Activities for families and children

Mayfield, Five Ashes and the local area offer a wide range of activities for families and their children.

In the villages themselves, there are children’s playgrounds in Court Meadow, Mayfield (entrance by the Memorial Hall) and next to Five Ashes Village Hall.  Both sites have large playing fields suitable for ball games and in Court Meadow there is also a skate park and tarmac basketball area.

Accessible on foot from Mayfield and Five Ashes, the surrounding countryside provides plenty of opportunities for walks, rambles, rides and nature exploration; and there is the fantastic windmill at Argos Hill to discover.

Within an easy hour’s car journey are: the site of the Battle of Hastings; three castles to explore; centres for sailing, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, trampolining, cycling, high ropes, zip wires, skiing, snowboarding and even ice curling; the forest of Winnie-the-Pooh to explore including the Poohsticks Bridge; a zoo; an observatory; a llama park; cinemas and theatres; the Seven Sisters and the South Downs; and much more.

The sea is only 40 minutes away with seaside resorts like Eastbourne and Hastings offering a traditional range of English seaside delights including piers.  The beaches in Sussex are mainly shingle but you can find large expanses of sand at low tide at Bexhill and Hastings.  There are also good beaches at Birling Gap (more secluded and with interesting rocks) and Eastbourne.   The nearest really sandy beach is at Camber Sands, well known for its dunes, which is just over an hour away by car.

The table below shows many of the sites and activities catering specifically for family and children within an hour from Mayfield and Five Ashes (Note that if your family has specific interests in culture, heritage, sport or even shopping, you might want to look at our more general list of activities) :

