Category Archives: All Posts


The countdown to Christmas is now well and truly on but if you’re still looking for last-minute present ideas, then there’s plenty of inspiration at Kent Life Heritage Farm Park in Maidstone. Pop in and pick up some stocking or hamper fillers from the gift shop, situated in the country’s last working coal-fired Oast house, or give the gift of a Kentish experience that will last the whole year.

Stocking and hamper fillers
Just landed in time for Christmas and new for 2019, Kent Life Classic Bitter (4.1% ABV) is definitely one for the beer lover. Brewed in Burton upon Trent by the Heritage Brewing Company, it’s made with Kent Life’s own hops harvested from September’s Hops n Harvest festival and dried in the coal-fired Oast house. A traditional pale bitter with a dry yet smooth palate and lingering bitter finish, a 500ml bottle retails at £3.75.

Make up a festive beer selection by adding Heritage Gold (4.8% ABV), a light amber coloured smooth drinking best bitter with a mild to medium bitterness and biscuit notes and It’s a Cracker (ABV 4.4%), a deep mahogany bitter with hints of hedgerow nuts and a slight smokiness.

The shop also stocks a choice of award-winning Kentish cider and juices.

Young bakers will love the Christmas Pudding in a Mug, a quick-bake, ready-made mix, great for a first pudding making experience. For those that prefer eating to baking, Kent Life branded miniature Christmas puds, iced cakes, honey, jams and chutney make tempting treats for hampers.

Pooches in need of pampering with dog-friendly festive treats will enjoy ‘Iced Woofins’ and ‘Pupcorn’ from the Barking Bakery. There is also a host of toys and homeware from cuddly farm animals, cute reindeer Christmas tree decorations and Christmas magnet craft kits.

Give the gift of a Kentish experience, for the family who has everything, gifting an experience, which gives fun family time making memories throughout the year, might just be top of their Christmas list. Kent Life’s annual family membership (2+2) is just £99 and includes unlimited free entry to the grounds and buildings all year long, plus free entry to the annual Hops n Harvest Beer Festival.

For the child with too many toys, Kent Life’s Adopt an Animal scheme is just the ticket. From £20 per year, the recipient can help keep one of the many farmyard animals fed, watered, clean and well housed throughout all the seasons. An adoption pack includes a ready to frame photo of their furry friend – choose from Alpacas, Donkeys, Goats, Horses, Pigs and Sheep – along with a certificate, a complimentary ticket to visit, a fact sheet and seasonal updates about their new friend.

For more information



From gift experiences that will last the whole year to festive events that will delight children and grown-ups alike, Kent Life Heritage Farm Park in Maidstone has a sack full of seasonal inspiration.

Seasonal gifting

What can you offer the family who has everything? Gifting an experience, which gives them quality family time making memories and having fun throughout the year, might just be top of their Christmas list.  Kent Life’s annual family membership (2+2) is just £99 and includes unlimited free entry to the grounds and buildings all year long, plus free entry to the annual Hops n Harvest Beer Festival in September.

For the animal-lover or the child with too many toys, Kent Life’s Adopt an Animal scheme might be just the ticket. From £20 per year, the recipient can help keep one of the many Kent Life farmyard animals fed, watered, clean and well housed throughout all the seasons.

An adoption pack includes a ready to frame photo of their furry friend – choose from Alpacas, Donkeys, Goats, Horses, Pigs and Sheep – along with a certificate, a complimentary ticket to visit, a fact sheet and seasonal updates about their new friend.  If your budget stretches further, for £40 per year, why not include a 45-minute one-to-one experience with the adopted animal.

Festive fun: events for all the family

From a living Farm Nativity to meeting Father Christmas or stepping back in time to find out what Christmas was like on the Home Front, Kent Life has plenty in store to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Farm Nativity

Come and experience Kent Life’s interactive, living Farm Nativity, which takes place on Sunday 8 December at 3pm and stars some of the Kent Life farm animals.  In partnership with Maidstone Family Church, visitors can join the special journey through the farm to discover the Nativity story scenes and join in the traditional Christmas carolling.

