six things to do with kids this half-term week
Finally, a school holiday that doesn’t require us to use an entire week’s annual leave. God bless the Queen. Here at BOTI, we’ve created a round-up of fun things to do with little ones over the half-term and Jubilee weekend.
The Anchor Inn & Boating
What better way to soak up this weather than to enjoy a scenic river cruise. Roll up your sleeves and put on your best Oxford or Cambridge boating game face and navigate your way down the River Ouse from The Anchor Inn along to Fish Ladder Falls. The area is home to a variety of species of fish and wild birds to keep little ones entertained during the journey. Just make sure your captain is good at steering away from the trees, otherwise your family day out could turn into a search and rescue operation.
BOTI tip: Make sure you head to The Anchor Inn after your boat trip. Tired mums and dads can enjoy a well-deserved drink in this idyllic riverside pub.
Open daily 10.30am – 5pm; a round trip to the falls starts at £4/ hour
Anchor Lane, Barcombe, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5EA
Washbrooks Family Farm
Take the kids outside to enjoy the fresh air this half-term at Washbrooks. There’s a host of things to do at this family favourite, from meeting a variety of adorable farm animals, to letting loose in their impressive outdoor adventure playground. If you want to wear the kids out for the day, Washbrooks is a great shout as it boasts over two acres of space for little ones to explore. Even if the weather turns drizzly, there’s an indoor play area suitable for under-eights that includes sides, a ball pit and climbing area. And, to celebrate the Jubilee, the Washbrooks tearoom will be serving a traditional themed afternoon tea, which we’ve been told is fit for a queen.
BOTI tip: Don’t forget to check out the ball cannon area, which is usually occupied by dads reliving their best paintballing moves.
Open daily 9.30am – 5pm; from £9 (no need to book)
Brighton Road, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, BN6 9EF
Drusillas Park near Alfriston is widely regarded as the crowning glory of family theme parks in East Sussex. Despite the entrance fees raising an eyebrow or two, we can’t deny how much there is on offer. New for half term is The Rainforest Adventure, which includes some family-friendly rides. Take a spin on Toucan Twister, reach for the sky on Amazon Skyrise and meet some new animal friends on Jungle Jeeps. To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, there will be a commemorative royal-themed train ride, special decorations in ‘Cluckingham’ Palace and the zoo has just welcomed the arrival of Queenie and Duke – cotton-top tamarin (a type of small monkey) twins. Be sure to give them a royal wave when you spot them. For parents of SEN children, SPARK, the fully interactive and immersive experience is well worth a visit and little eyes will marvel in wonder.
BOTI tip: Take your own food and drink. You won’t get any change from a twenty-pound note.
Open daily 10am – 6pm, last admission at 5pm; from £30.50
Alfriston Road, East Sussex, BN26 5QS
Closer to home, the Volk’s railway (feature pic) is back up and running for the summer season and we couldn’t be happier! Ride along Brighton’s seafront on the 135-year-old electric railway. Play ‘I spy’ along the journey and try to get a glimpse of the new Brighton Beach House and all the buff bods at Yellowave Beach Sports. At Black Rock, you can check out the new 850m boardwalk, which runs from the Black Rock station to the Volk’s Workshop at the junction of Duke’s Mount. The boardwalk is accessible to all, making it perfect for buggies. It also boasts a host of stop-off points and seating areas for tired little legs.
BOTI tip: Prepare to give your best royal wave along the journey.
Open daily; times vary during the week, 10.30am – 6.15pm Saturday and Sunday; from £2.70
Madeira Drive, Brighton, BN2 1FY
Knockhatch Adventure Park
Only a 40-minute drive from Brighton, Knockhatch is an indoor and outdoor adventure experience with a children’s farm and owl sanctuary on site. There are plenty of things to do here, including exploring the slides and nets in the playbarn, experiencing the dinosaur safari simulator ride, bouncing on the jumping pillows or playing in the chestnut wood adventure playground. The owl sanctuary is particularly worth a visit, especially if you catch the daily owl display. One thing’s for sure, the kids will certainly nod off on the return drive home.
BOTI tip: You can’t visit Knockhatch without conquering the ‘death’ slide.
Open daily 10am – 5.30pm; from £9.99
Hailsham Bypass, Hailsham, BN27 3GD
Wrap up! Kids’ cabaret club
Spun Glass Theatre has launched Brighton’s first kids’ cabaret club at parent-friendly work space Wrap. It’s the perfect way to introduce children to cabaret performance skills as it puts them at the heart of the experience. The resident compere will welcome you into the Wrap Up speakeasy, kick off the party atmosphere and perform comedy songs about current events, which are important to children and young people. Expect the best cabaret guests, as well as Wrap Up’s resident performers, presenting child-friendly versions of classic cabaret acts with shows changing each week.
BOTI tip: This is a perfect opportunity for any budding performers.
Performances from 30th May – 6th June will run at the following times: 11am, 12.15pm, 2pm, 3.15pm and 4.30pm; from £10
Wrap Play Cafe, 8 Frederick Place, Brighton, BN1 3XE
Get tickets [We’ve been offered a special promo code for BOTI readers. For 20 percent off, just enter Brightonontheinside (two ‘ons’ for once!) when booking]
By Danielle Baird