May Half Term in Sussex
Slime making, tree listening and an err slave auction - just some of the educational and just plain fun things to get involved in this half term in Sussex
Pirates and Princesses, Fishers Adventure Farm Park, Wisborough Green, Sat 26 May – Sun 3 Jun
Calling all mini land-lubbers! Get dressed up in your best pirate or princess gear, follow the scurvy Pirate Trail and see if ye’ can find the lost treasure around the Farm then join in the princess sing-a-long in the theatre. Splash Attack at the farm will also be reopened for half term after a big refurbishment.
Science Week/ Labyrinth Screening, Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne, Mon 28 May – Fri 1 June
Eastbourne’s Redoubt Fortress has plenty of educational fun going on over half term with a Science Week during which kids can crack codes, write with invisible ink, make their own solar system, dig for fossils and have a go at making coloured dyes the way ancient Britons did. There are different themes each day. It’s £3.50 per child per day (adults free). Book ahead to be sure of a place. There’s also a screening of Labyrinth and a puppet workshop on Sat 2 June.
Kids’ and teens’ volleyball, Yellowave Beach Sports, Brighton, Thurs 31 May
Yellowave beach volleyball centre on Marine Parade is a handy place to hang out with kids at any time, with action to watch, plus a sandpit and a cafe. This half term children and teens can have a go at the sport themselves with sessions for 12-16s (10am), 8-11s (11am) and 5-7s (noon) on Thurs 31 May. If they get a taste for it there are weekly clubs to join. Book in advance on 01273 672222
Wild Wood Festival, Wakehurst, Ardingly, Sat 26 – Mon 28 May
There’s an action-packed bank holiday weekend of woodland activities at Wakehurst. In Pearcelands Wood kids can listen to trees with special microphones that let you hear beneath the bark, climbs trees guided by experts, let off steam in the tree trunk trek play space, explore a tree trail and have a go at archery. There will also be a fire-lighting masterclass, sword making, wood whittling and story telling and don’t miss birds of prey swooping in the central arena.
Dear Zoo, The Capitol, Horsham, Tues 29 May – Wed 30 May
Wee ones have a treat in store this half term with the live stage version of Rod Campbell’s best-selling lift-the-flap book coming to Horsham. Engaging puppets, music and lots of audience interaction are promised in a play for ages two years upwards.
Hands on History/ Living History Festival, Weald & Download Living Museum, 28 May – Fri 1 June/ Sat 2- Sun 3 June
Embark upon an immersive journey through over 1,000 years of English history in this reenactment event. Watch a medieval jousting tournament, see Saxon folk crafting beautiful items, browse a Tudor market and learn more about living in poverty in the Victorian era. 30 of the British Percheron Horse Society’s trusty steeds will also be giving demonstrations of driving, riding and farm and forestry work. There are also kids’ Hands On History activities Mon 28 May – 1 June including the chance try a horrible historical job!
Borde Hill children’s/teens photography Workshops, West Sussex 29 May, 10.30am-1pm
The morning workshop is aimed at 7-11 year olds and run by Sharp Shots, which teaches kids that there’s more to photography than just selfies with their besties. The theme is capturing colour and Borde Hill’s blossoms and gardens the subject. Students will be taught camera mechanics, composition and how to take sharp colourful photos. £39, camera hire £5. An afternoon course on the same day, aimed at 12-15 year olds is £55, with DSLR camera rental £10. There are similar workshops coming up for summer.
Family shows at Brighton Fringe, various venues, until 3 June
There’s heaps still on for families as part of Brighton Fringe including Monski Mouses’ Baby Cabaret for 0-5s (29-31 May and 1 June); Be Original – quirky songs and challenges for 6 – 11s from Britain’s Got Talent‘s Lorraine Bowen (31 May and 1-3 June); Amazing Bubble Man – mixing art and science (31 May and 1-3 Jun) and the Fringe City Family Picnic with free performances in the Pavilion Gardens (Sat 26 May).
Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux, Mon 28 May – Sun 3 June
For half term, as well as the interactive hands-on exhibits, there will be daily telescope tours and spectacular science shows at 11.00, 13.00 and 15.00 included in the admission price.
Incredible Inventions trail, Petworth House, Mon 28 May – 30 Sept
Follow a trail that will help you design a weird and wonderful tool as part of a season marking the pioneering achievements of Elizabeth Ilive who lived at Petworth House in the late 1780s. You can also find out what life was like below stairs in the early 1800s as the costumed team bring the historic kitchens to life, carrying out daily tasks just as the servants would have done. £3 per trail plus usual admission
The Adventures of Robin Hood, Brighton Open Air Theatre, Wed 30 May
Boo-able villains and thigh-slapping songs are promised as JW Productions brings Robin Hood to Brighton Open Air Theatre with afternoon and evening performances. Family tickets are £40, individuals £12.
