We help a lot of families move into rented homes in West Sussex, and from time to time parents ask us if we can recommend any fun family days out.
With this in mind, and with the school holidays looming, we had a bit of a brainstorm in our offices and came up with our list of the top four things to do with your family this summer.
A wonderful heritage railway line that lets you hop on a steam train and take a tour of the countryside in style, and a deserving top entry on any list of family days out in Sussex. It’s definitely something you should do at least once with the family!
The Bluebell Railway’s train services operate for approximately three quarters of the year, and run between four stations in East Grinstead, Kingscote, Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park.
As well as riding along the train line, their Sheffield Park station (its main terminal) has an engine shed containing a wonderful collection of vintage steam locomotives and carriages, many of which are over a century old and kept in immaculate condition.
There’s also a museum there with plenty of interactive games and displays, designed to keep your little ones entertained and help them learn a bit more about the history of the Bluebell Railway – from 1882 to the present day!
And, if your family day out includes bringing the dog along, you’ll be able to purchase a special ticket to take them with you on your journey.
You can jump off at any stop and get back on later, so it’s worth doing a bit of extra investigating to see if there’s anything else you’d like to see near any of the exit points.
The Bluebell Railway also regularly hold special events on the line, so before you plan a visit make sure you check out their website to see what they’ve got going on.
Visit www.bluebell-railway.com to find out more.
This brilliant open farm in Hassocks can keep your kids entertained for hours!
Washbrooks Farm has a whole host of animals that you can see, from the more traditional cows, chickens and donkeys to alpacas, reindeer and llamas.
The farm has a huge paddock where you can see them all grazing, and there’s a barn where you’ll be able to get up close and personal with the animals in a safe and supervised environment. You can also jump on Farmer Pete’s tractor ride for just 50 pence and take a tour around the farm.
Washbrooks also has ‘The Big Barn’ – an indoor play area stuffed with ball pits, climbing areas, slides and more – as well as a separate play area for under fives.
And finally, should all this activity give you an appetite, there’s a great tearoom on site that serves an extensive menu of all-day breakfasts, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, hot meals, and afternoon tea.
A family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) costs just £24 – if you enjoy your trip you can get an annual family membership pass for £220.
Visit www.washbrooks.co.uk for more information.
From 16 July to 4 September the Giant Maize Maze at Tulleys Farm, near Crawley, opens to the public.
This fun day out will see you and your family attempt to navigate eight acres of maize crops and over four miles of maze, armed with just a fairly unhelpful map and a long flag to wave in case you get too lost!
This year’s theme is ‘Lost in the Blue’ – and the maze has been designed to reflect an underwater image when viewed from above.
After you’ve meandered your way around and got to the end you’ll be able to take advantage of some extra attractions, including go-karting, a gem mine, mini mazes and more.
And, should you find the challenge to complete it during the day a bit too easy, you can come back and try the maze at night during one of Tulleys’ ‘Torch Light Maze Nights’!
Adults tickets are £9, children £10. Check out www.tulleysmaze.co.uk for more.
Wakehurst Place & Gardens
Wakehurst Place is a 16th century mansion near Ardingly and is a brilliant National Trust attraction to spend the day visiting.
The gardens and grounds are immaculately looked after and incredibly picturesque; maintained by the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, there’s over 500 acres of land to explore.
Among all that space you’ll find natural play areas for the kids, and you can sign them up to some fun activities such as tree climbing, bushcraft workshops, or even a wild wood sleepover!
Wakehurst Place is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership – a vast collection of approximately two billion plant seeds, gathered with the intention of protecting them from possible extinction. Thanks to their partnership with 80 countries the Millennium Seed Bank currently hold 13% of the world’s bankable plant species in their frozen vaults, and aims for 25% by 2020.
Visitors are able to view the Seed Bank and watch scientific research being carried out by viewing the on-site laboratories through glass walls. Definitely something not to miss when visiting!
Entry to Wakehurst Place is free if you hold a National Trust membership or £12.50 for adults (children go free).
Visit www.kew.org/visit-wakehurst for more details.
We hope this has given you some ideas on what to do in and around West Sussex this summer.
Not from the area, but think this is all so good you’ll consider moving? Then don’t forget to have a look at our available properties!