There have been changes around the site in-line with Government guidelines. Please read the latest Know Before You Go information and contact us in advance if you have any questions.
The Observatory Science Centre is a Grade II* Listed building and historic site: visitors must take care at all times.
Children must be accompanied and supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
Ball games, roller footwear, skateboards etc. are not permitted.
No dogs are admitted except assistance dogs.
CCTV is recording throughout the site.
Outdoor equipment use is weather dependent.
THE WET WEATHER CAR PARK IS ON WARTLING ROAD JUST OUTSIDE THE HERSTMONCEUX ESTATE ENTRANCE. This is a 5 minute walk to the science centre.
Parking is FREE for all vehicles, including coaches.
Coaches / minibuses / heavy vehicles use the hardstanding coach park area which is just a short 3 minute walk from the entrance reception.
There are 5 bays at the back of the building for Blue Badge holders.
There is a large mown grass field adjacent to The Centre with ample space for cars but in the event of prolonged periods of wet weather this may be closed. We recommend you ring ahead to check parking information.
There is a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, all holding a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Certificate and most of whom are STEM Ambassadors.
Staff can be identified by their name badges and purple uniform.
Volunteers wear name lanyards.
Female toilets are located on the ground floor.
Male toilets are located up a short flight of stairs.
Access / gender neutral toilet is located on the ground floor: this wheelchair accessible facility now includes an height adjustable changing bed and hoist.
Baby Change facilities are in the Access toilet room.
This is a Grade II* Listed building with associated difficulties for heating, so we advise all visitors to wrap up warmly....
The main corridor building is south facing so heats rapidly when the sun puts in an appearance, but is single glazed with many doors making it almost impossible to retain heat.
If you wish to use the outdoor exhibit areas you should wear appropriate footwear and lots of layers! Outdoor exhibit areas are open whenever it is safe to do so.
Please note: there is no heating in the telescope domes and the temperature can drop rapidly - especially if you are visiting for a stargazing evening when you will be outside.
We operate within historic buildings: access is provided to as many areas as possible. Whatever your requirements, we will do our best to meet them.
Free parking for drivers requiring the ramped entrance is at the back of The Centre. Before parking in this area, visitors are requested to purchase their admission tickets: just pull up in front of our reception and sound your horn if you require assistance. Once you have your admission tickets you can proceed to park your vehicle at the rear of the building where there are spaces for 5 vehicles displaying blue badges.
Ramps around the site for wheelchair and pushchair access.
Cafe, first aid, toilets and baby change facilities are all located on the ground floor.
The access toilet now includes an height adjustable adult changing bed and hoist.
An attendant wheelchair can be borrowed free of charge during your visit - please ring ahead to ensure it is available.
Assistance dogs are welcome.
During stargazing evenings we aim to operate telescopes in domes that are not open to the public during the day. These are only accessible via narrow, steep stairs - please contact The Centre for further details.
We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all visitors and staff. The Centre is a non-smoking environment, including E-cigarettes.
Smokers can leave The Centre and are requested to use the car park field, well away from the buildings.
Please report LOST items at reception on the day of your visit or call us as soon as possible.
Please hand-in FOUND items immeditely.
If a school / group leave items behind we will contact you.
With all items we will do our best to reunite with the owner however, as an educational charity we are unable to carry the cost of posting items back to you. If you send us a SAE we will return promptly, or you can collect in person.
Items of Lost Property are recorded and cleared from site in July and end of season.
PLEASE NOTE WE ARE UNABLE TO KEEP ITEMS OF PPE INCLUDING FACE COVERINGS. THESE WILL BE DISPOSED OF DAILY.
2 Telescope Domes (B and E) are normally open for visitors to explore, plus the Domes Of Discovery Exhibition in Dome F.
Guided tours are usually available daily and our knowledgeable team will give information about the history of the site as well as operational aspects of the telescopes.
Once you have paid your admission there is no additional charge to join a guided Telescope Tour: these are repeated through the day. Please call ahead to check times.
3 telescope domes have very narrow steep access and are only open for private tours (day and evening options available) as well as during astronomy evenings and special events.
Spectacular Science Shows are presented during the East Sussex school holidays and have an educational theme presented in a fun style with compulsory audience participation!
Once you have paid your admission there is no additional charge to watch a Science Show: these are repeated through the day. Please call ahead to check times.
The Cafe is located on the ground floor is a room that was formerly an optics laboratory and has seating for 36.
Whenever we're open (day /evening) we serve delicious refreshments including homemade soup, jacket potatoes, toasties, light meals, cakes and great tea / coffee.
There is a high chair and free bottle / baby food warming facilities.
Our catering unit 'The Launch Box' is an investment to meet visitor needs and most days will be open midday to 3 pm serving delicious burgers & fries (meat and veg options).
This unit is located outside the main building adjacent to The Space Deck (an open decking area with picnic benches). There is also The Big Space: a large marquee with tables and chairs offering protection from the weather… be it rain, wind or even hot sun!
Group catering can be arranged so do contact us in avdance to discuss your requirements.
The Gift Shop is located within the entrance reception and you can visit the shop without paying to enter the site.
You will discover science and astronomy related gifts, books, resources and own branded merchandise suitable for all ages as well as many pocket money science toys and items suitable for party bags etc.
We also have a book donation area with books from 50 pence.
We are committed to using less plastic and to reduce plastic waste wherever possible.
We are using up our stock of plastic bags rather than waste them and we have taken delivery of paper bags for shop purchases.
We have changed party and workshop activities to avoid using plastic straws.
We have made many changes in The Launch Box and Cafe: You will no longer find plastic straws / spoons / stirrers / individual sachets of sauce etc. and we have introduced teapigs tea ‘temples’ which are fully biodegradable and contain no plastic.
PLUS we are using:
· Bio cups with a corn-based, food-safe, bio-coating suitable for hot and cold drinks.
· Bio lids made from a corn based material. Both cups and lids are certified EN13432, the European standard for compostability.
· Napkins made from unbleached 100% recycled materials.
· Sandwich and wrap containers are 100% biodegradable and compostable with a clear window made from plants.
We are recycling glass bottles / metal cans and you are welcome to take some home to reuse too…
We sell our own branded hot drink mugs and water bottles.
PLUS: you receive a 25 pence discount off any hot drink if served in your own reusable mug.
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The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is 3 – 15 Stirling Road, Acton, London. W3 8DJ. UK.