Chichester Roman Week, various locations, Mon 28 – Sat 2 June
A slave auction, in Chichester? Don’t worry it’s all part of a festival celebrating Chichester’s Roman Heritage led by the Novium Museum. Look out for re-enactments, talks, trails, guided tours, family activities and immersive theatre, each day themed around an aspect of Roman life. In Priory Park on Wed 30 May the highlight will be an interactive re-enactment involving a military show and slave auction, as well as a military camp and a field medicine tent.
Castle Seige and Living History Day, Arundel Castle, Sat 26 – Mon 28 May/ 31 May
Arundel Castle will be laid seige over the bank holiday weekend, whisking visitors back to 1474 when the Earl of Arundel’s absence left it open to attack from a French raiding party. Fully armoured knights will face combat and replica cannons will fire. There will also be a tented encampment. Then, on 31 May, the castle will host a Living History Day with the chance to meet a knight, pirate and medieval surgeon and try archery. Over 20,000 of the pom-pom headed Allium flowers should also be in bloom.
Simple sourdough bread-making giveaway, Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, Mon 28 May
Trenchmore Farm, home of Silly Moo cider, will be at Rushfields Farm Shop on Bank Holiday Monday noon to 14.00 giving away sourdough starters when you buy a bag of their heritage stoneground flour. The farm in Cowfold promises their ‘No Knead’ sourdough bread recipe is really easy to make at home – no bread machine required.
Standen House & Garden, East Grinstead, all week
Standen is blossoming this May. Follow a half-term holiday trail in the garden and pick up a prize when the hunt’s complete. There are also indoor and outdoor games to get involved in including croquet, and the chance to build a den in the woodland area. £3 per trail plus usual admission.
Making faces family trail, Nymans, near Haywards Heath, all week
The seasonal trail at Nymans this May is about faces and portaits. The garden and woods are also perfect for some exploring, with an abundance of colourful plants and carpets of woodland flowers – pick up spotter activities from the welcome hub. £1 per trail (10.00 – 15.30) plus usual admission.
Battle Bug Hunt, Battle Abbey, Sat 26 May – Sun 3 Jun
Search for mini beasts on the battlefield as you explore the half term nature trail. In the Abbey itself there are crafts to try and storytelling sessions to join.
New life activities, Arundel WWT Wetland Centre, Sat 26 May – Sat 2 June
New life is the theme at the WWT centre this half term with coot and moorhen chicks, wild ducklings and gosling families wandering the reserve. Go pond dipping with the WWT Learning Team on hand to identify finds and take the wetland discovery boat safari. There will also be children’s crafts every afternoon in the visitor centre. Activities are included in the admission fee.
Alice in Wonderland, The Hawth Studio, Crawley, Fri 1 June
Let’s All Dance brings a whirling ballet version of this well-loved tale to the studio of The Hawth. There are several time slots but it’s pretty much sold out except the 17.00 performance so grab tickets for that while you can. It’s particularly suitable for ages 2-11.
Hastings Town and Country Show, Alexandra Park, Sat 2 and Sun 3 June
This busy family festival includes the Savage Skills Bike Display Team and birds of prey putting on displays (separately!), terrier racing, a children’s magic show, 1066 Reptile Rescue, lamb and kid (of the goat kind) bottle feeding and historical re-enactments. Entry is £5 adults, £2 for 5-18s and £12 for a family of four.
Pizza-making Saddlescombe Farm, Mon 28 May, Devil’s Dyke, near Brighton
Make pizzas in a traditonal clay oven at this National Trust site on bank holiday Monday. A short tour of the historic farm is included while you wait for your creations to rise. The Dough? £12 for adults, £6 for children. Booking essential.
Bluebell walks in Sussex, various locations, until late May
Bluebells are generally showing off from early or mid-April to the end of May, hanging out in old woodland and on bracken-covered hills. See the Muddy round-up of the ten best places in Sussex to catch them.
Awful Auntie, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Wed 6 – Sat 9 June
From the producers of the great Gangsta Granny stage show comes the premiere of David Williams’ amazing tale of frights, fights and friendship, appearing in Brighton this June. One of the other Muddy eds has seen it and I hear it’s cracking. It features a very old car, a very large owl and a very small ghost and it’s selling fast so get scheming to get a ticket (from £23.50).
Dinosaur World Live, White Rock Theatre, Hastings, Sun 1 – Tues 3 Jul
Life-like dinosaurs will be treading the boards of the White Rock when this popular show comes to town in July. Tyrannosaurus rex, a triceratops, giraffatitan, microraptor and segnosaurus should show up and there’s a special meet and greet afterwards. There are two performances on each of the three days and tickets are £15.50
Science Saturdays, Petworth House, 4, 11, 18 August
Book ahead for Science Saturdays at Petworth House this summer. Join hands-on workshops from Dragon’s Den winners Sublime Slime filled with goo, smoke and bubbles. Children also get the chance to create their own sweets. It’s £7 per child and will depart from Church Lodge reception to a secret location, so house entry tickets are not required. Book ahead on 0344 249 1895.