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Open for spring

19th February 2024

The days are getting longer, the weather is just about getting warmer; it’s time to venture out of our winter hibernation and find out what incredible days out are to be had in Kent. From family friendly attractions, to beautiful gardens and top events, there is so much to see and do in Kent, so let’s ditch the slippers and get planning the start of a brand new season.

Riverhill Gardens

Beautiful spring blooms, glorious views, and plenty to keep little ones smiling, Riverhill Gardens will be reopening the gates from 13th March and we can’t wait to celebrate. This season, look out for the first sightings of bluebells, daffodils and primroses scattered throughout the grounds, while little ones will be on the lookout for the hedge maze, adventure playground, woodland dens, and maybe even a yeti stalking the grounds! Round off your day with a bite in Malabar, and tuck into locally baked cakes, pastries and more.  

English Heritage

You’ve got your pick of places to enjoy with an English Heritage membership! Dover Castle is one of our family favourites, with the Great Tower to explore, rooftop views across to The Channel, 80 acres of grounds and secret wartime tunnels. Just along the coast Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre is a haven of Roman history, with artefacts to be uncovered, the remains of an amphitheatre, not to mention the replica Roman gateway offering spectacular views of the former fort that was once the gateway to Roman Britain.

Diggerland

Freshly reopened for the season, Diggerland is an absolute family favourite. Drive, operate and ride REAL diggers, dumpers and more at this much-loved theme park. Jump aboard 20 different rides and activities, and get hands on with real JCBs, before taking to lofty heights on the Skyshuttle, or spinning through the air on the Spindizzy. Of course, there’s plenty more fun to be had with classic dodgems and go-karts, and indoor and outdoor play areas.

Upnor Castle

If you haven’t visited Upnor Castle, it needs to be on your list. Set on the banks of the River Medway, this Elizabethan artillery fort was once built to protect the fleet of warships at the nearby Chatham Dockyards, but as the story goes, when the time came in 1667, it completely failed to fulfil its purpose and the Dutch sailed straight past to capture the English fleet! Learn all about this historical fail and more on a visit to this beautiful turreted castle.

Canoe Wild

Making the most of the longer days and better weather has got to include getting reacquainted with nature and a trip with Canoe Wild will do just that. Reopening from 1st of March, you can kayak or canoe along the River Stour, keeping your eyes open for wildlife on the riverbank, or even book onto a Beaver Tour and Talk, learning all about the fascinating creatures that call the area home. If you really want to get back in touch with Mother Nature, we recommend giving her a helping hand and taking part in the river clean on 3rd March, to help prepare the river for a fresh new season.

The Isle of Thanet

We should hope you know by now that the Kent coast is really not just for summer, but a true beauty year-round. With so many fantastic family friendly spots in The Isle of Thanet, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy, even when the spring showers show up. Margate Caves, the curious underground adventure is open year-round, while nearby Shell Grotto is another subterranean favourite, offering year-round exploration through one of Kent’s greatest mysteries.  Just along the coast, The Ramsgate Tunnels give an insight into wartime Kent, a maze of civilian Air Raid Precaution tunnels that provided shelter for up to 60,000 people. For more wartime history, the RAF Manston History Museum is a fascinating exhibition of Manston Airfield, while the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum offer the chance to get up close to the iconic Battle of Britain fighters.

Powell Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens

Freshly reopened for the season, Powell Cotton Museum’s fascinating collection of African and Asian natural history and cultural artefacts is set within the beautiful Quex House, surrounded by gorgeous gardens for little ones to run off that excess energy. Look out for events throughout the year, with Japanese live music, open air theatre and falconry all in the calendar this year!

The Wonderworks

Oh, how glad are we that this is open year-round? The ultimate day out for kids, this is a true celebration of models and toys from Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix, Corgi and Pocher. Take control of the big model railway layouts, race in the Grand Prix Du Margate, build miniature icons through history and discover 100 years of some of the best-loved toys around. Perfect for them, perfect for you, and what’s more, a fantastic day to share with the grandparents. What more could you want?

