It's not an area I've ever stopped in before, it has always just been a drive through but the harbour and seafront there are great and we would definitely stop there another time. To get to the fort you drive up quite a steep hill and the car parking is free (but be aware there is a 1.8 metre height restriction). At the top you can see out to sea and down to the harbour where there is a massive scrap metal yard and also enormous ferries come in to dock, the kids really liked it. We arrived about lunch time and had a picnic on the cliff top before going in as there are some very useful benches right by the parking.
Newhaven Fort is open from February to November 10am - 5pm each day with the last admission being at 4pm. I feel the entry cost was really reasonable at £19.95 for a family of 5 and if you book in advance (it must be at least the day before) you get 10% off the admission price.
We spent around four hours at the fort, some of this was because we choose to sit on the clifftop and relax in the sun as a family and also to have a coffee in the 1940's tea room. I would say it is probably a couple of hour attraction normally for a family that likes to have a look around but not to read every piece of history (you could be there all day if you did that).
They do have special days sometimes and I'd imagine that would be the best time to visit as you'd get to see some living history and vehicles in situ. Looking on the events diary for the rest of the summer it appears there are outdoor cinema events, a live show and a kids camp all taking place within the fort.
Within the casements there are lots of different exhibits that you can see and visit. We particularly enjoyed -
- the 12 minute film about the history of the fort (who knew that at one point they were going to make it into a holiday camp?)
- the Blitz experience, where you get to feel what it was like to be in a bunker during WWII
- walking along the cliff tops too see the big guns and then sitting watching the sheep grazing and enjoying the amazing views
- heading down the deep staircase to the Caponier and scaring each other in the dark corridors
- checking out all the radios and Morse code in the office of the Newhaven Fort Amateur Radio Group
- dressing up in army uniforms
- enjoying a toasted tea cake and cuppa in the tearoom
- the kids playing on the zip wire and wooden assault course
The whole place was really very quiet whilst we were there and as such you could easily see everything and no-one was getting in your way but I have to admit that it did feel a bit like a ghost town and I was disappointed with the lack of cakes in the tearoom.
However in all we had a fun time out and then we drove over to Saltdean and had a really reasonably priced carvery in the Saltdean Tavern and the kids loved the exercise equipment and play park there. It was a great family day.
Why not pin this post for later?
Why not pin this post for later?
I'm linking this post up with Fiona at Coombe Mill for #CountryKids.
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