When in the midst of yet another lockdown, we have found it a little hard to feel excited about what 2021 may bring, especially in terms of travelling and holidays/breaks. With travel restrictions likely for a large chunk of the year, it really is going to be the year of the ‘UK Staycation’.

With so many wonderful places to visit in the UK, it can be hard to pinpoint where you should go and then what you should do when you get there! Feedback from our Blue Door Barns guests tells us how often Sussex and the South Downs are on their bucket list of UK getaways and we couldn’t agree more as it has so much to offer in terms of the great outdoors, nature, culture, history, art, food, drink and more.

To help you make the most of your staycation, we've created this blog as a varied guide to the best activities in the East Sussex area whatever your tastes, and all close to Blue Door Barns. All with the aim of making your stay even better! So whether it's a family friendly day trip, an adrenaline sport, a cooking course or just a great laugh with your mates, there's something here for you.

release your inner dare devil and try paragliding

Located just two minutes around the corner from us, why not soar with the birds and give paragliding a go - Fly Sussex https://flysussex.com has qualified instructors ready to teach you to fly! They are open throughout the whole year, with lessons running every day (as long as the weather plays fair) and what better place to learn than in the heart of the South Downs, with unparalleled views of the East Sussex countryside. Imagine flying high above Firle Beacon or Mount Caburn?

All levels are welcome, with lots of different packages available so if you're not quite ready to fly solo - why not whet your appetite with a tandem paragliding flight with one of their professionals? If you're looking for that adrenaline hit... paragliding is an absolute must for your Blue Door Barns staycation break! Are you brave enough to do it?!

give your brain a test and have some fun with an escape room

For couples or families looking for a UK getaway this summer in sunny Sussex and who would like a mix of rural activities and urban fun, Blue Door Barns is perfectly located, just 20 minutes from Brighton. This bustling, cosmopolitan city-by-the-sea which is full of fun things to do. And if you’re looking for an activity that’s a little different, then we recommend an Escape Room. Escape Rooms are perfect for getting your mind thinking in peculiar ways and having a good old laugh while doing so. The award-winning Pier Pressure https://pierpressure.co.uk is our favourite escape room supplier, and we've sampled a few. For those of you who may not be familiar with the escape room concept, Pier Pressure describes them as follow, “Escape rooms are 60 minute treasure hunts that are a whirlwind medley of excitement, tension and thrill. You and your team must work together as a unit whilst having your grey matter, logical thinking and dexterity all challenged”. With rigorous COVID safety measures in place, including every prop and puzzle being cleaned before each group and fresh air ventilation and air purifiers running all day so the air is refreshed between every game, you know you can safely enjoy yourselves.

When we visited with a bunch of girlfriends, we did the ‘Pavillion Perplex’ escape room, which was so well put together and brilliant fun. So much fun that the team said they had never before heard so many girls screaming with excitement at the game!

outdoor animal fun for all the family

If you are coming to stay with us as a family, you will want to choose a few family fun activities which offer a full day out with plenty of entertainment for all. Luckily, we have the very best family fun day right on our doorstep. Drusillas https://www.drusillas.co.uk is one of the best rural zoos in the UK, specifically designed for children. Children can immerse themselves and explore hundreds of different exotic animals, with lots of activities along the way to keep them engaged but also with some fun ways of learning too. These can vary between the ‘Zooolympics’ challenge, regular Keeper Talks where you can see the animals being fed, walk-through enclosures with some of the animals all around you, like their ‘Lemurland’. Drusillas also features an impressive adventure area, which is perfect for letting your little monkeys loose to blow off some steam! From banana swings to slides and climbing frames it's the perfect place for you to enjoy a coffee break while they run riot. Located just a 10 minute drive from Blue Door Barns, Drusillas really is a top family day out in Sussex.

learn to sail, surf canoe and more with buzz active

Set right on Eastbourne beach, only 20 minutes from Blue Door Barns, Buzz Active https://www.buzzactive.org.uk is the perfect water sports centre with direct access to the open sea and the prevailing southwesterly winds! Offering a range of water sport activities including windsurfing, dinghy sailing, paddleboarding, canoeing and raft building, to land based activities in the local, Bushy Wood - there is so much to choose from. Buzz Active offers taster sessions, so if you’ve never had a go at windsurfing or sailing, there is the option to try one of three sports all in one go. With the choice to book private sessions or as a group or family, there are versatile options for all. We absolutely love getting involved with water sports in the spring/summer months - and it's so wonderful to watch the kids learn to sail and become more confident in the sea. What a way to spend a day or two during your stay with us.

get your creative cooking juices flowing with a totally unique cooking experience

If you're big into your cooking or food like us, or looking for a different kind of date night or group activity - Hunter Gather Cook https://huntergathercook.com is the perfect choice. Hunter Gather Cook is a cooking school with a twist; immerse yourself in an outdoor wild food adventure and forage and cook in their off-grid kitchen. With all of their courses taking place at their ‘Treehouse’ or ‘Shepherds Barn’ on the Firle Estate, which is just around the corner from Blue Door Barns, the outstanding rural location is ideal for teaching participants how to identify, process and cook straight from the wild! Hunter Gather Cook has made sure that everything has been built from the local landscape, from their oak benches to sandstone kitchen and clay oven - everything you see has come from the woods itself. Being such a unique cooking experience, in such breathtaking natural surroundings we had to recommend Hunter Gather Cook for your staycation or perhaps as a gift for someone special for when you come to stay with us.