Children are encouraged to dress up and be part of the nativity as angels, wise men and farmyard animals or – for the adventurous – why not come as a camel!

Christmas on the Home Front –WWII Experience

Kent Life’s Christmas on The Home Front, Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 November, 10am to 4pm, brings Christmas in wartime to life against the backdrop of the original buildings in the Vintage Village.  Step back in time to re-live the festive season in the 1940’s and be immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of ‘Christmas on the Home Front’.

Among the attractions will be ‘make do and mend’ lessons, drill displays by the Home Guard, a 1940’s school lesson, shops from the era and a rehabilitation centre for injured RAF pilots.

Both the Nativity and Christmas on the Home Front are included in the general day admission prices.

Ho Ho Ho! The Christmas Experience

If it’s good old-fashioned festive fun you’re looking for, then the Kent Life Christmas Experience won’t disappoint. The Land Train is driven by the Head Elf and younger visitors can meet Father Christmas in his magical grotto. Decorating festive gingerbread is on the menu and grown-ups can enjoy a mince pie and sample some Kentish cider.  There’s also an opportunity to send letters to Father Christmas in the post office.

Father Christmas will be visiting from Saturday 30th November, on the following dates: Sunday 1st December, Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th, Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th and Thursday 19th, Friday 20th, Saturday 21st, Sunday 22nd, Monday 23rd & Tuesday 24th December.   A family ticket (2+2) (non-members) is £36.95, a child ticket (aged 1-15) is £13.95 (non-member) or £7.95 (member), and an adult ticket is £7.95 (non-member) or free for members. All tickets can be booked online.

For more information on all the gift ideas and events and to book tickets online visit:







Let’s Rock (the UK’s biggest one-day retro festival series) is coming to Kent for the very first time in summer 2020 with the launch of Let’s Rock Kent, which will take place on August 29th at Mote Park in Maidstone.

Taking place during August Bank Holiday weekend, the inaugural Let’s Rock Kent boast a stellar line-up of iconic artists, with a headline set from Wet Wet Wet plus performers including ABC, Howard Jones, Sister Sledge, Nik Kershaw, Go West, Midge Ure’s Electronica, Heaven 17, The Real Thing and Hue & Cry. Gates open at 10:00am and the fun starts at midday with The Retrobates Party Live featuring Fiction Factory, Tenpole Tudor, Sydney Youngblood, Gibson Brothers, Captain Sensible and Modern Romance.

A celebration of all things pop and 80s, Let’s Rock offers gloriously unpretentious non-stop fun, with legendary artists performing hit after hit to a crowd of all ages (many of whom embrace the throwback vibe by dressing in their finest retro fashion). 2019 was the most successful summer series in Let’s Rock’s eleven-year history, with twelve festival locations and a total audience of over 150,000 – and with the addition of Let’s Rock Kent, next year’s series promises to be even bigger and better.

Wet Wet Wet’s Graeme Clark comments, “We’re looking forward to playing three decades worth of hits from the 80s, 90s and 00s for you.”

Frontman Kevin Simm adds, “We’ve never played Let’s Rock before but we’ve heard wonderful things so we’re excited to be a part of it!”

“Really looking forward to performing at the Let’s Rock festivals in 2020,” comments Martin Fry of ABC. “Sunshine guaranteed. Last time round was incredible from the audience through to every act involved. See you there.”

Let’s Rock organisers Nick Billinghurst & Matt Smith comment, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring Let’s Rock to Kent for the very first time next summer with what is one of our strongest ever line-ups. What a great way to spend August Bank Holiday Saturday!”

Let’s Rock is a family-friendly festival; children can enjoy complimentary activities within the Kids’ Kingdom. For adults, there are multiple bars and our Club Tropicana VIP area, plus of course the all-important posh loos.

Let’s Rock works with many amazing charities including Child Bereavement UK, who support families and educate professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a family is facing bereavement. During 2019, Let’s Rock raised almost £125,000 for Child Bereavement UK.

Tickets for Let’s Rock Kent 2020 go on-sale at 9:00am Friday November 29th


Kidenza Presents ‘Santa in Space’

Inspire your children with music at our Kidenza Christmas Concerts.