AttractionDistance (miles)Minutes by carBrief description
Abbots Wood1730Abbot's Wood offers visitors waymarked forest trails, barbecues and picnic sites. There is also a large grass area for ball games. Also family-friendly stargazing trails.
Alfriston1840A beautiful village set on the South Downs Way with a historic High Street and buildings such as the 14th century Clergy House
Argos Hill Windmill25A Grade 2* listed building dating from 1835, one of only 50 surviving post mills in England, a landmark and a fine example of Sussex millwrighting
Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trail, nr Polegate1730Open in April for 5 weeks. 7 interesting walks over 3 working farms. 1 km route through Bluebell woods suitable for wheelchair users
Arlington Reservoir and Nature Reserve1730120 acres of spectacular and beautiful landscape. A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a prized location for bird watchers and visitors to the picturesque Osprey Trail. The reservoir waters are also renowned for fishing.
Arllngton Speedway Stadium1525Home of Eastbourne Eagles for speedway racing
Ashdown Forest1025The 6500 acres of Ashdown Forest are mainly heathland and provide spectacular walks and views. Well known as the 'home' of Winnie-the-Pooh. In the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with national and international protection for its wildlife.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells1025Classical, opera, music, musical, family, dance, spoken word, variety theatre
Battle1630Home to the ruined Benedictine Abbey above the site of the Battle of Hastings, this charming town has many attractions, restaurants and galleries
Battle Abbey and 1066 Battlefield1635Site of the Battle of Hastings and ruined Benedictine Abbey
Battle Museum1635 Set within the beautiful, originally Elizabethan, walled gardens of The Almonry, Battle Museum of Local History preserves and exhibits hundreds of fascinating artefacts from the town's past
Bayham Old Abbey1025Impressive ruins, built from golden local sandstone, include much of the 13th to 15th-century church, the chapter house, and a 14th-century gatehouse. Set in grounds designed by famous landscape gardener Humphry Repton. Rooms in the 'Georgian Gothick' dower house are open for visitors to experience.
Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest1230One of the world's finest conifer collections, a centre for International conifer conservation, and a beautiful place for walks and picnics. Bedgebury Forest is ideal for cycling, walking, running and riding, adventure play and Go Ape.
Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum1325Wildfowl reserve, living willow tunnels, woods, adventure playground, motor museum, house and gardens, craft workshops, miniature railway and Shetland ponies
Bewl Water Country Park1025At 800 acres, the largest stretch of open water in the South East, set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Open all year, a visit to this stunning lake is fantastic family fun and great value. Healthy, outdoor fun for all ages and abilities. Activities include fishing, cycling, walking, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and rowing. Includes a conference venue
Birling Gap and Seven Sisters2445National Trust. Walk, go rockpooling or simply relax in the sun with views of the Seven Sisters cliffs
Black Cap2245National Trust. A classic downland experience with secret woodland glades. Enjoy a walk far from the crowds, find a sunken track lined with flowers, a hilltop panorama, and the myriad colours of a secret woodland
Bluebell Railway1530A steam railway line running for 11 mi along the border between East and West Sussex
Bodiam Castle1635National Trust. Archetypal 14th century moated castle with ruined interior - a glimpse of medieval splendour
Bowles Outdoor Centre615Bowles provides high quality outdoor education through extremely passionate well qualified staff, amazing facilities, home cooked food and an ethos of learning though experience.  Activities include skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, school trips, birthday parties and activity clubs.
Brighton2860Home to the Brighton Pavilion, an arts and cultural centre with quaint shopping areas. Home to Brighton and Hove Albion, the nearest premier league team
Brighton Open Air Theatre2955425 capacity Open Air Theatre in Dyke Road Park, Hove open from 1st May to 30th September
Camber Castle2955English Heritage site, known formerly as Winchelsea Castle, a 16th-century Device Fort, builtby King Henry VIII. Monthly guided tours Aug-Oct
Chartwell2350National Trust. Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill
Chimera Climbing Centre1230Made by climbers for climbers. Some of the finest indoor bouldering in the South East of England
Congress Theatre, Eastbourne2150 Grade II* listed, purpose built, theatre and conference venue built in 1963. host to touring West End musicals and plays, ballet, opera, comedy and live music
Cuckmere Valley / Cuckmere Haven2350National Trust. Flower-rich chalk grassland with stunning views of the Cuckmere River. Perfectly situated for field studies at Frog Firle Farm
De La Warr Pavilion2250Established in 1935, modern ever since. Exhibitions, comedy, music, peformance, broadcast & film, family shows, workshops
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne2250Grade II listed small Victorian Theatre presenting major touring productions and one-night shows
Ditching Beacon2750National Trust. Panoramic views from the top of world
Drusilla's Park, nr Alfriston183510-acre zoo near to Alfriston, in East Sussex, UK. Its exhibits are targeted towards children between 2 and 10 years
Dunloran Park1120Landscaped park and grounds totalling approximately 78 acres with a 6-acre lake, a Grecian temple and ornamental fountain
