Tucked away in West Sussex, Crawley is a characterful market town surrounded by rolling countryside. It's been inhabited since the Stone Age, so there's a wealth of history, along with elegant manor houses, botanic gardens and the world's biggest seed bank.
Things to do in Crawley
Set in beautifully manicured grounds, Wakehurst Place is now owned by the National Trust. The handsome West Sussex estate is filled with formal gardens and wild woodlands. It's also home to the Millennium Seed Bank, the world's largest wild seed conservation project.
The Nymans estate is maintained by the National Trust and has an eco-friendly focus that ensures the gardens and the ruins coexist. Guided walks are a great way to discover the estate's history and admire the extensive plant collection.
Kids will love the British Wildlife Centre, which is home to more than 50 native species. You can get face to face with an array of native animals, including otters, squirrels, red deer and eagle owls. Time your visit to coincide with the informative talks led by keepers.
For a day in the sun, head to Tilgate Park. It's strewn with grassy lawns, shimmering lakes and scenic woodland trails. Inside you'll find attractions like Go Ape, a treetop adventure featuring zip lines, high ropes and Tarzan swings.
Getting around Crawley
The Crawley town centre is easy to get around on foot, though you'll need a car to explore the West Sussex countryside. It’s just 15 minutes from Gatwick Airport and you can drive to central London in 1.5 hours or catch the train in 35 minutes.