Best places in Sussex for parents to take their babies

PUBLISHED: 14:46 18 August 2014

West Dean gardens

West Dean gardens


Whether you’re looking for an afternoon out or just a quick pitstop while you’re doing the shopping, there are lots of havens for mums and babies

When I was pregnant I don’t think I once considered where I might spend my maternity leave. I hate soft play and theme parks, so I figured I’d carry on as I was – baby at my side whilst I continued to shop, walk the fields near us and frequent my favourite restaurants. But actually, the fields weren’t buggy friendly and walking uphill with a baby in a sling is trickier than you’d think, post-partum. My favourite restaurants were great for a while, but it’s not long before your maternity pay starts to look a bit sparse. Shopping was rubbish – I was too tired to deal with fellow shoppers or my baby’s bored crying, let alone ditching everything in the aisle to feed her. I found some fantastic places I would never have found in my baby-free years. Here are some other places I earmarked for the summer months with toddlers and babies – cool places that both you and your child will enjoy without having to venture into soft play just yet.

West Dean Gardens | West Dean

Surround yourself with stunning flowers and views of the beautiful rolling Sussex hills will lift any sleep-deprived fogs. And if you’re making a day of it, the restaurant makes use of much of the fresh produce nurtured in the kitchen garden. Delicious. 

Cass Sculpture Park | Goodwood

For a walk without dog mess, screaming hoards of kids and buggy-ruining dirt tracks, Cass Sculpture Park offers another retreat for you and your baby on sunny days. For toddlers there are vast (safe) spaces for them to explore, as well as the ever-changing collection of sculptures. Sketching, chatting and seeking shade beneath the trees, it’s the perfect place to have some quiet time away from the world. I love it just as much this season with a nearly two-year-old as I did when I used to go for an al fresco nap last year. 

Aldingbourne Country Centre Chichester

The perfect afternoon out for toddlers, this is a farm with a difference. An eclectic mix of pets and rare breeds - guinea pigs, alpacas, giant rabbits, goats, chickens and pigs – there’s so much for little ones to see, while the Woodland Walk is a magical mini forest for them to safely toddle around. And the cakes aren’t bad, either…

Jubilee Street Library | Brighton

Not my first choice, but it’s a godsend when you’re out for the day with your baby or toddler in town. With space to run, sofas to snuggle on with a book, snack tables, baby-changing, buggy parking bay, it gives them a time-out to let off steam and try out some new books. Bill’s is just up the road when you’re ready to refuel. 

Café Velo and the park on The Level, Brighton

This excellent café is surrounded by exciting cyclists and skateboarders for your kids to watch, but inside there’s the best coffee and food in the area, for you and for your child. The park next door is the kind of cool, seaside-themed play park you’d expect of Brighton folk – it’s the best I’ve ever seen. I just wish we lived next door.


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