When we moved here, we knew we were close to a country park, and that the country park had a section for kids with animals that you could pay for. Crazily, we didn’t look into the Hope Nature Centre properly for quite a while. Basically until Amelia’s bugging to go to “the animal park pleeeeeeaaase” got boring to listen to!
Because I had no idea what the place actually entailed, I decided to take her and Wills one morning while Mr C was at home working. They both needed to be back for a nap around 12, and as it doesn’t open until 10am we had about an hour and a half there. which was about enough time to see a quarter of the centre.
We decided to go back, this time with Mr C in tow, a couple of Sundays ago. With a family ticket at just £7 and no time limit to your stay, Southwick country park and the Hope Nature Centre has got to be one of the best value places to go with kids locally.
There are picnic tables scattered all over the nature centre, and they have absolutely no problem with families bringing their own food. That being said, the tearoom attached is pretty decent value for money, and they do a mean poached egg! The tearoom is staffed by volunteer adults with learning disabilities, as part of a scheme to enhance life skills and provide good value work experience which they can transfer into future roles.
Amelia is so happy here, as is Wills. They can’t get enough of the various play areas, climbing frames, reading nooks, giant slides, and even a section with toys like scooters and ride alongs for the kids to play with to their heart’s content. Wills is definitely more interested in the animals than Amelia.
Speaking of animals – there are plenty! The Hope Nature Centre is home to Alpacas and Hebridean sheep, donkeys, Shetland ponies, rabbits, guinea pigs, various birds and rodents, goats, pigs, ducks, and even some llamas! I could go on. There’s a different animal around every corner, and the kids absolutely adore seeing them. Bags of feed for each animal can be bought on the way in for a mere 50p per bag.
Hope Nature Centre
10:00 – 15:30 Mon-Sun
Squirrels Tea Room
08:30 – 16:30 Mon-Sun
Nature Centre Admission
Family (2/2): £7