Doctomum's Sussex Days Out: Egg Hunt at The National Cat Centre

In this new regular segment 'Doctomum's Sussex Days Out', the sprogs and I will be bringing you days out in our locality of lovely Sussex.
This week we face two weeks of Easter school holidays - this means no pre-school and lots of children/parents around looking for something to do. The swimming pools are chocka with children, and the holiday clubs cater for school age kids - we went on the hunt for some Easter pre-school fun.
Today we frequented the National Cat Centre (NCC), part of the Cat Protection League.
Cats, chocolate, herding a toddler round at egg hunt - what more could you want out of a day out?
Well, cake, it had cake too and a cup of tea. Sold yet?

About the National Cat Centre:

Firstborn putting on his best adoption face

The National Cat Centre is run by the Cats Protection League and is in the stunning Ashdown forest. It contains the visitors centre, currently running the Egg hunt (running all this week from 30th March - 3rd April 2015) and there is also a Easter Craft morning on the 1st April 2015.
Inside the visitors centre is the Top Cat Café (oh yes, Cake!) and gift shop (I do love a gift shop, or any shop for that matter). They have gorgeous grounds which host a nature trail and picnic area.
Onsite there is also the National Cat Adoption Centre where you can peek at the potential adoptive inmates. There is a vetinary centre and conference centre onsite.
It is open 10am -4pm daily.

Our Day



The centre is located in Chelwood gate, Haywards Health in East Sussex which is around an hours drive from where we are in West Sussex. We drove to the soundtrack of a 5 month old crying, but the toddler was fairly entertained when the countryside got more interesting as we got closer - plenty of baa-baas for him and quaint villages, houses you only see in Location, Location, Location, and nice looking pubs (to dream about going to) for me.
It was easy to find with the aid of the satnav and the driveway up was winding with oversized pictures of cats, ideal to get Firstborn in the mood for catageddon (apologies for overusing the -geddon ending in my posts recently).



There was a large ample car park, unfortunately filled with cars bar 2 spaces and we only arrived at 10.15am. I guess this is because the centre caters for more than just visitors.


First stop for us was the loos as Firstborn is potty training and the washing machine has had enough of soggy pants this week. The centre itself is well appointed with the obligatory baby change complete with adult loo as well, so parents can indulge in a loo break and keep an eye on the sprogs too.

The Centre

The building was large and airy, we spoke to some lovely friendly reception staff who also ran the shop, picked up our Easter Egg Hunt Clipboard and we helpfully directed out the back to the hunt.
We duly noted the café for cake carnage later and earmarked the shop for a paddy.

The Nature trail/Easter Egg Hunt

We gladly took direction from the staff as the trail was a bit tucked away. The easter trail was set around the picnic area. First born was doing the 'younger childrens' hunt and the size of the hunt was juts the right size for a 2.5 year old. He found the eggs and I answered the questions - teamwork!
There was a steady stream of other families coming along too - not too busy but not too quiet, just right.


He was in his element running around the expansive park, crunching leaves and finishing sticks. The clipboard also contained a bug hunt tick list as well, but as it was a blustery day, we just did the hunt.

Mouse for Big Suze, the cat at home

The reward was a choccy egg, readily welcomed by Firstborn before he raced off to the café. So welcome, that he tossed his certificate of achievement behind.

Cake-a-geddon (The Café)

At least 6 different types of cake, lunch options too (Lunch from 11am, this is PERFECT for folks with kids who cannot wait till 12 to eat) and beverages for all. Lots of tables and seating.
Helpful staff that helped getting our tray over to the table without me inflicting life changing injuries with my pot of tea to Bobcat.

Great value - all this for around a fiver.

The Shop

No outing is complete without a trip to the gift shop. This gift shop had a beautifully set out array of sweets...beautifully dangerous to a parent's purse. But if it keeps Firstborn quiet for the trip home, a pack of jelly beans it is!

There was a section for cat lovers, one with smaller items for kids and one for the actual cats.
There was also a little play area. Great stuff!

The Fallout

You can quantify the quality of a day out by the naptime afterwards - Firstborn pulled a 3 hour naptime. Total plus points for that one - a positive fallout.


A great value day out. combining most of my loves in life and taking care of the kids boredom.
The friendly warm staff also run lots more family/kids days at low prices and it's also for chari-dee folks, so pop along.
We spent around £10 for our day out including cakage, hunt, jellybeans & pink furry mouse for the cat.
The only drawback (or in some cases a positive) is that you may end up with a new pet on leaving.
Twigs (thumbs) up from Firstborn

This post is all my own views and was not sponsored.


Any suggestions or recommendations for Sussex days out?
I'll be adding more Sussex Days out over the next few weeks, please stop by for a gander. 
Got a family day out you'd like us to try out - click on the work with me page for my contact details.

The Twinkle Diaries

The Giggles Family


  1. Oh my life. I am SUCH a cat lover!! I'm not sure I'd be able to go!! I'd find it really upsetting!!! Funnily enough, we adopted a rescue cat back in December — he was living with a foster carer though and I didn't have to visit the animal sanctuary!! We have 3 cats now — I am literally turning into a crazy cat woman!! ;) In all seriousness — what a brill day out and for a fab cause too. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday x

    Caro |

    1. Yes it is a great place. I didn't even know it existed until I was googling things to do this easter. They put on lots of stuff for kids so it appeals to both parents and cat lovers.
      Go on, go and have a look round, what's one more cat to the collection?!

  2. A really good round up and not an expensive day out, thanks for linking in with #KidTested

  3. I want to go! I would find it impossible to leave without a cat though. A lovely lesson for kids on helping animals too.

    1. Just leave the baby behind in exchange for a cat. Simples.