Days Out: Bluebell Railway, East Sussex

I’m not going to lie. Sharon and I are total nerds. We love new gadgets, we love new technology. But we also have a love and respect for older gadgets and technology. If anything, the older technology is far more impressive, in my opinion, and often more beautiful.

So when T’s grandad decided to take us to Bluebell Railway the Sunday after we came back from holiday I was over the moon.

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Bluebell is an old Railway that has a working line from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead. It boasts the largest collection of steam locomotives and is primarily run by volunteers. I’ve only ever seen a steam engine from afar, but I’ve never been on one!

As soon as we arrived, we booked ourselves on for 10:30 train to East Grinstead. When Grandad was booking for tickets, I was admiring my surroundings. The station is quite literally a time capsule.

Whilst we were waiting we had a brief look around the museum, book shop, and the back yard where trains that weren’t in use were kept. T enjoyed running in between trains, making his voice echo and listening to Grandad tell him about the trains.

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10:30 rolled round and it was time to board our train. Don’t ask me which one we were on – I’m a nerd but not an anorak! We quickly secured ourselves our own carriage, which was a blessing as T was full of steam (get it?) and wouldn’t have kept still in the main compartment.

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T enjoyed looking out the window and listening to the toot toots, I enjoyed looking at every piece of history in the carriage – some pieces I even remember being in trains when I was little. With the weather being on our side, the journey was really pleasant – a perfect end to our week off.

After a visit to East Grinstead where we treated Grandad to cake, we were back at the station and on a train back to Sheffield Park. On the way, we decided to stop at the stations in between and browse the museums based there. Again, stuck in time, with shops and cafes looking no different than when they were in use back in *coughs*. They were stunning.

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After a short delay thanks to signal failure (some things never change), we departed our station and arrived at Sheffield Park – having a very brief look around the rather expensive gift shop.

I would definitely recommend giving the railway a visit. You don’t have to ride the trains, but it’s worth it if you do.

K

Days Out: Drusillas Park, East Sussex. (Review) [AD – Press Trip]

Drusillas Park is situated near the village of Alfriston between Eastbourne and Brighton and has a lovely ‘local’ feel to it despite it being quite a large zoo. We’re huge fans of zoos in this household – we’ve always enjoyed watching animals and how they interact. So when we were invited to come visit last weekend, we couldn’t wait to visit.

We have visited Drusillas Park before and have always had a nice time, so we were really excited to find out that they’ve recently had a few new additions to the zoo. These include; marmosets, otters, Macaques, and meerkats!


It was lovely to see all the young animals in the park – they were all so so adorable. It took T some time to focus on the little ones, especially when they were camouflaged so well, but once he found them he kept pointing and squealing.


Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and listen to any of the talks that were occurring throughout the day, but we were impressed that there was always something going on.

T’s favourite animals from the day were definitely the lemurs and the bats.

 


I think this was down to the fact that both enclosures were walkthrough enclosures, so it was really interactive. The bat enclosure was especially interactive with our noses!

We arrived just after 10am and spent a good 2-3 hours casually walking around the zoo – there really is plenty to see and do. Our friend’s children really enjoyed collecting stamps, using their spotters guides, and reading the tour guide.


After the zoo, we were definitely ready for some lunch. Although we bought a picnic ready to feed an army, the cafes surrounding the picnic area served a variety of food and drink. I really appreciated the amount of seating available – which you’d think by lunchtime would have been packed but we still managed to find a quiet table away from the hustle and bustle.


In addition to the babies, Drusillas have also installed a new water park for the summer, which is perfect for T who is a complete water baby. We explored this once everyone had digested their lunch.


This was by far one of T’s favourite part of the day as he could just let loose and enjoy the water on what was a really hot day. There was a huge variety of water canons and fountains, all ranging in speed, and because of the variety available you didn’t have issues with the bigger kids hogging anything.


The area itself is really spread out and considering it was the weekend (and the summer holidays) it wasn’t that busy – or at least it didn’t feel like it due to the amount of space available.

After the water park (and getting T changed!), we explored the soft play area, the adventure parks, and the Thomas train ride which travels around the majority of the park!

These features have been around for a long time (although you wouldn’t know it) as they never get tiresome. Me and S T really enjoyed climbing in the soft play arena. T was sadly a little too small for the Hello Kitty adventure park, but we’ll be sure to revisit it when he’s a little taller. Our friends children seemed to enjoy it as they went on each ride at least three times!

By 5pm we were ready to head home, although not before going to the gift shop! There’s three on site depending on where you are in Drusillas. T was treated to a little soft monkey and we treated T’s friend to a little gibbon as that was his favourite. We thought we’d make the most out of T not knowing what a gift shop is!

We had a wonderful time at Drusillas and will definitely revisit soon – we’re even contemplating memberships just so we can visit the adventure and water parks! Drusillas also have a number of special events and appearances happening.

T definitely enjoyed himself as we hadn’t even reached Alfriston before falling asleep!

K

We were provided with a family ticket to attend Drusillas, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Days Out: Spring Barn Farm, Lewes

Last week, Sharon and I decided to take some friends to Spring Barn Farm in Lewes. Spring Barn Farm is a local farm and camp site to us, but we’ve never got around to going as we wanted T to be of an age where he’d appreciate it.

