Drusillas Park, Alfriston review
In a nutshell
Drusillas Park is a family-run gem set in the picturesque East Sussex countryside, billed ‘as no ordinary zoo’ – which it isn’t!
What we tested
- Fun for kids
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Lovely zoo with great facilities, new Go Safari! rides, Animal Spotter & Zoolympics Challenge activity trails, queues not too long, compact so little legs don’t get too tired.
- Disappointing paid-for activities, some areas of the zoo look a bit tired, no regular bus to the nearest train stations.
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COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check Drusallis Park's website before travelling or booking.
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When we visited:
On a weekday in the May half term
What's Drusillas Park like since Covid-19?
- Visitor Capacity: The park is gradually increasing capacity in-line with industry guidance and continue to monitor visitors number closely. They strongly encourage visitors to pre-book their tickets online in advance.
- Face Masks: Although not a legal requirement they are encouraging visitors to wear face masks in indoor spaces.
- Sanitiser Stations: They continue to have over 60 hand sanitiser stations around the Park and encourage visitors to bring their own, so they can use it whenever they feel they need to.
- Hygiene Screens: They continue to have hygiene screens up at most kiosks, service desks and tills.
- Enhanced Cleaning: They continue to have strict cleaning regimes throughout the Park.
- Zoo Route: An easy to follow and encouraged one way route, with alternative routes available
What age is Drusillas Park best for?
Best for: Children aged 3 to 11 years
Still good fun for: Siblings aged 12+
How much does it cost?
- Gate prices: Adults and children aged 2+ £30, under 2s free
- Online prices: Adults and children aged 2+ from £24 under 2s free
- Prices vary depending on what day you visit, days are colour coordinated online so you can compare prices
Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Drusillas Park?
Check Picniq for special offers before you visit, or try discount sites such as VoucherCodes. You can also spend Tesco Clubcard vouchers on tickets.
Any extra charges once I’m there?
There is an area of Drusillas where some attractions are an additional cost. These attractions include Panning for Gold, the Penguin Plunge slide, Vertical Limit climbing wall and Dino Dig, as well as face painting, hair braiding and temporary tattoos.
These attractions were a bit underwhelming and overpriced, but the 2 that piqued my kid’s interest were the inflatable slide and the climbing wall. Luckily for us, a kind mum gave my 2 daughters her unused wrist bands each to go on the slide.
The penguin plunge inflatable slide wasn’t fully inflated so children were sliding down half way and then having to shuffle the rest of the way down. They still seemed to enjoy it, but from a parenting point of view, there are lots of other great slides in the park that are free, so this seemed a bit of a waste of money.
The face painting looked very rushed and unprofessional, even my children commented on it not looking very good!
The gift shop was a different story, however. Take a bit of pocket money to buy something cute in Teddy’s Jungle Safari, although parents beware, you too may succumb to the cuteness and end up buying a large monkey and cuddly snake (*cough*) for yourself!
How long will we spend at Drusillas?
Although Drusillas is small in size, there is a lot to see and do. You could easily spend a whole day here (with most of it probably spent in the themed playgrounds or Get Wet water park, so parents should bring a book!). We arrived at 11.30am and left when the park closed at 6pm but still had attractions we wanted to see. I would recommend arriving when the park opens at 10am.
What is it like for families?
Drusillas Park is small but mighty family-run zoo with soft play, water play areas and lots of fun rides for preschool and primary aged children. It really has been designed with families in mind. The zoo has more than 100 species of animal and new attractions such as Lemurland and Lory Landing let visitors get up close with some of them. At certain times during the day you can watch animals such as the penguins being fed, and listen to keeper talks. Some areas/enclosures at the zoo look a bit tired and in need of a sprucing up, and I felt some were a bit small. I know this is something Drusillas will be looking at changing in the future
What shouldn’t be missed?
Highlights for us were:
- Animal Spotter Books can be found at the start of the zoo trail – children then go around collecting stamps for each animal they spot while learning interesting facts
- For more active children, the Zoolympics Challenge trail is a great way to keep them busy and use up their boundless energy. A record book can be picked up as you enter the park and kids then complete the activities around the zoo and write down their results. Once completed, they can hand it in at the Visitors Centre and receive a certificate
- Although a bit tired-looking, Petworld is a great place to go if you are thinking of getting a family pet
- It houses a variety of small animals from rodents to reptiles and educate children on where they are from, as well as how much time is needed to look after them and how much it may cost. We now have a gerbil because of it!
What is there to do after you’ve seen the animals?
- The Go Safari Area contains 3 new rides - The Hippopotabus, Flying Cheetahs and Safari Express Train. We did not have time to go on the latter but I could not drag my kids away from the others. Due to the short queues we went on each ride 6 times!
- Eden’s Eye is a fun interactive maze full of surprises (some of them a bit wet!) that budding adventurer and avid problem solvers will enjoy. My two girls really enjoyed sleuthing their way around in search of the golden apple (and our way out!).
- Younger ones (6 and under) will enjoy the Go Bananas playground and Amazon Adventure and there are lots of little things and details to discover around the park. An unexpected favourite with a lot of children was the farting elephant, near the Starbucks kiosk/Go Safari area. His dulcet bottom burps could be heard frequently as kids got carried away with pressing the button in between the more familiar trumpeting!
- My kids LOVED the outdoor playgrounds (Go Wild was a particular hit) and happily spent nearly 2 hours clambering and sliding away!
- When it got too hot we retired to the Amazon Adventure, so they could continue their fun indoors while we had a well-earned sit down and coffee!
Did it cater well for different aged children?
Children aged 3 to 11 years will love all the animals, along with the fact and activity trails. Older siblings (12+ years) may moan at first, but will enjoy getting on the rides with the little ones and walking around the zoo helping their younger brothers/sisters with the fact trails. However, I would avoid if you just have older children (12+), as they will probably find it all a bit childish for them.