We have two fun and engaging professional classical concerts for families taking place at The Pamoja Hall in Sevenoaks on Saturday 14th December at 2pm and 4pm PLUS percussion workshops with regular Kidenza percussionist Alex Neal before each of the concerts.  Children from the workshop will take part in the first part of the concert!

In the concerts ‘Santa in Space’, it is Christmas Eve and Santa has set off with his sleigh full of presents.  All is going well until a ‘SantaNav’ malfunction sends Santa up into space! Join us as we try to rescue him… Featuring music from ‘Star Wars’ and Santa himself this concert is sure to put you in a Christmassy mood!

Alex Neal has been co principal percussionist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 2003.  He has played on many film sound tracks including ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Harry Potter’.  Our workshops allow children to work much more closely with our instrumentalists and enhance the concert experience.

Flyer attached and ticket link is here:

More details here

Facebook event:

See us in action here:

Back for a fourth spellbinding year, Wicked Productions return to the EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge with a laugh-out-loud family pantomime, the high-flying Peter Pan.

For your chance to win a family ticket for four, visit our Competitions Page for more information!

Audiences will be ‘hooked’ this Christmas with this spectacular laugh-out-loud family pantomime, ‘Never Never’ will your swash be more buckled than at this fabulous show!

Watch as Peter Pan, Wendy and the children head for the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning to beat the vicious Captain Hook and provide a loving home to the Lost Boys. But ever lurking in the water is the nasty croc, waiting to get the ‘upper hand’ of anyone who dare come too close…

Back by popular demand is the hilarious Tom Swift as Smee and TV legend Michael Fenton Stevens as Sea Dog Sally. Joining the pirate crew as the dastardly Captain Hook is TV & Film legend Chris Ellison (DCI Frank Burnside in The Bill), the high-flying David Young as Peter Pan, and local talent Lauren Brindley as Wendy.

Packed full of fabulous scenery, costumes, special effects, crazy jokes, audience participation and lashings of panto magic, set spirits flying in Tonbridge this Christmas on the adventure of the child who never grew up!

Friday 13th December – Sunday 5th January

Times and ticket prices vary see for full details. Relaxed performance on Wednesday 18th December at 6pm

Box Office 01732 304241. Book Online

We visited Kent Life Heritage Farm Park near Maidstone earlier this week, it was our first visit here and it didn’t disappoint!  It is all themed up this week for Halloween, and children (& grown ups!) are invited to come dressed up – there’s even the chance for kids to trick or treat (from 2pm – 5pm) which our son loved.

There’s lots to do here for all ages, but it’s especially good for young children with animals to see, feed and even pet over in Cuddle Corner.

There is also a soft play barn complete with a café for the grown ups.  Alternatively, Dotty’s Tea Rooms provide a lovely chance for a cup of hot chocolate.  We’d recommend the carrot cake too!


(It’s also a good opportunity to feed the baby!)

Our 7 year old loved seeing and feeding the animals and exploring the site, and ran off the last bits of energy in the adventure playground at the end of the day.  There were also opportunities to paint a pot, carve a pumpkin and visit the Forge.

Don’t miss the chance to look at the vintage village buildings, and this is where kids can knock on the doors for a spooky trick or treat!  We spent about 2.5 hours here, but could have spent longer as there’s also Big Top shows, animal feeding and owl flying demos to see, as well as a tractor ride around the farm.  If you’re looking for a trip out this half term, we’d highly recommend a visit here (but don’t forget your wellies!). Thanks Kent Life for inviting us!

Kent Life are holding festive Christmas Events in the run up to the big day, do check their website for further details.  There is also a special Experience Day on December 19th for children with additional needs.  Please contact Kent Life on 01622 763936 (you can also see our see our post by clicking here).

