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Spring Barn Farm Park, Kingston Road, Lewes, East Sussex
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Spring Barn Farm Park, Kingston Road, Lewes, East SussexSurely one of the prettiest towns in Sussex, with its mixture of medieval and 18th-century houses, Lewes is bursting at its timbered seams with history. Whether Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Virginia Woolf lost themselves in its cobbled alleys and antique bookshops, or visited Normanesque Lewes Castle while they lived here is anyone's guess, but the town continues to draw celebrities, from pop stars to actors. Beer lovers will be delighted to know that Sussex's premier ale, Harveys, is brewed in town, and there are plenty of cosy pubs in which to sample it. Lewes is also famous for its Bonfire Night, which sees a cast of thousands parading through the streets in fancy dress with burning crosses before the piece de resistance: effigies are burned in the nearby fields.

Located on the undulating South Downs, in a vista of buttery hills and widescreen skies, Spring Barn Farm is manna from heaven for kids, and perfect for campers who like a good walk. Let's start with the secluded campsite: it's basic - little more than a field with a nearby loo block - but the views are fantastic. Look out over the downs, peer into the adjacent Children of the Corn maize field, and hear the myriad calls of animals from the adjoining farm. Kids love the petting zoo in the farm's central building and the menagerie outside. If goats, rabbits, and chickens are passe, then show them the cheeky Shetland ponies and South American alpacas with their Thnnderbird-puppet lips.

The maze is great fun too; three acres of twisting turns in which to lose yourself.

COOL FACTOR History and great walks just beyond your tent flaps.

WHO'S IN? Tents, small groups - yes. Campervans, caravans, dogs, big groups - no.

ON SITE Campfires allowed off the ground, as are BBQs. A total of 32 pitches; a water pipe; no electricity; solitary loo block. For the kids: zip wire, pedal go-kart track, trampoline, swings, sandpit, pirate play ship, adventure playground, and the maze and menagerie of animals. Come in Easter to bottle-feed newborn lambs, and meet chicks and rabbits. Campers get a 50 per cent discount on entry into the farm.

OFF SITE Lewes has its photogenic castle (01273 486290) - built during the days of William the Conqueror - and just south of the town centre, historic Anne of Cleves House (01273 474610) makes for an interesting visit. Divorced, beheaded, divorced... hmm? Time for a history lesson.

FOOD AND DRINK Spring Barn's farmhouse kitchen is a cosy place to hole up for breakfast before setting out for a long walk on the South Downs. Not far away, in neighbouring File, is a treat for gastronomes - the Ram Inn (01273 858222; www.raminn.co.uk) does wonderful traditional Sunday lunches and has a range of local draught beers, and a pretty garden.

GETTING THERE Follow the A27 towards Lewes and, at the Kingston roundabout, take the exit for Kingston village. Drive through the village to the T-junction opposite Wyevale Garden Centre and turn left. Spring Barn Farm is on the left.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Take a train to Lewes, and you'll need to catch a local cab to the site.

OPEN Late March-late September.

THE DAMAGE Pitch plus adult £7 per night; child (2 to 16 years) £3.50.



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