The very best castles in Sussex (with children)

Because the place the Normans first landed in England almost 1,000 years in the past, it’s no shock there are some unbelievable castles in Sussex to find for anybody who loves historical past.

A view of the beautiful Bodiam Castle in East Sussex against blue sky, the medieval towers reflected in the moat - one of the best castles in Sussex with kids
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From historic ruins to beautiful medieval moated castles, Roman forts and others that are half stately house, you may as well discover jousts, castles with magical hyperlinks, even castles with museums inside.

With selections scattered throughout East Sussex and West Sussex, by the coast and within the countryside, right here’s my choose of one of the best castles in Sussex with children (and with out!)

Keep in a Sussex citadel with children

You don’t must restrict your self to days out at castles in Sussex with children, you’ll be able to even examine into one for a keep.

Amberley Fort close to Arundel dates again over 900 years. Talked about within the Domesday Guide, it has hosted Charles II and been owned by Dukes and bishops through the years.

There’s loads for households too, with video games within the gardens, a kids’s menu within the restaurant, and 12 acres of grounds, to not point out the South Downs close by.

Verify the most recent charges for a keep at Amberley Fort

Bodiam Fort

In the event you visualise a citadel, the probabilities are it’ll look one thing like Bodiam Fort  – turrets, towers and strong stone partitions, floating in the course of a moat.

View of Bodiam Castle with its wooden walkway over the moat leading to the main gate - one of the best castles in Sussex with kids for a day out

And contained in the partitions of the 14th century fortress, you’ll be able to uncover the stays of what was as soon as among the many most palatial buildings of its day.

There’s an opportunity to decorate up whereas actors assist convey the citadel to life, to not point out some quirkily grotesque info to thrill children, together with disgusting jobs kids in historical past would have needed to do.

Add in homicide holes and family-friendly actions, together with archery (and a recreation of medieval life throughout our go to), plus an opportunity to identify bats and this Nationwide Belief web site is amongst my favourites. You’re additionally within the coronary heart of a number of the loveliest Sussex countryside with the River Rother operating close by.

Learn extra about my go to to Bodiam Fort with children

Arundel Fort

With a historical past stretching again over 950 years, you’ll be able to nonetheless enterprise into the eleventh century Preserve at Arundel Fort, in addition to climbing to the highest for some unbelievable views throughout the West Sussex countryside.

View of Arundel castle in West Sussex, seen above the trees - one of the best UK castles with kids and most interesting castles in Sussex for a day out

The privately owned citadel is now half stately house as effectively. Inside, the state rooms have been preserved of their opulent splendour as they’d have been when the Dukes of Norfolk reworked the medieval fortress within the 18th and Nineteenth centuries.

But it surely’s the occasions and actions which actually set this Sussex citadel other than the others throughout the UK.

You will discover dwelling historical past with knights on horseback jousting and battles being replayed within the grounds (admittedly with much less reasonable outcomes than in centuries previous), in addition to music and crafts from medieval instances plus different family-friendly issues to do throughout holidays.

For extra of the greatest castles within the UK with children, take a look at my prime picks

Rye Fort Museum, Ypres Tower

Constructed within the thirteenth or 14th centuries, Rye Fort – often known as the Ypres Tower – has acted as line of defence and jail, earlier than being transformed into a bit museum.

Extra of a bit fortification than a sprawling citadel, there’s rather a lot to find inside Rye Fort Museum, with loads of probabilities to get arms on for teenagers.

Head to the highest to absorb a number of the views out throughout the city and in the direction of the water earlier than working your means again right down to the basement. Alongside the way in which, you’ll discover shows on Rye’s historical past, together with its smuggling previous, the possibility to hearken to conventional seafaring songs, and its significance as one of many Cinque Ports.

You’ll be able to step inside one of many previous cells, and discover a skeleton swinging inside one other (or bypass it, in case your children want!), whereas there’s additionally a piece on medieval life, knights and warfare, the place you’ll be able to deal with a sword and see how arduous it was to attract the bowstring on a crossbow.

Its dimension means you don’t must put aside a giant chunk of your day to discover – an hour is loads – and as children are free (£5 for adults), it’s simple to swing by for a fast go to.

