The best days out with kids in Sussex

Days out, Family, Activity

Posted by Kate A on 16th February 2021

Eastbourne Pier

When you go on a family holiday, you can be sure that there are going to be lots of cries of “Mum, Dad… I’m bored!” Clever parents know that the best way to keep their little (and not so little) ones entertained and educated is to book lots of interesting, fun days out. Combined with trips to the beach, long family walks and relaxing evenings together in your holiday home, they will never have a moment to spare.

While the coastal county of Sussex is full of gorgeous beaches where you can book a variety of water sports, beautiful countryside villages that you can explore, and vibrant towns and cities full of history, there is also a multitude of exciting adventures to be had. Have a look at our list below of the best kids’ days out in Sussex for inspiration and start browsing our collection of cottages in Sussex by clicking the button below.

Family-friendly cottages

The best things to do in Sussex with the kids

Theme parks and attractions for families

🏃‍♀️ Places to visit with babies and toddlers

🐰 Animal parks and sanctuaries

🌄Outdoor places to explore in Sussex

Theme parks and attractions for families in Sussex

Smugglers Adventure

Smugglers Adventure, Hastings

At Smugglers Adventure discover a host of secrets as you are led through acres of underground caverns, passages and tunnels with over 70 life-size characters, eerie lighting and dramatic re-enactments, led by the notorious smuggler Hairy Jack. One of the top family days out in East Sussex, little ones may find this scary so leave it for older children who love this sort of thing! If you want to make your day out even more exciting, why not plan an evening out at the White Rock Theatre on Hastings seafront, where a cabaret show will really make you feel like you are on holiday?

Weather not on your side? Check out our guide to things to do in Sussex when it's raining!

Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey, Battle

If battles and horses are a popular feature at home, a trip to Battle Abbey will continue to fuel your children’s imaginations on days out with kids in East Sussex. The amazing abbey, built on the site where the 1066 Battle of Hastings took place, is brilliant for mini historians as they can wander around the ruins with an audio headset bringing the past to life. You start with a short film telling the story of the great battle and then you can wander around the abbey together. Stand on the very spot where William the Conqueror defeated King Harold and head up to the roof where you can see the battlefield and imagine the bloody warfare!

  • Prices: Range from £7.60 to £36.20. Visit the site for further details. 
  • Facilities: Café, WCs, baby-changing facilities, picnic area, shop, playground, on-site parking (free for English Heritage members only).
  • Stay at: Wesleyan Lodge, Battle | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Knockhatch Adventure Park

Knockhatch Adventure Park, Hailsham

If you’re looking for exciting places to go with kids in East Sussex, you can’t beat an action-packed escapade to Knockhatch Adventure Park. Here, kids can take on the Demon Drop Slide, storm the magnificent Dragon Castle, ride the bumpy Quadapillar or enjoy the Dino Safari Simulator, before taking to the water on the boating lake or going head-to-head in a game of crazy golf. Plus, there’s a falconry centre, a children’s farm, and an adjoining ski and snowboard centre for even more thrills.

Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle, Bodiam

Regularly voted as one of the best things to do in Sussex for families, this impressive 14th-century moated castle is bound to draw gasps of amazement from children of all ages as they walk along the drawbridge. At Bodiam Castle, the towers and moat will give young historians a glimpse of the past – they can imagine how guests thundered across the bridge for a feast in the great hall. They will see a short film explaining the history of the castle and then you are all free to explore. There are steep spiral steps up the towers and, once you get to the top, you will see how knights once spotted their enemies battling across the marshes. Older children will love the ghoulish murder holes in the gatehouse tower where they can only guess what happened to the unfortunate people who were captured passing below them!

Places to visit with babies and toddlers in Sussex

Kent and East Sussex Railway

Kent and East Sussex Railway, Tenterden

Days out in Sussex for families don’t get much more magical than a wonderful journey by steam onboard the Kent and East Sussex Railway. Little faces will light up with delight as you whistle and puff your way through the beautiful High Weald countryside between Tenterden and Bodiam. This heritage rural light railway allows all ages to experience travel from a bygone age. And there are lots of special events throughout the year which youngsters will love, including a train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, featuring myriad fun activities and the chance to meet The Fat Controller.

Harbour Park Amusements

Harbour Park Amusements, Littlehampton

One of the top spots for family days out in West Sussex is Harbour Park which is set right on Littlehampton’s award-winning sandy beach. Tots to teenagers can take a spin on the Whirlpool Waltzer, dive into the indoor soft play area and get wet on the Water Chute. There is all manner of fairground rides, the latest arcade games and plenty of ice cream, doughnuts and chips, so all ages are easily entertained here.