If you would like the opportunity to visit Kent Life as often as you want for a year, we’re delighted to have a Free annual family pass to give away in one of our Winter competitions.  Pick up the Winter edition of the West Kent Family Grapevine Magazine (published in November) for information on how to enter.  Do also visit or visit them on facebook @kentlifefamilyfun

James & Clare (Family Grapevine Editors)

Hello! We are the local twin and triplet club centred around Tunbridge Wells but with members across the whole TN area. We aim to offer free support to local families, as well as to create opportunities for our 400+ members to access services and network with other mums and dads. As multiple parents ourselves, we know how isolating it can be by the sheer struggle of leaving the house with two or more.

Most of our activity is on Facebook with great community discussions on swapping tips etc. for life with multiples – and we have specific pages for businesses, buying/selling and childcare. New this year, we also have a WhatsApp group and Instagram page (@tntwins_kent)!

We have regular playgroups at local children’s centres, a monthly mums’ night off meet-up and we fundraise throughout the year to organise subsidised events. We’ve a Halloween party coming up and we’re also busy planning our Christmas party – keep the 8 December free in your diaries!

Our rising profile locally has also enabled us to agree business discounts for members and run a fundraising raffle with incredible prizes donated by local businesses.

We are so proud of what we have achieved, while juggling families and our own businesses/jobs – and we hope that the club continues for many years to come. If you are expecting multiples or already have twins or more, come and find us on Facebook ! If you are a local business and would like to learn more about us, get in touch at [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you!

The TN Twins Committee

Kent’s Christmas Grottos 2019

(Visit Travel Loving Mum for some fantastic inspiration for days out and travel – Click Here)

We may still be in the throes of enjoying the last of the summer sun with autumn nibbling at our toes, however it’s never too soon to be thinking about Christmas! It may seem like planning ahead but when thinking about your visit to a Christmas Grotto its good to be organised, some places have tickets on sale already with others set to follow suit soon. I’ve put together a sample of Kent’s top Grottos, most of which I have visited personally, set reminders in your diary of when tickets go on sale and be quick off the mark, grotto tickets can be like gold dust!

Hever Castle

Hever Castle always manages to impress with it’s beautiful wintery setting, Christmas trees with twinkling lights throughout the castle, log fires and a Christmas themed trail through the gardens for little ones to enjoy.

The theme this year is Alice in a Christmas Wonderland, tickets are on sale from 11am on 11th September to annual members and from 11am on 18th September to the general public. The grotto is open from 23rd November to 8th December (Wednesday to Sunday) and then from 9th December to 24th December (daily). We enjoyed visiting the grotto at dusk when the lights shone magically, here we saw Father Christmas individually rather than as a group which made it feel that bit more special.

Hever Castle is always a popular and quickly sold out grotto, be quick to book tickets for this one!

Hever Castle, Hever, Edenbridge, TN8 7NG.

Ruxley Manor

Ruxley Manor is a garden centre based in Sidcup, Kent and is home to another very popular Christmas Grotto in this area of Kent. This year they’re promising an experience full of tradition, magic, festivity and fun with the elves and Mrs Christmas, as well as a special meeting with the famous man himself.

We have visited Ruxley Manor a couple of times over the years and have been very impressed with the whole experience, Father Christmas is great and the presents for the children have been good quality (in my opinion). Tickets are based on time slots so you enter the experience as a whole group, usually it starts with a little game for the children, before being led by the elves to see Mrs Christmas in her kitchen to prepare some reindeer food which the children take home. Children are then led by the elves to another room for a crafting activity which they usually take home e.g. a wooden tree decoration. The elves then lead the way to see Father Christmas where the presents magically appear down the chimney for each child. There is usually ice skating (at an extra cost) on site too.

The experience lasts approximately 45 minutes and you can expect to pay roughly £13 per child, tickets are confirmed to go on sale in September but the exact date hasn’t yet been announced, sign up to their newsletter to be the first in the know.

Ruxley Manor, Maidstone Road, Sidcup, DA14 5BQ.

Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place is yet to reveal the details of their Christmas Grotto but I had to include it on the list as we have loved it in the past and anticipate another great theme from them this year!

Previously the theme had been based on Narnia, where the kids would walk through the wardrobe, past the hanging coats into the wonderful world of Narnia to meet Father Christmas. There were crafts, activities and face painting too. I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground and as soon as details are released for this year I’ll update you all!

