ACCESSIBLE PLACES TO VISIT IN EAST SUSSEX
Eastbourne is ideally placed for touring or visiting the historic and picturesque sights of East Sussex, where both the countryside and the coastline are outstanding.
The county provides a wealth of memorable places to visit, including castles, manor houses and gardens. Listed below are a few of the attractions that are within a one-hour car drive of Eastbourne that Eastbourne Access Group members have listed as accessible or partially accessible.
Please make sure you contact the attraction before your visit to ensure it is suitable for your needs.
The Eastbourne Visitor Centre in The Welcome Building, BN21 4BP can provide you with more general information on places to visit. Tel: 01323 415415 or visit http://www.visiteastbourne.com/
Download the PDF list
Battle Abbey, High Street, Battle, TN33 0AD Tel: 01424 775705/776787. Need help 0370 333 1181. Minicom Tel: 0800 015 0516. Parking varies maximum £4.00, flat rate all day fee. Open Daily March – October. Open weekend only November – March except the week between Christmas & New Year – daily and February half term – open daily. Explore the site of the Battle of Hastings and discover the history of the Abbey. 3 mobility scooters available – free of charge. There are routes for less mobile visitors around the Abbey ruins, audio guide. Fully accessible Visitor Centre houses café, toilets (includes wheelchair accessible), exhibition.Audio loop available.Web: www.english-heritage.org.uk/battleabbey
Bexhill-on-Sea Seafront, TN40 is very accessible and flat, promenade shared with walkers, wheelchairs,cyclists, skaters and dog walkers. On street parking charges apply for most of the seafront, several accessible public toilets along promenade, kiosk and cafes with outside seating.
De La Warr Pavilion, TN40 1DP. Tel: Box Office 01424 229100. Accessible galleries, wheelchair spaces in the auditorium – the number depends on the show (Carer’s tickets available to those holding a blue badge & needing assistance), cafe, accessible toilets, lift. Audio loop in auditorium. Large print menus & gallery guides available. Audio information available in the galleries via headphones (not all exhibitions). Blue Badge spaces in adjacent car park but charges apply. Web: www.dlwp.com/.
Egerton Park off the seafront behind Bexhill Museum has accessible pathways and a sensory garden.
Bexhill Museum TN39 3HL Tel: 01424 222058. Ramp at front entrance, lift, galleries accessible, accessible toilet on lower level, hearing loop, shop. Web: https://www.bexhillmuseum.org.uk/
Bexhill Promenade leads on to Ravenside, Glyne Gap retail park with large stores, swimming pool towards St Leonards/Hastings. Footpath is not wheelchair accessible after this area.
Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park Station, TN22 3QL Tel: 01825 720800. Steam trains operate between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. Blue badge parking bays. Ticket office, shop, pub, museum and café are all accessible. An accessible carriage with a lift for disabled visitors is provided on some trains contact for details. Wheelchair toilets available. Web: www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/
Birling Gap, National Trust – East Dean, BN20 0AB Tel: 01323 423197. Spectacular views of The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, access to beach via steps, access onto the Down land (steep pathways not suitable for wheelchairs), accessible information centre, cafe, toilets, blue badge spaces in pay and display car park. Web: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birling-gap
Brighton Marina, Waterfront, BN2 5WA. Tel: Visitor Centre 01273 693 636. Free parking in multi-storey car park, blue badge spaces on ground level, no time limit but height restrictions. Asda store and car park limited time parking to 3 hours with ANPR, see notices for details, Blue badge spaces. Accessible footpaths to shops, cinema, and restaurants. Waterfront has lift to more restaurants overlooking marina and footpath to sea wall. Special events. Accessible toilet located behind Subway (Radar key) on ground floor and some restaurants have accessible toilets. Web: www.brightonmarina.co.uk/
Cuckoo Trail. A 14-mile surfaced path through the Sussex countryside. Starts from Shinewater Park, near Hampden Park, Eastbourne through Polegate, Hailsham, Horam to Heathfield. It is mostly traffic free and is a safe route for walkers and cyclists of all ages, forming part of the National Cycle Network – route 21. The trail follows the former ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway. Accessible for wheelchairs, scooters, pushchairs and buggies. Access at various places along the route. Parking – On street near Eastbourne Park and Polegate, Car park in Hailsham and Horam. Web: https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/discover-east-sussex/countryside-sites/cuckootrail/
