Days out in Sussex this Spring

With the days getting longer and the weather warming up, now is the time to think about days out with family and friends in Sussex.

Finding places to visit which are affordable, cater for all interests and suitable in all weather can be tricky.

Here’s some ideas for budget-friendly trips in Sussex this Spring which are suitable for people of all ages.

Sussex Day Out #1 – Marvel at the mosaics at Fishbourne Roman Palace

Fishbourne Roman Palace is the largest domestic home in the UK – but it was only discovered just over 60 years ago. Archaeologists uncovered some of the grandest mosaics, which have been beautifully preserved for visitors to explore.

The Palace was built in the 1st Century, just a few decades after the Romans first visited these isles.

During its pomp, it was the grandest Roman Palace in northern Europe, forming a footprint nearly twice the size of Buckingham Palace.

The centrepiece is one of the largest collections of mosaics in the UK, featuring some of the earliest and finest pieces in the country.

Visitors can also stroll around the recreated formal grounds, the earliest gardens found anywhere in the country. Plus, they can discover more about how the Romans used herbs and flowers for medicinal purposes.

The permanent museum exhibition and cinema room will help you explore the story of Fishbourne in greater detail, with hundreds of objects found at the site on display.

Fishbourne Roman Palace is open daily from 10am to 5pm, along with the on-site cafe which serves up delicious hot and cold beverages, lunches and sweet treats.

#2 – Storm a Norman fortress at Lewes Castle

This imposing fortress has been at the centre of the history of Lewes for centuries. A visit includes a climb to the top of the medieval castle as well as entrance to the adjoining museum.

Built in the late 11th Century, Lewes Castle has played a major role in local and national affairs. It was also at the heart of the medieval Battle of Lewes, a crucial moment in establishing England’s first parliament.

Climb the 100 steps to the top of The Keep and learn more about the history of this imposing Norman castle. There are also stunning 360-degree views of the town and countryside below.

The 1,000-year-old towers contain a number of surprises to discover, including interactive displays, children’s activities and dressing up boxes.

The adjoining Museum of Sussex Archaeology hosts a range of artefacts from prehistoric to medieval Sussex. Plus there are temporary exhibitions that showcase treasures from the collections of The Sussex Archaeological Society.

Visitors can also discover the story of Lewes through a delightful model of the town and short film.

On Bank Holiday Monday (6th May), visitors will be treated to Garland Day celebrations, with the Knots of May Morris Dancers as they fill the garden with Spring cheer.

Learning at Lewes Castle

#3 – South Downs walk at the Long Man of Wilmington

This mysterious guardian of the South Downs has baffled archaeologists and historians for hundreds of years.

Located just south of the village of Wilmington, the Long Man has been a well-known landmark for at least 300 years.

The Long Man was given to The Sussex Archaeological Society by the Duke of Devonshire in 1925. The Society has cared for the scheduled monument ever since, ensuring it is free for the public to access.

Due to its protected status, visitors are not allowed to go near to the Long Man itself. But the paths around it give an ideal opportunity to explore it close up while also taking in some wonderful views of the South Downs and surrounding Sussex countryside.

Park in the Wilmington Priory car park (postcode: BN26 5SW) and then take the signposted paths up the hill towards the Long Man.

#4 – Explore village life at The Priest House

Looking for a tranquil spot to escape modern life? The Priest House is a beautiful timber-framed property and peaceful garden packed with fascinating features from witchcraft to the Suffragettes.

Built in the early 15th century as an estate office for Lewes Priory, the property moved into royal hands after the dissolution of the monasteries.

It is now furnished with 17th & 18th century country furniture and domestic objects collected by John Godwin-King, a local philanthropist and politician, who gifted the property to The Sussex Archaeological Society as a museum in 1935.

Resident custodian Antony has lived in the property for more than 30 years. He is always on hand to provide visitors with a tour of this fascinating and charming property.

A visit to The Priest House also allows visitors to explore the picturesque village of West Hoathly. Explore the medieval church with views over the High Weald. And head to The Cat, regularly voted one of the best pubs in the UK.

The Priest House is open on Bank Holiday Monday (6th May), from 10.30am to 5.30pm.

The Priest House in West Hoathly is perfect for a tranquil day out

#5 – Discover maritime treasures at Marlipins Museum in Shoreham-by-Sea

Dive into a treasuretrove of local and maritime history at Marlipins Museum in Shoreham-by-Sea. With the weird and wonderful on display, adventure pirate ship for children, there’s something for all to enjoy.
The fantastic Friends of Marlipins have been busy throughout the winter preparing this important Shoreham treasure for re-opening, and are proudly exhibiting a new installation by the Friends of Shoreham Fort. The exhibition marks D-Day 80 and the role of Shoreham in this pivotal event.
Read more about the exhibition here.

Marlipins Museum is open Thursday to Saturday from 11am to 3pm and entry is free for all.

How to book your days out in Sussex this Spring

All of the above historical sites are owned and cared for by The Sussex Archaeological Society. The Society is a registered charity which works to promote, protect and provide access to the heritage of Sussex.

All income generated goes directly to achieving these charitable aims – through maintaining the sites, providing educational activities or publishing research.

You can pre-book your visit by clicking on the link below. Or find out how you can become a member and enjoy year-round access to all of these site for free.


Book tickets Details on membership