Pre-school days out in Kent
Exhausted yourself at soft play for the third time this week? Have more finger-paintings pinned on the walls of your house than you'd care to admit? And, simply can't stand another rendition of Baby Shark (sorry, we've got it stuck in your head again haven't we? Doo doo doo doo doo doo...)?
These precious pre-school years were made for making memories with your little ones, and Kent's lovely landscapes and family-friendly attractions make the perfect backdrop for those early photo book pages.
Keep little hands busy playing and learning with our round-up of the very best toddler-friendly days out in the Garden of England...
Historic Dockyard, Chatham
Perch on the bridge of a war ship, ring the bell onboard a real-life pirate ship, swing through the hatches inside a striking submarine, or climb aboard a RNLI lifeboat. And, with an inside soft play, two outside play areas and a host of themed events and activities throughout the year - tiny tots will enjoy a day to remember at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham.
Hornby Visitor Centre
Take toddlers on a journey, and relive the story of Britain’s best loved toys at the Hornby Visitor Centre, a fantastic day out for the whole family. Track the history of Hornby’s iconic model trains, trace the development of Scalextric, follow the history of Airfix and marvel at the high quality Corgi collectables of today. All aboard!
Mote Park, Maidstone
If you've run out of ways to entertain yourselves indoors, Kent's picturesque parks are the perfect place to head to for a breath of fresh air. In Maidstone, make memories at Mote Park as you explore 450 acres of green space. Pack the pram and enjoy a leisurely stroll beside the park's peaceful lake, let the kids run free at one of two children’s play areas, or plan your visit for a Sunday and be sure to pay a visit to the park's marvelous model railway.
Get little boots muddy and enjoy a taste of rural Kent at Kent Life - a real working farm where heritage and family fun sit side by side on a beautiful 28-acre estate. Here get up close to a wide range of traditional farmyard animals, climb and explore at one of the site's indoor or outdoor play areas, embark on a countryside adventure on the farm's land train or tractor trailer, and sample the delights of fresh, local produce at Dotty’s Tea Room.
Young princes and princesses will enjoy a day fit for royalty with a visit to "the loveliest castle in the world". Children aged six and under will enjoy climbing turrets, swinging across zip lines, playing in the sand pits and plunging down the slides of Leeds Castle's spectacular Squires' Courtyard Playground. And, once Their Royal Highnesses have well and truly worn themselves out, why not reward them with a rest and a royal banquet from one of the castle's many on-site eateries?
Harbour Bikes, Ramsgate
For active families looking for an adventure in the great outdoors, our friends at Active Ramsgate recommend looking no further than Harbour Bikes in Ramsgate. With a range of trailer bikes available to hire, simply plot your route and strap your little one in as you set off on a bicycle made for two! With 32 miles of on and off-road bike trails, rolling countryside, cliff-top routes and a backdrop of sea views, the Viking Coastal Trail is perfect for experienced cyclists looking for thrills, or families wanting sandcastles, ice creams and a beach-hopping cycle ride on the stunning Kent coast.
Slap 'n Dash Tunbridge Wells
Got a mini-Monet on your hands? Put down the Play Dough and head to Slap 'n Dash in Hawkurst for a day full of creativity. Little artists can try their hands at a range of craft activities including painting their own pottery, foam clay moulding, and even building their own teddy bear. The only thing you'll need to worry about is finding the perfect place in the house to proudly display your newest work of art...
Solley’s Ice Cream Parlour
I scream, you scream, we all scream for... ice cream! Enjoy a sweet day out to remember when you pay a visit to Solley's Ice Cream Parlour (open daily from 4th April - end of September). Jump on board one of the daily tractor rides, or stride out on Solley's marked trail, taking you on a journey around the farm with plenty of chances to learn more about how this family farm works throughout the seasons and the abundance of wildlife on site. And of course, no visit to Solley's would be complete without pausing at the Ice Cream Parlour for a well-deserved sweet treat for the journey home...
Don't forget, for a great value trip, travel via the Arriva bus network and take advantage of their Family Day ticket. What's more, children under five travel for free on all Arriva buses, making it the perfect mode of transport for your next family adventure!