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Ellie Graham
5th August 2022

It’s about time to start writing those back-to-school lists – new uniform, sharpened pencils, and breakfasts for champions. While there's still summer fun to be had, we’ve planned some fun days out in Kent for you to get ahead of the crowd and get those lists ticked off without you even realising. Get ready for a day of family fun, eating out, and exploring your local area. At the end of the day, you’ll feel refreshed and replenished, and ready for those early morning starts - bring on the new school year! 

Ashford Designer Outlet

The recently expanded Ashford Designer Outlet is the perfect place to go for all your shopping needs. With 100 stores full to the brim with designer brands for up to 60% less, you’ll have no trouble finding those back-to-school essentials. Plus, you’ve got an abundance of restaurants to choose from - from Pizza Express, Five Guys, Comptoir Libanais and Wagamama’s - or maybe a quick coffee in Starbucks next to the beautiful living wall. You can even bring along your four-legged friends – that’s right, your back-to-school shopping just got upgraded, with loads of stores at the Outlet being dog friendly. Now that’s paw-some! Just hop off the train at Ashford and you’ll be there faster than you can say “great deals”.


Historic and cultural, Canterbury will always be on our list of places to visit in Kent, regardless of what you’re doing. Not only is there a great range of well-known shops for you to peruse in Whitefriars and the rest of the High Street, but there are also plenty of vintage and charity shops to give you a more sustainable start to the school year. While you take a break from the shopping, why not carry on with the sustainability and check out locally sourced restaurants such as The Goods Shed and The Veg Box Café for a bite to eat? You can feed your mind as well as your body while in Canterbury, by visiting The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge – art, inspiration, and education all under one roof!

The Dockside Outlet Centre

There’s nothing quite like being near the water – the fresh breeze, the shimmering of the sunny stream, and the calming sounds of the current are unrivalled. So, why not do some back to school shopping at The Dockside Shopping Centre this year? They have all the essentials you could ask for, plus the benefit of being by the relaxing open water. While there, get in a bit of early learning at the Royal Engineers Museum, where they’ll be holding the Medway Model Show (we’re looking at any model-heads in the family!). Or head over to Fort Amherst, Britain’s biggest Napoleonic fort, for a look around the site or even come along for a scare at one of their Ghost Tours (maybe even scarier than the thought of the morning alarm going off).

Westwood Cross 

Nothing beats the back-to-school blues like the great big blue! Lucky for you, beautiful Broadstairs has all you could ask for – fantastic deals in stores and wonderful seaside spots for you and the family to enjoy before the start of the new year. Just down the road from the seafront, there are a great selection of stores in Westwood where you and the kids can stock up on all the back-to-school essentials, from pencil sharpeners to the perfect shoes. Then, once you’re done exploring the town and all it has to offer, you’ll have to wind down with a paddle in the sea at one of Broadstairs’ fantastic coastal spots. Both Stone Bay and Joss Bay have been given the sticker of cleanliness and loveliness with the Blue Flag Award – so there’s your afternoon sorted!

Royal Victoria Place 

Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells is jam packed with great stores, so take a day trip down and spend the day getting those back-to-school essentials, and you may as well treat yourself to something special while you’re there. With a great selection of places to eat and drink, you’ll be able to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. And, if you pop out to just down the road, you’ll find the Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery, where you can get in some early learning. Or go for something with a bit more pizzazz and catch a show with the family at The Trinity Theatre.

Bouverie Place Shopping Centre 

Since Kent’s Heritage Coast has been declared the 4th best region in the world to visit by global authority Lonely Planet, we had to squeeze in another coastal spot for you to take the family back to school shopping – this time, it’s the fabulous Folkestone! At the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre, you’ll be able to find all the essentials you’re looking for, including some great second-hand finds. Plus, it’s always a bit easier to get that shopping done when you know there’s a portion of chips and a seaside stroll waiting at the end…

Travel with Arriva

Go car free this summer and travel with Arriva to all the best spots in the county. With family tickets for only £15 in the Kent and Medway zone, you can save on the worries and the wonga when you travel with Arriva.