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Sophie Hewitt
11th August 2020

It’s time to plan, time to recapture those family memories, reconnect, relax and most importantly, feel safe. Luckily that’s exactly what a family break to Kent is all about. Wide open spaces and beautiful beaches where the kids can play, a plethora of family friendly, safe and welcoming attractions, and memories ready to be made, far away from dining table desks and home schooling. All of this is here in Kent, waiting to be the background to your next family break in the UK. When you’re ready, we’re ready.

Before you go heading off on your adventures, please remember, Know Before You Go and check our partner websites before you visit. Many attractions and locations request that you pre-book and may have new requirements 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.

Hever Castle

Hever Castle is back and ready for your family fun day out! Take the little ones for a tour around a historic castle (the childhood home of Anne Boleyn!) and let them peek at King Henry VIII’s real-life bedchamber. Once you’re satisfied they’ve had their history lesson, the water maze and play areas are ready for the little ones to go wild! If you're tired of the same old activities, make sure to check out Hever Castle's archery lessons. One to remember for a Sunday afternoon...

Hever Castle is Good To Go. Please remember to book ahead. 

Leeds Castle

Adventure golf, playgrounds, a birds of prey centre - Leeds Castle may be know as the Loveliest Castle in the World, but with all this and more to explore it's also a great place for little ones! Tour the castle, enjoy a historical adventure back in time to Normans and Tudors, or let the kids run free through acres of grounds, all surrounding that monumental moat. 

Leeds Castle is Good To Go. Please pre-book to visit. 

Georgina Edwards Photography

Penshurst Place

The family home of generations of children over the years, Penshurst Place is the ultimate summer destination. With yew hedging, concealed entrances and hidden gates, the gardens are spot on for a game of hide and seek (or for pretending you’ve just stepped on The Secret Garden set). The Stage Garden is another favourite spot, made for budding young actors hoping to step into the spotlight, while the Italian Garden is the perfect place for a family retreat and feeling the grass beneath your feet. For families with a lot of pent up energy, we recommend the adventure playground. Take on obstacles, swings and the high walk, before sampling an ice cream or two, and heading on to the 1km woodland trail, complete with carvings, wildlife, ancient trees and a den building area.

Penshurst Place is Good To Go. Please book a slot in advance.

Ashford Designer Outlet's Play Area

Although it's famous for its designer shops at discount prices, now it's the children who will want to head to the shops with mum and dad thanks to the Ashford Designer Outlet’s new children’s playpark. Inspired by the Garden of England, the bright and pretty play park also comes with SMART Playground’s QR code technology, which allows fairytale characters to come to life and ‘magically’ appear before the children's very eyes! It’s so much more than your average monkey bars…

Howletts Wildlife Park

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Take a trip to far-flung places as you journey into the jungle with big cats, venture through the African plains with elephants and rhinos and explore chillier climates with snow leopards and wolves - all at Howletts Wildlife Park! With over 350 animals from all over the globe, perhaps you’ll even inspire a future David Attenborough on your family day out!

Please note that all tickets must be booked in advance. 

Betteshanger Park

What could be better than escaping to the countryside for a little adventure this summer? Created on a former coalfield site, Betteshanger stretches across acres of wide open landscapes on the East Kent coast. With miles of traffic-free trails and rugged mountain bike tracks, it’s the perfect chance to get the kids on two wheels and exploring the Kent countryside. Plus, with plenty of wildlife to spot along the way, it’s a great chance to get back into nature.

Enjoy fantastic savings at Betteshanger with the Kent Pass.

Herne Bay and Tankerton 

Think of a family visit to the beach and you can’t help but imagine piers, ice creams, mini golf and plenty more nostalgic pastimes. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at the beautiful Herne Bay. From crabbing, to fossil hunting and cycling, we have to admit you’ll be hard pushed to fit it all in! For a relaxed afternoon, we love Tankerton Slopes and Swalecliffe, just up the shore from Whitstable. Grassy slopes perfect for picnicking, a gently sloping beach and pastel-perfect beach huts all make for a wonderfully relaxed beachside break.

