Box Hill Community
Freebies for Kids
The school holidays will soon be upon us, and for the many grandparents living on the hill that means days out with the grandchildren. And let’s face it, some grandads are really just big kids themselves, so we have put together a list of places to visit where both young and old will find something to enjoy, and for grandparents at least – perhaps a trip down memory lane.
Some of the museums are brand new and many have new attractions and displays for the 2012 summer season. All the locations are within one hour’s drive or so from Box Hill, and there are links to their websites beneath each entry. At the time of writing all the websites were complete with details of opening times, prices, and special events.
Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, Arundel – the industrial heritage of the South East. Includes locos that used to work at Betchworth quarry. www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/
Basingstoke Canal Visitor Centre, Mytchett - canal history and boat trips. www3.hants.gov.uk/basingstoke-canal
Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park – preserved steam trains running through the heart of Sussex. www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/
Brighton Toy and Model Museum, Brighton – thousands of toys on show. www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/
Brooklands Museum, Weybridge – the history of Brooklands motor racing circuit and aerodrome. Large displays of cars and aircraft. www.brooklandsmuseum.com/
London Bus Museum, Brooklands, Weybridge – largest collection in the world of working London buses. www.londonbusmuseum.com/
Dapdune Wharf and Visitor Centre, Guildford – history of the Wey and Arun canal, with boat trips. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/river-wey-godalming-navigations-and-dapdune-wharf/
Gatwick Aviation Museum, Charlwood – real aircraft and models. www.gatwick-aviation-museum.co.uk/
Hollycombe Steam Collection, Liphook – steam engines and a traditional steam-driven funfair. www.hollycombe.co.uk/
The Lavender Line, Isfield – train rides through the East Sussex countryside. www.lavender-line.co.uk/
Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux – astronomical observatory offering hands-on science and discovery. www.the-observatory.org/
Old Kiln Light Railway, Farnham – Surrey’s only industrial 2ft gauge railway. www.oldkilnlightrailway.com/
Which leads on to .... the cheapest activity ever!
There’s an innovative free exercise system which involves advancing the feet alternately in bipedal locomotion. It’s called walking. Great British country walks are among the best bargain days out. The North Downs Way is on our doorstep - it runs for 153 miles through the Surrey Hills and Kent to Dover. But if you want something shorter, there are loads of free walking ideas and trail maps on the sites nationaltrail.co.uk, ramblers.org.uk and walkingbritain.com.
Borde Hill Garden
Borde Hill Lane, Haywards Heath, RH16 1XP
These lovely gardens can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Children can explore Warren Wood, Stephanie's Glade and Stonepits, which are home to diverse fauna and flora. The adventure playground has one of the longest zip wires in West Sussex. Go to www.bordehill.co.uk for details. of prices, opening times and special events.
Rural Life Centre, Old Kiln Museum
Reeds Road, Farnham, GU10 2DL
The largest countryside collection in the south of England. Open Wednesday to Sunday plus BH Monday until 4 November. Cafe, free parking, picnic areas, playground, light railway (Sundays). Special events throughout the summer such as Sunday Funday (August 19th) - a special day for kids - and Donkey Day Out (September 9th). Car Boot Sale on the first Sunday of every month. Activity workshops through the summer holidays. Full details of all the season's events for families and adults on www.rural-life.org.uk
Drusillas Park, Alfriston, BN26 5QS
Just off the A27, about 7 miles from Eastbourne. One of the best small zoos in the country, with an animal-and-child-friendly environment, where kids get nose to nose with nature. Plenty of animal magic as well as fun experiences for kids to let off steam, and hands-on interactives which bring learning to life. Not cheap, but would make a really special birthday treat. www.drusillas.co.uk
Hever Castle, Hever, Nr Edenbridge, TN8 7NG
Loads on offer for families - with or without kids - The Yew Maze and the Water Maze, adventure playground, boat hire, shopping, restaurants, jousting tournaments on selected dates in July and August, several beautiful gardens to explore, falconry displays in August, a Mediterranean weekend on 1-2 September, and spooky fun at the Halloween Half Term. More details on the website www.hevercastle.co.uk or telephone 01732 865224.