Half term in Sussex - things to do at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum


- Credit: Archant

Enjoy the great outdoors this spring half-term at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, with fantastic family activities taking place from Monday 25 - Friday 29 May.

With a focus on spring time in the South Downs, children of all ages can channel their excitement and energy into a range of hands-on activities and outdoor trails around the Museum’s 40-acre downland site. Wet weather won’t stop play as there are plenty of covered areas.


Activities vary from day-to-day and will include:

• Maypole dancing - Welcome spring by dancing round the maypole and watching morris dancing – a traditional spring time activity with traditional music.

• Make a tussie-mussie - With spring flowers now in bloom, make one of these small posies for someone special. Each contains flowers with special meanings: rosemary for remembrance; lemon balm for love; thyme for strength; sage for wisdom; and carnation for affection.

• Tudor dairying - Visit the Museum’s Tudor kitchen, where you can watch butter making by hand (as the Tudors did) and make some yourself in a jam jar.

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• Make a walnut shell boat - Make a little boat from a walnut shell and sail it in a tin bath.

• Victorian laundry - Help with the laundry in the Museum’s Victorian cottage. Use a dolly, a mangle and peg out the washing on the line – then try ironing using old fashioned flat irons heated on the range.

• Try milling by hand - At the Museum’s working watermill visitors can try grinding corn by hand with a scale replica of the mill stones.

• Traditional crafts - Try traditional crafts such as rag rugging, Elizabethan blackwork or knitting.


Between activities, enjoy the fresh air and see the sheep and lambs, Shire horses and the other traditional breed farm animals including pigs, chickens and geese. There are lovely woodland walks and visitors will be able to see the beginnings of the Museum’s new Saxon house, which is being built in the woodland. The Museum’s historic buildings are fascinating places to explore, plus visitors can learn how food was prepared in the Tudor kitchen and see how flour is milled in the watermill – where grain can be purchased to feed the hungry ducks on the mill pond.

Activities will run from 11am-4pm and children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The café will be open, plus there are indoor and outdoor picnic areas. Dogs on leads are welcome and there is ample free parking. Please wear clothes suitable for playing outdoors. Regular entry charges apply and the Museum will be open from 10.30am to 6pm.




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