Treasure Island Adventure Park

Treasure Island Adventure Park, Eastbourne

If you’re looking for things to do with kids in East Sussex that are suitable for all ages, then Treasure Island Adventure Park is a great choice. This pirate-themed park in Eastbourne offers a huge mix of indoor and outdoor attractions, from an 18-hole crazy golf course to Long John Silver's shipwreck with slides, bridges, netted walkways, and a zip line. Little ones can paddle in the lagoon, search for treasure on the sandy beach and enjoy an enormous multi-level indoor soft play area with a ton of fun activities.

Animal parks and sanctuaries in Sussex

Drusillas Park

Drusillas Park, Alfriston

An amazing zoo better suited to children under ten, Drusillas Park is a hugely popular attraction and one of our favourite family days out in Sussex. Home to a whole host of fun events throughout the year, such as the Hello Kitty House, Halloween Shriek Week and Winter Wonderland Illuminations, it is also open to visitors who just want to visit the wide array of animals, many of whom are endangered. View the giant anteater, meerkats, grey owls and Chilean flamingos and pop into the penguin cave or farmyard to see more familiar animals. There are various cafés on-site with all sorts of food including vegetarian, gluten-free and organic, and Starbucks is on hand to give parents that extra shot of energy!

Fishers Farm Park

Fishers Farm Park, Chichester

A much-loved attraction, Fishers Farm Park in Chichester is one of the top places to go with kids in West Sussex, especially if your family loves all things cute and cuddly. Combining animal adventures with lively indoor and outdoor play areas, there are lots to keep all ages amused. Make friends with alpacas, cockatoos, rabbits, chicks, goats, pigs, cows, sheep, and horses. And enjoy 100 acres of outdoor space, home to a climbing wall, quad bikes, pony rides, adventure golf, jumping pillows, a maze and, for the daredevils of the family, the knee-knocking Sky Fall challenge and the Devil’s Dyke Descent toboggan-style run.

Sea Life Brighton

Sea Life Brighton, Brighton

Dive into the amazing underwater world at Sea Life Brighton. If you and your family want to uncover the fascinating secrets of the sea, then this aquarium in Brighton is one of the best things to do with kids in Sussex. Not only is this the oldest operating aquarium in the world, but it is home to over 5,000 marine creatures, from colourful clownfish to ‘jawsome’ sharks! Hop aboard the UK’s first indoor glass-bottomed boat and watch in awe as sharks, turtles and rays swim beneath you, stroke starfish and sea anemone in the interactive rock pools, and journey through the underwater tunnel, marvelling at the wonders of the coral reef.

Outdoor places to explore in Sussex

Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest, Forest Row

Now, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you are sure to love Winnie the Pooh! Have a wonderful day out exploring Pooh country in the Ashdown Forest, complete with Poohsticks Bridge. One of the most captivating places to go with kids in Sussex, as you explore this famous forest, A.A. Milne’s characters are sure to spring to mind – children will be sure to remember every nook and cranny, even if you don’t! With roaming deer, horses and dogs allowed in the forest, explain to little minds that they are the tracks of Pooh and friends, and to keep looking as you never know when you may see one of them. Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Wol and Rabbit; they could be hiding anywhere in the inspiration for their Hundred Acre Wood. For ‘a little something’ to eat, Piglet’s Tea Room and Garden is a must, with cream teas, cakes and fruit juices all named after Pooh and his pals.

Bewl Water

Bewl Water, Lamberhurst

Make your way to the largest stretch of open water in the South East. This stunning lake, surrounded by 800 acres of fields and woodland, is among the best days out with kids in Sussex. Bewl Water is great value as you only have to pay £5 for parking then you’re free to explore the woods and adventure playground. You can pay for extra things such as bike hire (with trailers and child seats), rowing boats, and water pedaloes, or you can even take a trip across the lake on the Bewl Belle ferry. There is a restaurant and café on the shoreline, or you can take your own picnic to enjoy on the lawn if you prefer. Bear in mind that, although Bewl is open all year, many activities are restricted to summertime so, as always, check before you go.

  • Prices: £5.00 parking and admission.
  • Facilities: Café, WCs, playground, fishing, bike hire, on-site parking.
  • Stay at: The Stables – Frant, Frant | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Go Ape

Go Ape, Crawley

If you’re still wondering what to do with kids in Sussex and your family has a head for heights, then why not traverse the treetops on an exhilarating high ropes course at Go Ape? Not one for the faint-hearted, this is one of the top days out with kids in West Sussex for families blessed with nerves of steel. After making your way up into the canopy of trees, there is all manner of tricky obstacles to tackle such as the Tarzan Swing and thrilling zip wires. And once your tribe has mastered the forest canopy, it’s time to get familiar with the forest floor with an exciting Segway adventure.

Family-friendly holidays in Sussex

If these escapades sound too good to be missed, why not have a browse through our family-friendly Sussex cottages for somewhere to stay between your fun-filled days out? Click the button below to peruse our full collection. 

Browse the collection

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.