The first time I visited Crawley, my life was oh so different. It seems like almost a life-time ago, Hubby, then ‘the guy I was dating’ took me there to be closer to Brighton for our weekend away. Fast-forward 10 years to the present, we returned married with two kids in tow. Once again it was to be closer to Brighton, but this time around we didn’t make it to Brighton. We stayed local, in Crawley, and had an AMAZING TIME!

About Crawley

If you’ve never been, “Crawley is in West Sussex, around 30 miles south of London. The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age,[1] and was a centre of ironworking in Roman times. Crawley developed slowly as a market town from the 13th century, serving the surrounding villages in the Weald; its location on the main road from London to Brighton brought a passing trade, encouraging the development of coaching inns. It was connected to the railway network in the 1840s.”


hollywood bowl

 Family attractions in Crawley

There is more to Crawley than Gatwick Airport, as my family and I discovered over this August Bank Holiday weekend. We played at The Wacky Warehouse. Angelo had so much fun that his lil cheeks went red and his hair was matted with sweat! I also discovered I have a ‘fear’ of those little plastic balls that over the floor of beneath the slides.

Later, we went to Hollywood Bowl in the Crawley Leisure Park. I’ve never bowled before, it was fun. Angelo also had a match with his daddy. I was very pleased to see him have a go at it. He’s so strong!

Additionally, at the leisure park there are fast food restaurants, if you don’t want to eat at Hollywood Bowl.



tilgate nature centre

Spotlight on Tilgate Park

Bright and early on the Monday we headed of to Tilgate Park , which was the main action on our break. I was overwhelmed with the amount of activities the park had. Angelo loves animals. We told him we were taking him to a farm but his imagination got he better of him. In his little mind we was going to see: a dragon, a lion, a crocodile, meerkats… and the list kept getting longer. We told him “Lets see what there is”.

‘Thankfully’, at the Nature Centre, there were snakes (we saw one having his lunch, I leave it to you to imagine what that was like) AND meerkats! On our way out, we bought him a plastic crocodile in the gift shop.



Tilgate park

We saw so many animals but for him the ducks were the best. He loves ducks. He’s still requesting his ‘Come Along Daisy’ story book EVERYDAY! We paused for a snack more for us than the kids because they were in their element enjoying the outdoors. They had an impromptu messy play session courtesy Angelo who was set on mixing a muddy puddle. Personally, I blame Peppa Pig for that one, but its nice to see the kids experimenting in a healthy way.

After the snack time, we headed to the adventure playground. I confess I was excited to get stuck in a have a rumble and tumble with Angelo.

The age gap between him and Valentina is closing fast, by this time next year he will not need me as a playmate. We crossed rope bridges, climbed wooden swinging ladders, mercifully I was spared the slide this time. (I must admit I really wanted the try the climbing with Go Ape.) Meanwhile Valentina was busy tasting the local vegetation as she crawled about the lawn area which leads down to the lake.


Other Attractions Around Crawley

The lake like everywhere else at Tilgate Park is picturesque. You can take to the water, Tilgate Watersports have canoes and boats for hire. Alternatively, you can have a picnic to relax which is what we did.

Update: we revisited Crawley Winter 2022, for my birthday weekend. Now that the kids are older the experience was so different but just as enjoyable! We even explored different attractions, this time around it was the Escape Room at Tulley’s Farm. The Escape room is all year round. However, in summer they usually have PYO Sunflowers! Then, in Autumn, Tulley’s has PYO Pumpkins and they also go all out with the Halloween displays and activities.

worth park

If you’re looking for an Instagrammable location, Worth Park, Pound Hill, Crawley is it. It features a Victorian fountain, lake surrounded by various types of trees and wildflowers as well as croquet lawn and tennis court. The perfect backdrop for fashion and lifestyle photos. We visited in early Spring 2023, for the Coronation Weekend. The weather was ideal for photos.

Finally, to see more of our weekend getaways and staycations CLICK HERE.

Have you ever been to Crawley? What was the highlight for you? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.





Updated 17th May 2023




Tilgate Park pin


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