Was it pushchair friendly?
Yes, there are flat pathways and ramps throughout the park
What you need to know before you go:
- Book tickets in advance to save money
- Visit the Drusillas website to plan your day – it’s jam-packed with useful information on all aspects of the park
- Check their twitter feed @drusillaspark for updates on character meet & greets, offers and zoo news
What to bring:
- In the summer, don’t forget to bring swimwear and towels so little ones can enjoy the Get Wet Water Playground (my brood were a bit disappointed I didn’t pack theirs!)
- Individual swim nappies are available to buy at Mungo’s Trading Post (£1.50 for one) if you forget to bring some
- A change of clothes may be a good idea too, as there is the chance kids will get a bit soggy in Eden’s eye maze (or get overexcited and run into Get Wet before you get the chance to collar them!)
Is Drusillas easy to navigate?
The park and zoo are easy to get around and everything is well signposted and the printed park maps are readily available and easy to follow
What are the food and drink facilities like at Drusillas Park?
If you are planning to grab a bite to eat on your visit, you will be spoilt for choice! There are 4 different cafes, a Starbucks kiosk and, for the sweet-toothed treat seeker, the Candyland store.
There's a wide variety of dishes available, both healthy and indulgent, including salads, fish and chips, sandwiches, and pizza.
- The Explorer’s Café has been awarded a Wealden Gold Star for healthy eating and is the largest of the Drusilla eateries. It is the best place to go for a proper sit-down lunch with the family
- The Oasis Café has more of a fast food vibe, and has seating inside and out. You can grab a meal deal here or children’s lunch bag
- The Station Buffet offers more traditional café fare with sandwiches, pastries, snacks, smoothies and hot drinks (and donuts!)
- There’s also a small café situated in the Amazon Adventure Playground area so parents can sit down and refuel while the kids play!
- Candyland is full of everything a sugar fiend could want, and we particularly recommend the ice cream. A generous scoop is priced at a very reasonable £1.85.
- Refillable slushy drinks and the pick & mix are also a lot less expensive compared with London prices and larger zoos and theme parks
- On the whole, the pricing of meals and snacks are not as extortionate as other attractions I have been too, and had we not brought our own lunch we would have happily tried out what was on offer at Drusillas (I had my eye on the burgers)
Can you bring a picnic?
Yes, there are two picnic areas with plenty of seating, and free drinking fountains
What are the toilets like?
We unfortunately spent a lot of time in the toilets during our visit, as my little boy developed a dicky stomach 10 minutes after arriving. This meant we became very well acquainted with the facilities!
The toilets at Drusilla’s are clean and accessible and there are several blocks situated around the park, the first being before you even enter the park. You’ll find parent-and-baby rooms throughout the park.
During our visit, the hand soap and toilet roll was always stocked and we hardly had to queue, despite it being quite busy.
I loved that each toilet seat had an integrated child’s loo seat, this made it so much easier for little ones to go to the toilet independently.
There were also hand dryers, soap dispensers and sinks at a child friendly lower level, in some of the toilets, but not many.
How well does it cater for disabled visitors?
- Drusillas is completely accessible for wheelchair users with flat surfaces and ramps throughout
- The zoo route is around 1 mile long and there are plenty of places to rest along the way
- Animal enclosures have low-level viewing suitable for those in wheelchairs
- There’s fixed accessible seating in the Oasis Café and several benches in the designated picnic area for wheelchair users
- For more information see Drusillas website
Opening dates and times:
Drusillas is open all year round (except 24, 25 and 26 December) from 10am until 5pm (last admission at 4pm) in winter and from 10am until 6pm (last admission at 5pm) in summer.
Best time to visit:
Drusillas is busiest at weekends between 11am-4pm, and quietest on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
How to get to Drusillas Park:
- Drusillas Park is located in Alfriston, East Sussex BN26 5QS (just off the A27)
- The nearest train station is Polegate
- Trains from Victoria to Polegate take about 1 hour and 20mins and leave every 30mins
- A taxi ride to Drusillas from the station costs around £13 and takes 10 minutes
- If you drive, Drusillas can be found just off the A27 in Alfriston – the postcode for your SatNav is BN26 5QS
Do you have to pay for parking?
Parking is free and there is plenty of it, with an overflow car park available on busier days
Worth a long car journey?
I would say it is. Especially if you want to visit somewhere new. East Sussex is very scenic and there are lots of other places of interest in the area. You could very easily make a weekend of it!
We took the train from London, and then a taxi to Drusilla’s (and back!) and were glad we made the effort.
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Drusillas Park?
There are several accommodation options nearby, and even more among the coastline, including:
- The Rose Cottage Inn in Selmeston is a 3-minute drive away, and has family rooms, a bar, and a restaurant serving British cuisine
- Eastbourne is a 15-minute drive away and the 5-star Grand Hotel is perfect for a special occasion, with award-winning restaurants, swimming pools and a spa
- For a home-away-from-home feel, look for deals on HomeAway.co.uk and Sykes Cottages
- Find family-friendly hotel deals near Drusillas Park on Booking.com
Nearby attractions for a longer day out:
A lovely family day out and a welcome escape from London. Drusillas is a nice change from big busy sprawling theme parks and city zoos. It’s definitely worth a visit, especially during the summer months, to make the most of all the attractions (including Get Wet!).
Visit the Drusillas Park website
See more reviews of Drusillas Park on TripAdvisor
I’m Emma, I have a little boy and 2 girls (aged 4, 5 and 7 years old) and we live London along with my husband. We visited Drusilla’s during the May half term, on what started off as a pretty dismal Wednesday but turned out to be a sunny scorcher of a day!