For extra issues to do in Rye with children, take a look at my prime picks

Lewes Fort

Set on a hilltop within the city of Lewes, only a brief distance from Brighton, Lewes Fort is likely one of the most unusual castles in Sussex as a consequence of its two mottes (raised mounds)

The historic Norman fortress was constructed shortly after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 by supporters of William the Conqueror. 

Lewes Castle in East Sussex against a cloudy blue sky - the remains of the Norman castle is one of my top things to do in Sussex with kids.

Whereas there’s not an enormous quantity left of the citadel itself, you’ll be able to nonetheless climb each of the 2 remaining towers for some spectacular views over the city. There’s additionally loads of house to get pleasure from a picnic within the beautiful grounds earlier than you search for the cannon.

Together with your entrance ticket, you may as well go to the on-site Barbican Home Museum, which explores the archaeological historical past of Sussex. The small museum actually brings the realm’s historical past to life with a scale mannequin of the city and interactive shows appropriate for guests of all ages.

There are additionally a spread of family-friendly talks, workshops, and occasions happening on the citadel all year long, so hold an eye fixed out for these. 

For extra issues to do in Sussex with children, take a look at my prime picks

Pevensey Fort

Pevensey Fort was constructed within the 4th century as one of many final Roman ‘Saxon Shore’ forts. But it surely’s most well-known for being the place William the Conqueror and his fleet of ships first landed in 1066. The Normans fortified the citadel and used it as a strategic defence for a whole lot of years.

The ruins of medieval Pevensey Castle in Sussex with its small moat and ivy growing on the crumbling towers - finding the best Sussex castles with kids

The citadel was later used as an emergency stronghold throughout the Second World Conflict, with machine weapons and anti-tank defences camouflaged into the traditional partitions which you could nonetheless see at this time.

The spectacular fortification is now run by English Heritage and is a unbelievable place for guests of all ages to discover. You’ll be able to stroll throughout the drawbridge, head down into the dungeon, climb what stays of the towers, and go to the museum showcasing weapons and different objects discovered on the web site.

The massive citadel additionally has loads of interactive shows and a child’s audio information to maintain little ones entertained. There’s even a enjoyable new immersive problem for kids through which they’ll must crack the Pevensey Fort Code in a recreated Forties commander’s workplace.

Lower than 10 miles away at Battle is the battlefield web site when the Normans took on the Saxons in 1066, in addition to the stays of Battle Abbey – whereas there’s no citadel, it’s nonetheless a unbelievable place to go to with children who love historical past, together with the possibility to see re-enactments of decisive battle

Hastings Fort

Perched on a cliff overlooking the previous city of Hastings and the English Channel, Hastings Fort began life as a picket tower, earlier than being rebuilt as a big stone citadel after William the Conqueror was victorious on the Battle of Hastings. It was the very first Norman motte and bailey citadel in-built England.

Right this moment it sits largely in ruins, with a lot of the partitions having been misplaced to the ocean, however in case you’re in search of historic castles in Sussex, that is simply one of the vital vital.

Ruinds of Hastings pier on the hilltop with the sea and town seen in the background under a blue sky - one of the best castles in Sussex with kids

If you’re fascinated with visiting, you’ll be able to pay a small price to wander across the picturesque ruins. Throughout the web site, you’ll be able to benefit from the panoramic seaside views and watch an audio-visual exhibition referred to as “The 1066 Story”. The citadel grounds are additionally an ideal spot to get pleasure from a picnic overlooking the ocean.

Reaching the hilltop fortress does require a slight climb. If that is an excessive amount of for little legs, you should utilize the West Cliff Elevate, a funicular that takes you up the cliff from the seafront. 

For a enjoyable day trip in Hastings with children, you should buy a mixture ticket that features Hastings Fort, Smugglers Journey, and Hastings Aquarium at a reduced value (not at present out there on-line).

Camber Fort

Camber Fort is a Sixteenth-century artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII, nestled within the marshlands between Rye and Winchelsea. 

The citadel is uniquely situated inside a coastal nature reserve, which suggests there are not any roads resulting in it. It may be solely accessed through a scenic one-mile stroll from the city of Rye. 

Aerial view of Camber castle with its round towers and central structure, set among the fields - one of the best castles in Sussex with kids

On the stroll to the citadel, you’ll be able to benefit from the views throughout the marshes whereas watching out for the resident sheep and recognizing the various birds that decision the realm house. There are even just a few different navy buildings within the nature reserve, reminiscent of Second World Conflict pillboxes.

