Just over halfway through half term – need some distraction yet? Here’s a few free things around Sussex that won’t break the bank.
We know it can be hard to keep busy kids occupied, especially if the British weather is, er, less than clement. But before being stuck indoors ends up with too much gin being consumed or you all spending your days online – although hey, there’s always a bunch of Age of Gods free spins to occupy you – let’s have a look at some activities that will keep your precious moppets happy (thanks Mummy)!
Some of these are good for half term, some you can store up and use later in the year. You’re welcome.
Notcutts Garden Centre, Ditchling
This February half-term the garden centre is hosting fun activities to encourage everyone to get closer to nature and enjoy the great outdoors. From February 16-24, there will be a free wildlife trail around the garden centre where children can join the hunt for woodland characters like Harold the Hedgehog and Ruby the Robin. There’s a sweet treat for every wildlife watcher who can find all the creatures and unscramble the hidden word at the end of the trail.
Notcutts, Common Ln, Ditchling BN6 8TN
Mujishan the Bubbleman
Over in Bognor Regis on 21 and 22 February you can see Mujishan, the Bubbleman. Part magician, part mad scientist, brings his enthralling world of bubbles to life with smoke filled bubbles, floating across the room, and popping in a puff. Wonderful bubble sculptures such as the caterpillar or carousel lit up in a kaleidoscope of colours. Multi bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles, the Love Bubble, giant bubbles, and even tiny weeny bubbles you might call foam.
At Alexandra Theatre, for details click HERE
Go bluebell hunting
Almost half the world’s bluebells are found in the UK, they’re relatively rare in the rest of the world – bluebell fact! And from next month onwards there’s plenty to see around Sussex. Although plenty of the county’s woodlands turns into a stunning, fragrant experience and you can find loads for free, for something National Trust related, check out Rudyard Kipling’s home, Bateman’s. Remember though, no digging up the bulbs.
Old Town Hastings
OK so this one might end up costing you money – after all, there are shops and there will be pester power! But the old town is well worth a mooch around for a day out. There’s funfair rides along the seafront too but the ancient part of the town is a delight. Also, it might be £2 so not technically free but THEY HAVE A FUNICULAR!
Details of funicular HERE
The South Downs
Hard to know where to start with this because it’s such a vast national park, but as we teeter on the brink of Spring, you could wrap up warmly and head for the hills – how about walking to the Chattri War Memorial or Jack and Jill, the famous windmills? Or walk the famous Seven Sisters? Why not dig out the camping chairs, take hot soup in flasks and make a Spring picnic? Walking can be made much more attractive to littles ones by include activities like ‘Counting the bees’ with a chocolatey prize for the winner. Or go on clear night and go stargazing! Get creative and get outdoors.
The Booth Museum, Hove
The Booth Museum is all about birds, butterflies, fossils, and bones. Founded as a Victorian collector’s private museum, the Booth Museum now brings natural history to life with interactive displays and ‘hands on’ activities. Just the fossil and bone collections date back to when dinosaurs and woolly rhinos roamed Sussex. And it’s free
Head for a pier
So – probably not a free day out because OMG when you get on there there’s arcades, doughnuts and rides! But technically the piers in Sussex are free entry. Brighton, Eastbourne, Worthing, Hastings – they’re a slice of history and fun to wander along, even if you can keep the costs down. Perhaps just one stick of candy floss?!
Oo-arrrr head down to the farm
A lot of the farms around Sussex charge to get in, although the prices tend to be pretty reasonable for what is usually a fun day, especially at lambing time (soonish). Gaston Farm is highly recommended for lambing, although it’s around £6 pp. Lovely free farms do exist though – we are very fond of Sharnfold Farm which has a free play area and Farm Trail where you can see pigs, donkeys, lambs, cattle, chickens, goats and rabbits.
Royal Pavilion and Preston Manor, Brighton
So – this is not free for adults, but is free for kids so we’re going to include it. Brighton & Hove residents are entitled to half price admission and no charge for children. And if you haven’t been round it, you really should. There’s also pop-up talks with history and stories and ghostly tales – ask at time of booking. And they are free.
Hit the beach
Honestly, nothing exhausts kids more than running about on stones, and there’s loads to do. Collect shells, have a picnic, look at the fishing boats, maybe look at the fishing museums in destinations like Hastings or Brighton, which are free. Buy some chips and watch out for the seagulls! Maybe even dip your toes in the freezing water? Guaranteed to have them snoring by the time you drive home.