Sussex Days Out for Less than a Tenner this Summer
If you’re wondering what the heck you’re going to do with your kids this summer, fret no more. I’ve pulled together over 20 suggestions for cheap days out to keep you busy and making fun memories. Read on for great Sussex days that are fun for everyone and give your wallet a well-deserved rest this summer too.
It goes without saying that trips to the park – your local or a new one – are unanimously popular. Days out don’t come much cheaper than a trip to the swings. Our local park is South Avenue Rec in Hurstpierpoint. Popular alternatives are Horsham Park, Southwater Park, Beach Green in Lancing, Adastra Park in Hassocks, The Level in Brighton, and Gull Island Play Area in Worthing.
Public gardens, such as Southover Grange in Lewes and Pavilion Gardens in Brighton, can be the perfect spot for a chilled meet-up with friends and family. Pack a picnic and you’ve got a brilliantly cheap day out against a beautiful backdrop.
If your children are bookish like mine, make the most of your library card. West Sussex has 36 libraries; East Sussex has 17. Libraries from both areas are running a Wild World Heroes book challenge with the WWF this year. A great way to keep up the reading over the holidays.
Not necessarily free, but enjoyable all the same, are the children’s sections in Waterstones. We love a trip to Waterstones. Brighton and Horsham are especially good branches for children and both have decent coffee shops inside.
I rounded up some info about local season passes over on Instagram. If there’s somewhere you’ll visit regularly these can be worthwhile for the long summer holiday. The Friends of Wakehurst pass is extremely good value for money. We’ve visited many, many times and have always had fun and found something new to look at. Membership to Wakehurst includes parking, money off in the gift shop, one free entrance to Kew and early access to events such as Glow Wild. I’ve added a Borde Hill pass into the mix this year. It lasts until next year and has paid for itself in 3 visits. The adventure playground is fab and we’ve really enjoyed exploring somewhere new.
Get Thee To The Pub
And if it all gets too much, grab a friend, round up your tribe and take them to a pub garden where the kiddos can play and the grownups can relax. Why not check out SB&F Epic Guide to Pub Gardens with Play Areas in Sussex.
Sussex Days Out For Less Than A Tenner
Here are 20 days out around Sussex that cost less than a tenner for the whole family.
1. West Witterings Beach, Chichester – £9 (car park charge)
The West Witterings beach is glorious. It’s a blue flag beach, with sand stretching for miles. This is the perfect place to build sandcastles, paddle and spot wildlife.
If travelling by car, you must book a parking space via JustPark. Pre-paid parking has been made permanent and costs £9 per day for weekends 7am – 8.30pm and £8 for weekdays 7am – 8.30pm. Book your space via the JustPark website.
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, West Wittering Beach is a large and sandy beach located at the entrance to Chichester Harbour. Proud holders of the Blue Flag Award for cleanliness and safety when it is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months, it is a wonderful area for a traditional bucket and spade day out.
Note that disposable BBQs are no longer allowed on the estate.
Use PO20 8AJ in your Sat Nav for directions.
2. Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down – £10 (admission per household)
Entrance costs just £10 per household bubble. The wood is stunning and boasts heaps for kids to do – mud kitchens, adventure play equipment, woodland trails, workshops, second hand books and an excellent cafe.
3. Hove Museum, Hove – FREE
Hove Museum is planning to re-open on 26th July 2021
Hove museum is a great free option for rainy days. The Wizard’s Attic has a vast array of toys dating from the 1600s . There are dolls, teddy bears, mechanical toys and toy trains in amongst the collection. A display comparing a Victorian and 2000s children’s bedroom can also be explored.
Other displays show the history of Hove, an interactive film section – think zoetropes and magic lanterns, a section celebrating contemporary crafts and family-friendly temporary displays.
Stunning gardens surround the museum where you can see the Jaipur Gate, this is the perfect place to have a picnic or snack.
4. Pooh Sticks Bridge, Hartfield – FREE
Perhaps one of the most whimsical Sussex days out is a trip to the original bridge where A.A. Milne took his son to play pooh sticks. Yes, the actual Winnie The Pooh Bridge. And it’s every bit as magical as you’d imagine.
A walk through the 100 Acre Wood is utterly enchanting. You’ll see all of your favourite character’s doors hidden along the way to the bridge. And just around the corner from the wood is the sweetest tea room – Pooh Corner – serving up lots of Pooh bear themed snacks. The perfect place to get a little smackerel for a hungry tumble.
