Adventure Activities for Children & Families in Sussex

We’re really lucky here in Sussex that there is so much to do all within a relatively short drive of RH14. We are doubly blessed with an amazing coastline and gorgeous rolling countryside! Here’s a round up of some of the more adrenalin pumping activities that children and families can take part in. Because of the nature of the activities, most of these are for older children (aged 6+, and sometimes older), but I’ve tried to include something for the younger ones too.

Read on to find out about water-based sports, indoor climbing, high/low ropes, gliding and geocaching.

Water-based sports

Southwater Water Sports, Southwater

They  run a wide range of activities throughout the summer holidays for children aged 8+ at the time of the course. From canoeing and kayaking to raft building and crew days there’s a fun packed adventure to be enjoyed by all.


Summer Course Dates:

Aug 7th to Aug 10th; Aug 14th to Aug 17th; Aug 21st to Aug 24th; Aug 29th to Sept 1st

The holiday kayaking paddlepower courses or Sailing courses for children times are:

4 mornings (9.30am to 12.30) or 4 afternoons (1.30pm to 4.30pm)

Southwater Water Sports website

Location: Southwater Country Park     |     Contact: 01403 734424

Ardingly Activity Centre, Ardingly

The activity centre at Ardingly offers a range of water sports including windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding. They offer instruction packages as well as the option to hire equipment and have a splash about (subject to minimum age requirements).

Instructed courses are offered for the following activities (and ages):

  • Windsurfing Juniors: 8-15 years
  • Junior Sailing: 6-15 years
  • Kayaking Juniors: 7-15 years

Courses are available over the summer holidays. Contact the centre for more details.


Sit On Top Kayak Hire

  • Sit on top Kayaks:  £12/hour single £17/hour double. No qualification required.
  • Minimum age of 16 years old to hire a Sit on Top unaccompanied.
  • Under 9’s can be taken on a double sit on top kayak by a responsible adult
  • Children aged 9+ can hire a sit on top providing that all hirers under 16 years of age are accompanied afloat by a responsible adult and are under their direct supervision at all times.


Stand up paddle board hire

  • From £12/hour. No qualification required.
  • Minimum age 16 years old to hire a Stand up Paddle board unaccompanied.
  • Children aged 9 years and above may hire a Stand up Paddle board providing that all hirers under 16 years of age are accompanied afloat by a responsible adult and are under their direct supervision at all times.

Ardingly Activity Centre website

Location: Ardingly Reservoir, RH17 6SQ     |     Contact: 01444 892549

TJ Board Hire Tours Tuition (Stand Up Paddle Boarding), West Sussex

Enjoying a summer residence at Bognor Regis seafront (opposite the bandstand), TJ Hire offer stand up paddle (SUP) board  hire, tours and tuition.

They have brand new top of the range inflatable SUP paddle boards for suitable for all the family to hire, as well as a Fatstick XL SUP which can stand or sit up to eight people!

Bognor Regis Fatstick XL Felpham West Sussex Chichester SUP paddle board

They hire out quality wetsuits, vests, boots and buoyancy aids in sizes from age 6 up to XXL, so all you need to bring is a towel!


Also available to hire are single seater sit on Fatyak kayaks,Fatyak kayak hire Bognor Regis bognor seafront paddle board SUP with models suitable for children and adults.

Before hiring a SUP you’ll need to complete a two hour introduction to SUP paddle boarding. Once this has been completed you are free to hire by the hour, day or week.

A two hour family SUP intro session is £80 (£40 for one person). All equipment/clothing is provided in the cost of the session. They recommend doing the intro session at Chichester Ship Canal due to the calm, non tidal waters and lots of wildlife to spot!

More information can be found on their website.

Location: Various locations across West Sussex     | Contact: 07548 619 578

Cobnor Activities Centre, Chichester

They offer sailing (age 8+) and kayaking courses/sessions (age 10+), canoe and kayak safaris (age 10+). They also offer a residential summer camp for children 8+ that includes  sailing, kayaking, canoeing, climbing, archery, mountain biking, raft building, low ropes, team building, orienteering as well as evening activities (£350 per child).

Cobnor Activities Centre website

Location: Cobnor Point, Chidham, PO18 8TE     |     Contact: 01243 572791

Fluid Adventures (Kayaking & Canoeing)

Fluid Adventures offer individual and group courses and tours and are based on the south coast near Chichester. They also have a handful of seasonal pop up hire locations meaning you can enjoy some of the most beautiful stretches of water in Sussex and Hampshire as part of a holiday or day out. They frequently have a pop up location in Pulborough.

fluid kayaks

They hire craft as well as providing lessons and guided trips, and there’s no minimum age for children to have a go at a sit on top double kayak or canoe as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult. All safety equipment is provided with the craft hire.

