Let’s Go Outside…
Sussex has enough outside space for everyone to enjoy a bit of its life-affirming fresh air. But what to do? For some, just being outside is treat enough, but for others it’s all about what you do when you’re out there. So, where can you go this summer in Sussex for a great day out in the open air, and what exciting activities can you undertake?
Crossbush Farm // www.crossbushfarm.co.uk
Crossbush Farm, near Arundel, is a wonderful day trip for young and old. There is a fully stocked, fresh and lovely family-run farm shop on site, as well as a butchery offering up the most delicious meat, all from the farm itself. Apart from the fantastic produce available, there is a mini farm where visitors can feed the animals and immerse themselves in farm life – at least for a while. With a café serving home-cooked food, and activities throughout the year including den building, foraging and crafts, Crossbush Farm should definitely be on your ‘to-see’ list this summer.
The Observatory Science Centre // www.the-observatory.org
Located in idyllic Herstmonceux, The Observatory Science Centre is full of fascinating information and hands-on exhibits that will give you a better understanding of the skies above us and the stars that brighten our nights. Throughout the entire month of August there will be daily telescope tours at the observatory where there’ll be various different types of telescopes to try out, as well as plenty of experts on hand to guide you through what each one does, and what you can expect to see through them.
South Downs Ballooning // www.southdownsballooning.co.uk
‘Interesting’, ‘fun’, ‘special’…these are just a few of the words used to describe how it feels to fly in a hot air balloon with South Downs Ballooning. Starting in Chichester, Worthing, Brighton, Fernhurst, or Wosborough Green (depending on where the weather dictates is the best take off venue), the balloon flights are, for the most part, down to the direction of the wind and how far the basket can travel, although a skilled ballooning pilot will also be able to steer and maintain the correct direction. As well as daylight flights, evening flights are also possible and can be booked for a romantic date or anniversary. Upgrade your flight with champagne and experience something that will take your breath away!
Go Ape // www.goape.co.uk
Tilgate Park in Crawley is the venue for Sussex’s Go Ape adventure. This is an excellent base from which to fling yourself into the trees and embark on an adventure that will take you to lofty places that no human usually gets to go. These highwire treetop adventures, in addition to zipline fun, are suitable for anyone over the age of 6 (although 6-12 year olds have their own special junior course) who has a sense of adventure and a head for heights! The original adventure includes Tarzan swings, rope bridges, high-rise obstacles, and an enormous zipwire among other fabulous games. This one-of-a-kind adventure will kindle the explorer’s spirit within you, and once you have completed the course, the sense of achievement that goes with it will be immense!
Clays 4 U // www.clays4u.co.uk
As one of the south east’s leading clay pigeon shooting venues, Clays 4 U in Brighton is a fun-packed and decidedly different day out that won’t be forgotten in a hurry! This activity is ideal for beginners and experts alike, as the day can be tailored to your skill level. The guns used are specifically designed to have a low recoil, so they are more comfortable to shoot, meaning you can simply enjoy yourself rather than worry about a sore shoulder the next day! Groups can be catered for, as well as smaller parties. Venture out in the gorgeous Sussex countryside and try something new. You never know, this could become your favourite hobby.
Wey & Arun Canal Trust // www.weyandarun.co.uk
Have you ever wanted to truly relax and just mess about on the water in a comfortable, catered boat? Well, now you can, with one of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s fantastic boat trips. There are numerous different boat trips that run throughout the summer including some special events dates. The boats run along the stunning Loxwood Link section of the Wey & Arun Canal, offering passengers the chance to see the area from a different perspective. Upcoming events include Pimm’s and Posh Ploughmans, the Cream Tea Voyage, and the intriguingly named Pirates and Princesses.
Knepp Safaris // www.kneppsafaris.co.uk
There are 10 different safaris to choose from at Knepp, each one focusing on a different part of nature and offering up a unique insight into the beauty of it all. These safaris include the deer rut (where you can watch the battle of the Titans as fallow bucks prove which one is the dominant male), the bee safari, the nightingale safari, and the moth and bat safari. No matter which you choose, you will have an expert with you to explain every aspect of what it is you are seeing, and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Not only that, but if you have something more specific in mind then a bespoke safari can be put together for you.
The Knepp Castle Estate, just south of Horsham, is a 3,500-acre estate that has been owned by the same family (the Burrells) for over 200 years. In that time, the estate has gone from being purely farmland to offering exciting and informative ‘wildland’ safaris.
TJ Board Hire // www.tjboardhire.co.uk
The object behind every lesson at TJ Board Hire in West Sussex is to get people out on the water and show them how to enjoy it. Paddle boarding here includes a two-hour introduction to ensure that you can meet all the safety requirements, and to explain how to use the board – after this, you can roam free out on the water, setting ‘sail’ from Bognor Regis seafront. Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a fantastic workout for your core, and it’s fun too – what more could you ask for?
The Real Flying Company // www.realflyingcompany.com
The Real Flying Company, based at Shoreham Airport, offers trial flying lessons in both their modern and vintage aircraft. Each plane is equipped with full dual controls, allowing you to actually fly the machine through the clouds and enjoy spectacular views over Sussex and beyond. You will, of course, have an experienced pilot with you at all times, so you can enjoy the chance to get behind the controls of one of these awesome aircraft and soar like never before! You don’t need to have any flying experience, and you can choose between one and two passenger (plus pilot) flights.
Deers Leap // www.deersleap.co.uk
Deers Leap in East Grinstead is a multi-activity centre that offers a range of fun things to do including mountain biking, orienteering, pond dipping, archery, bushcraft (start a fire, build a shelter, try to survive in the wilderness), falconry, and even bootcamp fitness. You can arrange a themed party here, helped by the experts, or you can go for the day to see what takes your fancy. Deers Leap is set in 240 acres of gorgeous Sussex woodland, offering you the chance to really get away from it all and discover more about you and your abilities in the great outdoors.
Mulberry Divers // www.mulberrydivers.co.uk
If you have ever wanted to learn to SCUBA dive, visit Mulberry Divers in Selsey. Offering a variety of world recognised courses, such as the SSI (Scuba Schools International) Open Water Course, you can understand the fundamentals of diving, learn about the equipment required, and get a taster for underwater life. If you are already a qualified diver then you can top up your skills with speciality courses including underwater photography and navigation.
Evolution Climbing // www.evolutionclimbing.co.uk
If you really want to experience the outdoors from a new perspective, why not try rock climbing? This particular activity will get the adrenalin going, and, thanks to East Sussex’s (Evolution Climbing is based in Crowborough) easily accessible local sandstone outcrops, the chance to try your hand (and your other hand, and your feet) at rock climbing has never been easier. That’s not to say the actual climbing is easy – far from it – but there will be expert tuition available for anyone who wants and needs it, as well as safety briefings and information. And, if you’d rather start small, there is an indoor climbing wall as well.