Leysdown Beach

Family time is all about the coast, but we’re not talking crowded beaches and difficulty parking, we’re talking about long sandy bays, away from the hustle and bustle. The blue flag awarded gem of Leysdown rests on the shores of the Isle of Sheppey and has long been one of our favourites for a family afternoon in the sunshine. With a beautiful flat sandy beach, and plenty of wide open green spaces nearby, it’s easy to see why. And what’s more, as a small, traditional seaside resort, with ice cream shops, it’s the perfect spot to recapture those nostalgic seaside memories.

Solley’s Kentish Ice Cream

Pay a visit to Kent this summer (or any time really) and you have to try our sensational local produce; when it comes to a family break, that’s got to mean ice cream! Made fresh from milk from the neighbouring farm, Solley’s family run Ice Cream Parlour is an absolute treat on your travels! Open for takeaway with card payments, here you’ll find 15 flavours to choose from, ranging from classic vanilla, to Forrero Rocher (just try avoiding that temptation). And if you fancy working up a sweat before sampling, you’ll find plenty of walking trails through the Deal countryside – the perfect excuse for an extra scoop.

Emmetts Garden

This hidden gem offers a breath of fresh air high up in the Wealden countryside- perfect for families hoping to make an escape for the day. While the adults can enjoy panoramic views, the kids can branch out and follow the tree trail for hidden clues and activities, get stuck into den building and adventures in the wild play area, and soar high into the tree tops on the swings. Once little stomachs start rumbling, you might want to whip out the picnic basket for alfresco dining Kentish style, with a background of jaw dropping views across Ide Hill.

Emmetts Garden is Good To Go. Please remember to book ahead

Wildwood Trust

With its 200 species of creatures, Wildwood is the place to go wild and come nose to nose (or nose to snout) with British wildlife past and present. 40 acres of ancient woodland and natural enclosures are home to this curious collection ranging from otters and badgers, to wild horses, beavers and bears (yes, bears!) Stroll the twisting trails with little explorers and take the chance to teach them (and let’s face it, yourself) about the UK’s fascinating wildlife.

Please remember to book in advance and follow new guidelines. Enjoy fantastic savings at Wildwood Trust with the Kent Pass.

Historic Dockyard Chatham

Set sail on an adventure to the Historic Dockyard Chatham and you’ll be faced with 80 acres and 400 years of history to uncover! Climb aboard for an immersive look back at the age of sail, discover how ships were once designed and built, uncover long hidden objects and treasure recovered from the sea bed and learn the ropes in the heart of the Victorian Ropery. Trust us, with a full day of maritime secrets to be discovered, you won’t be hearing the familiar trill of “I’m bored” from your little sailors any time soon!

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is Good To Go. Please remember to book in advance and follow guidelines. Enjoy fantastic savings at the Historic Dockyard with the Kent Pass.

Quex Park

A maize maze, bouncy pillows, adventure golf, kids paintball…have we done you proud with this choice, or what? Yes, Quex Park is pretty much a children’s paradise, so you might want to put it on your must-visit list. What’s more, with hidden clues to be found in the maze, barnyard ball games and a woodland trail to follow, we can pretty much guarantee there’ll be some album-worthy smiles to capture with a visit here, so don’t forget your camera.

Limited tickets available for activities each day, so please book in advance and follow guidelines on social distancing. 

Westwood Cross

Just a short drive from the seaside towns of Margate and Broadstairs, Westwood Cross manages to be the ultimate dream of the family friendly shopping centre! With special children's events, family friendly films at the cinema and The (FREE) Little Bear's Kids Club on offer, we can safely say this one's as much a treat for them as it is for you. And while they're zooming along in the Little Bear's Kiddy Cars, you can peruse 50 stores and restaurants, all found within the outdoor centre. Plus, with increased cleaning and a one way system in place, along with many more new measures, you can be rest assured the Westwood Cross team are working hard to keep your family safe. 

The Isle of Thanet

Trust us, the Isle of Thanet has some magnificent beaches, but don't just visit them, explore them! Whether you're visiting Margate, Broadstairs or Ramsgate, kids will LOVE the Coastal Explorer pack. Full of ideas, games and activities to keep little minds learning, the pack comes with everything you need to make a sundial, use a compass and even become a rocky shore marine explorer. So while you're enjoying a breath of sea air your little learners will be discovering the area's range of local heritage and natural wonders.  