Eastbourne2345"Endless blue skies, sweeping South Downs countryside, colourful art scene and warm sunshine". Home to the Eastbourne International Airshow and Eastbourne International Tennis Tournament
Eastbourne Pier2340Seaside pleasure pier dating from 1870. Jazz lounge, restaurant, nightclub, fish & chips, tea rooms
Electric Palace 2355Compact, arthouse cinema, screening classic and world films, with a bar and a live-events programme.
Eridge Rocks Nature Reserve817A majestic sandstone rock outcrop among mixed woodland with giant boulders some ten metres high, a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the community of plants growing. Areas for climbing.
Fenton's Rink, Tunbridge Wells1020England's only ice curling rink, open October to April
Forest Garden, Shovelstrode2040Secluded luxury camping in two yurts and a beautiful log cabin, wide range of traditional woodland craft courses and a Forest Garden. An open woodland ecosystem is created using a mix of both common and unusual plants, trees and shrubs.
Friston Forest2245Forestry Commission. Friston Forest offers a number of waymarked routes for visitors to explore the beech woods. Its undulating terrain makes it popular with walkers and mountain bikers. Also horse riding, stargazing and barbeque (BBQ) sites
Go Ape, Bedgebury1230Enjoy two to three hours in the trees taking on Zip Wires, Tarzan Swings, Rope Ladders and a variety of obstacles and crossings - something for everyone on a family day out.
Groombridge Place and The Enchanted Forest1225Including a formal Knot and Oriental Garden, a Secret Garden, the white rose garden and the Drunken Garden, a favourite of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Giant chess set, pretty tree lined forest paths with water pools, giant tree swings, a raised board walk with zip wires and rope swings, wooden bridges, a maze and Crusoe’s World. Birds of prey, peacocks, Zedonk (half zebra, half donkey) and wild fallow deer
Grosvenor and Hilbert Park1130Tunbridge Wells' oldest public park and still contains some original historic features, such as the lake and grottoes or 'dripping wells. Includes 2 woods with streams running through
Hadlow Down Traction Engine Rally412Beginning of June - traction engine rally, veteran and classic cars, model and narrow-gauge railways, Jessett collection of mechanical musical instruments, vintage farm machinery. Model railway exhibition in September
Hailsham Pavilion1430Fully independent cinema, live music venue and theatre. Mainstream and classic films, plus music shows and theatre productions in an Edwardian auditorium.
Harrisons Rocks1021A sandstone crag near Groombridge, owned and managed by the BMC for the benefit of climbers and the general public for recreation on foot.
Hastings Old Town2250The extent of Hastings before the 19th century. Annual events include the Old Town Week, Jack In The Green, the Seafood and Wine Festival, and the Bonfire Procession.
Hastings Pier2250Summer marquee events including opera, pirate trail, giant water slide, camera obscura, restaurants and bars, fish & chips, community theatre, workshops,work placements
Heathfield Agricultural Show410Held at the end of May, a proud showcase of the products and produce of The High Weald, with cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, crafts, farmers' market, flower show, education centre, vintage tractors
Herstmonceux Castle1635Herstmonceux Castle Gardens and Grounds is a 300 acre estate including woodland, formal themed gardens and a 15th century moated castle. It is an International Study Centre for Queen’s University in Canada and hosts students, tourists, residential conferences, corporate events and weddings
Herstmonceux Observatory Science Centre1635Spectacular hands-on science and discovery among the domes and telescopes of a world famous astronomical observatory. Children's workshops
Hever Castle and Gardens2140Experience 700 years of history and award-winning gardens at the romantic double-moated 13th century Hever Castle once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
High Rocks National Monument1120Acres of breathtaking sandstone rocks interlinked with eleven bridges, provide a scenic walk in a tranquil woodland setting
Kino, Hawkhurst1330Boutique entertainment venue with HD projection and sound. The first purely digital cinema in UK. Glyndebourne live screenings
Knockhatch Adventure Park1530Owl sanctuary, farm animals, soft play, cannon arena, adventure play area, boating, bungee trampoline, drop slide, go-karts, mini quads, laser game, waterslide
Lavendar Line Railway1430A preserved railway that boasts a fantastic family atmosphere. The railway travels for a two mile round trip. Steam and diesel
Leeds Castle2855“THE LOVELIEST CASTLE IN THE WORLD”. Discover almost 900 years of history and explore 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens. The whole family will enjoy the maze and grotto, thrilling falconry displays, punting on the moat, adventure playgrounds and more!
Lewes Little Theatre1735Home of Lewes Theatre Club and thriving Lewes Theatre Youth Group, six to eight main stage productions per year andadditional touring events
Litlington Chalk Horse2040Chalk (white) figure of a horse cut out on a hillside in the Cuckmere Valley
Little Foxes Copse, Five Ashes25A fascinating opportunity to experience a woodland creation site set in the beautiful rolling landscape of the High Weald. The mixed native trees and shrubs, planted over two decades up to 20001, now fit snugly into the landscape.
Llama Park1430Park with Llamas, Alpacas, Reindeer, Goats, Sheep, Pigs. Geese, Ducks, Chickens, Peafowl. Walks, childrens' play area, food
Long Man of Wilmington2050A hill figure on the steep slopes of Windover Hill near Wilmington 6 miles northwest of Eastbourne and ¹⁄₃ mile south of Wilmington
