By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
If it’s family fun you’re seeking, you’ll find it West Sussex. From adventure parks to beaches to nature reserves, there’s something to keep the kids happy, whatever their ages and interests.
West Sussex easily has its fair share of open farms and fun adventure parks. Tulleys Farm in Crawley has its own escape room and runs fun seasonal events including the Halloween-themed ‘Shocktoberfest’ and Christmas celebrations. Fishers Farm Park in Wisborough Green includes a fun soft play, trampolines and jumping pillows, as well as pony rides and quad bikes.
Then, there’s Hotham Park, in Bognor Regis, which is home to an Alice in Wonderland sculpture trail, Hotham Park miniature railway, adventure golf, a playground and a boating lake.
Down in Littlehampton, scream your head off on the fairground rides at Harbour Park, or take things easier at the family amusements or adventure golf course. It’s a stone’s throw away from East Beach, where you can promenade alongside the UK’s longest bench – a 1,000-foot-long sculptural structure that rises, falls, twists and loop-the-loops its way along the seafront.
You can easily while away the hours along Worthing seafront, checking out the amusements and the award-winning pier. The town is also home to Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, which includes two art galleries, a sculpture garden and a permanent display of Regency and Victorian fashion.
For unspoilt coastline, head to Littlehampton’s West Beach, which is part of a nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It includes one of only three sand-dune systems in the county.
From here, you could walk to Climping Beach, halfway between Littlehampton and Bognor Regis, also known for its shingle and sand dunes. And, if it’s sand you seek, then West Wittering’s Blue Flag beach has it in (buckets and) spades.
Make the most of the coast and charter a boat for a pleasure ride or even a fishing trip. Located at Chichester Marina, Emma Jayne Charters runs seal and sightseeing trips, while The Solar Heritage, run by Chichester Harbour Conservancy, has trips departing from the village of Itchenor on a solar-powered catamaran.
Wildlife and nature
Wildlife lovers should head to one of the county’s many nature reserves. At Arundel Wetland Centre, you can take a boat safari through the reedbeds to catch a glimpse of a kingfisher or water vole, while the RSPB’s Pulborough Brooks and Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve boast wetlands, woodland, salt marsh and mudflats.
Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve, near Chichester, features a grove of twisted and ancient yew trees that are among the oldest living things in Britain, while at Southwater Country Park, in Horsham, you may well come across lizards and nightingales.
Also near Horsham, Knepp Wildland Project is a rewilding project set in 3,500 acres. Set off on a vehicle-based safari or guided walking tour, and encounter herds of wild ponies, cattle, deer and pigs. You can even spend the night in one of the treehouses, shepherd huts, bell tents or yurts.
If you’ve a head for heights, then take a trip to Go Ape, based at Tilgate Park, in Crawley, and climb across the tree-top assault course, or take a helicopter tour at Goodwood Aerodrome, near Chichester.
Kids need wearing out? Head to Cobnor Activities Centre Trust, where they can learn to sail, kayak, abseil and more, or take things at a slower pace with a walk along the Chichester Ship Canal.
Alternatively, you could board one of Bluebell Railway’s steam trains and enjoy a civilised tour through the countryside as you sit back and reflect on all that wonderful West Sussex has to offer. Horsted Keynes is a popular station and stop-off point that has been perfectly restored and retains the evocative atmosphere of a bygone era.
South Downs Light Railway runs through the grounds of Pulborough Garden Centre and out into the country. Steam-hauled trains run from March to September, but there are also special events throughout the year, such as the Christmas Experience in December. Book your tickets and hop on board!
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