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Free family things to do in Sussex this Easter

The sun is out, the lambs are in the fields and the flowers are blooming – it’s definitely spring in Sussex.

In the midst of rising energy prices, we’re all trying to save some money and if you’re like me, then you always spend more during the school holidays than you intend to.

Here’s my selection of FREE and fun activities across East and West Sussex for all the family to enjoy this Easter that won’t break the bank.

Joanna White
March 22, 2022

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Walk under the Ouse Valley Viaduct

This is a favourite dog walking spot of mine, particularly early in the morning when no-one else is around. Made from approximately 11 million bricks, this structural marvel is located between Haywards Heath and Balcombe, West Sussex. The viaduct was built in 1838 to carry the London-Brighton line over the River Ouse. It’s a great place to walk around and take lots of fun pictures, once you’ve climbed up underneath one of the arches. Kids will love waiting for the trains to come over whilst everyone will admire the dramatic views. Parking along the road can be limited but you can also get the train to Balcombe and it’s a two mile walk from there. Pack the snacks to keep the kids going!

Geotour the South Downs

This Geocaching tour is a really fun way for families to explore the South Downs National Park and keep the kids engaged. Follow clues and directions to find treasure hidden by geocaching fans and there’s 30 geocaches to find. This challenge will take families on a wonderful adventure across of the spectacular South Downs. Photo credit: Sam Moore.

Visit historic towns

Pack supplies and head off to explore one of Sussex’s many historic towns such as Rye and Arundel, two of my personal favourites. In Arundel, entrance to the 19th-century cathedral is free and there are a number of short strolls you can do along the stunning canal. Rye is near the coast in East Sussex and boasts cobbled lanes like Mermaid Street, and medieval, half-timbered houses. It is such a fun place to wander around and there’s a big park too just outside the walls surrounding Ypres Tower and Rye Castle Museum.

Find the Long Man of Wilmington

Get all the family active and out in the countryside to hunt down the iconic ancient hillside carving cut into the chalk hills of the South Downs. The Wilmington Giant is located in the district of Wealden – north of Eastbourne on the steep slopes of Windover Hill – and has baffled archaeologists and historians for years. Some say it dates back to the 11th century. Interesting fact: The Long Man is Europe’s largest portrayal of the human form, dating back to at least 1710 when the surveyor John Rowley illustrated the figure. Parking is free nearby and there are footpaths leading the way. Photo credit: Visit Eastbourne.

Picnic at Pooh Bridge

My favourite childhood place, Pooh Corner in the Ashdown Forrest. Park up – directions are available from Pooh Corner – and enjoy a picnic in the Hundred Acre Woods. To add to the excitement, encourage children to start collecting some sticks a few days before so they can play numerous games of Pooh Sticks. Don’t forget to bring some cuddly Pooh companions with you for the photos and keep an eye out for tiny fairy doors on the trees and hunt down Pooh’s house at the base of one of them. Visitors leave Pooh gifts and honey here.

Discover history at Hastings Museum and Gallery

At this museum in the historic seaside town of Hastings, families will uncover art, heritage and history from around the world. The ‘Before Hastings’ and ‘Story of Hastings ‘ galleries showcase items from before 1066 and up to the present day. There’s a dinosaur and fossils gallery and a fascinating Native North America exhibition too. Durbar Hall displays a magnificent collection of artefacts from India, the Far East and Australasia. Entry is free but visitors must prebook. Donations are welcome. Photo credit: Hastings Museum & Art Gallery.

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Joanna White
March 22, 2022
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