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Things to see and do in Hailsham

PUBLISHED: 17:07 20 May 2013 | UPDATED: 13:19 11 June 2013

The Observatory Science Centre, Hailsham

The Observatory Science Centre, Hailsham

Archant

Whether you're a seasoned local or a curious weekender, there's something for everyone in the Wealden market town

Reach for the stars

Get hands-on among the domes and telescopes of the world famous Observatory Science Centre. Displays, demonstrations and workshops run inside year-round, and if the weather’s dry there are also sound dishes, a discovery park and water planet outside.

(01323 832731; www.the-observatory.org)

Priory engagements

Budding Indiana Jones’ should head to Michelham Priory, to delve into its 800-year history – the site is surrounded by England’s longest water-filled moat, constructed in 1229. Founded by Augustinian canons, the priory was part-destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries. Now a historic country house, there are seven acres of grounds to explore, a working watermill and even a replica Bronze Age roundhouse.

(01323 844224)

Animal instincts

There are enough creatures great and small to fill an ark at Drusillas Park – stamp each one off in your animal-spotters book, or find out more about them by peering into one of the talking telescopes. Get even closer to the animals and help to feed, clean and care for them with the park’s ‘zoo keeper for a day’ scheme, or learn how to milk a cow in the farmyard.

(01323 874111; www.drusillas.co.uk)

An Englishman’s home…

Set in 600 acres of parkland and Elizabethan gardens, Herstmonceux Castle boasts 300year old chestnut trees, a moat, folly and secret garden. Enjoy cream tea and cakes in the chestnut tea room, before taking a stroll around the lake and formal gardens. Guided tours are available, but are best booked before you arrive.

(01323 833816; www.herstmonceux-castle.com)

Adventure

There’s everything from ponies to peacocks at Knockhatch Adventure Park, not to mention quadapillar barrel rides, boating, go-karts, bungee trampolines and birds of prey displays. And if that doesn’t leave everyone exhausted, there’s also an adventure playground and avalanche toboggan to keep small minds busy.

(01323 442051; www.knockhatch.com)

The rest is history

Open this month for the summer, take a step back in time at the Hailsham Heritage Centre. Wander through the period kitchen, or examine local wartime memorabilia. Run by members of the Hailsham Historical and Natural History Society, there’s also a wealth of information about local industry, farming and agriculture. This is a small but well-maintained collection, offering a glimpse into the town’s intriguing past. Open Fridays and Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

(01323 840947)

Eat, sleep and drink

Eat

The Sundial – Dine on French food whilst admiring the South Downs National Park at this Herstmonceux restaurant. The seasonal, à-la-carte menu is excellent, and the ambience is relaxed and typically French.

(01323 832217; www.sundialrestaurant.co.uk)

Sleep

Hailsham Grange – Stay in an 18th century country house, set in a tranquil spot next to the village church. Sit and watch the world go by in the daffodil-filled spinney, or lose yourself in one of the many books to be found on shelves all around the house.

(01323 844248; www.hailshamgrange.co.uk)

Drink

The Lamb Inn – Roaring log fires, guest ales and imaginative dishes prepared by the Jamie-Oliver trained chef. A proper traditional pub with a charming garden – bring your children and dogs.

(01323 832116; www.lambinnwartling.co.uk)

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