Observatory and Science Centre Herstmonceux

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PHONE: +44 (0)1323 832731

The Observatory Science Centre
Wartling Road
East Sussex
BN27 1RN

Phone: +44 (0)1323 832731
Rating: Awarded LotC 'Quality Badge'
Prices: 5-?8, members/ under 4's free.
Info: Group discounts, birthday parties, astronomy courses, evening events, corporate events.

In December 2010, The Centre was awarded The Learning Outside the Classroom 'Quality Badge'. This is a national benchmark that accredits providers of LotC and confirms that we offer young people the type of high quality learning experiences they really benefit from in an environment that manages risk effectively.

“…a science centre that is second to none” ... Sir Patrick Moore

Hands-on science and discovery among the domes and telescopes of a world-famous astronomical observatory.  All ages and abilities will find something to entertain and educate, from the wide range of fun hands-on exhibits indoors, giant-sized exhibits outdoors in our Discovery Park, tours of the historic telescopes, and our exhibition ‘Domes of Discovery’, and our amazing interactive science shows!  Science learning is not just for the young, but also for the young at heart – we aim to put the ‘fun’ back into ‘science’ for everyone! Set amid beautiful Sussex countryside, the Observatory Science Centre provides a unique environment and is an ideal venue for a ‘Family Fun’ day out.  Café, gift shop, picnic areas and ample free parking. 

Following refurbishment of the telescopes and domes, the centre is able to bring astronomy back to Herstmonceux.  With four of the historic telescopes operational we are able to offer an extensive programme of events to suit everyone.

Astronomy Festival – Held for the first time in 2005 to raise necessary funds for the continued preservation of the historic telescopes and domes, the festival has become very successful and is firmly established on The Centre’s yearly programme of events.

Astronomy Courses – The Centre offers different beginners’ courses throughout the year, which are aimed at adults with little or no knowledge of the subject.

Evening Events  - Throughout the autumn winter and spring The Centre is open in the evenings at least one per month when visitors get the opportunity to look through the historic telescopes (weather permitting).

School visits – The aim of our very successful educational programme is to offer Spectacular Science through hands-on activities.

Outreach Programme – We now bring Spectacular Science to you with shows, exhibits and a mobile Planetarium.

Birthday Parties – Whatever the weather, the centre offers an amazing, fun venue for a birthday party 48 weeks of the year and is suitable for children aged 6 to 12.

Scouting and Guiding – All scouting and guiding groups can visit the centre with the option of working towards activity badges.

Twilight Visits – Schools and Scouting groups can all experience ‘The Observatory in the Dark’ for atmospheric twilight visits.

Group Bookings – Day and Evening – The centre is an ideal venue for a coach outing or group meeting place in the daytime or evening and catering can be provided.

Corporate and Team challenges – If you are looking for somewhere different to those predictable conference rooms, then we offer a venue that is quirky and unique for your corporate events. 

Holiday Activity Workshops – A wide range of pre-bookable half and full day workshops are offered for children during the local school holidays

Telescope tours – Year round we announce regular telescope tours where visitors can join a member of staff for a guided tour.

Science Shows – During the local school holidays we present spectacular science shows throughout the day which have become a ‘must see’ part of any visit.

ROOM HIRE is available at the the The Observatory Science Centre - The copper clad Dome B houses this historic Yapp 36-inch reflecting telescope.  The dome is located upstairs and seats a maximum of 60, in a circular space, 9m in diameter.  It has high wall heating padded chairs, wall mounted screen, plus flip chart, tables, and a PA system if required.

Directions to The Observatory Science Centre in Herstmonceux. The centre is located within the Herstmonceux Castle Estate in East Sussex.  Follow the brown tourist signs to Herstmonceux Castle from the A271 or A27 (Pevensey roundabout).

Set your Sat Nav device to Wartling Road, Wartling (or Bradley Road within the Estate).  Do not use our postcode as you will be directed to the wrong, closed entrance of the Castle Estate. 

Road directions to The Observatory Science Centre
From the north The most direct route is to continue south on the A22 to the large Cophall Roundabout at Polegate (just north of Eastbourne) then proceed as below (from the west).

From the west travel along the A27 to Polegate, then follow the A22 / A27 at the Cophall Roundabout East, towards Pevensey. Go straight at the first roundabout, then at the Pevensey Roundabout, take the 1st exit on the left and follow the sign for Herstmonceux Castle, 3 miles along the Wartling Road.

From the east travel along the A259 to the Pevensey Roundabout. Take the 4th exit and follow the sign for Herstmonceux Castle, 3 miles along the Wartling Road.

Cyclists can travel across the picturesque Pevensey Levels from Pevensey railway station. The route is very flat with only 1 hill at Wartling - journey time varies from 25 - 45 minutes depending on pedal power and wind direction!

Public transport
In the 1950s this site was specifically chosen to be the new home of The Royal Greenwich Observatory, in the midst of the Sussex countryside, well away from light pollution, withdark skies that were perfect for the astronomers.

In modern times, for a public science centre, the site is not ideal as it cannot be accessed by public transport. The nearest train station is Polegate where taxis are always available. The nearest buses will stop in Hailsham and a taxi is then required.

We would not recommend that anyone attempt to walk along Wartling Road.