Drusillas Park, Alfriston, BN26 5QS Tel: 01323 874100. Widely regarded as the best small zoo in the country with a wide variety of animals in cleverly designed naturalistic environments. However, animals are only half the fun – Go Wild! Go Bananas! Amazon Adventure are paradise for anyone who needs to let off steam. A more recent attraction is the Rainforest Carousel. Some attractions in Go Safari may not be suitable for those with poor upper body control. The train ride is accessible to those in wheelchairs with a designated boarding area and the first carriage is wheelchair friendly but limited space for those accompanying wheelchair users. Don’t miss some close animal encounters in Lemurland or Eden’s Eye. Wheelchair access and low-level viewing throughout. Wheelchair hire. Free disabled parking. Accessible toilets, including changing places toilet facility. Special group rates. Picnic areas, cafes, gift shop. Open all year except Christmas. 10.00am – 6.00pm in summer. 10.00am – 5.00pm in winter. Web: www.drusillas.co.uk/
Herstmonceux Castle Grounds and Gardens, BN27 1RN Tel: 01323 833816. Open daily March – October. Please check their website for opening hours. The main gardens, visitor centre, tea rooms and parts of the castle tour are all wheelchair accessible. They have reserved parking closer to the castle gardens, tea rooms and visitor centre, please notify staff at the Ticket Office and they will direct you accordingly. Carers are also admitted free of charge. For specific concerns or questions please ring. Web: www.herstmonceux-castle.com
Hillier Garden Centre, Hailsham Road, Stone Cross, Pevensey, BN24 5BS Tel: 01323 763240. Large garden centre with additional shop units, cafe, accessible toilet all undercover, blue badge parking, large free car park. All level ground and accessible. Courtesy Wheelchairs available. Web: www.hillier.co.uk
Knockhatch Adventure Park, Hailsham, BN27 3PR Tel: 01323 442051. Enjoy a fun action-packed visit with rides, slides, children’s farm, falconry centre, soft play, rowing boats, trampoline, crazy golf plus lots more. Dragon Castle. Refreshments, picnic tables, tarmac pathways, blue badge parking, accessible toilets, a Changing Places toilet facility is available. Adaptive skiing is also available the first Saturday of the month (except August) between 6 pm & 8 pm. Sat Nav postcode BN27 3JF. Web: www.knockhatch.com/
Michelham Priory, Upper Dicker, Hailsham, BN27 3QS Tel: 01323 844224. Tudor Mansion with interesting collections and exhibitions plus remains of 13th century Augustinian Priory, set in 7 acres of beautiful gardens surrounded by England’s longest water-filled moat. 14th century gatehouse, Elizabethan barn and ancient working watermill. Mainly flat site, there are ramps in the garden to assist with changing levels. Some of the paths are gravel. Wheelchair access to restaurant/tearoom, accessible toilet, Great Barn, gardens and ground floor of house and mill. They have 1 mobility scooter and 1 manual wheelchair available on first come basis. Wheelchair-friendly picnic tables. Parking 80 metres from house but in-site drop-offs allowed. Web: www.sussexpast.co.uk/
Paradise Park, Avis Road, Newhaven, BN9 0DH Tel: 01273 512123. Garden centre, Plant Earth Museum, Heritage Trail and gardens, play zone, train rides, special events. Some charges do apply for access to the park. There is also a cafe, shop, accessible toilet, blue badge parking. Large free car park. Most of the park is accessible. Manual wheelchairs are available to use within the garden centre and park. Web: www.paradisepark.co.uk/
Pevensey Castle, BN24 5LE Tel: 01323 762604 Limited wheelchair access within castle, uneven gravel and grass areas. Tarmac pathway through grounds outside castle leading from Westham village (on road parking) to Pevensey by St Nicholas Church and small car park. Public toilets by pub including an accessible toilet. Web: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pevensey-castle/
Seaford Seafront BN25. Seaford’s three mile stretch of coastline forms a stunning bay has a wide accessible footpath, shared with cyclists; free parking along the seafront. There are refreshment kiosks. Toilet facilities at Martello Car Park and Buckle Car Park.