Penshurst Place, Penshurst, Tonbridge, TN11 8DG.

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle at Christmas is truly magical and provides fun for all the family with it’s Christmas Market too. Wander through the market to an enchanted path which will lead you to Father Christmas, where if the little ones have been good (which I’m sure they all have!) they will receive a traditional gift to take home.

The theme for this year is Magical Birds and Festive Feathers, the castle rooms are set to be displayed with glittering decorations and fragrant pine trees styled around the theme of birds.

The Christmas Market and Father Christmas Grotto are open every weekend from 23rd November to 15th December. The Christmas Market and entry to the castle to see the display is included with the price of the Leeds Castle admission ticket (adults £26, children £17.50) which grants access for repeat visits from a year of the date of issue. The Father Christmas Grotto is extra at £15 per child. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Tuesday 1st October.

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, ME17 1PL.

The Hop Farm

Father Christmas is returning to The Hop Farm again this year for lots of festive fun providing a grotto with a difference. There’s set to be lots of live entertainment, story telling with Mother Christmas, crafts, meeting the jolly helpers and of course a cosy meeting with Father Christmas himsef.

Tickets are on sale now for visits between 1st December to 23rd December and cost £18 per child which includes 2 free adults and a Christmas gift to take home. The cost of the ticket includes free entry to the family park, animal farm and soft play centre so you can really make a day of it!

The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, TN12 6PY.

Tulleys Farm

Tulleys Farm is a full Christmas experinece and its easy to spend the whole day there enjoying all the activities on offer. Activities are spread out across the farm with reindeer food making, gingerbread decorating, Santa’s Post House, the Elves’ Secret Forest, Elf Hunt, Puppet Shows and 3D Cinema all included in the ticket price. Then take a sleigh ride to visit Father Christmas himself where children can hear a story, have photos and recieve a token to spend either in the Make a Bear Workshop or Toy Shop as their gift to take home.

There are additional activities such as ice skating, fairground rides and food to purchase which are all an extra cost. As it’s all mainly outdoors wrapping up warm is advised. Tickets are on sale now and range in price depending on the day you visit, adults £10.95-£13.95, children between £27.95-£37.95 and under 1’s £6.95-£9.95.

Tulley’s Farm, Turners Hill, West Sussex, RH10 4PE.

Bedgebury Pinetum

Christmas at Bedgebury is a different feel to your usual grotto experience in the form of a mile long path that winds magically through the forest illuminated with lots of beautiful lights. This year Bedgebury is bringing the sights and sounds of Christmas to you under unique canopies with new installations rising high into the night sky.

There will be mulled wine, hot chocolate and cider available for you to buy while you enjoy your walk and a fire pit to toast marshmallows as well as some traditional fairground rides (paid separately). Keep in mind that children won’t have an individual meeting with Father Christmas, instead you can catch glimpses of him and his helpers through the trees along the way.

Expect your visit to last around 1.5 hours, being the nature of the forest the paths can be uneven in places and there are some steep slopes too, also remember to wrap up warm! Tickets are on sale now; adults £18 and children £11.50, under 3 are free.

Bedgebury National Pinetum, Goudhurts, TN17 2SJ.

Polhill Garden Centre

It would be easy to forget you’re even in a garden centre when you step into Polhill’s Christmas wonderland, this year is set to be even better as the theme is based on Santa’s traditional log cabin in the North Pole. The Christmas display as you walk through to meet Father Christmas never disappoints. Children will enjoy a story with Father Christmas before meeting him personally, adults are allowed to take their camera’s in which is a plus. We have visited Father Christmas at Polhill and found that it was a nice experience particularly for the younger children.

Tickets are on sale now and cost £12 per child and £1 for an adult. Launch weekend of the grotto takes place on 16th and 17th November where there will be breakfast with Santa followed by the grotto experience. The grotto will then be open on the weekend of 23rd and 24th November and then from 29th November the grotto is open until Christmas. Each session will run for 20 minutes, afterwards you could head to the café for a hot drink and cake or take in some last minute Christmas shopping.

Polhill Garden Centre, Sevenoaks, TN14 7AD.

Bluewater Shopping Centre

This year Bluewater are creating their grotto on the classic story of The Nutcracker and the Realms. Children will be welcomed by a Toy Soldier Guard who will led them through the story meeting Snowy Owl and a little girl called Clara, who, along with the children will discover toys representing the Realms and its characters.

Clara will lead the children through the grotto with all its different themes (the sweet themed room is sure to be a hit!) and they will complete a festive craft to take home before meeting Father Christmas. Children will have their own individual visit with Father Christmas and receive a plush toy as their present.

Being located near the shopping centre you could add in some last minute gift shopping, catch a film and/or dinner as well as perhaps some fun ice skating. This could well be a great all rounder day out for the family!

Tickets are on sale now with a child ticket priced at £14.50 which includes two accompanying adults.

Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, DA9 9ST.

Monkey Music Workshops in Aid of SUDC UK


At Kingdom in Penshurt –

The local Monkey Music team, that’s Lucy, Jules, Hannah, Mary and Alison will be  running    fun-filled music workshops to support the work of SUDC UK, because we want to remember Rex Gooden who loved his Monkey Music classes.

The Charity SUDC UK, stands for Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood and, very sadly, Camilla Gooden’s little boy, Rex, died in his sleep in February 2015, just 22months old.

Rex used to attend and love his Monkey Music classes in Sevenoaks. We will be running 3 workshops, at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.

The 1pm workshop is for babies under 12 months, and the 2 and 3pm workshop are for mixed ages from 1-5 years old.

All  the ticket money (apart from a small booking fee) will go to SUDC UK.

For more information about SUDC  UK it’s and, to buy your ticket for our charity fundraising event, it’s

If you can’t make the event but would like to offer your support to the charity, please consider buying a virtual ticket – thanks so much for your support!



Stars of Paradise

The New Book by Mary Obozua

Stars of Paradise is a story to inspire young girls and boys to think big, be creative, and understand that dreams can be achieved with teamwork and the application of skills including science, technology, coding, as well as singing, dancing and performing!

We have a copy of this wonderful book to give away, visit our Competitions Page for a chance to win!

This year’s Marshill carnival will be like no other. Daisy and her best friend Ewe decide they will create a winning jingle for the singing contest. But, they soon realise that they need the help of their friends and the rather miserable show-off Esmerelda. Then, more challenges arise for the Stars of Paradise. They need to find a way to perform in two places at the same time. And, can Ewe’s powers of drawing and designing ideas that come to life, magically help them solve their problems, and win the competition at the carnival? The adventure begins with the delivery of a golden letter…

Daisy and Ewe are the stars of new children’s book series, The WLDE, aimed at young readers aged six to nine. There is a massive need for more diversity in children’s book publishing. Only 1% of the children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME main character (CLPE, 2018). This new series brings together myriad cultural backgrounds: Daisy and Ewe are Nigerian, Danny is Irish, and Ayo is Ghanaian. Mary says: “It’s great to be able to write about my childhood and the way I grew up – accepting of all races and cultures. There’s a lot of ignorance on race going on around the world. However, there is also a wonderful truth that we do live in a multicultural society. I hope ‘The WLDE’ helps showcase the positive sides of various ethnicities – that we are all people and we can all get along. I hope it also helps to shine light where there’s ignorance, so children can grow up with that truth.”

About the author

As well as designing shoes, developing her brand ‘Mary Smith’, live singing, mentoring young women and telling stories to her nieces and nephews, Mary Obozua has now added ‘Author’ to her list. Mary grew up as part of a large family without a TV in sight. She credits this upbringing to stimulating her creative side, as she was encouraged to create stories to entertain her younger siblings whilst babysitting. Inspired by watching the humorous relationship between her younger sister and her best friends, ‘The Wonderful Life of Daisy and Ewe’ was born – ‘Stars of Paradise’ is the first book in the series. She promises the series to bring girl power, a multicultural cast, mystery and fun packed adventures.

Mary continues to passionately tell stories and write, whilst juggling the day to day running of business… plus everything else in-between. Mary works in Birmingham and recently made the move from London to the Midlands to be closer to her fashion business.