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April 8, 2017

Castles live in our heads as much as they linger in our landscape, and Bodiam has enough portcullises, turrets and winding staircases to last a child's lifetime: our three-year-old son absolutely loved it. And so did every other small person I saw running, exploring, climbing, gazing, playing, thinking and stumbling round this 14th-century moated palace. Bring your kids and they'll be in seventh heaven for two hours. Bring a picnic and a frisbee, and you've got a day taken care of.

I have to say, though, I did wonder as we approached it, why the land just 500 metres to the north was as high as the castle's highest turrets. Odd, I thought, as I imagined mediaeval Trebuchets (yes I am a history geek) stood on these hills launching rocks, burning oil and oh yes, severed heads down...

April 4, 2017

A mile south east of Battle is a little woodland that feels like a lost kingdom. Swamps, wooden walkways edging over the water beneath on stilts, dark rivulets diving off the path hinting at hidden watercourses and crown-like tussocks of reeds staring at you across the darkling mere.

Walking down from the car park along the Catsfield-to-Battle road (Powdermill Lane), the traffic noise disappears after you turn left and head down into the deeper woods. A concrete track takes you down to a wooden footbridge and there the fun begins. We'll leave the directions once inside the wood for you to find out – it's simple – but it's so worth a visit.

One to two hours can be spent here if you've got kids as there are coppiced areas of hazel and alder which are s...

March 18, 2017

It felt like Mike Carver, our guide, was born to do this, as we were taken on a tour of the 'citadel', or walled centre, of Rye. This two-hour tour flew past, filled with revealing insights, anecdotes and architectural surprises. I found myself feeling underneath an exposed brick of an ancient house to prove to me that it wasn't a brick at all but a tile – to avoid the 'brick tax' of 1784-1850. He has a wealth of dates and names at his fingertips which are delivered with such easygoing authority that you soon found yourself feeling rather childlike and enthused with the vitality of this town. Mike has a Masters and has taught history in the area for 20 years, with a special interest in the mediaeval period and his background, and his obvious interest shows. It felt like the ancient stree...

March 1, 2017

West

Egg Hunt on the South Downs Light Railway, Pulborough

14, 15 & 17 April, departs every 15 minutes between 11.30am–12.30pm and 1.30pm–3.30pm; £2 adult, £1 child.

If you’re short of cash but looking for something a bit special, head up to Pulborough Garden Centre for a ride on the South Downs Light Railway – a scaled-down but pretty steam train offering egg hunts for £1 per child. Kids look out for the egg pictures around the 15-minute track, mark them down on a form and then exchange them for a chocolate bunny. For £1, it won’t be a massive prize, but you can always bring your own little prize to bolster the reward.

south-downs-railway.com/events.html

Easter Surprises at Fishbourne Roman Palace

17-21 April, 11am–3pm; £9.20 adult, £4.90 child or £25 family ticket (2 adults 4 under-16).

This...

February 25, 2017

You've driven past it and thought, ‘Oh, what a stunning hill! And look at all all those paraglider thingies. Beautiful!’ But have you been up there? Well I’d say it’s worth it. We took our two-year-old and three-month-old up on a gorgeous January Sunday afternoon and were rewarded with a stunning views, a bracing breeze and a thermos of tea. 

Parking is pretty informal. There's a car park at Glynde train station which leaves you only a mile and a bit’s walk up to the village of Glynde and then left at the shop or on a bit and left opposite Gynde Place. But with our kids we just drove westwards along Ranscombe Lane underneath the mount until we came to Caburn cottages, parked the car (after checking with a chap washing his car) and walked straight up through the field (not actually a footp...

February 1, 2017

BY JUSTINE HOLMAN

The first thing we’re told as we enter the new installation at Sea Life Brighton is rather alarming. Crabs, the stars of the aquarium’s latest attraction, ’Claws‘, communicate by urinating on each other’s faces. To myself and my two young companions, this makes us look at these crustaceans in a new light.

There are plenty of other amazing facts and figures in this small but fascinating exhibition, which is situated close to the entrance of the world’s oldest operating aquarium. Dimly lit so you feel as if you are underwater, there is a wide array of shell-dwelling creatures on display.

We’re immediately drawn to stars of the show, two Japanese Spider Crabs. They are huge. We’ve not seen anything like it before. And the circular nature of the tank o...

January 4, 2017

Brighton​​

(For six-week-olds to crawling)

Baby massage

Session included in membership, from £56 per month

It’s not easy being a parent. Male or female, the weight of the role and the many tasks that come with it often mean you forget to enjoy your baby. Baby massage can give you a calm, pleasant dedicated space to focus on nothing but your relationship and, particularly for bottle-feeding mums and full-time dads, a way to really strengthen that bond as part of your daily routine. In this class, parents learn the basic movements, concentrating on a specific area each week. There are a huge number of health benefits too: baby massage can improve circulation and alleviate colic, digestive problems, sleep problems, skin rashes, congestion in the chest, constipation and diarrhoea. Now who wouldn...

April 2, 2016

Yes, yes. The Natural History Museum is wonderful. But being squashed in a queue with other kids screaming every five seconds as the animated Tyrannosaurus Rex roars does lessen your moment, and then your kids just go quiet with fright, before getting weepy and asking to go home.

Now in Sussex you’ve got a beach where the dinosaurs lived and you can still find their footprints. Every low tide, when the water is pulled out to sea by the tug of the moon over the horizon, you can run your hands over the place where their webbed feet once sank into the mud. You don’t need David Attenborough’s voice to drop magic into your children’s – or indeed your own – imagination.

But before the dinosaurs, the first thing to greet you though once the tide’s gone out is a sunken for...

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