Escape the Ordinary
28th March 2021
After a year of - let’s face it - a whole lot of nothing, we are all desperate to get out of the house and try new things. A bit of escapism is what we all need right now and Kent’s new offering of extraordinary experiences provide exactly that – a break from the ordinary and a chance to reignite passions, inspirations and the joy of discovery.
Whether you want to learn a new skill, go back in time, get your creative juices flowing, head out of your comfort zone or even just escape the mundane of the day-to-day, you can discover so many unique and exciting experiences in Kent.
Leading the way with extraordinary experiences is the district of Gravesham – a vibrant segment of Kent rich in river heritage, literary history, outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. Not only notable for its excellent shopping facilities at Bluewater, fascinating Dickens connections and architectural gems like Cobham Hall, visitors can also discover areas like Shorne Woods which boast activities such as orienteering and electronic treasure hunt trails for those up for an energetic adventure! Also great for active visitors and families is the urban Cyclopark which will see you whizzing around skate parks, BMX tracks and mountain bike trails. And not forgetting, Gravesham's truly unexpected gem, the incredible Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara.
From axe throwing, to ghost tours, and treasure hunts, expect the unexpected in Gravesham and further afield in Kent with the county’s raft of brand-new unique experiences…
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Brand new axe-throwing centre Battle Masters in Gravesend takes ‘experience’ to the next level as visitors can try this completely safe but super exciting activity. Popular in the USA, axe-throwing entertainment is making its way to England and Kent is lucky enough to house one of the few centres in the UK making it a truly unique experience. With a bar, and a panic room also on site it’s perfect for a thrill seeker looking for an edge-of-their-seat experience. We're so axe-cited, and we just can't hide it!
Make a splash
After 2020, many of us are more than ready to mix it up and experience something different. Mote Park Watersports Centre in Maidstone is worth a visit for those wanting to branch out and learn new skills as they are now offering a huge range of different water sports and activities for visitors. From Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Sailing to Rowing, Raft Building, Windsurfing and Pedalos, there are brand new water experiences to try - however adventurous you want to be. For those who’d rather enjoy the water whilst still remaining dry, Jetstream Tours might be just the thing to float your boat. Whether you opt for their relaxed passenger boat or thrill-seeking jet boat, the Jetstream team will recount terrific tales of the River Medway and Thames Estuary as you sail past Chatham’s Historic Dockyard and Upnor Castle.
We’ve all been for a walk or two in the last year, right? But what we haven’t done is go for a walk… with a goat! Hear us out here, if you’re looking for a peaceful stroll through the Kent countryside, but with a bit of a twist, then the brand new Goat-Walking experience at Buttercups Goat Sanctuary near Maidstone is for you. Take one of their lovely gentle goats out for a leisurely amble and delight in their mischievous company as you discover more about these intelligent animals from your expert walk leader. And if goat walking doesn’t quite tick your box, perhaps an Alpaca Trek will? That’s right, take a trek through The Lost Gardens of Sandwich with the cutest tour guide in town when you book a 1-2-1 Alpaca Trek experience at Reuthes. Now these are the animal experiences you just didn’t know you were missing out on until now…
For a truly bespoke experience, Aero Legends in Maidstone are offering thrilling flights in classic vintage planes over the stunning Kent country and coastal landscapes. Take flight in a Tigermoth or Spitfire and soar over the White Cliffs of Dover, feeling the roar of the engine, the wind in your hair and the thrilling sights and sounds of these legendary combat planes. Taking off from the last remaining WWII grass runway in Kent, these sky adventures bring history to life in the most realistic and visceral way. Grab this incredible opportunity to try something new and take to the skies!
The Big Cat Sanctuary
Home to over 50 cats including African Lions, Sumatran Tigers, Jaguars, Amur Leopards and Snow Leopards, The Big Cat Sanctuary in the heart of the Kent countryside near Ashford is an amazing protection and breeding facility. With their dedicated and passionate work funded by their incredible Big Cat Experience range, visitors can contribute to vital conservation work whilst also enjoying once-in-a-lifetime animal-encounters. For a chance to get up close and personal with the majestic cats, check out their day tours and ranger days as well as photography workshops and talks. If you fancy spending a whole weekend in the company of the cats, then they have luxury lodges on site for unique week stays. Sounds pretty perrrrrr-fect doesn’t it?