More details on their website.

Sailing Clubs, West Sussex

There are also plenty of sailing clubs along the coast that offer sailing classes. Joining the club is usually a requirement. Please contact the individual clubs for details. Here are some local clubs:

Arun Yacht Club

Felpham Sailing Club

Chichester Yacht Club

Itchenor Sailing Club

Bosham Sailing Club

Indoor Climbing

With climbing set to become an Olympic sport from 2020, who knows, your child could get the climbing bug and become a champion!

High Sports Crawley, K2 Leisure Centre

Offering a range of classes and sessions, High Sports Crawley is my family’s local climbing wall. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and there’s a shop to hire or buy climbing shoes and equipment. There is also a good sized bouldering wall that is included in the price of a climbing session.


They offer taster sessions from age 4+ (group taster sessions for 4-16 year olds; private sessions for 7-16 year olds, as well as family taster sessions and private 1:1 sessions).

There are also a number of classes, depending on age:

Pebbles Club (age 4-7) runs everyday except Tuesday.

  • Member Price (per session): £11.50
  • Non Member Price (per session): £14.70

Junior Rock Club (age 7-12) runs everyday

  • Member Price (per session): £12.90
  • Non Member Price (per session): £16
  • Term Bookings (available for members): £12.65 per session – includes shoe hire

They are operating a slightly different  timetable this summer with some fantastic climbing sessions, including the NEW 2 hour Summer Special – Pirate Themed Fun! Make sure you call ahead to check times/availability and check out their website for more information. They also offer group bookings and parties.

Location: Pease Pottage Hill, RH11 9BQ     |     Contact: 0345 363 1177

Boulder Brighton (bouldering not top rope climbing)

Bouldering is different from regular indoor climbing in that no ropes are used. It’s basically climbing stripped back to the raw essentials. You don’t need any technical equipment other than climbing shoes and maybe a bag of chalk (both can be hired at climbing centres). There are plenty of safety mats to soften any falls, but that’s it. The climbs are high enough to be exciting, but not high enough to be too intimidating.

You can read more about bouldering at Boulder Brighton on my recent blog post here.

boulder rom

The absolute minimum age that they allow on the wall is 4 years olds, but instructed courses are for age 7+ only. Before age 7 you would have to supervise your children yourself (more details below). They offer a range of youth instructed courses including:

Rock Squirrels boulder taster sessions for 7-11 year olds on Mondays & Fridays

Bouldering Academy a 5 week training programme for 7-11 year olds

Holiday Slackers (7-11 years). Every Tuesday in August. This involves a half day of instructed bouldering, slacklining and games with an experienced instructor.

They also offer private tuition and family bouldering sessions (one hour instructed sessions for two adults and two children).

You can supervise children yourself. It’s important to point out that there is maximum of two children to one non-climbing adult. You will need to pre-register children and watch an introductory video before being allowed to supervise your children.

More useful information on supervising young climbers can be found here.

On weekends the opening hours for under 12’s is restricted to before 14:00 (last entry is 13:00). 

Location: Portslade, Brighton, BN41 1XQ     |     Contact: 01273 422408

High Sports Brighton, Withdean Sports Complex

Operated by the same company that run the climbing at K2 in Crawley, High Sports Brighton offers a range of sessions and courses for children.

They have group taster sessions, private taster sessions, family taster sessions and private tuition.

  • One hour climbing taster sessions (age 7-16) – £13.50
  • One hour Rock Box taster sessions (age 5+) – £13
  • 30 minute private taster sessions (age 7-16) – £22.50

There are also a number of classes, depending on age:

Pebbles Club (age 4-7) runs everyday except Tuesday.

  • Member Price (per session): £11.50
  • Non Member Price (per session): £14.70

Junior Rock Club (age 7-12) runs everyday

  • Member* Price (per session): £12.90
  • Non Member Price (per session): £16
  • Term Bookings (available for members): £12.65 per session – includes shoe hire

They are operating a slightly different  timetable this summer with some fantastic climbing sessions, including the NEW 2 hour Summer Special – Pirate Themed Fun! Make sure you call ahead to check times/availability and check out their website for more information. They also offer group bookings and parties.

Location: Brighton, BN1 5JD     |     Contact: 0345 363 1177

White Spider, Tolworth, Surrey

Not in Sussex, but well worth a visit if you don’t mind travelling for about an hour. It’s a good one to try if you are heading in the Guildford direction anyway! It’s located just off the A3/A240 at Tolworth Junction.