Jeskyns Community Woodland and Shorne Woods Country Park

Now's the time for the kids to go wild! Run free through the 360 acres of woodland, meadows and orchards at Jeskyns in Gravesham. Follow trails through the forest, discover a magical Fairy and Elf Village, or get stuck in with the My Forest Adventure pack, made for the budding explorer. Just down the road, the adventures continue at Shorne Woods Country Park, with activity trails made for little ones, perfect picnic spots and the chance to cycle through the woodland on traffic-free trails. 

The Panic Room

Got a couple of little thrill-seekers in your midst? With family-friendly escape rooms, like the Wizard of Oz and Old Father Time on offer, The Panic Room in Gravesend offers the perfect chance to give puzzle seekers the ultimate mental work-out, the chance to crack the code, and in the case of Old Father Time, save time itself! Plus with the Good To Go kitemark and procedures in place to keep visitors and staff safe, the only thing you need to panic about is the ticking of the clock! 

The Panic Rooms is Good To Go. Please book in advance. 

Mote Park

With 180 hectares of parkland, a lake in the centre, and plenty of woodland to explore, you're in for some adventures in this Maidstone favourite. And because mini golf should be a part of any family staycation, we recommend testing your skills on the Dino Golf course! Look out for plenty of dinosaur facts along the way, or look up to the dizzying heights of the Sky Tail for even more thrilling action. With dual level high ropes, built around helping all ages to progress their climbing skills, you'll have a little Tarzan on your hands in no time! 

Sky Trail and Dino Golf are pre-booking only. 

East Kent Railway

All aboard! Recapture those memories at East Kent Railway in Dover with rides along the mini woodland railway, strolls through a 350 forest and tea in cake in the cafe. Learn about the railway that once served Kent coal field for over 70 years. 

Dover Castle

Step through the portcullis of Dover Castle and you and your little historians will have the chance to soak up centuries of history, from Romans to the Second World War! Learn of the medieval history of the Great Tower, ascend to the Royal Throne, become the King of the Castle at the very top (don't forget to look out across the Channel to France) and let little legs run free and conquer 80 acres of grounds! What happens when those little legs get tired? We recommend hopping on board the land train, before exploring secret tunnels through the White Cliffs - how's that for an explorer's day out? 

Please remember to pre-book tickets in advance

Spitfire, Kings Hill

This contemporary pub was built on a former Battle of Britain RAF base. Recently refurbished, The Spitfire’s heroic history, features a painted profile of a Spitfire on the exterior of the building, and a hand-painted swing sign featuring the classic aircraft. It also boasts a spacious garden with a children’s play area, making it the ideal destination for all the family to enjoy. Renowned for its delicious food offering an extensive selection of dishes to suit all tastes, with  Chargrill being a speciality, with prime cuts cooked to order and delicious gourmet burgers. Don’t worry if you like a classic, you can also choose from a wide range of pub classics including Spitfire Ale Sausage and Mash. The family-friendly pub offers a Young Diners menu and a popular traditional Roast Dinner on Sundays. 

Advance booking advised.

Bedgebury National Pinetum

A family took a stroll through the deep dark woods, they knew it was Bedgebury, so all was good. Are you looking to escape into nature? With Spectacular landscapes, breathtaking wildlife, and with over 12,000 trees, Bedgebury National Pinetum is the place to go. This is the perfect space for children to run and let their imaginations go wild, along the walking and the natural play trails. If you want to explore the mysteries the forest hides, there’s a path to find the fearsome Gruffalo! Why, didn’t you know?

Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway

There's a reason the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway is one of Kent’s top attractions, and that's because of the wonder it creates in children. There’s nothing quite like a ride on a heritage railway, and when you combine this with years of steam railway heritage with some of Kent's most picturesque countryside, it's a guaranteed memory maker and a must return experience.

Folkestone Museum 

It was Leonard Lauder that said If you don't learn something every single day, it's a wasted day.’ We here at Visit Kent never want you to waste a day, so we’ve got education and fun wrapped in one. Folkestone Museum is a little gem and a fantastic place to explore the rich history of the town, from its origins as a coastal community through to its heyday as a fashionable seaside resort and beyond. Popular with little and big kids alike, this is a family must!