School holidays incoming!
What do you mean you don't have six weeks *plus* entertainment sorted for the school holidays yet? You do now! It's the Muddy guide to summer in Sussex. You're welcome.
Ah, who doesn’t love those long hazy school holidays filled with fun activities you’ve *ahem* planned in advance. Well, we’ve done the hard work for you and found plenty to keep ’em busy over the summer!
WHEELY GOOD FUN
Car mad kid? Head over to the Amberley Museum (above), near picturesque Arundel with automobile activities throughout the summer including a special Classic Car Show on 17 July.
Talking of castles Bodiam is holding a Medieval Fair 23 July to Sunday 31 August. With games and activities for all the family including mini jousting, have-a go archery, hobby horses and dressing-up, ‘Siege the Castle’ games, story-telling and armour demonstrations. Man the forts!
TECH & CODING DAYS
Windlesham School in Brighton is hosting several Next Thing Tech Education Camps dates during the summer for kids ages 5-11 (other venues also available). Whether they are new to STEM and coding, or a tech-savvy genius they’ll fit right in. Wonder if they allow luddite mums in?
If weather is a wash-out book up some indoor fun at the theatre. Head to the Devonshire in Eastbourne on 9 July for Attenborough & His Animals, or to Coultershaw Wharf in Petworth for performances of The Wind in the Willows on 23 – 24 July, plus a riverside adventure trail.
The Hawth in Crawley is showing the magical The Tiger Who Came To Tea on 5 July. While the really little ‘uns will love Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 27 July, and budding palaeontologists of all ages will enjoy Dinosaur World Live at the Congress in Eastbourne on 19 & 20 July.
Then, 3 August sees the smash-hit production of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny come to Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre. And I’m sure you’ll be well familiar with the characters of Paw Patrol, who are coming live to the Brighton Centre on 1 September.
Hopefully we’ll get a glorious summer (paws crossed!) and outdoor theatre will be on the cards. With The Reluctant Dragon on 10 August at Bodiam Castle and various shows throughout the summer at Brighton Open Air Theatre including Horrible Histories and Kids Comedy Clubs.
The wonderful Weald & Downland Museum also has a host of performances alfresco including David Walliams Awful Auntie (5 August) and Peter Rabbit (11 August) for the teenies.
CAMPS & CLUBS
The Outdoors Project is a lifesaver offering holiday clubs in schools, local parks and green spaces across Brighton & Hove, Lewes, Haywards Heath, Uckfield, Crawley, Lancing, Shoreham, Three Bridges and Worthing. Wind, rain or blazing sunshine, the clubs go ahead, getting kids outdoors to let off steam, make friends and have a go at activities they might never have tried before.
If you’re juggling work and need some childcare Camp Beaumont is also a good option with activity camps catering for all ages across the south east including at Cottesmore School in Pease Pottage. Activities can range from arts & crafts to sports and adrenalin or film making and coding – there’s loads going on to keep kids entertained.
Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve offers outdoorsy holiday clubs for 6 – 13 year-olds. Children can take on the fire-lighting challenge, build dens and discover creatures in the ponds and birds overhead. There will also be stories, games, crafts and campfire cooking plus the chance for older children to work towards an award.
NATIONAL TRUST DAYS OUT
National Trust always comes up trumps for a summer day out and this year throughout the holidays, kids can grab a ‘Come out and play’ card to create their own adventures. Explore the activities at Nymans, Bodiam Castle, Sheffield Park and Garden, Standen, Petworth House and Park, Birling Gap and Devil’s Dyke, all sponsored by Sport England. With group games, puzzles and sport there is plenty to tire them out. From 16 July – 29 August included with normal admission.
Fishers Adventure Farm Park is a safe bet for a action packed day. With summer activities including creepy crawly weekends (argh!), tractor rides plus a splash park. For more aquatic adventures a day out in Brighton wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Sea Life aquarium which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. Did you know they even have a glass bottom boat?
The Big Farm Sleepover at Godstone Farm is a great option as campers get the farm to themselves to enjoy behind-the-scenes animal encounters, after-dark tractor rides and campfire singalongs. Three Farm Sleepovers are planned for this August: 19 -21 , 23 -25 and 26 -28.
Or take the kids to Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens to visit the wallabies hopping about amongst the ancient English oaks – yes, we can confirm, they are positively adorable. Tons of wildlife roams free at this stunning site, from delicate butterflies to grumpy badgers. You can see Sika and Fallow deer in the 70 acre deer park, or put on your birdwatching binoculars to spot some of the critically endangered species still enjoying the unspoilt habitat here.
OUT & ABOUT
Wakehurst is always a wonderful day out and this summer they have an immersive art event for all the family event in the shape of Nourish: Art to feed the senses , 8 July – 18 September. Whilst you’re there don’t miss the Millennium Seed Bank to see the Kew scientists at work. This living laboratory gives kids a lesson in conservation without them even noticing.
Petworth House and Park has 700 acres and is perfect for family adventures with trees you can actually climb inside, and a special den building area. This summer there are loads of new free things to try; look out for space hoppers, croquet and badminton, or challenge them at special activity stations, with balancing games, hopping and skipping tasks, and target practice.
There’s loads on at the Weald & Downland Living Museum, for families of all ages. 18-24 July is Tudor Focus Week, where you can see daily changing demo and displays on elements of every day Tudor life in Bayleaf Tudor Farmhouse and Winkhurst Tudor Kitchen. If that’s not far enough back in time for you, Saxon Focus Week is 25-31 July.
In fact, throughout August, the museum offers a programme of family fun and activities every day of the week, with changing themes. God-send!
FILMAKING COURSES FOR TEENS
Got a buddy Scorsese at home? Get them to go all Blair Witch with a Filmmaking for Teens Course, at Lewes Depot, 8-10 August with the theme Folk Horror Summer Special. YIKES!
Over this intensive 3 day workshop your teenagers will try their hand at directing, shooting, sound recording and editing their very own folk horror short in the woods. There is also an option for younger ones with Summer Filmmaking for Kids, a 3 day summer workshop runs from 25-27 July for ages 8+.
ART WORKSHOPS FOR LITTLE ONES
Keep creative tiddlers busy with Kids Art Workshops, (dates through July & August) at the De La Warr in Bexhil. A series of workshops led by the Babes in Arms Collective working in different mediums covering performance and drawing.
Who doesn’t love messing about in the water over summer? Why not hire a Canoe, Kayak or Paddleboard from Pulborough Paddles and explore one of the most beautiful and calm sections of the River Arun. Happily their launch site is also right next door to one of Muddy’s favourite pubs The White Hart for a slap-up lunch afterwards.
On a scorching day you can’t beat a swim outside. If the sea is a step too far head to Hove Lagoon (they have a paddling pool), or one of Sussex’s Lidos – we’re lucky to have them at Worthing, Saltdean and Arundel. Soleros all round!
Eat your heart out the London Eye as we have our own in Sussex this summer in the shape of this bad boy in Eastbourne! It comes in at a whopping 160ft tall – making it the UK’s largest transportable Ferris wheel with cracking panoramic views over the town and coastline. The Eastbourne Eye, Western Lawns, open throughout summer.
And if all else fails book ’em into the grandparents…