Venturing out to the countryside can prove to be a great day out with kids and in Brighton we are lucky to be only a few miles from the South Downs National Park, which stretches from Eastbourne to Winchester. The area is full of wildlife with some parts having as much as 50 wildflower and herb species in one square metre.
The three main places to enjoy the South Downs National Park from Brighton are Devil's Dyke, Ditchling Beacon and Stanmer Park. You can go further afield and visit the Seven Sisters Country Park, which is between Seaford and Eastbourne. All have car parks and can also be reached by bus services from Brighton. (You need to check days and times as they vary depending on the season.)
Look also in Wildlife and Nature to find nature reserves, woods and country parks.
If you are looking for somewhere to cycle in the countryside please go to Cycling.
From Devil's Dyke you get spectacular views across the Sussex Downs, as well as sea views to the south. It is the biggest dry valley in the country and is a very popular place for families. It's a good place to fly kites, enjoy the wildflowers and butterflies that live in abundance or simply watch the hang-gliders.
Walk - walk along part of the South Downs Way to Ditchling Beacon. It is about five miles and is suitable for children.
Family friendly pub, toilets and an ice cream van.
There is a National Trust car park for which you have to buy a ticket.
The number 77 bus from Brighton Pier goes to Devil's Dyke. In the Winter the bus travels every hour on Sundays and bank holidays. Check out special deals on buses which enable children to travel free: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/breezebuses or tel. 01273 292480.
At nearly 250m high, Ditchling Beacon is the third highest point within the South Downs National Park. From the car park you can walk either East or West along the top of the downs, which forms part of the South Downs Way. Lewes is approximately 5 miles to the East, and the Jack and Jill windmills are approximately 1 mile to the West, both good destinations with kids in mind.
Walk - walk along the South Downs Way to Devil's Dyke. It is about five miles and is suitable for children.
Bus no. 79 goes to Ditchling Beacon. It starts from the Old Steine in Brighton and in the Winter it travels hourly on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Check out special deals on buses which enable children to travel free: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/breezebuses or tel. 01273 292480.
Seven Sisters Country Park
A wonderful area of Sussex countryside with spectacular views, Seven Sisters Country Park is situated just east of Seaford, off the A259. It is an ideal place for a day out with a picnic. Dogs need to be kept under control as the park is a working farm and has cattle and sheep grazing on the land.
There is an easy access trail, suitable for bikes and buggies, which takes you to the beach. Once at the beach you can see wading birds and, if the tide is out, other wildlife in the rockpools. It is approximately 4km to the beach and back.
The park has some strict rules which you must adhere to: only fish at the beach, barbecues and fires are banned, please take your rubbish home, do not pick the flowers and keep dogs away from the cattle and sheep.
There is a car park for which a ticket must be purchased.
Bus no 12 and 12A can be caught at several places in Brighton (including Brighton Station and the Steine). The stop to get off is Exceat Park Centre. Look up the bus route on www.buses.co.uk or tel. 01273 886200.
Brighton's largest access land and woodland is located just off the A27 between Brighton and Lewes.
Whilst there is no children's playground there is open land where families can enjoy picnics, games and walks.
There is an easy access route around the park which is about 5 miles. Either park in Upper Lodges car park off the Ditchling Road or in one of the park's main car parks.
Although it is suitable for buggies, it is worth bearing in mind that the route does go up and down hill.
There is a café and toilets in the village within the park.
Bus no. 78 goes to Stanmer Park, starting from the Old Steine in Brighton. In the Winter it travels hourly on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Check out special deals on buses which enable children to travel free: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/breezebuses or tel. 01273 292480.