This used to be our local climbing wall before we moved to Billingshurst. The reason that I’m recommending it here is that it’s great if you have younger children, and especially if you have children with a bit of an age gap!  They have a great play area for kids aged 3+ called The Spider Castle. It’s really good for occupying the younger ones whilst the older ones are having an instructed climbing session. It’s right next to the cafe and so parents can chill with a drink and some cake whilst supervising the kids on the castle.


Castle Prices:

  • For kids who are using the castle only, entry is £5.00. Minimum recommended age is 3+.
  • For siblings accompanying a climber but not taking part in a lesson, entry is £2.50.
  • For kids who are taking part in a lesson or open session, use of the castle is included as part of admission

They offer instructed courses and are offering a range of clubs over the summer holidays.

Their autumn 2017 course schedule begins on Sept 4th and more information can be found here.

Throughout August they are running casual clubs for various age groups:

  • Casual Creepy Crawlies (age 5-6): one hour sessions, £16.50 per child
  • Casual Arachnids (age 7-12): 1.5 hour sessions, £16.50 per child
  • Casual Black Widows (age 13-17): 1.5 hour sessions, £16.50 per child

Location: Surbiton, KT6 7LD     |      Contact: 0208 397 0390

High Ropes

If your children fancy some aerial adventures outdoors, then high ropes is the perfect solution!

High Places, Horsham

Situated behind the Pavillions Leisure Centre in Horsham, High Places is conveniently located and really fun. You can even tie it in with some swimming or soft play at the leisure Centre.

high places

There are high ropes for children age 8+ (£12-£20 per person, depending on which package you choose) and a low ropes course for children aged 5-7 (£10 per child).

They also offer combi tickets where you can also combine the aerial adventure with a swim in Pavillions.

On Friday evenings (6:30 – 9:30 pm) kids aged 8-14 years can take on the low and high ropes courses, have a go on the fan descender before taking a quick break and heading over to the Fun Splash Disco at Pavilions. This costs £15 per child.

Booking is essential. More information can be found on their website, or call on 01403 219219.

Location: Horsham, RH12 2DF     |     Contact: 01403 219219

Go Ape, Tilgate Park, Crawley

Located in lovely Tilgate Park, Go Ape offers a high and low ropes course with zip wires. The low ropes course is open to all children over 1m (3 ft) tall. The high ropes course is open to children aged 10+ who are over 1.4m (4 ft 7in) tall. Adults need to supervise younger children on the low ropes (one adult to two children aged  under 6, or one adult to eight children aged 6+), but can do so from the ground. Children aged 16+ do not need to be supervised.



  • Under 10 years: £18
  • Age 10-15 years: £25
  • Aged 16+: £33

Check out their website for more information.

Location: Tilgate Drive, RH10 5PQ     Contact:  0333 331 4996


For the ultimate adventure activity for older children, how about gliding? The South Downs Gliding Club based in Pulborough take junior members from 14 to 25 years old.

There’s a one off joining fee of £40 and annual fee of £90 and they have a very active juniors members group that fly regularly working towards being able to fly solo. They have had members flying solo as young as 14 years old!


They also offer trial lessons  for children  mature enough to accept instruction (they suggest around 10 – 11 years old).

Trial lessons are £99 which includes an Aerowtow and flight of up to 30mins, plus one months membership with any further flights at members rates. They fly trial lessons every Weds, Sat and Sun.  These are not booked, you just turn up and add your name to the flying list. They normally start flying around 10am and fly until the late afternoon unless it is raining, foggy or very windy.

Trial lessons can be paid for on the day or gift vouchers can be purchased in advance and are valid for 6 months.

The office is open for inquiries and telephone payments Mon – Fri 9.30  – 12.30 on 01903 742137

More information can be found on their website.

Location: Parnham Airfield, Pulborough, RH20 4HP     Contact: 01903 742137


Geocaching is a family friendly, outdoor sport that is great fun and is pretty cheap to do. Think of it as a modern day (geeky) treasure hunt, but instead of finding gold and jewels at the end of your hunt, you find hidden caches (small boxes containing a logbook that you sign to show that you found the cache and, depending on the size, trinkets that junior cachers are encouraged to swap with something else) using a GPS receiver or smartphone.


All you need to get started is a smartphone or a GPS handheld device and to download the cache details and you are good to go!

In the UK there are over 70,000 geocaches hidden so you are close to one wherever you are! They are hidden in the countryside and urban areas.


More information on getting started with geocaching here

More information on finding your first geocache here

More information on geocaching along the South Downs here


*Most images reproduced from the websites of the companies featured.

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