Spring to West Sussex for a short family break

West Sussex is perfect for a short spring break with the family as it is located less than two hours’ drive from London and an easy train ride , just. 1 hr 10 from Victoria  to Shoreham-in-Sea.

Boasting beautiful countryside and coastal scenery, West Sussex is also officially the sunniest country in the United Kingdom according to the Met Office records.

There are plenty of child-friendly beaches here, perfect for a brisk walk in wellies wrapped up with scarf and hat on a fresh spring morning. As the weather warms the layers of clothing can disappear and the kids can rummage in the rock pools looking for interesting sea creatures and build sand castles too!

 

West Wittering beach

West Wittering beach has been a family favourite of ours for years. Boasting Blue Flag status, West Wittering offers high quality water, shallow lagoons when the tide is out, and plenty of sand for castle building, all making it perfect for toddlers and young children as well as older members of the family. There is ample parking, especially during the spring, and a dog-friendly section too. During the winter the beach café is generally open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays ( do check before you head off if this important to you).

littlehampton beach

Littlehampton beaches in West Sussex offer an alternative family vibe to West Wittering. Littlehampton itself is a bustling seaside town with award-winning architecture, stage by the sea, award-winning beaches and a seasonal miniature railway. If you are looking for family-friendly events they seem to kick off in April. The Littlehampton beach is a mixture of sand and shingle and there are plenty of amusements for all ages.

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West Sussex is also home to some beautiful and historical market towns, villages and stately homes. Steyning village stands out as possibly one of the prettiest towns in West Sussex with lots of charm and full of independent retailers. The children will love browsing through the interesting shops looking for a gift for a friend or family member back home.

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Arundel Castle is a popular  family-friendly day out, the castle and gardens open on 1st April

Late summer evening shadows on the Downs near Goodwood

The South Downs National Park is perfect for a family adventure. It offers 1,600km2 of amazing views, rolling hills, ancient woodland, market towns and villages, lowland heaths, country pubs, rivers and attractions for everyone.

bluebells

Springtime in the South Downs National Park is such a beautiful time to visit with plenty of bluebells to be found!

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Why not get the kids involved in the John Muir awards. Children and adults of all ages are encouraged to explore and create their very own National Park. There are lots of missions your family can take part in. For details visit the John Muir Mission Explorer page of the South Downs National Park website.

Child-friendly holiday cottages in West Sussex

If you are looking for a child-friendly holiday cottage for a short spring family break to West Sussex look no further. These two child-friendly cottages are located within walking distance to this area of the South Downs National park and the River Adur with its woodland trails and miles of beautiful countryside and only 10 minutes’ drive from Shoreham-on-Sea.

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There are two cottages both of which are ideal for families of up to four. They can also be rented together to offer accommodation for up to eight as the interlocking door can be unlocked to create a four bedroom holiday cottage. Within the gardens there are toys, swing, animals to feed and there is also a tea barn and artisan bake house open at various times throughout the year (and swimming pool open May to September)

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/211-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-steyning/

Steyning is located just 5 minutes from here and the owners also have a lovely cottage in the heart of Steyning itself. It has two bedrooms and is ideal for a family of six guests who are welcome to use the facilities at the main house.

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The owners can offer babysitting and beauty treatments in any of their cottages. All the cottages are baby and toddler friendly with stairgates, cots, highchairs, baby bath, monitors, toys etc.

Child-friendly holiday cottage in Steyning, West Sussex

More family days out in West Sussex…

Here are some more ideas for a fab family day out during Spring (or any time of year) in West Sussex, all are close to the holiday cottages above:

 

Lambing at Coombes farm

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Stans Bike shack is fun for a pit stop before a lovely walk or cycle along the downs link.

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The wetlands centre in Arundel is a great day out, with family friendly events throughout the year including Puddle Jumping Championships – spring half term 2017!

Petworth Park has wild deer and the house is national trust and always runs great fun events in school holidays and also nearby Knepp Castle has wildlife safaris which are great fun, they do dawn/dusk/bees and other animals. The owners of the cottages went on a deer rut safari there in Oct and say it was great fun!

West Sussex is beautiful any time of year. Springtime here is just as stunning as other seasons, you can just feel everything waking after its long winter sleep, buds on the trees, bluebells in the woods and spring lambs popping up in the fields and maybe some puddles to splash in too!

What are you waiting for!

 

 

‘What’s on’ in West Sussex – ideal for a family short break this autumn

West Sussex is located just south of London within a couple of hours drive or train and is ideal for a short family break or if you are near London why not visit for a day out?  It has something to offer every family member with beautiful scenery, amazing food and drink, festivals, beaches, and stunning quaint villages and castles to explore.