When you arrive on the citadel, you’ll be able to wander round its spectacular round exterior and take a peek by the gates. However to go inside, you’ll must e-book a guided tour by English Heritage or Sussex Wildlife Belief.

Even in case you don’t go inside, the stroll to Camber Fort is a superb alternative for little ones to stretch their legs and a beautiful household exercise for a sunny day on the Sussex coast.

For extra issues to do in Camber Sands with children, take a look at my prime picks

Herstmonceux Fort

Herstmonceux Fort is an impressive Fifteenth-century citadel near the village of Herstmonceux in East Sussex. With its red-brick battlements and surrounding moat, the citadel seems like one thing straight from the pages of a kids’s fairytale e-book.

Initially constructed as a personal household house, the citadel is now used as a personal venue for weddings and conferences and is barely sometimes open to the general public. 

View across the water to the towers of red brick Herstmonceux Castle, a cross between castle and stately home - a great place to visit if you're looking for castles in Sussex with kids

However this shouldn’t cease you from visiting – the citadel seems unbelievable from the skin anyway! Plus you’ll be able to nonetheless go to the property’s 300 acres of woodland, which is house to many stunning themed gardens and a beautiful tearoom.

Across the gardens, there are many indicators and boards that let you know in regards to the crops and wildlife you may come throughout. There’s even a child’s exercise sheet you’ll be able to obtain to maintain youthful guests engaged.

There are even some hyperlinks to magic and wizarding in case you’re exploring this a part of the UK with Harry Potter followers at Bothwell’s College of Witchcraft contained in the citadel

Cowdray Fort

Cowdray Fort is definitely a Tudor Manor Home relatively than a citadel, however its fortress-like exterior might simply have you ever fooled. 

Positioned inside peaceable Cowdray Park, the citadel has had many royal guests over its historical past, together with the likes of Henry VIII, a younger Edward VI, and Queen Elizabeth I.

Ruins of Cowdray Castle against a blue sky, with some towers and the skeleton of arched windows - still one of the best castles in Sussex to visit with kids

Sadly, a portion of the citadel was destroyed in a big fireplace within the late 1700s. Now what you’ll discover is the magnificent ruins of one of many nation’s most vital Tudor Homes. Regardless of its hollowed-out body, it’s nonetheless a tremendous sight to see.

You’ll be able to stroll across the perimeter of the spectacular citadel and admire the picturesque ruins without cost on a go to to the encircling park. However to go contained in the ruins, you’ll must e-book a Heritage Occasion or guided tour.

Newhaven Fort, Newhaven

Visiting this 150-year-old fort is big enjoyable for the entire household – together with well-behaved canines! One of many string of forts constructed throughout the Napoleonic wars to protect in opposition to invasion, it was nonetheless used proper up till the Nineteen Fifties.

Inside Newhaven Fort, you’ll be able to expertise what a (simulated) World Conflict Two air raid was like from inside an air raid shelter.

And the fort, constructed into the cliff itself, additionally has an journey playground for teenagers and a powerful 10 acres for teenagers to run round in.

Figures of soliders by Newhaven Fort with the beach and sea in the background - the best castles in Sussex with kids

Knepp Fort

As soon as a mighty mediaeval fortress constructed by William de Braose, Twelfth-century Knepp Fort now sits in ruins with nothing left however a 10-meter-high tower wall. 

However whereas there’s not a lot left of the traditional citadel itself, you’ll be able to mix the ruins with a go to to the broader Knepp Fort Property, through which the ruins are situated.

Knepp Fort Property consists of a privately owned Nineteenth-century manor home amongst 3,500 acres of nature reserve, with loads of public footpaths to discover. 

You’ll be able to take a stroll across the scenic countryside, which is stuffed with ponds, woodland, and wildflowers. The property is nice for recognizing wildlife too, with ​long-horn cattle, wild horses, deer, wild pigs, and storks all roaming freely.

For extra issues to do in Sussex with children, take a look at my prime picks

Disclosure: This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I’ll obtain a small fee

Predominant picture of Bodiam Fort/Rye Fort Museum copyright MummyTravels, all different photographs courtesy of Depositphotos/Picfair


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