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 family and children’s activities available within an hour from Mayfield and Five Ashes:

AttractionDistance (miles)Brief description
Abbots Wood17Abbot'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.
Argos Hill Windmill2A 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 Polegate17Open in April for 5 weeks. 7 interesting walks over 3 working farms. 1 km route through Bluebell woods suitable for wheelchair users
Ashdown Forrest8A deer hunting forest in Norman times and now one of the largest free public access space in the South East. Walk in it, enjoy spectacular views over the Sussex countryside, see its internationally renowned wildlife and and discover the 'home' of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Assembly Halls Theatre, Tunbridge Wells10Classical, opera, music, musical, family, dance, spoken word, variety theatre
Battle Abbey and 1066 Battlefield 16Site of the Battle of Hastings and ruined Benedictine Abbey
Bayham Old Abbey 9The impressive ruins, built from golden local sandstone, include much of the 13th to 15th-century church, the chapter house, and a picturesque 14th-century gatehouse. Bayham Abbey is now set in grounds designed by famous landscape gardener Humphry Repton, who also planned the grounds of Kenwood House in London. Rooms in the 'Georgian Gothick' dower house are open for visitors to experience. See it on the Wealden Tourism Video.
Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest12One 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 Museum13Wildfowl reserve, living willow tunnels, woods, adventure playground, motor museum, house and gardens, craft workshops, miniature railway and Shetland ponies
Bewl Water Country Park10At 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 Sisters24National Trust. Walk, go rockpooling or simply relax in the sun with views of the Seven Sisters cliffs
Bluebell Railway 15A steam railway line running for 11 mi along the border between East and West Sussex
Bodiam Castle 16National Trust. Archetypal 14th century moated castle with ruined interior - a glimpse of medieval splendour
Bowles Outdoor Centre
bowles.rocks
6We provide 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.
Brighton Open Air Theatre29425 capacity Open Air Theatre in Dyke Road Park, Hove open from 1st May to 30th September
Chartwell 23National Trust. Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill
Congress Theatre, Eastbourne21 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 Haven 23National Trust. Flower-rich chalk grassland with stunning views of the Cuckmere River. Perfectly situated for field studies at Frog Firle Farm
De La Warr Pavilion 22Established in 1935, modern ever since. Exhibitions, comedy, music, peformance, broadcast & film, family shows, workshops
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne 22Grade II listed small Victorian Theatre presenting major touring productions and one-night shows
Drusilla's Park, nr Alfriston 1810-acre zoo near to Alfriston, in East Sussex, UK. Its exhibits are targeted towards children between 2 and 10 years
Eastbourne Pier23Seaside pleasure pier dating from 1870. Jazz lounge, restaurant, nightclub, fish & chips, tea rooms
Electric Palace 23Compact, arthouse cinema, screening classic and world films, with a bar and a live-events programme.
Fenton's Rink, Tunbridge Wells 10England's only ice curling rink, open October to April
Forest Garden, Shovelstrode 20Offering secluded luxury camping in one of two yurts and a beautiful log cabin, a wide range of traditional woodland craft courses throughout the year and a Forest Garden, an innovative and highly productive way of gardening.
Friston Forest 22Forestry 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, Bedgebury 12Enjoy 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 Forest12A formal Knot and Oriental Garden, a Secret Garden, the white rose garden and the wonderfully named Drunken Garden, a favourite of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Children will enjoy playing on the giant chess set. The forest includes 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. Animals on view include birds of prey, peacocks, Zedonk (half zebra, half donkey) and wild fallow deer
Hadlow Down Traction Engine Rally 4Beginning 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
Hastings Pier 22Summer marquee events including opera, pirate trail, giant water slide, camera obscura, restaurants and bars, fish & chips, community theatre, workshops,work placements
Heathfield Agricultural Show 4Held 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 Castle 16Herstmonceux 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 Centre 16Spectacular hands-on science and discovery among the domes and telescopes of a world famous astronomical observatory. Children's workshops
Kino, Hawkhurst 13Boutique entertainment venue with HD projection and sound. The first purely digital cinema in UK. Glyndebourne live screenings
Knockhatch Adventure Park15Owl sanctuary, farm animals, soft play, cannon arena, adventure play area, boating, bungee trampoline, drop slide, go-karts, mini quads, laser game, waterslide
Lamb House 28National Trust. Georgian house with literary associations including Henry James
Leeds Castle 28“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 Theatre 17Home of Lewes Theatre Club and thriving Lewes Theatre Youth Group, six to eight main stage productions per year andadditional touring events
Llama Park 14Park with Llamas, Alpacas, Reindeer, Goats, Sheep, Pigs. Geese, Ducks, Chickens, Peafowl. Walks, childrens' play area, food
Long Man of Wilmington 20A hill figure on the steep slopes of Windover Hill near Wilmington 6 miles northwest of Eastbourne and ¹⁄₃ mile south of Wilmington
National Cat Centre 15Visitors 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 Windmill 10Standing 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
Nuts4Climbing 10Offering 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 Cinema 13Multiplex cinema
Opus Theatre, Hastings 23high quality concerts, recitals, opera, dance, art films, theatre, workshops, literary groups, lectures, the visual arts and more
Pevensey Castle 21A medieval castle and former Roman Saxon Shore fort. An English Heritage site and a Scheduled Monument
Picture House, Uckfield 10Award-winning 2 screen independent cinema. New releases, classics, theme nights and cultural screenings from National Theatre and Royal Opera.
Pooh Sticks Bridge 14Play 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 Railway 14Reconstructing the Kent & East Sussex steam railway from Robertsbridge to Bodiam
Scotney Castle 10National Trust property. Country house, romantic garden, 14th century moated castle - all in a beautiful wooded estate. Scotney Castle is a great place to visit as a family. With plenty of activities on offer and over 780 acres of parkland and woodland to explore as well as the house and garden and Old Castle, there’s so much here for all the family to enjoy.
Seven Sisters Country Park including Friston Forest and Visitor Centre, Exceat24The area has a long and interesting history, including some fascinating shipwrecks, which you can discover on a series of shorewalks. 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 is situated in an 18th century barn, and provides useful information on the Park with displays and exhibitions.
Sheffield Park and Gardens 15National Trust property. Acres of landscape garden bordered by historic parkland and woodland. Something for everyone with family activities
Spa Valley Railway 9Heritage 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, Horam8The 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, Eastbourne 233-screen cinema showing main releases, live streaming of National Theatre and RSC productions and some foreign-language releases
The Hub Theatre, Haywards Heath 21Central Sussex College’s working theatre environment with the latest industry-standard technology to provide students with an outstanding theatre space
Theatre Royal, Brighton 29Grade 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.
Therapy Room Comedy Club, Tunbridge Wells 10Once a month attracting the finest stand ups from around the world. Relaxed surroundings where you can watch great comedy, dance, eat, drink and chat.
Tonbridge Oast Theatre 18112 seat theatre based in an old oast house. Home to the Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club
Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells10Mix of classical theatre/music/films/visual arts and children's theatre with animation and puppetry.
Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery 10Special exhibitions, collection of Tunbridge wooden ware, objects of the month. Explorer backpacks, gallery trails and colouring books for children.
White Rock Theatre, Hastings22Large venue for classical and rock music, stand-up comedians, circus, panto and community events.
Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down462 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
Winter Garden Theatre, Eastbourne23Wide variety of entertainment including tea dances, old-style music shows, comedy club and conferences in the Floral Hall and Gold Room