Family visit to Bateman's

A family playing pooh sticks at Bateman's

Planning a day out with the family during the holidays? You'll find a summer trail to follow around the Bateman's garden, and you can listen to outdoor storytelling and poetry readings on selected dates. The house is open so you can see the Kipling family home. And there's the family-friendly tea-room and facilities for when you need a quick pit stop.

Summer holiday activities

A 'School of Gardening' summer trail encourages children to get out and about in nature, discover what's growing and explore the gardens. The trail runs throughout the summer holidays, 24 July - 5 September, 10am - 4:30pm. £2 with a small reward. 

Families can enjoy Kipling's Just So Stories retold in humorous verse and rhyme on Tuesdays, Wednesdays (except 28 July) and Saturdays throughout the school holidays, 11am - 3pm.  Look out for outdoor poetry readings featuring Kipling's work inspired by the garden and the Sussex landscape, on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays in August. Normal admission applies and there's no need to book. These outdoor activities are weather dependent, and occasionally may need to be changed or cancelled at short notice. 

Explore inside the house

The house is open for you to see where the Kipling family lived. The house is much how the family left it, with its original family trinkets and mementos. See the 120-year-old doll 'Crocus', who was given to the Kipling’s middle child Elsie. She was so well loved; her nose has rubbed off with so many kisses.

Family fun

There’s plenty of space in the gardens and estate, for those needing to burn off some energy. The landscape around Bateman's was inspiration for some of Rudyard Kipling's famous stories, written for his children and, in the case of Puck of Pook's Hill, featuring them.

Venture out as a family, discover some of the places featured in the tales Kipling wrote and have a go at some of the '50 things to do before you're 11¾'. Ask at visitor reception for a free chart and see how many you can complete - watch a bird, have fun with sticks or make friends with a bug - to name just a few! 

Don't forget to stop and admire the amazing framework of branches created by the pleached limes in the formal garden or stop for a while and watch the River Dudwell rushing under the bridge in the wild garden. See the workings of a real-life water mill in Park Mill or stretch your legs on one of the three wider estate walks.

Natural play area

Rudyard Kipling encouraged his children to explore the natural world around Bateman's, and we've created a natural play area for your children to explore here. With swings, see-saw, climbing frames and a Kipling-inspired totem pole, discover this secluded space by the top of the car park where you can let the kids race and clamber around or create a den from fallen branches. 

Some of the natural play equipment has been created from branches and trunks of felled trees from around the estate, including hornbeam, oak and pine. Removing these trees was part of our woodland management and the natural play area is a great place to repurpose them.

The beautiful centrepiece of the play area is a carving into a large oak tree. The sculpture incorporates images of Sussex wildlife and is topped by an enormous owl. 

"Now is the Sun, Come up from the South, with Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!"
- Rudyard Kipling

These words from 'The Tree Song' entwine the sculpture along with motifs of the leaves of those trees. On your visit, see how many animals you can spot wrapped around the sculpture - perhaps you will see them around the estate too.


Eating with us?

You have a choice when it comes to eating with your family at Bateman’s. Sit inside the Mulberry tea-room or on outdoor chairs and tables in the Mulberry Garden. Grab and go from the tea-room or if it’s good weather, why not bring a picnic to enjoy in one of our dedicated picnic areas.   

Good to know

  • Baby changing facilities can be found in the accessible toilet next to Visitor Reception, in the car park.
  • High chairs are available in the Mulberry tea-room.
  • If you fancy a picnic, you’re welcome to picnic in the grounds.  We have dedicated picnic tables in and around the play area and next to Visitor Reception in the car park. 
  • There are buggy-friendly areas around the garden, just pick up a map from visitor reception so you know where to go.  On rainy days some of the paths on the estate can get a little muddy.

If you’re not already a National Trust member, why not enjoy the benefits of family membership? You’ll be able to explore over 500 special places like Bateman’s for free and if you join as part of your visit to Bateman’s, you’ll have helped support the conservation of this special place.