A family day trip to dinosaur park Horsham (Southwater country park)
Welcome to our family travel & UK homeschooling blog! This post is a review of Southwester country park, aka ‘Dinosaur Park’ in Horsham.
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Now let’s get started on Dinosaur Park! The first part is a diary-like post I wrote years ago and essential visitor info is at the bottom of the page.
“Today Patrick and I made the most of the third and last day of English Summer, and took the sproglings to West Sussex for a family day out. Southwater Country Park (aka dinosaur park Horsham) is a hidden gem, a reclaimed lake for watersports and swimming along with nature trails and a brilliant children’s playground.
It was a really hot day and Patrick and I were both a bit tired from lack of sleep last night, so we caffeined up in the cafe and went straight to the little lakeside beach where the kids could swim.
They had a grand time; our five year old suddenly learned to swim whilst we were in Greece celebrating Patrick’s 30th birthday, and her technique looks less and less like someone being tazered each time she gets in the water. There is a safety rope at the lake to stop people swimming out too far, which is good because today seemed to attract a certain kind of parent.
I’m all for free range parenting but if I were a farmer I would be a bit concerned if my free range chickens were in danger of drowning. It is a lovely spot however and there are BBQ stands for anyone who wants to bring a bucket or disposable one and sizzle up some lunch.
After a dip we followed dinosaur footprints along the path to the fantastic Dinosaur Island, the children’s adventure playground that gives Southwester country park its nickname of “Dinosaur Park Horsham”. It’s huge but quite open so you can keep an eye on the kids, and there’s a brilliant variety of equipment including a sandpit- bring a bucket, spade and suncream!
The dinosaur theme is really well thought out and there were some fun fact boards and dinosaur sculptures all over the park, so the little sponges can absorb some Jurassic knowledge in between climbing frames!
We wandered back to the cute little cafe next to the car park (they sell ice cream for dogs, in case you’re tired of the usual ’99 with flake) and stopped to play Pooh sticks at the pretty stream along the way.
I would show you a picture of the epic three-tier cake slice we bought when we got to the cafe, but there isn’t a shutter speed fast enough to capture food that is placed in front of me, especially after a hot day out with kids.
Southwater Country Park is a lovely place for a day out with kids and is open from 8am until dusk, daily. Entry is completely free, which I think is incredible as it is somewhere that could easily charge as it has such great things to do with kids. The car park is just £1.50 all day or there are quiet roads to park on nearby and there is a nice cafe and toilets with changing rooms near the car park, next to the boat hire station. Bring a picnic and plan to stay for the whole day!
Visitor Information for Dinosaur Park Horsham
There are three car parks for Southwater Country Park:
- The Visitor Centre/Station Road
- Stakers Lane/Benns Field
- Worthing Road car park at the top end of the park
There are also four disabled parking bays marked out in the Station Road car park. Traffic wardens do enforce parking restrictions in the surrounding roads so do use the above parking facilities to avoid fines.
Car park charges
1 April-31 October, 10am – 6pm
50p for up to one hour
£1.50 up to 3 hours
£3 all day
1 November-31 March, 10am – 4pm
50p up to one hour
£1.50 up to 3 hours
£3 all day
Enquiries – Tel: (01403) 215256
Cafe – Tel: (01403) 734607
I hope this post was helpful for planning your family day out at the dinosaur park in Horsham, Southwester Country Park. If you’re looking for great ideas for fun learning for your kids check out this post of over 100+ amazing ‘fun learning’ resources for primary aged children (many are FREE!)