Sandwich Living History Centre
Delve into Kent’s rich history as you learn a new (old!) medieval skill at Sandwich’s Living History Centre. If you fancy yourself as a calligrapher, try the writing workshop and learn to write the gothic style script seen in medieval manuscripts using a quill and ink. If design is more your style, then the Illumination course might be for you where you can work through the process of illumination by tracing, laying gold leaf and painting a medieval letter. From Egg Temperer painting to Wheat Weaving, from Print making to Baking to Blacksmithing there are a huge range of workshops to choose from so why not try something totally unique, learn a medieval craft and get your creative juices flowing!
Ghost Hunter Tours
Are you a believer? Do you have what it takes to spend the night in a horrifyingly haunted and historic Kent building to see for yourself? Ghost Hunter Tours organize the most amazing real life ghost hunts in some of Kent’s most terrifyingly haunted locations including Deal and Dover Castle, the Theatre Royal in Margate and RAF Manston. If you’re up for a ghostly challenge then join the Ghost Hunter Tours Team on one of their overnight ghost hunts along with a medium & paranormal investigator who will lead you in a host of ghost experiments such as table tipping, glass moving, vigils, séances, experiments and Ouija Boards. Have you got what it takes?
Isle of Sheppey's Heritage Centre and Music Hall
With so many quirky, interesting and unusual stories to be told, the Heritage Centre and Music Hall on the Isle of Sheppey are offering an insightful experience for visitors to explore the centre - which is jam packed full of historic items, memorabilia and artefacts - before heading off on a guided tour of Sheppey to learn all about its unique culture history and landscape. The guides will share stories of the island’s past, present and future as you tour the island with refreshment stops along the way including a tasty cream tea in the centre’s lovely cafe. The day finishes with a special show at the historic Criterion Music Hall – relax, reminisce, and enjoy!
The Escapement Escape Rooms
Intensive storylines, extensive special effects and real artefacts add up to an unforgettable immersive experience at the award-winning escape rooms ‘The Escapement’ in Margate. For something new, they are now also offering a bespoke new activity that combines an escape room experience with a more traditional treasure trail. Teams will be sent to the town of Broadstairs on secret Spy missions acting as ‘Agents’ for ‘The Network.’ Seeking out clues all over the town, solving puzzles and generating secret codes, teams will race against the clock to solve mysteries and win the games!
If you’re looking for action, this is the place! Based within the beautiful rural setting of Mount Ephraim Gardens in Faversham, Joe’s Bows offers everything from falconry experiences, to laser clay shooting, axe throwing and archery. With expert instructors at the helm, it’s the perfect place to let off some steam, throw caution to the wind and try something you’ve never even dreamed of! Shovel throwing, anyone?
No, we haven’t mis-spelled the word glamping, champing is the latest thing to grace our county! Offering the chance to stay the night in one of Kent’s historic churches, this experience delivered by the Churches Conservation Trust, promises to be truly different. Whether you choose to spend the night at St James’ church in the village of Cooling, or at St Mary’s Church in Canterbury’s pretty Fordwich, we can guarantee a night under ancient stones and magnificent stained glass promises to be historic.
True Paranormal Investigations
Things are about to get spooky around here…follow this local paranormal investigation team on an immersive tour through one of Kent’s most haunted locations for a totally new historical experience. From theatres, to old hotels and even our incredible castles, the team’s tours use modern technology paired with traditional techniques to discover more behind the ghostly goings within these infamous sites.
Port Lympne Wild Animal Reserve
There’s simply no need to go to the ends of the earth to explore your wild side this year. Home to over 760 animals across 90 species, including spectacled bears and Kent’s only giraffe, take a journey through South America, Asia, and Africa in just one day when you visit Port Lympne Wild Animal Reserve near Folkestone. What’s more, you can feel like King or Queen of the jungle with an overnight stay at one of Port Lympne’s breathtaking accommodation offerings. From a unique retreat in a treehouse to a romantic night under the stars in the park’s 180 degree, panoramic bubble pod, we can guarantee a short break at this nature reserve is one you won’t be forgetting in a hurry!
Before you embark on your extraordinary Kent adventures, please do check our partner websites as many tour and hire companies now request that you pre-book. There may also be new procedures in place in order to keep their staff and visitors safe. Take a look at our guidance on how to best Respect, Protect and Enjoy our wonderful Kent attractions and landscapes.
Stay a while...
Travel with Arriva
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