Here’s a link to the pdf booklet of walks from Pooh Corner.
5. Treasure Trails – £9.99 per pack
Treasure Trails started up in lockdown with their socially distanced trails. It’s a fun way to explore a local village or nearby town with kids. There are clues to crack along the way and a mystery to solve at the end.
Trails are a couple of miles long and should take no longer than an hour and a half. This is a great low-cost activity for all the family and a great way to encourage kids away from their screens.
Choose from over 23 trails in Sussex.
6. Booth Museum, Brighton – FREE (donations welcome)
Reopening 31st July 2021
You can’t beat a trip to the Booth Museum. It’s eccentric, full of curiosities and other worldly charm. Seeing is believing!
The museum has vast collections of birds, butterflies, beasts, fossils, a Victorian study and marine life.
There’s a lovely little play park over the road, with a kiosk and public loos if you’re looking to make a day of it.
7. Roundstone Pick Your Own farm – pay for your pickings
Roundstone has a large selection of crops and a fun tractor to take you from field to field. Have fun picking a variety of seasonal fruit and veg. The perfect way to teach kids about where their food comes from, how it grows and encourage any tiny artful salad dodgers to eat their greens.
Entrance to the farm is free, pay for your fruit and veg on the way out.
8. Beechurst Park & Miniature Railway, Haywards Heath – £1 per train ride
Miniature Railway hopefully re-opening end of July
This is a brilliant park tucked away behind the Harvester in Haywards Heath. There’s lots of space for classic park games (frisbee, rounders, cricket), plenty of play equipment, a cute tearoom and best of all a real miniature locomotive that you can ride on for £1 each.
The Sussex Miniature Locomotive Society (SMLS) was formed in 1951 and opened its 3 1/2 & 5 inch dual gauge raised level track three years later on 10th May 1954. Originally the track only ran around the bowling greens, but in 1974 it was doubled in length to its present size of almost half a mile. Further improvements over the years means that the railway now boasts two tunnels, steaming bays, covered accommodation for rolling stock, fully automatic colour light signalling, club house and extensive workshops.
We had the pleasure of being invited to a birthday party here a few years ago and I had no idea how much fun whizzing around on a miniature train could be. Fun for all the family!
9. Sussex Coastal Culture Trail – FREE
If you’ve got arty kids or fancy a cultural weekend away on our Sussex doorstep, the Towner Eastbourne, De La Warr Pavilion, and Hastings Contemporary have collaborated together across 18 miles of stunning East Sussex coastline to bring us Sussex Coastal Culture Trail. Each gallery has reopened this year with some amazing exhibitions, and are all part of a wider project spanning from Sussex to Kent; England’s Creative Coast. Entry to all 3 galleries is free (there are additional charges for some specific exhibitions).
This trial is designed to link the three Sussex seaside towns of Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings. This trail is about 20+ miles of coastline from start to finish. It has been designed it for you to be able to travel by train, bus, walking or cycling. This particular trail is especially suited to cycling as much as the route is on promenades and paths separated from roads. This trail is suitable for families as it is entirely separated from traffic. All three towns are connected with good public transport networks.
You can walk the trail, cycle (not advised for under 12s), or take the train along the coast between galleries. All 3 museums sell a Sussex Coastal Culture Trail Map & Guide, which shows you ways to cycle and walk the trail as well as places of interest.
10. Green Circle Public Art Trail & Urban Beach, Burgess Hill – FREE
Do you know about the art trail in Burgess Hill? I first read about this in Ellie Seymour’s latest book – Secret Sussex. The trail aims to enhance public enjoyment and understanding of Burgess Hill’s beautiful green spaces while celebrating the locality and the achievements of some of its noteworthy inhabitants. There are 5 sculptures on the trail, including an ode to a local film-maker and celebration of a local woman who gifted parks and buildings to the town. Walk or cycle with kids and finish your trail in the centre of Burgess Hill with a dig in the urban beach on Church Walk. Toys won’t be provided in the sandpit this year so don’t forget your bucket and spade!
11. RNLI Life Boat Station Shoreham – FREE (donations welcome)
Currently closed – hopefully open later this summer
The lifeboat station is open 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. When the station is open volunteer tour guides show people around and there’s an RNLI souvenir shop open at the same time.
