Family Days Out in East Sussex: Sheffield Park

We had a lovely day out with friends this week at Sheffield Park and Garden.  With extensive gardens, lakes, and 250 acres of parkland to explore, there was plenty for us to do.  All four girls, our three and friend Xanthe, came home covered in muck, so we concluded it was a good day's play!

There was so much to do in the gardens: trees to climb, secret paths to explore, fairy doors to spot in trees, and little shelters to hang out in.  The girls loved it.  Sophia was fascinated by the fronds of this weeping willow, which she tried to plait.

We loved the open vistas across the lakes, and this beautiful stone bridge.  This is the perfect time of year to see the water lilies apparently, a carpet of white, yellow and crimson across the lake's edge.

Also at the lakeside are an army of ducks pestering all and sundry for food!  They were very tame, even the super-soft late season babies who came right up to us.

The girls loved this enormous tree trunk, which looked like an erupting volcano.  We tried counting the rings and calculated it to be around 400 years old, it must have been quiet a sight when intact.

Tatia was delighted to be having her drink on top of the giant's table!

After lunch, we headed out into the vast parkland.  Leading down to the River Ouse, the parkland is open with Capability Brown created copses dotted around, creating his quintessential English style.  We'll certainly be coming back to see more.  Within one of the wooded areas is a natural woodland play trail with rope swing, tree trunk seesaws, climbing areas, and more.

The rope swing was a bit too fast for my poor old camera!

Our favourite area was the den building space with lots of assorted lengths of log lying around for children to create dens with, and more climbing opportunities.  Sophia directed the creation of a den and did a sterling job creating this fabulous one:

Complete with giraffe-shaped door post:

Sophia was so proud of her den, and keeps asking if we can go back and stay the night in it.

Sheffield Park Gardens are open every day, free to National Trust members.  The gardens are buggy and wheelchair friendly.  Entrance to the parkland only is free.  There is a delightful tearoom in the old coach house with lots of space indoors and out, which is accessible to all.  They serve children's meals at lunchtime.  There is also lots of space to picnic, including a number of tables overlooking the parkland.  The Bluebell Railway runs nearby and would be a lovely way to visit, although there is a large car park if coming by car.

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