Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
With loads of free parking right outside Drusillas Park we were soon parked and heading excitedly for the ticket booths. Even though we visited on a Saturday during Easter holidays we were very quickly inside the park and heading straight for the zoo area. This begins with a covered passageway containing a selection of animals such as mice, snakes, tortoises and small monkeys. Every animal has a viewing step or platform so that smaller children can look for themselves and get a good view. This is an excellent idea and really saved my back from continuously picking up my young son.
The park is laid out extremely well and is meticulously clean, there were staff continuously cleaning up dropped litter and the paths were perfect for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Even when there were stairs, ramps are provided as an alternative and they were plenty wide enough. The first half concentrates on the zoo area and although you can take a shortcut directly to the play areas I recommend having a thorough look round the zoo first. There are loads of animals to look at, the following are just a small section, Penguins, Serval’s, Monkeys and Meercats. All the animals seemed very well looked after and their homes very clean with plenty of water. There is also a pets section with traditional pets such as rabbits and some not quite so traditional such as snakes. For each animal it gives an indication of how difficult it is to look after and how expensive they are to buy and keep. The nocturnal house was excellent with bats flying freely round the room so you got to see them up close. The pens are set up so that you can see the animals really clearly and there is plenty of viewing space. The way the park is laid out means that there is only really one way round which is clearly marked. This is perfect for families with young children as it’s very difficult to get lost.
At the end of the zoo area is a huge adventure playground and café area. All the children were having a fantastic time with a massive selection of slides climbing frames and various other play equipment to use up their energy. Its split into two sections up to 6 years old and 6-12 years, impressively the younger play area is a scaled down version of the older children’s section, complete with zip wire, not just a few swings and slides as is so often the case. There are plenty of benches to sit on and wait while your child plays as there is so much to do here you could be waiting a long time. The Oasis café is also situated here with a very well-priced selection of fast food, burgers, chips etc. and drinks. Prices at all the food outlets are very reasonable with hot food starting at £3.99 and hot drinks from £1.70. We ate here later in the afternoon and found the portions to be a good size and the food piping hot.
Hidden out of the way at the back of the adventure playground, we actually almost missed it, is the indoor soft play area and a café serving sandwiches, snacks and drinks. My 3 year old absolutely loved it and we were really glad we noticed it when looking for the toilets!
New for 2016 and situated in the corner of the outdoor play section is Get Wet, a water filled play area with full height fountains and showers with the water laying no more than ankle deep. Apart from to look we avoided it as we didn’t have any dry clothes but there were plenty of drenched children having a fabulous time, looks like a great addition for the summer.
Through a shop stuffed with toy animals of all shapes and sizes takes you to the large picnic area, shop, food kiosk and the Thomas the Tank engine station, the highlight of my son’s day being a ride on the train. It’s a fairly short ride but with train rides being included within the entry fee you can go on as many times as you like. There are also a few pay as you go attractions such as panning for gold, penguin slide and vertical limit climbing wall..
Across the train tracks is Hello Kitty land with three excellent rides for younger children, a sky lift, motorised cars and a teacup ride. By the time we got round to this area of the park the visitors were thinning out and much to my sons delight we got to ride on these several times each, as similar to the train rides the Hello Kitty rides are included in the entrance fee. A very tired but very happy family left Drusilla’s at the end of the day even the rain not stopping my son asking to stay for one more ride.
Drusillas Park is located just 200 metres off the A27 towards Eastbourne and is signposted with a traditional brown sign off the roundabout. There is ample free parking right outside the park including plenty of disabled spaces. Drusilla’s Park comes highly recommended, It’s clean, well laid out, has stacks to see and do and is good value for money. I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.
Tickets cost from £12 to £18.50, annual passes from £65 to £75. Book online in advance for discounts.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.drusillas.co.uk.
Drusillas Park. Alfriston Road, Alfriston, East Sussex BN26 5QS | 01323 874100