There are three child-friendly holiday properties in West Sussex on Holiday Tots close enough to enjoy all the activities below and with availability from 14th September. Prices start at £475 for a short stay Mon – Fri or £525 for a weekend, a week is from £845. The family-friendly activities below are either on the doorstep or less than half an hour drive. Owners Les and Louise also run a Bakehouse with freshly produced cakes, bread and home cooked meals workshops too!

 

So if you fancy taking the family on a little holiday or just a family day out, there are a few ideas on what to do this autumn in West Sussex.

Walk and explore the South Downs National Park.

Now this is vast and I have lots of headings below that are technically within the South Downs National Park but I felt it necessary to add this as a simple excursion too. The South Downs National Park covers 1,600km2 of landscapes, visitor attractions, beautiful villages, country pubs and much more. It is worth taking a look at their website and seeing what is on when you want to visit or just get a map and compass and explore away…

Family-friendly events in West Sussex September/October 2015:

The Ploughing Match

19th September – join the fun and watch the annual ploughing match as horse and tractor-drawn ploughs battle it out, plus a livestock show, farrier display, sheep shearing, tractor/trailer rides food and drink. Fun starts at 9.30 http://www.westgrinsteadploughing.co.uk/index.php/this-years-events

Daylands Farm walk & cream tea plus hedgerow workshop

27th September – Led by Mother Nature join in the walk and cook what you pick. “Pick It Cook it” run special events for all ages at Daylands Farm in West Sussex from 10am – 4pm. They involve a short walk to forage for ingredients and include refreshments and a homemade lunch. You also get to take home what you cook. For more details visit http://www.pickitcookit.com/

Lewes October Feast

September 18th – October 10th

Now in its sixth year the Lewes October feast runs for three weeks in the Autumn and is run by a small charity. With food markets, pop up stalls, apple pressing, beer tasting and more, it might be a lovely introduction to some culinary delights for the kids and adults alike. To see what’s on where, visit their website for more details. http://lewesoctoberfeast.com/

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Arundel Castle – Life in a Medieval Cattle

20th September

Arundel Castle is a fab place to take the family for a fun day out, the castle and gardens are great to explore. There are lots of family-friendly events throughout the year too. Life in a Medieval Castle is set in The Keep and Barbican at Arundel Castle. Characters will be portrayed by members of the Raven Tor Living History Group: with stories and tales and craft displays, there will be lots of opportunity to learn about the Castle’s history. Arundel Castle is open until 1st November 2015 with the last admission at 16.00hrs. For more details visit their website http://www.arundelcastle.org/

Chiddingly Festival

24th September – 4th October 2015

This lovely parish of just 1000 residents stages this amazing festival of the arts every year. This year is no exception with Jo Brand and many other fab artists from jazz bands to bell ringers. Music comedy, drama and workshops all in one place for all ages. Specifically for children there is The Amazing Adventures of Librarian Lil, Circus Skills with Jimmy the Juggler and a Cartoon workshop with Matt Baxter. Intrigued and want to know more? Just visit their website: http://chiddinglyfestival.co.uk/category/children/

Bentley Woodfair

18th ,19th and 20th September

In its 20th year the Bentley Woodfair is a celebration of woodlands, forestry, trees, woodcrafts and more. With exhibits and displays of amazing skills and activities,  it is a fun and different day out for the whole family. There are demonstrations of machinery, tree climbing, children’s activities, local food, beer tent and a great family atmosphere. http://www.bentley.org.uk/woodfair/4575405571

Parham Harvest Fair

26th and 27th September

The house and gardens will be open for this family-friendly fair of the celebration of the abundance of produce that autumn brings. With homemade food, deer walks and cookery demonstrations plus an outdoor arena with a variety of events such as displays from the gun dogs and heavy horses. To bring it all together there will be live jazz playing in the grounds. http://www.parhaminsussex.co.uk/event/parham-harvest-fair/

Apple Day Brighton

27th September

Brighton is located just outside West Sussex in East Sussex. It is a fun place to visit any time of year with lots of attractions and activities for all the family. Apple Day Brighton is one of many events, it is a free event and is located in Stanmer Park, Brighton from 11am to 5pm. There will be lots of children’s activities with traditional fun fair rides and storytelling in the Orchard. Music and Dance is also on offer as well as apple themed workshops and produce. https://brightonpermaculture.org.uk/index.php/courses/appleday

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Beaches galore…

Finally don’t forget there are lots of wonderful child-friendly beaches too!

West Wittering beach

So what are you waiting for?!

