So as we now have an active little toddler travelling with us, it’s important for us to ensure that where we go is a child friendly place. So this post has been written from that point of view, but hopefully you can enjoy it too even if you haven’t got a kiddo to entertain. 🙂
Sheffield Park is situated in Uckfield, roughly between Crawley and Brighton in East Sussex. Its beautiful gardens amongst five lakes are landscaped beautifully and there are also loads of trails and meadows around the lake. All in all there is 300 acres to discover.
What makes this place particularly special is that there is an array of interesting, huge, twisty, rare and old trees to marvel! Some of them are over 150 years old! It’s not surprising then that the gardens have received Grade 1 listing and definitely make this area unique and fun to discover.
The trail is an easy walk and kid and stroller friendly. We actually left our stroller by the entrance so that’s an option too.
Sheffield Park is famous for having beautiful seasonal displays of nature. As it’s summer the water lilies were in season and one of the lakes is covered by them. They were just gorgeous and should be in bloom until September.
The lake is also a home to some extremely friendly ducks that are bound to spellbind any little ones.
Along the way they had put on some lovely quotes from a book called A Breath of Fresh Air. They invited visitors to be more mindful and how nature can help with that. This one was my favourite. I think it resonated with me having had this weird spring with all its tumultuous changes.
There are some lovely carved benches dotted along the trails to rest and admire the views and also many great spots to have picnics too. You can also find some picnic tables before the entrance overlooking the parkland across the road. We just had a little blanket on a quiet spot in a meadow.
Speaking of the parkland across the road.. There are grassy fields (250 acres of it) you can wander around and see some sheep and cows grazing up close and personal. After a short walk you can also find a natural play area for children. Find a map by the entrance to the parkland and head towards Ringwood Toll over the little uphill and through two cattle gates. After the second gate there are posts to follow for a little while. You should see the gate to Ringwood Toll on your left.
The give away is that it’s a wooded area on the field. Overall the walk is little up and then downhill. Our toddler managed it well (just watch out for lots of animal poo, mostly dried thankfully) and pushing strollers requires little or some effort depending on your stroller. Once you arrive at Ringwood Toll it has a path going in a circle of the wooded area and my tip for you is to go anti clockwise. We went clockwise and our toddler was too tired to play (!!!) with the cooler stuff that was at the end of the walk.
The natural play area is on the other side of the entrance, it is lovely shaded area where children can build dens, balance on a huge fallen tree and do seesawing among other things.
It’s good for even older kids too. Be warned that there are no facilities. Also you don’t need to book to go there, it’s totally free.
CORONA UPDATE – Your tickets for Sheffield Park need to be booked in advance. National Trust releases the following week’s tickets on each Friday morning. This also includes for members. There is a little cafe selling coffee, tea and refreshments in take away cups and by the entrance there is also a Jude’s ice cream stand. The toilets are open and in key areas there are reminders to keep 2m safety distance. It is easy to keep distance in Sheffield Park, there is lots of room and capacity is kept low. The lake can be toured one way only at this time, but makes no difference to enjoyment of it. Tickets cost £10 adults, £5 children for Sheffield Park for non-members and parking is free for all visitors. You can read more info about Sheffield Park and parkland here.
I will also be adding Sheffield Park autumn foliage display on my autumn bucket list. My husband went there a few years ago and it was lovely.
We timed our day to be there at 10am and walked around the lake and discovered the trees and meadows in the morning. We had a picnic lunch and whilst our son napped in his stroller we explored some more trails and stopped for a coffee. After his nap we headed to the parkland and natural play area where we stayed until about 4pm. That wrapped up our lovely day out in Sheffield Park. Totally recommended!