White Cliffs Country

Reopened for March, Whitemill Wake & Aqua Park is your chance to go diving into a brand new season. With water-based activities for the whole family, including a floating obstacle course and wakeboarding, it’s one to add to your hitlist this year. For even more interactive fun, Roman Landings adventure golf will give the whole family a chance to take a swing at 18 historic holes, set on Walmer seafront. For a more historical twist, we recommend a visit to Sandwich Guildhall Museum for the chance to discover the story of the town from the Mesolithic period, not to mention the opportunity to see a an original Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Keeping things historic, the Dover Museum & Bronze Age Boat Gallery is a must with its very own (you guessed it) Bronze Age boat proudly on display. While the Dover Transport Museum will take you back in time with over 50 vehicles, from a Penny Farthing to a double deck bus, not to mention a model railway life-size historic streets.

The Battle of Britain Memorial

High up on The White Cliffs of Dover, The Battle of Memorial is a must-visit, dedicated to Churchill’s Few who fought in the skies above. Visit the Memorial, see the names on The Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall which commemorates the brave aircrew who flew in the Battle of Britain, and be sure to visit The Scramble Experience, an interactive multimedia experience, which gives an insight into life during the Battle, not to mention the chance to shoot down an enemy aircraft from a mock-up Hurricane cockpit.

Betteshanger

The weather is improving, so let’s make the most of it! Take to two wheels at Betteshanger Park, the 250 acre country park, which is crossed with off-road walking and cycling trails, and packed with fun for the whole family, including geocaching and fossil hunting. Visit the Kent Mining Museum at the park and hear all about the story of the Kent coalfields, taking you from the first discovery of coal to the closure of the mines.

Maidstone

Maidstone Museum has just reopened for the season, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to discover this treasure-trove of local history, trails and maybe even a little hidden education. For animal loving little ones, we recommend Kent Life Heritage Farm Park, where your mini farmhands may have the chance to feed lambs, get up close with the animals and burn off some steam at the indoor and outdoor play parks. If the weather turns, we’ve got even more up our sleeves; Lockmeadow Entertainment Complex will give you the pick of family fun, with bowling, a cinema, trampolining and Urban Golf to take a swing at.

©National Trust Images_Andrew Butler_Ightham Mote.jpg

National Trust

Kent’s National Trust properties are awash with reason to lace up your walking shoes and head outside this season. Sissinghurst Castle Garden, the former home and pride and joy of writer Vita Sackville West, blooms with over 10,000 daffodils, while Emmetts Garden is carpeted with delicate bluebells come April, and nearly 50 blossoming cherry trees. At Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill, the gardens are strikingly beautiful, with 30 different camellia, azaleas and rhododendrons all lighting up the gardens. Scotney Castle is another favourite for its cherry blossom at the top of the main garden, while the Walled Garden is filled with fruit blossom just in time for Scotney’s annual Flower Festival on 20th – 28th April. At Ightham Mote, you’ll find an orchard of daffodils and highlights of tulips, scillas and grape hyacinths.

Turner Contemporary 

Turner Contemporary is one of our favourite spots year-round, but this spring Sculpture Playscape in the Core Learning Studio is a real family favourite. Artist duo Leap and Turner Contemporary have collaborated to created sculptural artworks designed for play, with over 400 books, the children's art library and more. The whole room is made to be interactive, so kids will love testing ideas, exploring and creating their own sculptures. 

Keepers Cottages 

Ready for a break? We hear you. Flint House in Kingsdown is a great spot for gathering the family, with five bedrooms, near to the beach and plenty of outside seating in the garden for soaking up that early spring sunshine. At Beech Tree Cottage in Kingsdown you'll get to enjoy the wild garden and spend relaxed evenings with five of your nearest and dearest. While SeaFern Cottage in Whitstable is the perfect spot for a spring break to one of Kent's most fashionable destinations. Pet friendly and minutes away from the harbour and beach, it's the perfect spot for visiting Whitstable's many independent shops and restaurants. In Alkham, Meggett Cottage is a true country retreat, surrounded by fields, wildlife and within walking distance of the local village pub. 

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