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Family-friendly things to do at Bateman's

Visitors on the bridge, looking over the River Dudwell in the garden at Bateman's, East Sussex
Visitors on the bridge over the River Dudwell in the garden at Bateman's, East Sussex | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Planning a day out with family? You'll find space to play and plenty to see and do around the Bateman's garden and estate. Visit the house to explore Rudyard Kipling's family home, and there's the family friendly tea-room with children's lunch boxes and a range of sandwiches, cakes and drinks for when you need a quick pit stop.

Planning your family visit

  • Baby changing facilities can be found in the accessible toilet next to visitor reception.
  • There are buggy-friendly areas around the garden, just pick up a map from visitor reception.
  • When visiting the house, due to its small rooms, we ask that you leave buggies in the hall or outside the front door. For assistance, please ask one of the house volunteers.
  • There are picnic tables in and around the natural play area and next to visitor reception in the car park. You are welcome to bring a rug and enjoy a picnic in the garden.
  • High chairs are available in the Mulberry Tea-room.
  • Some of the paths on the estate walks can be muddy, so don’t forget your wellies or waking boots.

Family-friendly events and activities

Bateman’s offers a range of family friendly activities throughout the year including trails, exhibitions, workshops and storytelling. For upcoming events and activities, take a look at What's on and follow Bateman’s on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date.

Father Christmas post box and letter writing with Christmas tree in background in the Kitchen at Bateman's, East Sussex
Father Christmas post box in the Kitchen at Bateman's | © Laurence Perry

Christmas at Bateman's

Christmas is coming for the Kipling family. Join the Christmas Travels with the Kiplings Trail and get out and about in the garden and house to find the different countries the Kipling family enjoyed visiting during the festive period. What Christmas traditions will you discover? Suitable for families with primary school aged children. 2 December - 1 January (except 24-25 Dec), 10am-4pm, £2 including a small prize.

Explore Rudyard Kipling's home dressed for the festive period, with Christmas trees adorned with twinkly lights. Spot decorations inspired by Kipling's typewriters, manuscripts, spectacles and fountain pens.

Bring family and friends and keep your eye out for wildlife in the garden and estate with a winter spotter sheet.

Christmas stockings and presents by a fireplace in Bateman's, East Sussex
Christmas decorations by a fireplace at Bateman's | © National Trust Images/Laurence Perry

Family-friendly things to do outdoors at Bateman’s

Natural play area

Rudyard Kipling encouraged his children to explore the natural world around Bateman's. Inspired by this you will find a natural play area for your children to explore, with swings, see-saw and climbing frames. Discover this secluded space by the top of the car park where children can race and clamber around or create a den from fallen branches. The beautiful centrepiece of the play area is a carved 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 with motifs of the leaves of oak, ash and thorn trees. On your visit, see how many animals you can spot wrapped around the sculpture - perhaps you will see them around the estate too.

Exploring the garden and countryside on the estate

The landscape around Bateman's was inspiration for some of Rudyard Kipling's famous stories, some of which were written for his own children. 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. Children love to spot the golden fish in the lily pond, run on the lawns, and play pooh sticks at the bridge in the Wild Garden.

Families enjoy visiting Bateman's real-life water mill and there are three estate walks through the surrounding woods and fields.

Family-friendly things to do in 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 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. While upstairs, see the necklace made by Kipling to go alongside his Just So Story, 'How the Alphabet was Made', that has intrigued children for generations. Plus don’t miss seeing the original illustrations by the Detmold Brothers for Kipling's 'The Jungle Book'.

The front lawn and sandstone house at Bateman's, East Sussex

Discover more at Bateman's

Find out when Bateman's is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Walking at Bateman's 

Find out about walks across the estate at Bateman's. Take in old industry, village life and ancient woodland as you explore the beautiful countryside so loved by Kipling.