Michelham Priory & Gardens1530A former Augustine Priory surrounded by England’s longest medieval water filled moat. Physic and medieval water garden, trails, dressing up and hands-on activities
National Cat Centre1535Visitors to our rehoming centre in Chelwood Gate, Sussex, can meet our feline residents and talk with our dedicated team about the best cat for you and your home.  As well as a nature trail (and a few resident donkeys), we have a welcoming café and gift shop stuffed with all things cat.
Nutley Windmill1025Standing in the beautiful Ashdown Forest, the last Open Trestle Post Mill in Sussex & one of only 5 left in the country. The best preserved and only operational windmill is Sussex based on a design used since the 12th C
Nuts4Climbing1025Offering the highest quality outdoor climbing courses for adults available in the South East. The closest outdoor climbing venue to London, priding itself on offering first class low-ratio coaching to climbers of all levels and abilities. Also sells climbing equipment
Odeon Cinema1330Multiplex cinema
Opus Theatre, Hastings2350high quality concerts, recitals, opera, dance, art films, theatre, workshops, literary groups, lectures, the visual arts and more
Pevensey Castle2135A medieval castle and former Roman Saxon Shore fort. An English Heritage site and a Scheduled Monument
Pevensey Court House Museum & Goal2035Amazing history from the Romans to 1945. Children's discovery trails
Picture House, Uckfield1020Award-winning 2 screen independent cinema. New releases, classics, theme nights and cultural screenings from National Theatre and Royal Opera.
Polegate Windmill1725Built in 1817. See website for openings time of windmill and museum, and for tours
Pooh Sticks Bridge1435Play Pooh Sticks on the bridge where Christopher Robin first played it with Winnie-the-Pooh. Pooh Car Park near Chuck Hatch is about half a mile away by footpath. Pooh Corner tea room and gift shop is nearby in Upper Hartfield
Rother Valley Railway1430Reconstructing the Kent & East Sussex steam railway from Robertsbridge to Bodiam
Scotney Castle1025National Trust property. Country house, romantic garden, 14th century moated castle - all in a beautiful wooded estate. With plenty of family activities on offer and over 780 acres of parkland and woodland to explore as well as the house and garden and Old Castle.
Seven Sisters Country Park including Friston Forest and Visitor Centre, Exceat2445The area has a long and interesting history, including some fascinating shipwrecks. SSCP is a great place to explore on foot, by bicycle or by canoe, particularly along the spectacular meanders of the Cuckmere River. The Visitor Centre, situated in an 18th century barn, has displays and exhibitions.
Sheffield Park and Gardens1530National Trust property. Acres of landscape garden bordered by historic parkland and woodland. Something for everyone with family activities
Sissinghurst Castle Garden1940National Trust. Historic, poetic, iconic; a refuge dedicated to beauty. Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and created a world renowned garden.
Spa Valley Railway920Heritage steam railway offering driver and railway events, dining, children's events and days out, as well as steam journeys through the wonderful Kent and Sussex countryside and where each station is a destination with its own attractions
Sussex Farms Museums and Nature Trail, Horam820The Museum and nature trails show country life as it was 100 years ago. Inside are areas displaying agricultural tools, stable equipment, the dairy, forge and countryside sports.
The Curzon, Eastbourne23503-screen cinema showing main releases, live streaming of National Theatre and RSC productions and some foreign-language releases
The Forum920An independent music venue in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent with a standing capacity of 250.  It has hosted many famous singers and acts.
The Hub Theatre, Haywards Heath2145Central Sussex College’s working theatre environment with the latest industry-standard technology to provide students with an outstanding theatre space
The Old Loom Mill1630Agricultural buildings converted into a craft centre, offering large selections of discounted knitting wool, fabrics, local crafts and gifts in the South of England. Workshops, pottery painting and birthday parties
The Truggery2955Grade II listed building presenting a range of West End and touring musicals and plays, opera and ballet as well as Creative Learning events, workshops and courses. Capacity of 952.
Tonbridge Oast Theatre1840112 seat theatre based in an old oast house. Home to the Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club
Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells1025Mix of classical theatre/music/films/visual arts and children's theatre with animation and puppetry.
Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery1025Special exhibitions, collection of Tunbridge wooden ware, objects of the month. Explorer backpacks, gallery trails and colouring books for children.
Urban Jump Trampoline Park615Trampoline park, Soft play, Urban Rainforest, Foam pits, Climbing wall, Slam dunk, Dodgeball, Battle beam
White Rock Theatre, Hastings2250Large venue for classical and rock music, stand-up comedians, circus, panto and community events.
Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down41062 acres of chestnut coppice with stands of beech, scots pine, douglas, cedar and giant sequoia. A cafe, a workshop, a home, a kitchen garden, a marquee, and camping shelters
Windmill Hill Windmill1330The windmill at Windmill Hill. Transformed from a neglected ruin to a working mill…..
Winter Garden Theatre, Eastbourne2350Wide variety of entertainment including tea dances, old-style music shows, comedy club and conferences in the Floral Hall and Gold Room

On smaller screens, please select the “+” buttons on the table for more details