Autumnal outdoor activities in Sussex
Stepping outside on a true autumn day, hearing the comforting crackle of fallen leaves underfoot and seeing cobwebs covered in dew drops that wave in the breeze is a magical thing. We are so lucky in Sussex to be able to experience autumn across a range of glorious landscapes, and whether the day is chilly and heralding winter, or warm; still waving goodbye to summer, there will always be something exciting to do.
A Walk In The Park
Wherever you live in the county, you won’t be far from a country park. There are many of them to choose from, and each one offers something unique to the area, be that an perfect picnic setting, or a chance to see gardening techniques at their finest. For a simple, fun day exploring, Sussex’s country parks are ideal. Some of the best include: Seven Sisters, Southwater, Buchan, Ditchling Common and Worth Way, and the National Trust website lists lots of other great options too: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/gardens-and-parks-in-sussex
Wildside Survival // www.wildsidesurvival.co.uk
Bushcraft is a fun and fulfilling way to get right back to nature as you learn how to fend for yourself in the wilderness of Sussex. At Wildside Survival, you can try a number of different courses including a family bushcraft day, so that little ones can get involved. As well as this, there are courses on navigation, team building, survivalist skills and foraging; learn from the experts and see Sussex as it was always meant to be.
Electric Bikes Sussex // www.electricbikessussex.co.uk
Autumn is a great time to get out on your bike to explore the Sussex countryside; it’s not too hot, not too cold, but just right for those who want to head out on two wheels. Although many people like the idea of getting on their bikes and heading off into the unknown (or even the well known) paths of our county, we’re just not all up to it fitness wise. Thanks to Brighton-based, Electric Bikes Sussex, now everyone can enjoy that feeling of the wind in their hair – hire an electric bike and you’ll get all of the pleasure of cycling with hardly any of the work. There are a number of gorgeous cycle routes all across Sussex, so once you’ve hired your state-of-the-art bike, you can set off on your travels.
Plush Tents Glamping // www.plushtentsglamping.co.uk
Camping and autumn aren’t often considered compatible – not when there’s a risk of damp weather and mud. The creators of Plush Tents Glamping understand that camping isn’t for everyone though, which is why they created Plush Tents – an opportunity for couples, families, non-campers and campers alike to enjoy the great outdoors in comfort. Plush Tents is set in a gorgeous location close to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve, but despite its back-to-nature location, you can still luxuriate in your favourite home comforts. Choose from a range of different tents including opulent yurts with cosy throws and a wood-burning stove, or the Lotus Bell pod with its heavenly real bed.
Hawkerwood Hovercraft // www.hawkerwoodhovercraft.co.uk
At Hawkerwood Hovercraft in Crawley you can enjoy some adrenalin-pumping activities and the weather won’t matter. Flying in a hovercraft will see you speeding along at one foot above the ground; it’s an experience like no other. Visit for a taster session or a full track day and you’ll soon understand just why hovercrafting can become so addictive!
Hailsham Treasure Trail // www.treasuretrails.co.uk
The Hailsham treasure trail is a murder mystery that’s suitable for all ages, giving you the chance to learn more about the town as you go. As you follow the trail route, you solve the sneaky clues set on existing buildings, permanent features and monuments to eliminate the suspects to discover whodunit. The trails are downloadable online, and once you have your trail booklet, you can set off on your adventure. The Hailsham trail is little more than a mile long, and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete, but treasure trails can be found all over Sussex including Bexhill, Lewes and Hastings.
Although it’s doubtful you’ll be sunbathing in the autumn, there is nothing quite like a walk across a windswept beach. If you’re inclined to do more than simply watch the waves, Sussex’s beaches play host to a number of different activities from sea safaris to spot seals, surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, art classes, yoga and more – look online at your chosen beach, or speak to the local tourist information office for more details.
Observatory Science Centre // www.the-observatory.org
Stargazing is one of the few activities in the world that can make you truly appreciate the vastness of the universe, so when the Observatory Science Centre holds one of its famous open evenings, you should definitely make the time to visit. On a crisp, clear autumn evening the view into space is unparalleled, and thanks to the experts who will be guiding you, you will be able to see more than you ever realised was out there.
Wilderness Wood // www.wildernesswood.org
Wilderness Wood is 62 acres of award-winning woodland located in Hadlow Down, East Sussex, and there are events and workshops that run throughout the year there to explain what sustainability really is. Coming up over the autumn season you can learn about fungi (and whether eating them equals ‘death or dinner’); a Saxon quest for children; how to create a shelter in the woods; or, ‘mud pies and other recipes’.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve // www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/visit/rye-harbour
The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is one of Britain’s most important conservation sites. It has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), as well as being a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area for Birds. There are many wonderful miles of walks here, and along the way you can enjoy five different birdwatching hides, which are all accessible to wheelchairs. The nature reserve includes saltmarsh, coastal grazing marsh, gravel pits, shingle, saline lagoons and more.