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New Children’s Play Park Opens at Leonardslee

Visit Horsham > News > New Children’s Play Park Opens at Leonardslee

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens has opened an extensive new play park designed to mix recreational play with the natural attractions of the Grade I Listed woodland gardens. The 2,500 square metre park offers immersive installations for children of all ages.

A 5m multi-level champion tree tower with two slides is a major feature, along with a St Leonard's Dragon play structure with climbing nets and a 32.5m zipline ride. There is also a mini rock garden, a teepee den, balancing beams, a range of swings including baskets and cradles, and a crawling tunnel. The park is designed to provide a safe and engaging environment for children to play and explore.

The play park also caters for activities for younger visitors within its Little Explorers junior area. Here, toddlers and preschoolers will discover child-friendly attractions like the mini Leonardslee House play set, complete with a miniature indoor kitchen and outdoor double slide. Other highlights include a creative drawing station, talking tubes connecting playhouses, multiple basket swings, and wallaby spring riders. There is accessible level flooring with wheelchair-width doorways.

In promoting inclusive play, the park includes designated play zones for children of all abilities to participate together. Double-width slides and special “tango” seats make intergenerational play convenient for kids and parents. The playscape seamlessly integrates with Leonardslee’s surrounding woodlands through the use of sustainably sourced, FSC-certified materials like Robinia, Larch, Chestnut and Oak woods.

The Hut café nearby offers freshly baked hot doughnuts and local Sussex ice cream plus other refreshments for a great family day out, including for school holidays, weekend breaks and other outings. As one of the estate’s new attractions, it joins favourites like the wallaby enclosure, and a ‘magical world in miniature’ at the Dolls House Museum and the historic gardens themselves to provide a range of play activities.

Day tickets give access to the playground and gardens, while Leonardslee membership offers free parking, unlimited play park entry and exclusive discounts and entry to many special events throughout the year.

Estate General Manager Adam Streeter says, “We are thrilled to offer the play park in addition to all the other family attractions, such as the gift shop and restaurants, for a great Sussex day out - and of course, well-behaved dogs are always welcome.” 

Exploring the Wildlife

Beyond the play park, Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens offers families nature play and discovery activities across its sprawling 240-acre woodlands estate.

Children can delight in wildlife encounters such as at the estate’s wallaby enclosure, which brings visitors face-to-face with the resident mob of wallabies, including rare albino specimens. Deer, waterfowl and other animals also roam the grounds, with visitors able to see ducks and fish at the property’s serene lakes. Wildlife walks spotlight native birds, insects, frogs and flora for junior outdoor enthusiasts.

Special events further showcase Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens as a premier family destination.

Annual highlights include the Labyrinth Challenge, with its 1,000-foot inflatable obstacle course, illuminated night-time walks, outdoor cinema and comedy nights. Creative activity days allow children’s participation in areas like gardening, arts and crafts and circus skills – sparking their curiosity through hands-on learning.

Opportunities to explore abound across Leonardslee’s landscapes. Young visitors drawn to discovery can traverse woodland gardens and the rock garden in the estate’s Grade I listed grounds.

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens is dog-friendly and open daily except Christmas Day, with accessibility features. Opening times 29 October to 30 March are 9am to 4pm, and 31 March to 28 October 9am to 5pm.

By Gavin Hewins

Published April 3, 2024, 11:40 a.m.