From the medieval woodland of High Weald to the quaint café culture of Brighton, Sussex is steeped in history, art and charming attractions, as well as being home to our parks, Church Farm and Combe Haven!
With dramatic countryside and a tranquil coastline, Sussex’s unique landscape is just one of the many reasons why millions of tourists flock to the south-east every year. Whether you take a trip to South Downs National Park in the east, or explore the majestic castles of the west, these beautiful surroundings are sure to leave visitors breathless.
Grab a pen and paper and jot down some of these must-see attractions.
Spot rare wildlife at Drusillas Park
Rainbow lorikeets, fennec foxes, golden lion tamarins: Drusillas Park is no ordinary zoo.
Conserving some of the world’s most endangered species, the park is perfect for both keen animal lovers and families alike. Why not try picking up a free spotter book and ticking off the exotic animals as you go?
Depending on what time of day you visit the zoo, you will also find the opportunity to feed macaques, penguins, otters and even lemurs! But animals are just half the fun at Drusillas. Little ones can climb, slide and swing through the play areas at Go Wild and Go Bananas, while an interactive maze, state-of-the-art soft play complex and Thomas the Tank Engine train service is sure to keep the whole family entertained.
Take a trip into the past
Want to learn more about Sussex’s history while taking in some memorable sights? Take a trip to the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Chichester.
Built atop a 40-acre site that boasts some charming fauna and flora, the museum transports visitors through the 950 years of history that have influenced the area. Unlike many museums, Weald and Downland is extremely hands-on, encouraging visitors to interact with amazing stories of the past. Hosting regular blacksmithing and cooking demonstrations, as well as showcasing 50 historic buildings, it’s the perfect place to learn, while taking in some of the south-east’s fresh air.
Whether you’re a budding historian or a family looking for recreation, Weald and Downland has something for everyone. Even dogs are welcome!
Admire miniature locomotives
Located in the idyllic Eastbourne countryside, EMSR is a miniature railway park of grand proportions. Home to a stunning five-acre lake, a country park and one mile of train tracks, visitors can get up-close and personal with magnificent one-eighth scale locomotives in relaxing surroundings.
What could be more serene than meandering through a picturesque park, as miniature trains go chugging by? The meticulously crafted models include a LMS, BR, Flying Scotsman and Britannia.
But, it isn’t just about trains. For children who want to let off some steam, families can make use of the prize-winning tea gardens that nestle within the park. With food and drink on offer, including home-made Sussex cream tea, it’s the perfect place to visit when your legs get a little tired. Alternatively, there are plenty of designated picnic areas throughout the park, so you can bring your own packed lunch.
Be king of the manor for the day
Take a trip to Stansted House and you might expect to bump into a character from Downton Abbey. The Grade II listed Edwardian country house is grand in every sense of the word. Set in a huge 1,750-acre estate within the South Downs National Park, this magnificent structure is surrounded by rolling hills and idyllic parkland.
Balanced elegantly on the Hampshire/Sussex border, Stansted House is a real feast for the eyes. It boasts a private chapel, humongous rooms, servant’s quarters, a walled garden, a yew maze and even a miniature railway! Add to this a pavilion tearoom and speciality farm shop, and you have a day out that’s sure to please the whole family.
Depending on the time of year, you may also find an event taking place. From car shows to music evenings, just check the online calendar to reserve yourself a ticket.
Hastings Adventure Golf
Batten down the hatches and get ready to walk the plank with a family day out at Hastings Adventure Golf. Located on Hastings seafront, this gigantic space has not one, not two, but three 18-hole miniature golf courses! From traditional seaside favourites at the Crazy Golf course, to Tiki poles and waterfalls at the Adventure course, this is likely to be the most impressive miniature setup you’ve ever witnessed.
Don’t believe us? This is the national centre for miniature golf in the UK, and the home of the annual World Crazy Golf Championships!
But wait, there’s more. If pirate ship battles, cannonballs and tricky tunnels tire you out, there’s a plethora of post-game snack huts scattered throughout the park. Why not grab some fish and chips and a hot drink at the Beach Retreat Café before taking on more twists and turns?
Now all you need to do is pack an eye patch and a toy parrot… ahoy!
In the town of Hailsham, East Sussex, an interactive science centre, world famous observatory and impressive array of powerful telescopes are all rolled into one.
The Observatory is perfect for little ones and budding scientists alike, boasting a whole host of hands-on science experiments, games and exhibits for the family. Discover the conundrums that have puzzled the earth’s greatest minds, learn how spectroscopy works and get up close and personal with the Earth’s forces.
Perhaps the most exciting thing to do is pay a visit to one of the on-site domes. Here you can watch as the retractable roof makes way for one of the gigantic telescopes; the largest being the 38-inch ‘Congo Schmidt’. A hub for astronomers and scientists, the telescopes have been instrumental in tracking stars and studying nebula.
If you want to do something truly special, keep a look out for monthly events that offer families the chance to learn more about the universe we live in. Marvel at comets, spot meteor showers and navigate constellations with the help of experts. You’ll be impressing friends with your newfound knowledge in no time!