Today I woke up a little disappointed as it was rain forecast all morning. I wondered what we should do, brave the soft play? I decided that as there seemed to be an hour or so clear weather, we’d go to Herstmonceux Castle in Hailsham and see what it is like. As soon as I mentioned ‘castle’, Emma said to me “go see dragons, Mummy”, which was a tale I told her when we visited Arundel Castle a few weeks back. It’s amazing the memory toddlers have and the tiny details that stick!
Herstmonceux is a little village in between Eastbourne and Hastings; it’s an easy route to get there along the A27 and A22. I’m fairly used to driving this way as we love going to Eastbourne with the boys for traditional fish and chips on a Sunday. I’d seen the turning for Herstmonceux before and always wondered what it was like. What I wasn’t expecting was how you immediately see the countryside as soon as you turn off the A22. Within minutes, we saw a huge field with bales of hay and to Emma’s excitement lots of cows too. We followed the windy road to Herstmonceux Castle and we weren’t disappointed – the castle is simply breathtaking.
Entry to the castle was very reasonable at £6 per adult and free entry to Under 5’s – this gives you entry to the gardens and grounds, plus the tea room. The price increases to £13 per adult to visit the castle itself (you also get entry to the science centre next door) and an extra £2.50 for a castle tour. Compared to other castles we have visited across Sussex, I thought this was very reasonable! The grounds are well sign-posted and we made our way to the gardens along a little pathway. I was so glad we arrived early as we had the gardens to ourself and Emma enjoyed having a look at all the flowers.
After having a look around the gardens, we decided to sit down on a bench and enjoy a little shortbread together. The sun decided to come out to see us too, which was a nice surprise! I knew we were on borrowed time though as those black clouds were still looming so we went for one last walk around the gardens and went back to the car. I was so impressed with Herstmonceux Castle and hope we’ll be back soon with the boys to explore the castle a little more. I spotted a fantastic pub up the road called the Woolpack Inn, which I’d love to try too!