Owner interview – Les and Louise and life in West Sussex running child-friendly cottages, tea barn and bakehouse…

child friendly cottages in West Sussex

child friendly cottages in West Sussex

Meet the Nicholson family and why they love their life in West Sussex running child-friendly holiday cottages, tea barn and bakehouse and their passion for baking!

Who are The Nicholsons?

Les & Louise, and we live here at The Artisan Bakehouse with  our youngest daughter Ellie who is 10 years old.  We have two older daughters who live locally, and one lovely grandaughter too who is just 2. !   Les is a Sussex man although we did spend 8 years living in rural France before returning to West Sussex 3 years ago.

Why did you decide to start your own holiday accommodation business?

Having worked in corporate life at a senior level in HR & banking for many years, we decided  14 years ago it was time to hang up the suits and change direction.  We retrained as chefs and after periods spent running ski chalets in France and America we left the UK and set up and managed a holiday business & cookery school in the Poitou Charentes region in France.

Three years ago  (Les was missing Sussex) and we were then looking for a new challenge so returned to home soil in West Sussex and set up The Artisan Bakehouse.

What was the toughest part about setting it up?

It is always challenging to start a new venture as even with experience in the business there is always a lot more cost and time involved than you first imagine. Our biggest hurdle here was battling for 8 months to obtain the necessary planning permissions we needed to create our Bakehouse & Tea Barn – hard work and passion for what we wanted to offer has kept us going!

Tea Room

Tea Room

And what was the most memorable/enjoyable?

Seeing the reality of a  vision and dream for a business come to fruition is hugely rewarding.  It is fantastic to hear that people have enjoyed their time with us and to know that the product and experience  we hoped to create is being enjoyed& appreciated by others.

Swimming pool within the grounds

Swimming pool within the grounds

What couldn’t you live without and why?

Our trusty wood oven and AGA – without them we would not be able to make our hand made artisan bread and other goodies!

Bread Oven

What does your average working day involve?

No day is the same! Dealing with enquiries & bookings for stays in our cottages , places on our bread making workshops or meeting clients to discuss  private functions. Cleaning/laundry/maintenance associated with making sure the cottages are in perfect condition for new guest arrivals.  Running our bread making workshops and children’s baking parties.  Making bread and other baked goodies for our guests.  Planning and organising our tea barn openings and running that when it is open.  Paperwork associated with the foundations of the business – environmental health regulations, health & safely, fire regulations, accounting and tax returns. Maintaining our website and links with advertising sites. Gardening and looking after our chickens and pet rabbits.

feeding chickens

What advice would you give to families wanting to holiday with you and why is your place so special?

Book early for summer and school holidays as they do get booked up very early. We are very lucky to be located on the edge of the beautiful South Downs National park with the miles of stunning countryside it offers but with the benefit of the south coast beches  & lots of pretty historic quintessential villages nearby too.  The Artisan Bakehouse cottages offer  a real haven for relaxation set in a very special spot. To look out the window in the morning and see countryside, wild pheasants, rabbits, squirrels & birds is lovely and on a clear night here the view of the stars is just magical –   there really is something for everyone here.

If you could pick just two attractions/places to visit in your area what would they be?

Arundel is a lovely historic town under 25 mins away from us. It has a castle, cathedral, lots of interesting shops & cafés as well as lovely walks, a pretty river & pond with boat rides and ducks to feed!

A day out in Brighton for a mixture of …….well, pretty much everything. Boutiques in The Lanes, an eclectic mix of individual shops and cafés in the bohemian North Laines area, the exotic Royal Pavilion, the historic Volks Electric Railway, Brighton’s Big Wheel,Sea Life centre, restaurants galore and, of course, its famous shingle beach, pier and miles of prom to just stroll along.

Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

Is there anything you would like to highlight that might be interesting to families with babies/toddlers/young children who are thinking of staying with you?

We have lots of baby gear here to make travelling with little ones easier (travel cots, high chairs, baby rockers, bumbo seats, potty’s, changing mats, monitors & lots of toys) and stair & bed guards to help them feel safe and secure.  Our gardens are fenced and we have swings, trampoline and 5 acres for them to explore with you, chickens & pet rabbits to feed as well as our heated pool in the summer months.  Nearby there are lots of great attractions for little ones to enjoy.

baby on swing

In one sentence can you explain what life is like where you live?

It is quintessential, picture postcard rural England at its best  – heaven!

Today Les and Louise open their bakehouse and tea barns to the public and celebrate three years at the Artisan Bakehouse.

If you are interesting in staying here see their details on the Holiday Tots website where you can contact them directly. Don’t forget to mention Holiday Tots…