Families and small groups don’t need to book, there isn’t a fee but donations are encouraged.
12. Brighton & Hove Paddling Pools – FREE
Brighton & Hove has 4 paddling pools and splash pads to keep little ones cool on hot summer’s days. Pack up some snacks, slap on some sun cream, stick on some swimming bits and head off for a day of splashy fun.
You’ll find paddling places at the following parks across Brighton & Hove.
- Hove Lagoon
- Kings Road
- Saunders Park
- The Level
13. Queen’s Park – FREE (tennis courts £8.69 / hour)
Whether you’ve got really little ones or bigger kids, Queen’s Park has it all. Hire a tennis court for less than a tenner for an hour, feed the ducks, take in the wildlife garden planted by a local herbalist, or download an orienteering map from Brighton & Hove council’s website. There’s a cafe in the park and it’s only a short walk to the excellent Starfish & Coffee, which does one of the best brunches in Brighton.
14. Woods Mill Nature Reserve, Henfield – FREE (donations welcome)
Woods Mill is the headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust. Walk past old ponds and a beautiful lake, through ancient woodland, alongside streams and waterways into wild meadows. There are 47 acres of ancient Sussex countryside and woodland to explore and countless different types of wildlife to spot: dragonflies and damselflies, nightingales, woodpeckers and kingfishers. Over the years we’ve seen swans, froglets, bees, butterflies, crickets and all manner of amazing flora and fauna.
Woods Mill Nature Reserve is open throughout the year, with a car park, bike racks and toilets. There is no charge but donations are welcome.
15. Cuckoo Trail – FREE
The Cuckoo Trail is a 14 mile surfaced path through the Sussex countryside. Take in gorgeous views along the way.
The picturesque trail follows the former ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway track and stretches from Heathfield to Shinewater Park. It passes through Horam, Hailsham and Polegate.
There are benches, picnic tables and sculptures in wood and steel, as well as other artwork to look out for.
16. Litter Picking – Scrapless, Burgess Hill
Borrow sets of litter pickers and get your little helpers involved in an eco-friendly activity for the day. Scrapless ask for a refundable cash deposit of £5 for litter pickers. Just let them know when you will be returning your pickers, and providing they are returned in good working order, your deposit will be returned to you.
17. Bexhill Museum – £9 for a family of 4
Bexhill Museum opened in 1914 with one gallery, and has now expanded to four galleries. There’s a mix of Edwardian treasures, costumes, early British sport’s cars and patron Eddie Izzard’s family model railway.
Admissions are very reasonable, a family of 2 adults and 2 school-aged children can visit for less than a tenner.
- Adult £3
- Children (5-16) £1.50
- Under 5s FREE
- Concessions £2.50
18. Pells Pool, Lewes – £10 for a family of 4 during open swim sessions (additional adults £4 and children £2)
If you fancy a cold dip in a natural spring water pool, look no further than the historic Pells Pool in Lewes. This is an impressive swimming pool fed by an underground spring and heated by the sun. You’ll need to pre-book your session and there are strict numbers on admissions. Open swimming sessions for all the family are held:
- 12 noon-3pm
- 6.30pm – 8pm for over 10s only
19. Longman of Wilmington – FREE
The Long Man of Wilmington, Europe’s largest representation of the human form cut into the chalk of the South Downs, has baffled archaeologists and historians for hundreds of years.
Many people are convinced that he is prehistoric, whilst others believe that he is the work of an artistic monk from the nearby Priory created between the 11th and 15th centuries.
There has been much speculation as to his purpose. Fertility symbol? Ancient warrior? Early 18th century folly? Who knows? Visitors can view him from afar or walk across his form on the side of the Downs.
20. Kipling Gardens, Rottingdean – FREE
Be a tourist at home and explore the tiny seaside village of Rottingdean. Make sure you visit Kipling Gardens, the perfect spot for a picnic. The garden used to be part of the grounds of ‘The Elms’, the house which Rudyard Kipling rented between 1897 and 1902. Kipling wrote many of his “Just So” Stories here. You’ll find a woodland, rose, herb and chalk garden with picnic benches. The garden is also home to the city’s only formal croquet lawn.
Have a wonderful summer 😎 Don’t forget to tag @sussex_born_and_fed if you visit any of these awesome places over on Instagram!