What’s that creeping over the rolling hills of Kent's countryside? It’s the summer holidays! As the children are getting closer and closer to breaking up from school, you might be stuck in a rut of how to keep the household entertained for Six. Whole. Weeks. (Ah!). Instead of spending the break dreaming of more peaceful, quieter days in September, make the most of the quality family time with a visit to Kent this summer. Whether you're a local searching for a family day out or an international traveller looking for your next summer holiday destination, there will be something for everyone to enjoy in the beautiful Garden of England. Kent boasts a variety of amazing attractions, entertaining events and picturesque places that will keep a smile on the whole family's face and with our speedy train service 'Southeastern', it’s easier (and cheaper) than ever to travel around the county.
For some inspiration of how to spend the holidays, see our suggestions below…
Take a walk on the wild side with a visit to one of Kent’s amazing animal experiences this summer. Situated in the beautiful Darent Valley lies Eagle Heights, home to one of the UK's largest Bird of Prey centres the attraction displays over 100 raptors and 50 species. With an array of animals to discover, Eagle Heights makes the perfect day trip for the family. Or, trot down to Kent Life, where there’s a whole wild world waiting to be explored at this working farm. Visit during the summer months for the 'Summer holiday fun-animal antics' event and you might even see a certain bunny hopping around, Peter Rabbit has been spotted visiting at this time of year too…
Stress free shopping with little ones strolling at your side needn’t be an impossible fantasy. Centres across Kent are now making it easier to start summer styling your wardrobe while the children stay busy. Indulge in some retail therapy at Bluewater and when the smaller shoppers start to become restless, visit The Beach which is on throughout the holidays. Lounge on a deckchair soaking up the summer sunshine while the children make a splash in the inflatable pools or take a spin on the rides. If you prefer a designer bargain then head down to Ashford Designer Outlet, with a brand new adventure playground, your shopping experience has never been so relaxing.
Standing on the banks of the River Medway since the 14th Century, unveil the enchanting Penshurst Place and explore the 'Maize Maze'. Wind your way through concealed passages to collect clues from different checkpoints. This year's maze was designed in the shape of a hot air balloon to highlight the 2019 theme of exploration and discovery. With other events on throughout the year including the 'Volks Weald Volkswagen show' and 'Camp Wilderness', Penshurst Place is the perfect day out for children and adults alike.
Calling all children! Grab your jousting sticks and ballgowns because the dreams of becoming knights and princesses are coming alive. Experience 700 years of history with a visit to Hever castle this summer, with many events on throughout the holidays including jousting tournaments, Knights & Princesses schools, the 'Once Upon a Castle' event and many more, Hever Castle is the perfect place to keep the children entertained.
Step back to the 12th century and stroll through magnificent medieval madness at Dover Castle. Standing tall in guard of the Kent Coast, this fantastic fortress was originally constructed by Henry II. Delve deep into the secret war time tunnels that provided shelter, safety and secrecy to those defending Dover’s shores and discover how a hospital hidden under ground operated in desperate and tragic times. An abundance of family-friendly events are put on throughout summer including jousting tournaments, ‘Clash of the Romans’ and ‘Dover Castle: Under Seige’, so get your shields at the ready and prepare to defend Britain’s oldest castle.
Wander through this quaint time capsule and explore Ellen Terry's 16th century house at the National Trust's Smallhythe Place. This picturesque cottage is holding family-fun filled events all throughout summer including Tai-Chi in the garden, summer crafts, theatrical treats and many more!
Dunorlan Park & Chiddingstone Castle
Take a summertime s t r e t c h and head down to Dunorlan Park. Bursting in colour and serenity, this 78 acre picturesque park lies just 20 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre. With a cafe' overlooking a beautiful boating lake, this Grade II listed park will allow you to find peace and tranquillity during the busy summer holidays. If you fancy something a little more Bear Grylls, then why not check out Chiddingstone Castle's Forest School? ForestJack's Holiday Club puts on multiple woodland activities, skills and games focused on outdoor and natural enjoyment, perfect for you nature-lovers.
Emmetts Garden & Mote Park
Make the most of the summer sunshine and discover Emmetts Garden’s explosion of colour, this Edwardian Estate elegantly designed in the 19th century oozes tranquillity and relaxation. With events taking place throughout the holidays including the ‘Ant trail’ and Outdoor Theatre, Emmetts Garden makes the perfect treat for you floral fantasists. Explore the award-winning grounds of Mote Park, this peaceful, idyllic open space boasts 450 acres of glorious greenery and a beautiful 30-acre lake. Relax and unwind whilst the little ones take a swing on the brand-new outdoor adventure park with high ropes, segways, a climbing walk and adventure golf, the activities are endless! Cool off at the Watersport Centre where you can make a splash canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and much more...
It wouldn't officially be the summer holidays without the novelty of sticky ice cream covered fingers, clothes and hair would it? Kent Life’s ‘Ice Cream Festival’ is back with a bang and if you have a sweet tooth, this one isn’t to be missed. Over 20 fabulous flavours of ice cream and a variety of toppings will be showcased, if you're not full from all of the sugary goodness, pizza will be available as well. Thinking it can't get any better? Well it can, there’s a bar! Did someone say Pimm's o'clock?
Take a trip to the beating heart of British Karting at Buckmore Park, this stunning motorsport circuit is one of the most well-known karting tracks in the country. With options for young, adult and group sessions, there's a way to get the whole family's adrenaline flowing. If racing up and down a circuit isn't your idea of entertainment, then why not slow things down and relax at Tudor Park Mariott Hotel? The hotel will be holding Junior Golf Camps all throughout the summer season, so if your children are more Tiger Woods then Lewis Hamilton, this is the perfect place for them. For a game with a historic twist, visit Rochester where they will be swinging up a bridge-themed adventure golf course in the nave of the cathedral. Ready, set, golf!
Release your inner Einstein this summer and visit the Royal Engineers museum for the ‘Shocking Electricity' exhibition. Full of the weird and wonderful, from plasma globes to static domes, this event holds all the components for Frankenstein’s laboratory. Or, take a visit to Maidstone Museum for the 'Endangered and Extinct' exhibition, a family friendly event featuring sculptured animals, birds, fish and flora which are all endangered or extinct, created with throw away materials by artist Val Hunt.
With an ice cream in hand, toes sinking in the sand, hair blowing in the breeze and all worries at ease, you're sure to feel content with a visit to the beach in Kent. There's nothing quite like a summery trip to the seaside is there? And, there's no better way to experience this hot weather must have than with a visit to Thanet, home to some of the county's most beautiful beaches. With an abundance of things to see and do during the school holidays, including The Shell Grotto, Seashore Safaris, Turner Contemporary, Dreamland, an open top bus and much more, you'll have a great time in Thanet, that's for shore!
Whether it’s a city escape or a coastal break, a holiday with The Camping and Caravanning Club will provide the action packed family trip for you and with a range of sites spread over the county, all your tick boxes can be filled. If you're looking for accommodation that doesn't involve a sleeping bag then Cape Teny (as part of Kent and Sussex cottages) will make the perfect stay for you. Cape Teny is a light, spacious holiday home located in the picturesque village of Worth, an ideal escape for you coastal explorers. Or, a stay in The Cave Hotel and Golf Resort will make a relaxing experience in a great location, close to some of Kent's most popular attractions.
Summer just got speedy with Kent’s rail provider, Southeastern. Running services to and from over 180 stations, this is the perfect way to travel around the county without a car. Southeastern have some great value deals this summer including the ‘Kids for a quid’ and the ‘Summer offer’, so travelling around the county is quick and affordable.