.