It was a lovely day weather wise, which made the experience all the more enjoyable as the majority of the activities are outdoors.

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As well as T, we also had a 15 month old and an 8 year old in our party so I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough to entertain everyone, however I was mistaken!

After we bought our tickets we went through to the outdoor main area. This area is huge and consists of several play areas, bouncy pillows, and a pedal go-kart track for the bigger kids (including me). There’s also an indoor feeding and petting area that had everything from rabbits and guinea pigs to Llama!

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I think this was our favourite area (for now) as T got to walk around the barn and interact with the animals. He was most intrigued by the Llama, or more they were with him.

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Outside, the animals continued to appear with an array of enclosures around the main play area including Sheep, Goat, Ducks, fluffy pigs, and, my favourite, Donkeys.

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I really liked how the enclosures were designed, it made it look more interesting and the animals seemed to be really happy.
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After spending 2 very quick hours outside playing on the bouncy pillows and digging in the sand, we then went indoors for a coffee in the soft play area. This area was surprisingly big with a variety of areas play on as well as two large vertical slides. Even on a busy Sunday, we were able to find seating and our friend’s children were able to play without any queuing on the slide.

The only downside to Spring Barn farm is the café area itself. It probably needs a little updating as the serving area was quite cramped, and the menu could probably do with being expanded as although there was a variety of cooked food (burgers, ciabattas, etc.) available, there wasn’t much choice when it came to things like cakes and treats; although this could have been because of the time of day we visited. Apart from that, however, it was really enjoyable and reasonably priced. We got a round of chips and hot drinks, with ice creams all round.

Spring Barn Farm is absolutely stunning with the whole farm being surrounded by 360 degree countryside.

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Attached to the farm is also a campsite, which may come in handy later on this year when we practise our tent building skills. I’d certainly like to wake up to the sound of cows and ducks in the morning.

There’s also a gorgeous farm and gift shop onsite, full of food grown locally. Whilst there, we picked up our dinner for the evening, and a book for T. At the shop you can also buy food for the animals during your visit.

I’d highly recommend giving Spring Barn Farm a visit, especially during lambing season. The kids can really stretch their legs and there’s a huge variety of things to do and see.

K

We were not compensated for this review, we just thought it was great!

Days Out – Sheffield Park & Gardens, East Sussex {National Trust}

As S worked from home for the day again, I decided to make use of our National Trust membership and visit anther local attraction. This time, I took myself and T off to Sheffield Park and Gardens near Uckfield.

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Sheffield park is a huge historic park back dating back past WW1. It’s had many uses over the years but it now rests as a horticultural work of art with waterfalls and several pieces of landscape design placed throughout the area.

The trees really run wild here; with elm tree’s and humungus conifers and pine trees towering over me. Water also has no limitation with gigantic lakes appearing round every corner housing ducks, geese, and the occasional gull. It really is a stunning place to visit.

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What I also found interesting was that every bench dotted around had a box attached, and in that box contained a small booklet detailing the plant life you could see around you at that particular location. This will definitely be something we’ll introduce T to, not to mention a bug catcher!

This has been, by far, my favourite location. I spent nearly a whole day here just admiring the natural beauty of the location, not to mention planning further trips when T is crawling and walking. There was a wonderful choice when it came to views to feed T in front of (I’m pretty sure the view made his rice cracker taste even yummier). The majority of the paths are flat (gain, buggy friendly) and there’s a nice variety of grassland that disappears into hidden trails if you’re dog walking. I would also certainly have a picnic here.

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K

 

Days Out – Enchanted Lewes (Review) [AD – Press Trip]

Once we enter December (and not a moment before!), I immediately start to prepare for Christmas. I love it. I love the music, the themed drinks, the jumpers. I love how my local city centre is decorated, and how the neighbour’s have a decoration war every year.

I. Love. Christmas.

December is also the month Sharon and I got together! So when I was invited to visit the location where we got civil partnered, and then married, to view it not only at night, but covered in decorative lights, I couldn’t say no. 

From the 2nd December to the 13th December, ‘Enchanted Lewes’ are at Southover Grange, Lewes as part of an art exhibit called ‘A Christmas Wish’ showing various projections and light displays by local artists.

As part of the invitation, I attended Southover Grange when it opened at 4:30 and had a slow walk around the grounds on a set path. I wasn’t there long before I was hit by creative lighting and sounds capturing the senses. The atmosphere was really relaxing and the gardens looked stunning at night.


Walking around on my own and on a set path meant that I was able to take my time and take everything in and not miss a thing, although I didn’t quite understand some of pieces at times (that’s not to say someone else won’t). I also, personally, couldn’t see the link to ‘Christmas’ as mentioned in the advert, although it did have a winter feel that made me want to grab a glass of mulled wine! Nevertheless, it was still an impressive sight.

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T seemed to really enjoy going out at night and was constantly looking around, especially by the ever changing display on the house.

Even when we were walking through the wooded areas, there were sounds coming from the displays further on that caught T’s attention.

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If you’re in the area, I’d definitely pay the exhibit a visit (it’s buggy friendly). Listening to the older children walking around, they were clearly mesmerised by lights and effects so I would say it’s something for older children as well, or if you have a particular interest in local art.

K

We were offered free entry into the exhibit for the purpose of a review. Ticket price for me would have been £10. More details can be found here