So here it is, one little place for things to do in, and within an hour of, our little place: Lewes, the county town of East Sussex in England.
Little Lewes is for people who live here and people who visit. It’s for those with children, and can also be used by those without.
It’s also for me, as an ode to the town that constantly reminds me how lucky I am to have chosen it as the place to raise my family.
I am a freelance writer, content creator and editor who works from my home in Lewes. This is the blog I’ve been meaning to start since moving to here three-and-a-half years ago.
Before we arrived, I searched in vain online for things to do with my then-one-year-old son. I knew there was good reason why young families moved to Lewes (we were!), but there was – and still is – a real lack of information.
Groups? There was nothing online.
Classes? Again, nothing obvious.
Activities? I had to dig deep.
Events? It was patchy.
It was even hard to find out about the town’s nurseries.
Admittedly the biggies – the attractions – were easy to find. The Drusillas, the Spring Barn Farms, the Bluebell Railways… But beaches off the beaten track? Secret picnic spots? Low-key attractions? Free things to do? Pubs with playgrounds AND decent food? Bluebell woodland walks?
Three years on and we’ve been on some amazing adventures. But most of the places we’ve discovered are thanks to conversations with friends.
I’ve since had another baby boy, who is now one. My older boy – now four-and-a-half – will start school in three months. We’re down to our last three months of the three of us doing things together during the week. I feel the need to make it count (*working-parent-guilt-self-flagellation*).
Once he starts, I’ll be back to dreaming up stimulating stuff to do for a toddler who thus-far hasn’t required much of it (because of being a baby, that is), and who has had the older one along for entertainment. I’ll be back to visiting the places I started uncovering three years ago, remembering which I loved and why.
And at weekends, we’ll have to think creatively – we’ll have a five-year-old and an 18-month-old. Entirely different in interests and engagement ability, let alone practical requirements.
But if I had thought (again) about not bothering with the blog, a final indicator came a few weeks back.
A friend told me about The Observatory Science Centre in Herstmonceux (whose castle we still haven’t visited – there you go, another for the list). We went, and it was amazing – engaging for our children, despite their age gap, and low-key enough that us parents didn’t want to run for the pub within an hour of arriving.
I thought: there’s all this just half an hour from town, and this is the first I’ve heard of it.
I’ve since mentioned it – and a few other places I’ve only recently discovered – to a few people. Mostly the response is: ‘Oh wow, what/where’s that?’
So now I’m going to try to update this blog regularly, by way of giving people who live in and visit Lewes, ideas of what to do – here and within an hour’s radius of here – with their kids.
I have some ideas about how I’m going to structure all this, but they’re in a cloud above my head. I think I’ll just start, and it can be organic…
And please do get in touch through the blog if there are things you’d like to see on Little Lewes, or places you’ve discovered that you think my boys and I should visit.
I’d love to hear from you.