Photographer and blogger Bex Maini writes here about trips out and about from Uckfield with her husband Nik and twins Priya and Kalyan.
Bex writes in her monthly column:
Well, it’s been a mixed few weeks weather-wise since my last column with some events being a wash out or cancelled due to inclement weather. We’ve still managed to have lots of fun though so read on for this month’s round up of places we’ve been exploring.
Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst
Wakehurst held a Science Festival in July and we were invited along to check it out with the twins and met some friends there.
It was amazing with so much to see and do, all designed around the children and even though Kalyan and Priya are only two, there was plenty for them to join in with and they had a blast.
There were lots of interactive educational displays including making your own paper seeds to put into a giant air canon to watch them twirl through the sky, pressing flowers, carving designs into clay tiles, classifying plants, interactive plays and painting among many other stands.
They also had a giant butterfly wandering around, the Community Chef from Lewes demonstrating a few recipes and a face painter who is the best we’ve come across in my opinion.
You could earn stickers and medals by undertaking various tasks at the stands as well, becoming young scientists. It was very encouraging to see the enthusiasm for teaching youngsters.
We went on both days as there was so much to see and do, yet we still didn’t get around it all nor did we see much of Wakehurst gardens themselves as it’s such a huge place.
We definitely plan to go back to explore more of the grounds as it seemed like a beautiful venue.
Entry is free for National Trust Members or Friends of Wakehurst but you have to pay for parking even if you’re NT members as it’s run by Kew Gardens while being a National Trust property.
Ringmer Steam and Country Show
Another event we checked out last month was the Ringmer Steam and Country Show.
We knew the balloons wouldn’t be flying at a hot air festival in Eastbourne due to the wind so instead of heading there we found this event was on and thought Kalyan would enjoy seeing all the steam engines and tractors.
If you’re not into that kind of thing, there was a fun fair and Punch and Judy shows, falconry, a few bric-a-brac stalls and craft tent but not much else, it was definitely aimed towards engine enthusiasts with motorbikes and trucks in the arena too, along with the big steam engines.
There were loads of engines to see though, and the kids loved watching them all moving and chugging, especially the big steam rollers driving around every so often. Kalyan found a row of tractors and made sure to touch every one.
I bought a couple of interesting bits at the market stalls including a bargain flag to take on our festival adventures next month.
We enjoyed cheese on toast and crepes for lunch but the rest of the day was a bit of a wash out as the rain started. We watched a bit of the falconry display and huddled in a tent with some soggy ice-creams before heading home.
There’s more about our day at Ringmer Steam and Country Show here.
Eastbourne Hot Air Balloon Festival
Sadly due to continued high winds, we didn’t actually see any hot air balloons at the Air Balloon Festival but there was still plenty of entertainment.
They had a fun fair and a few stalls, pony rides, dog show, a Harvey’s bar with their beautiful Dray horses making an appearance and The Brighton Kite Flyers displayed some of their epic kites (at least they were glad of the wind).
We had taken along the twins’ kites bought at a Kite Festival I wrote about last month and we found a large space near the Superman kite to have another go at flying them.
The festival was free although you had to pay for certain things. It’s a shame the weather let it down and the balloons couldn’t fly, I hope they do it again next year as it seemed really well organised and could be an amazing spectacle with all the balloons.
You can read more about our day out at the Air Balloon Festival here.
After the balloon festival we enjoyed a Sunday Roast nearby and noticed we were close to Beachy Head. Having never been before we decided to check it out after lunch and had a quick walk along the path to the memorial.
It was pretty windy up on the edge but the views were spectacular. Kalyan got upset being blown about at the end so we weren’t there long but plan to go back on a warmer, less windy day to explore further along.
Read more about our walk at Beachy Head here.
During the summer holidays with the lack of playgroups, we’ve made a few play date arrangements with friends.
One of them was a visit to Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare with Laura and her boys.
We love it there as there’s so much to see and do and it’s free to get in. We just make a donation to help care for the animals although you can also sponsor an animal section to support them long term.
We explored the wooden park area before having a nice walk around to see the various animals including the duck pond where the geese were being quite rowdy and providing a lot of entertainment.
It’s a lovely place to explore with plenty to see and we had lunch in the cafe afterwards. They also have an educational trail for the older kids in the holidays too. Collect a sheet from the information desk and hunt around for the interactive information points around the centre.
Read the full review of our day out at Raystede here.
Firle Vintage Fair
On Saturday we went along to check out Firle Vintage Fair near Lewes. It was a shopping extravaganza with dozens of beautiful stalls selling vintage or vintage style goods of all kinds and they had a beautiful old fashioned fun fair with a big carousel the twins loved riding on.
Read more about our day out at Firle Place here.
When I joined Uckfield News as a columnist the publisher Cathy mentioned in an introductory feature that I’m a local dentist and a new series on my Olive Dragonfly blog, Toothy Tips, has proved popular this month so if you’re interested, you can have a read here.
The first one is toddler tooth-brushing advice with a video of Kalyan and photos of Priya having their teeth brushed. Please excuse my singing, it’s not one of my talents!
If you’d like to participate in my feedback survey, helping to improve Olive Dragonfly, you can do so via this link.
So, it’s been another busy month and we’re not slowing down in the next few weeks either with England’s Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle at the end of August and Into The Trees Festival at Pippingford Park in September.
I’ll also be checking out some more of our local parks and reviewing Sunday lunch at The Ringles Cross pub.
Other events to look out for in the Uckfield area include Uckfield Rugby Club’s 50th anniversary fete at the Luxford Field on Saturday, August 26 – and, of course, carnival weekend which starts with fireworks on Friday, September 1, and children’s and torchlit parades on Saturday, September 2.
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