As lockdown restrictions continue to ease and the summer holidays are upon us already; I’m sure like us you’ve exhausted most avenues in terms of keeping the children busy and are perhaps looking for some new things to do and explore over the summer holiday period?

We asked our resident blogger Chloe to help out with some ideas!

Below you’ll find a range of different suggestions; whether it be walks, hidden gems, activities or playgrounds – we’ve done the research, so you don’t have to!

We’d love to hear if you try any of the suggestions and what your thoughts are so please do share them with us!

If nature and natural exploration is your thing; then how about following the nature trail at Ditchling Common packed full of facts and information on the pond life that resides there, as well as a number of different routes to suit different people, this beautiful expanse of nature is perfect for exploring and nature spotting.

Similarly, Ardingly Reservoir is a birdwatchers heaven, with stunning views to boot! Even better, you can even swing by the stunning Ouse Valley Viaduct on your way through, or follow the route down to the viaduct if it takes your fancy!  If you are feeling more active you can always try out a new watersport at Ardingly Activity Centre.

One of our favourite nature walks has to be the stunning Swanbourne Lake in Arundel; not only can you take a boat out onto the lake, feed the ducks, grab an ice cream, but there’s also a vast woodland trail you can follow and explore all around the lake, with trees to climb and nature to spot, the kids certainly won’t have time to be bored here!

Many National Trust gardens have re-opened now, but you’ll need to be prepared and book in advance, but any of our local gardens are certainly worth the preparation! Our favourites, whatever the weather, have got to be Nyman’s, Wakehurst and Sheffield Park – all with their own stunning paths and features to explore, you won’t be disappointed. If you aren’t a member it can be pricey but an expense we can highly recommend as we guarantee you will have the most wonderful time!

If art and history are a keen interest in your family, then Petworth House also offers the most incredible tour – you might even see the infamous deer on your adventure through the gardens and grounds!

For many parents, playgrounds and parks re-opening was an absolute joy! But we appreciate that for others the thought of a busy bustling park during the summer holidays may not be your idea of fun.

How about trying one of the bigger, lesser-known parks and playgrounds rather than the usual West Park, Tarring Park, Victoria Park type haunts?!

Tilgate Park in Crawley offers so much for the whole family and is big enough for you to socially distance and for the children to have a whole day of fun!

Similarly, Horsham Park hosts an extensive play area, outdoor gym and loads of open space for picnics and games!

The Level in Brighton is another great park offering something for the whole family; sandpits, play areas and skate parks – you’ll certainly tire them out here!

Got a speed demon on your hands? Looking for somewhere that they can scoot/cycle/skate to their heart’s content?! Well, our promenade is a great expanse of flat path to follow but can get busy when the weather is good!

How about a beachside scoot? Then why not head to Littlehampton and scoot from one end to the other!?

The lesser-known, but perfect skate/scoot/cycle route underneath the cliffs behind Brighton Marina offers 5k of flat paths, chalky cliff views and brings you to the stunning Saltdean beach if you’re lucky the tide will be out and you can explore the incredible rock pools when you reach Ovingdean!

Looking for something suitable for the younger ones? How about our very own Gull Island? Handily situated a stone’s throw from Coast and other café options, accessible parking, a sandpit and climbing equipment, what more could you want to keep them entertained?!

Tablehurst Farm in East Sussex is also brilliant for children under 5; with an array of animals, tractors to play on, drop slides and a first-hand view of the farmers at work, this farm is a brilliant option to keep the smaller ones entertained.

Similarly, Bedgebury Forest is perfect for your little Julia Donaldson fan as you can follow the Zog Trail through the woodlands, who knows, you might even find The Gruffalo!? Bedgebury Forest also hosts its own unique playground which is sure to be a hit!

Hollingbury Hill Fort offers manageable paths, woodlands and leads to a stunning clay pond if the little legs make it that far; but even so listening to the hive of activity of the crickets in the long grass is enough to keep them going as they hunt for nature and you take in the incredible views!

You can’t go wrong with an adventure to find the wild horses at Cissbury Ring, nor will you want to miss greeting the cows and sheep as you explore Ditchling Beacon, but if seashore exploration is your thing then we can’t recommend the utterly beautiful Birling Gap enough!

Looking for activities to capture their attention this summer? Then why not try crabbing in Littlehampton? Catch the train around Hotham Park and explore everything that the stunning Preston Park Rockery has to offer?

You may want to Alpaca your bags and head into East Sussex (see what we did there!) where you can walk an Alpaca at Spring Farm Alpacas.  Please note that they get booked up very far in advance and the minimum age for walking (accompanied) is years old, and to walk an Alpaca unaccompanied is 12 years old.  You can find all the information you need on that here. We would recommend calling them to check on their availability first on 01825 790885.

If Llamas are more your jam you could always take a drive up to the very beautiful Ashdown Forest to visit the Llama Park which is now open.  They have plenty of outdoor space to roam freely, a play park, loads of fluffy animals of all descriptions and a wonderful Tea Room and Coffee Shop where you can rest your legs and enjoy a cuppa and something yummy after your trek back up the hill. 

We hope we’ve provided some inspiration for a fun-packed summer for you and your family – if there’s anything else you discover, do be sure to let us know!