When School's Out in Sussex
We know that the school holidays can be a mixed bag of emotions. Utter joy at the thought of no more school runs, yet with the stress and anxiety of entertaining children, especially when those children are hard-to-please teens.
With some of the country’s best beaches of our doorstep, great water sports just a stone’s throw from Chichester and safe and accessible cycle tracks on offer, there’s plenty to entertain even the most temperamental of teens in Sussex.
Here’s our pick of the very best ways to tempt them away from screens:
Water sports at Bracklesham Bay
What could be more exhilarating than riding the waves at Bracklesham Bay, one of the area’s most famous beaches for water sports? With Get Kiteboarding, your teen can embrace the off shore breeze and learn to kitesurf, windsurf or wingsurf (yes, that’s surfing whilst holding a giant wing) this summer. This is definitely an activity worth boasting about to their friends.
With one hour intro sessions for each sport costing from just £30 per person, your teen can get involved with no prior experience necessary. If they love it, the opportunities to come back for more are endless with longer lessons available for all three.
If your teen likes a more leisurely pace, why not pay a visit to Arundel Lido. With a heated outdoor pool, plenty of space to relax and sunbathe, as well as all-day snacks available, there’s nothing not to love. If they appreciate a good view too, Arundel Lido has to win the prize for best backdrop, with impressive views across to Arundel Castle from the pool.
The historic market town of Arundel, home to an eclectic mix of antique shops, boutiques, cafés, a medieval castle, boating lake and a WWT wetland centre, is just a ten-minute walk from the lido so why not stay for the day, or make a long weekend of it? Be warned, if your teen prefers to stay horizontal, you may not make it further than the lido.
Cycling Salterns Way
If your offspring is usually found on two wheels, the Salterns Way cycle route is the perfect summer trail for them. Join Salterns Way in Chichester City Centre and follow 12-miles of flat, safe car-free paths and quiet scenic lanes with little traffic, to the white sands of West Wittering Beach - without doubt one of the South Coast’s finest beaches with miles of golden sand and shallow water.
Image credit: Karen Bornhoft
Guided Snorkelling, Selsey
Nature-loving or adventurous teens will love seeking our Selsey's shy marine residents on a guided snorkel tour. While lots of us have explored under the sea on a foreign holiday, most don't expect the array of sea life which lives off Selsey's shores - prawns, crabs, pipefish, anemones and sponges to name a few things you might encounter. No experience is necessary (apart from being able to swim 25m) and you will be provided with all the kit you need: fins, wet suit and a mask and snorkel set. £60 per person. Children under 14 will need to be accompanied.
Image: Rhiannon Burton
Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) on Chichester Canal
If you fancy getting out on the water this summer, but high-adrenaline water sports aren’t quite your teen’s thing, why not try a spot of paddle boarding in Sussex? With no tides or waves to contend with, Chichester Canal offers the ideal setting for your teen to get to grips with SUP, or perhaps hone their skills so they're sure to impress. What’s more, with ample wildlife to spot, plenty of places to enjoy a scenic picnic and a canal side café, you might just struggle to tear them away. You'll need a day licence which costs just £6 from the Canal Cafe.
Chichester Watersports Aquapark
For the ultimate adrenaline-filled water fun, send your teen in the direction of Chichester Watersport Aqua Park. Bounce, slide and climb your way around this inflatable course. Teens can bounce unsupervised while under 12s do need to be accompanied. While they're occupied, why not try your hand at one of the variety of watersports on offer here too – Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Monoskiing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking – or just find a quite spot at the on-site cafe.
The Aqua Park is £20 per person for a 50-minute session and almost guarantees you to be the most popular parent of the summer.
Watersports at Seal Bay, formerly Bunn Leisure
With six whole weeks to fill, you may do all of the above and still have some time to kill. So why not fill a few days with a trip to Seal Bay Resort (formerly Bunn Leisure) in Selsey?
With accommodation to suit all budgets (subject to availability), including affordable family holiday homes and cool beach pads, there’s no need to blow the budget just because it’s the school holidays. Keeping affordability in mind, most activities at Seal Bay are included in the price of the stay meaning that while you’re holidaying with your teens, you might not actually see them!
From wave simulators, mini paddleboats and jet skis, to exploring nature, learning to light fires, axe throwing, sea safaris and pottery – the choices for how your teen fills their days are endless. With a pool, beach and sumptuous spa in addition to restaurants and bars for all the family, this might become the top pick for summer fun every year.
If your teens in tow tend to be attached to scooters, skateboards or any kind of wheels, we've sussed out the best skate parks: