Family Days Out in Kent
There are loads of fantastic places to visit and fun family days out in Kent. We’ve listed a few ideas below. Take your family and get out and about into the Kent countryside, visit local family farms, adventure playgrounds, National Trust properties and lots more!
Amazon Outdoor Events at Knockhatch Adventure Park, Ski Centre Car Park, Hailsham By-pass, Hailsham, provides outdoor activity adventure days including family fun days, 11yrs+, 0844 2570433
Arena Pursuits, near Bewl Water, 6yrs+, company organising outdoor adventures including for all members of the family such as4x4 driving, the quads, team tasks, the assault course, clay pigeon shooting, orienteering and paintballing, 01580 879614
Bewl Water Outdoor Centre, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JH watersports, climbing and residential centre, 8yrs+, 01892 890716
Bowles Activity Centre, Eridge Green TN3 9LW, ski slopes, rock crags, ropes courses, archery range, 8yrs+, 01892 665665
Adventure Parks and Family Fun
Rock UK Carroty Wood Adventure Centre, Higham Lane, Tonbridge, TN11 9QX – 58 acres of beautiful, mature, enclosed woodland ideal for outdoor education; Accommodation for up to 190 catering or self-catering as offered at all our residential centres; optional outdoor activities; indoor swimming pool; indoor sports hall; high ropes course; floodlit all-weather sports pitch; 01732 361361
Diggerland, Roman Way, Medway Valley Leisure Park, Strood, Kent ME2 2NU 08700 344437
Drusillas Park, Alfriston Road just off the A27, BN26 5QS, zoo & extensive adventure playgrounds, 01323 874100
Kidspace, The Brewery, Waterloo Road, Romford, RM1 1AU, is a magical, award-winning indoor adventure park and party venue, 0208 686 0040
Hop Farm Family Park, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge TN12 6PY, fun fair rides, indoor soft play area, giant jumping pillows, the Magic Castle, and Hopper’s Animal World, Hopper’s Diner, Driving School, Bumper Carz, Facepainting and Entertainment Show. 01622 872068
Knockhatch Adventure Park, On A22 at Hailsham, Hailsham BN27 3GD, animals, falconry, indoor year round soft play at Froggies, go karts, outdoor playgrounds and paddling pools, ski slope, some activities not available during the winter, 01323 442051
Manic Monsters Soft Play, Gardiner Business Park, Little Browns Lane, Edenbridge, TN8 6LH, kids’ fun zone for aged birth to 12, open daily 10am to 6.30pm, 01732 866115
Minor Mania Bayham Rd, Bells Yew Green, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 9BJ, Minor Mania Play Centre offers a multi-tiered soft play centre, providing a safe, secure and stimulating play environment, with dedicated play space for toddlers and juniors, 01892 752859
Blackberry Farm, Whitesmith BN8 6JD. Some 18 acres, home to over 200 animals and, most of which can be petted or fed by hand with staff to tell you about them. Large outdoor play area, “Clucky’s” undercover adventure playbarn and sensory zone, family picnic area and baby area. Open daily from 10am until 4pm in winter, 5pm in spring and autumn and 6pm in summer. Own a Pony and Young Farmers Holiday Clubs at half term and school holidays. 01825 872912
Blackstock Farm, Grove Hill, Hellingly, Near Hailsham, BN27 4HF. Animals, nature trails, indoor farm, play area including trampolines, zip wire, soft play, farm shop and cafe. 01323 848006
Christmas Tree Farm, Cudham Road, Downe, Orpington, BR6 7LF. Animals including alpacas, donkeys, ponies, goats, cows, rabbits, etc, all of which can be petted and stroked. Open all year including winter when animals are indoors. 01689 861603
Heaven Farm, Furners Green, Uckfield, TN22 3RG. A 100 acre farm with nature walks, bluebell nature trail (in season), tea rooms, rural life museum, camping etc. 01825 790226
Lathe Barn Tearooms Children’s Farm, Donkey Street, Burmarsh, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 0JN. Children’s farm, picnic area, mini golf, playground and play barn. Tearooms only open in winter. 01303 873618
Port Lympne Reserve, Lympne, nr Hythe, CT21 4PD. One of the largest wild animal parks in the UK. Primates, otters, rhinos, small cats, wild dogs, gorillas, lions, giraffe, zebra etc. Organised safaris can be booked. 0844 842 4647
The Hop Farm Family Park, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, TN12 6PY. Lots of indoor & outdoor attractions including driving school, Bumper Carz, facepainting, fun rides, pirate cove, gingerbread hut, indoor soft play area, farmyard, bird of prey centre, visitor centre. 01622 872068
The Woodlands Farm Trust, 331 Shooters Hill, Welling, Kent, DA16 3RP.. A 98 acre working city farm. Find out about farming life and experience the countryside including native bird species, butterflies, wild flowers and ancient woodland. 020 8319 8900
Animals, Sealife and Nature
Beaver Water World, Waylands Farm, Approach Road, Tatsfield, Westerham, TN16 2JT. Animal rescue centre & charity for beavers, deer, lemurs, meerkats, small primates, reptiles and birds. Supervised handling sessions, parties, educational and walk&talk only with the aid of volunteers. 01959 577747
Coolings Green & Pleasant Nature trail, Main Road, Knockholt, TN14 7NN. Once a plant nursery, now 6 acres of habitat for native plants, creatures and resident animals accessible by bark pathways. Attractions include a colony of around 25 wallabies, Welsh badger-faced mountain sheep, woollypigs or Mangalitzas, goats, geese, ducks, and moorhens. 01959 532269
Eagle Heights, Kent’s Bird of Prey Centre, Eynsford DA4 0AR. Animal experience centre, indoor and outdoor aviaries, daily bird of prey displays, reptile house, meerkats, camel, arctic fox and coati mundi. 01322 866466
Friends of Animal League (FOAL) Farm Animal Rescue Centre, Jail Lane, Biggin Hill, Kent, TN16 3AX. Rescue centre on 26 acre farm, family fun days (check for details), pet shop, animals for adoption. 01959 572386
Howletts Wild Animal Park, Bekesbourne, Nr. Canterbury CT4 5EL. A 90-acre wild animal park dedicated to conservation, breeding and reintroduction. Largest herd of wild elephants in the UK plus, tigers, gorillas, primates etc. 0844 842 4647
Scadbury Park Nature Reserve, near Chislehurst, Kent, 300 acres of countryside owned by the London Borough of Bromley. Main entrance off the A222 Bromley Lane. Includes 2.5mile Acorn Nature Trail starting from Old Perry Street car park.
Walking, Cycling & Open Spaces
Ashdown Forest, between Crowborough, Forest Row and Maresfield. Originally a deer hunting forest in Norman times, Ashdown Forest is now one of the largest free public access spaces in the South East. Great walking, spectacular views and known the world over as the home of Winnie-the-Pooh.
The Forest is at the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and nearly two thirds of its 6,500 acres are rare heathland.
Bough Beech Visitor Centre, Winkhurst Green, Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, TN14 6LD. 01732 750624
Situated next to Bough Beech reservoir the visitor centre, in a converted oast house, has a small shop and café offering hot and cold drinks, ice cream and light snacks. There is a short circular walk great for families.
The Ashdown Forest Centre is an information point for visitors. The Information Barn has exhibitions including works by local artists and photographers, crafts people and local historical societies. Other unusual events take place (see Events Page). 01342 823583
Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst. A 2,000 acre forest for walking, family cycling trails, mountain bike and dirt jump area, cycle hire, horse riding for TROT members, adventure play trail, Go Ape, 01580 879842/879820
Bewl Water, Lamberhurst, TN3 8JH, walking, cycling, fishing, model boating, boat trips, playground, crazy golf and hydro balling, (bridle path for cycling and horse riding is weather dependent and can be closed), free entry Mon-Fri in winter, bike hire, 01892 890000
Cobham Wood & Mausoleum (National Trust) near Cobham, Kent. Walk through the ancient cattle grazed woodland, once part of the Cobham Hall estate, and view the mausoleum designed by James Wyatt. Check opening times before visiting 01732 810378
Reculver Visitor Centre, Off Reculver Lane, Reculver, Herne Bay, CT6 6SS. 01227 740676
The visitor centre at Reculver sits within Reculver Country Park which combines an undeveloped coast, wildlife interest and historic building which include the twin towers of St. Mary’s Church (English Heritage) and the remains of a roman fort.
Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, Dymchurch Road, New Romney, TN28 8AY. 01797 369487
An award winning, eco-friendly building where you can discover, explore and learn about Romney Marsh’s unique landscape, natural and social history. Shop selling gifts and local crafts, ‘The Art Shack’ art gallery, light refreshments in the café and picnic areas.
Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3DH. 01732 456407
Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve has 5 lakes and is a spectacular site for birds, plants, fungi and animals. There is a small café and shop and a Kingfisher Trail great for families.
Toys Hill, (National Trust) near Brasted Chart, Kent, TN16 1QG. Nature trails through 200 acres of ancient woodland, designated SSSI with abundant wildlife and spectacular views over the Weald of Kent. 01732 868381
Tyland Barn, Sandling, Maidstone, ME14 3BD. 01622 662012. Tyland Barn visitor centre in Maidstone is also the head office for Kent Wildlife Trust and situated in a 17th Century barn. There is a small nature park with ponds, mini beast homes and trails, a café offering a selection of light lunches and a gallery which exhibits local artists work. Maps are available for walks to the surrounding countryside.
The White Cliffs of Dover, Langdon Cliffs, Kent. Dramatic walks along the cliffs. The National Trust Visitor Centre is open daily from 11am to 4pm except bank holidays. Free maps, parking and info panels around the site plus gift shop and a coffee shop.
Places of Historic Interest & Gardens
Chartwell National Trust House, home of Winston Churchill, Mapleton Road, Westerham, Kent TN16 1PS. The rooms remain much as they were when Churchill lived here with pictures, books and personal mementoes. Entrance is by timed ticket. House and Studio are open daily from 1st March – 2nd November 2014. The Garden, exhibition, shop and restaurant are open year round from 11am – 5pm (or dusk), 01732 868381
Chislehurst Caves Caveside Close, Old Hill, Chislehurst, BR7 5NL. The caves at Chislehurst are a labyrinth of manmade tunnels forming a maze covering over six hectares 30 metres below woodlands above. They were dug for chalk used in lime burning and brick-making for the building of London, also for flints to fire the tinderboxes and flintlock guns of years ago. Lamp lit tours last 45-50 minutes. Booking is necessary for large groups. Cafe & gift shop. 020 8467 3264
Crofton Roman Villa, Crofton Road, Orpington, BR6 8AF, opening 1st April to 30th October, limited times (check the website). Remains of 10 rooms of the roman villa that was occupied between AD140 to 400. Activities for children include Roman games to play, mosaic making, dressing up as Romans and digging for finds in the excavation tray.Gift shop 020 8460 1442
Dover Castle, Castle Hill, Dover, CT16 1HU, explore the atmospheric Secret Wartime Tunnels including the vivid recreation of the Dunkirk evacuation in Operation Dynamo: Rescue from Dunkirk, complete with dramatic projections of swooping Spitfires and real film footage. A colourful contrast is the richly-furnished Great Tower, where costumed actors introduce medieval life at King Henry II’s court. Constant exhibitions, winding tunnels, ghosts plus restaurants, shops and space for running around – an action-packed, great value family day out. Opening times vary, check online before planning your day. 01304 211 067 or 0870 333 1181
Down House (the home of Charles Darwin), Luxted Road, Downe, Kent, BN6 7JT. Open weekends until 16th Feb & 24th Feb – 31st March, Wed – Sun during Feb half term, check the website for summer opening times, 0870 333 1181 (customer services) or 01689 859119 (site phone)
Emmetts National Trust Garden, Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 6AY. An Edwardian estate owned by Frederic Lubbock, the garden was laid out in the late 19th century and contains many exotic and rare trees and shrubs. Traditional children’s games available. Open daily 1st March – 31st December 2014 (not 25th/26th Dec), 10am – 5pm (or dusk), 01732 750367
Groombridge Place Gardens and Enchanted Forest, TN3 9QG, animals , enchanted forest with giant swings, zip wires and Crusoe’s World, animals (including a zedonk), canal boat ride, daily Birds of Prey displays (except Mondays). Open weekends only in March and then daily from 31st March – end October, 10am – 5.30pm (or dusk), 01892 861444
Hever Castle, Hever, Nr Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7NG. Gardens/maze, playground, water maze (take a change of clothes), open daily 15th February – 2nd November (Wed – Sun after half term in Feb/Mar), seasonal opening for some attractions, 01732 865224
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens Family Fun with den building, spot the yeti, explorers escarpment & adventure playground, little Everest viewpoint, Himalayan hedge maze and lots of activity days, 01732 459777
Ightham Mote, Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 ONT. Romantic moated manor house built nearly 700 years ago surrounded by gardens and woodland walks. The house and garden are open daily from 1st March – 31st December from 11am – 5pm (3pm in Dec), estate open all year, 01732 810378
Knole National Trust House, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0RP. Built as a palace in a medieval deer-park, Knole was owned by the Archbishops of Canterbuy, the Tudors and the Sackville family who still live here. The Estate Office tells the story of Knole in the 20th century, changing exhibitions in the Orangery, guided walks in the Parkland, family holiday activities, the showrooms are being converted to create Knole Studios, conservation studio, learning centre and cafe. For full opening schedule check online, 01732 450608
Leeds Castle, Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent ME17 1PL. Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous; and now it is one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain. Open daily 10am – 4pm with a few dates when its closed for private functions, 01622 765400.
Lullingstone Roman Villa, Lullinstone Lane, Eynsford, DA4 0JA, Among the most outstanding Roman villa survivals in Britain, Lullingstone provides a unique all weather family day out. Set in the Darent Valley, the villa was begun in about AD 100, and developed to suit the tastes and beliefs of successive wealthy owners, reaching its peak of luxury in the mid-4th century.
View the spectacular mosaics and prints of the rare wall paintings, a heated bath-suite and a ‘house-church’. A light show brings the villa to life and galleries display Roman artefacts. Children can try on Roman costumes and play traditional board games from the period. Opening times vary, check before planning your day out, 01322 863467
Lullingstone Castle, Eynsford, Kent DA4 0JA, home of the UK’s first World Garden of Plants, plants from all parts of the world planted in respective countries of origin. Opens at Easter, 01322 862114
Old Soar manor, Plaxtol Borough Green, Kent TN15 OXQ. Dating from 1290 the remaining rooms of this knight’s house offer a glimpse back to the time of Edward I. 01732 810378
Owletts, The Street, Cobham, Gravesend Kent DA12 3AP. Dating back to Charles II, Owletts was the family home of the renouned architect, Sir Herbert Baker. 01732 810378
Penshurst Place and Gardens, Penshurst, Kent ~ 01892 870307
Quebec House, Quebec Square, Westerham, Kent, TN16 1TD. The Family House of General Hames Wolfe with an exhibition of the dramatic battle for North America. 01732 868381
Rivershill Himalayan Gardens, Riverhill, Sevenoaks, TN15 0RR. Den building; spot the yeti; explorers escarpment & adventure playground; little Everest viewpoint; Himalayan hedge maze. 01732 459777
Scotney National Trust Castle, Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 8JN, garden, house and estate. Estate walks open all year, house, old castle and gardens open daily from 15th Feb -31st Dec form 10am, entrance to the house by timed ticket, 01829 893868 or 01892 893820 (infoline)
Sissinghurst Castle & Gardens, Biddenden Road, Nr Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2AB. A ruin of an Elizabethan manor house which gained international fame in the 1930s when Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicolson created a garden here. Estate walks are open all year, otherwise the gardens are open 15th March – 31st Dec 11am – 5.30pm (or dusk). Probably more of an adult day out! 01580 710700
South Foreland Lighthouse , The Front, St Margaret’s Bay, Dover, Kent CT15 6HP. Dramatic lighthouse on the White Cliffs of Dover. 01304 852463
Yalding Organic Gardens, 01622 814650
Museums & Galleries
Brede Steam Engine Society Waterworks Lane, Brede TN31 6HG – The Giants of Brede, museum of water heritage pumping machinery, Open Saturdays all year around from 10am – 4pm, 01323 897310
Bromley Museum, Orpington, history of Bromley, 01689 873826
Woodlands Farm Trust, Welling, 020 8319 8900
Railways, Buses & Boats
Bentley Miniature Railway, at Bentley Country Park, between Uckfield and Halland, open Sundays year-round, Saturdays mid March – October, and school holidays, 01825 840573
Dotto, Eastbourne’s Mini Train, run along the seafront from end of March until 3rd November 2013, hop on, hop off between Holywell Retreat and Sovereign Harbour, 0871 2002233
Kent & East Sussex Steam Railway, Tenterden, Northiam and Bodiam Stations, vintage steam and historical diesel trains dating from Victorian times, special events including Thomas the Tank Engine days, 01580 765155
Lavender Line, Isfield TN22 5XB, preserved railway – travels for a two mile round trip between the village of Isfield and Worth halt near Uckfield. At Isfield you will find the headquarters of the Lavender line which includes the original Victorian station and signal box. Open Sundays and bank holidays, 11am – 5pm, Santa Specials at weekend in December, 01825 750515
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, the world’s smallest public railway, 01797 362353
Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells, Day out with Thomas ~ 01892 537715