Seaford Museum Seaford Museum and Heritage Society, The Esplanade, Seaford. BN25 9BH Tel: 01323 898222. The museum is housed in Martello Tower no. 74, which is situated at the eastern end of Seaford seafront. Disabled access into museum has been completed. Note: for Satnav use BN25 1JH. Web: www.seafordmuseum.co.uk/
Seven Sisters Country Park, Exceat, Seaford, BN25 4AD Tel: 0345 60 80 193. An area of natural beauty covering the lower Cuckmere Valley and part of the famous Seven Sisters cliffs. Access is good for walkers and wheelchair users and there is a concrete path that runs part way to the sea, some trails are more suitable for wheelchair users than others visit the visitor centre for more information, restaurant and wheelchair toilet. Children’s activities. Web: www.sevensisters.org.uk/
Sharnfold Farm, Hailsham Road, Stone Cross, BN24 5BU Tel: 01323 768490. Open every day. Pick your own fruit and vegetables, Play area, Farm trail, Events, Fishing. Level access into Butcher, Farm shop and Coffee shop – recently extended indoor area with additional outside seating. There is a ramp into the Children’s play area. During dry weather the whole farm is level and accessible to wheelchair users, less accessible when it is wet as it is a working farm. Accessible toilet. Blue badge parking near shop/cafe. Web: www.sharnfoldfarm.co.uk
Sheffield Park Garden, TN22 3QX. Tel: 01825 790231. Large gardens originally designed in the 18th century, including five lakes on different levels. Famous for many rare trees, spring colour in May / June and autumn colour in October / November. Most of the garden is accessible – each visitor receives a welcome leaflet including a map of the garden. Blue Badge Parking close to the entrance. Wheelchair-accessible toilets. Ramp access to reception and shop, which both have hearing loops. Mobility Scooters available to borrow for a donation of at least £2.00, please call 01825 790231 to book one for your visit. Large print and Braille versions of the guidebook available. Queens Walk is moderately rough terrain with tree roots and a path made up of “hardcore” and can get quite muddy. Big Tree Walk pathway is made up of “hardcore” providing quite a rough and bumpy terrain. Mobility scooters available to book in advance. Web: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheffieldpark
The Observatory Science Centre, Wartling Road, Herstmonceux, Hailsham, BN27 1RN Tel: 01323 832731. Hands-on science and discovery amongst the domes and telescopes of a world-famous astronomical observatory. Telescope tours, science shows, picnic, cafe, gift shop, free parking and special events all year round. Please note most of the building is accessible, apart from one area upstairs. Blue badge parking, accessible toilet with height adjustable changing bed and hoist (cannot be called a Changing Places toilet facility as there is no screen due to lack of space). If you wish to borrow a wheelchair, please ring in advance to book it. Web: www.the-observatory.org
Up Country Garden Centre,Dittons Road, Stone Cross, BN24 5ET Tel: 01323 488188. Garden Centre, shop, florist, cafe. Accessible level car park with blue badge spaces into centre. Accessible toilet. https://www.facebook.com/upcountrystonecross/
Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, Haywards Heath, RH17 6TN Tel: 01444 894066. Open throughout the year. Wakehurst is the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The varied landscape is of international significance for its beautiful botanic gardens and tree collections, as well as for its science-based plant conservation and research. A feast for the senses, Wakehurst features natural woodland and lakes, formal gardens, an Elizabethan house (five unfurnished rooms) and the 21st-century architecture of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. Accessible garden route available. Wheelchairs and scooters available, pre-book advised. Cafes, accessible toilets. Blue badge spaces. Parking charges apply see display notice. Web: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wakehurst
This is not a complete list, only suggestions so please let us know of any additional attractions and places to visit that we can include in future. For more attractions visit the East Sussex.gov.uk website Tourism and Leisure pages (Discover East Sussex/disabled access).
Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this information, Eastbourne Access Group and Visit Eastbourne cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies. Residents and visitors are advised to telephone the attraction for further details on access and to discuss individual needs.
We hope you enjoy discovering some new places in East Sussex.
Updated March 2022