The Ten Best Places for the Kids in East Sussex
by Dinah Hatch (April 2012)
“Mum, we’re BORED!” If this phrase is one you hear just a little bit too often on a Saturday morning, read on. East Sussex is packed with attractions to keep the kids happy whatever their age. Fancy hiding from life-size moving dinosaurs? Or time travelling back to medieval times to watch knights jousting? How about watching giant turtles glide gracefully through an underwater world? Take a look at my favourite ten child-friendly sites around the country – and never hear those words again!
Showing below are all 10 records in "The Ten Best Places for the Kids in East Sussex"
Alfriston Road, Alfriston
This little zoo and adventure play park has won a raft of awards for its inventive layout which easily offers a whole day’s activities for toddlers to young teens. The animals are only half of the equation here, with a host of other activities to keep the kids busy including excellent jungle-themed play areas, Eden’s Eye Maze, a blissfully pretty swimming area in the gardens and, the highlight for many little ones, the Thomas The Tank Engine ride that takes you on a whistle stop tour of the grounds.
4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton
Equally fascinating for adults and kids, this pleasure palace by the sea, built for the Prince Regent back in the early 1800s, caters well for children. There’s a special kids’ audio guide which explains the history of the Pavilion using entertaining stories and small ones marvel at the size of the vast kitchens and love speculating about the rotund Prince’s rather small bed. The Pav sits amongst lovely gardens which are always busy with picnicker and street entertainers in spring and summer.
Fort Road, Newhaven
Experience what it feels like to sit in a street shelter during a Blitz air raid, stroll along the ramparts for gorgeous sea views, enjoy a tour of this Victorian fort and learn about its construction with a young lieutenant or take the kids to the outdoor adventure playground. There is masses to do at this fabulous attraction which often lays on extras such as open-air theatre, re-enactments, quiz trails and kids’ workshops.
Madeira Drive, Brighton
Join the jelly disco in this just- renovated attraction’s brand new Jellyfish Discovery feature, get a snorkeler’s eye view of giant turtles Lulu and Jersey in the centre’s glass-bottom boat area or stroll through the underwater tunnel to watch shark’s pirouetting. Who can resist a day staying dry under water?
Think you know about 1066 and all that? Take the kids off to the abbey and learn how possibly the most famous battle on English soil changed the shape of our history. There are lots of events from early June including medieval activity days, jousting knights, falconry displays, Saxon and Norman soldier learning skills and shield making.
Paradise Park, Avis Road, Newhaven
Life-size moving dinosaurs? What’s not to love? Take the kids on a dinosaur safari and let them wander the grounds accompanied by the roaring of T-Rexes and Triceratops until they spot the fearsome creatures towering over the vegetation and ready to pounce! There’s also a Museum of Life stuffed with incredibly old fossils and intricate crystals and a series of themed gardens to explore when the sun shines.
Hertsmonceux, Wartling Road, Hailsham
This hive of activity sets out to explain all the basic scientific concepts without switching kids off so you’ll find heaps of hand-on (and feet-on) interactive displays, an outdoor park full of things like sound dishes and water areas for experimentation plus indoor exhibitions that blow the cobwebs off traditional science teaching and breathe new life into physics.
Grand Parade, Eastbourne
Who can resist an afternoon on the pier? The one at Eastbourne, a classic built back in the 1870s, offers up all the traditional treats such as an ice cream emporium, an amusement arcade and fish and chips galore but there’s also a quirky Victorian Camera Obscura to examine and sweet little glass studio too. Guaranteed to please.
Bull House, 92 High Street, Lewes
Known as Sussex Past, this society owns a handful of fascinating historic sites in the area including Lewes’ Anne of Cleves House where kids learn about Anne’s part in the story of Henry VIII. There’s also the 1,000-year-old Lewes castle – take the kids up to the top for great views over Sussex. Check out the mini cinema whose show tells the history of the castle from prehistoric to medieval times.
19 New Church Road, Hove
Some kids might be a bit reluctant to enter a museum – but this one houses the National Toy Museum, a different prospect altogether. The Wizard’s Attic display (the idea being all the toys are there to be repaired by a clever wizard) is total toy heaven, with dolls, teddies, mini trains, tricycles and rocking horses dating back to the 1700s delightfully arranged. Well-known for its child-friendly approach (with lovely sunny grounds for lunching in), the museum also has great film gallery. Look out for regular hands-on events and activities.
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