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Family-friendly things to do at Bateman's

Family playing hoopla in the garden.
Summer of play activities for visitors in the garden at Bateman's, East Sussex | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Planning a day out with family? There’s plenty of things to see and do waiting to be discovered at Bateman's. With its enchanting garden and natural play area, it’s the perfect place for curious minds.

Explore the home of Jungle Book author, Rudyard Kipling. Plus, take part in a variety of family-friendly events all year round. Don’t forget to visit our tea-room and shop where you'll find treats for all the family. Get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.

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 walking 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.

What's on 2024

The Jungle Book Games trail
13 July – 1 September

Will you succeed in The Jungle Book Games? Run, balance and play your way through the Bateman’s garden for this summer of sport. £3, includes a small prize.

Storytelling in the garden
20 July – 28 September

Discover new adventures through live storytelling sessions delivered by expert volunteers in the magical setting of Rudyard Kipling’s very own garden. Free event, admission applies.

Children’s crafts
24, 31 July | 7, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 August

Get creative and paint your own animal plant pot and treasure chests in Bateman’s kitchen. £2.50/£5 per item.

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.

Girl playing with a football on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset in summer

‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’

Have fun exploring nature and the great outdoors with our list of ‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’.

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