Kent is a beautiful county which can be found just a short journey south of the capital London. Also well known as the luscious garden of England. It gets that title from it’s thriving fruit-growing and hops gardens. I have lived in Kent since I was a little girl and I have loved every minute of it.
One of my favourite things about Kent is that you can almost reach anything you want within an hours drive. 1 hour north and you’re in London, 1 hour south and you’re in Dover (the channel tunnel,) and 1 hour whichever way you decide to go and there’s a beach.
What more could you want from the area you live in?
When planning days out you always want to go somewhere new and exciting. This means that you often forget about the wonders you actually have right on your doorstep. That’s why I have decided to stay closer to home and show you what cool things you can do when having a day out in Kent.
Today I will be sharing 50 of my favourite family days out in Kent. Some of the places mentioned are free of charge whilst others come with the ‘pay once and visit all year round‘ scheme. These are perfect for families with little children that want a lot of excitement and adventure on the weekends and the odd day here and there throughout the week. If you want to get your money’s worth then there are plenty of free days out in Kent.
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FAMILY FUN DAYS OUT NEAR ME (KENT EDITION):
- Kent Life Farm
- Leeds Castle (Pay once, visit all year)
- Hop Farm
- Rochester Castle and Grounds
- Historic Dockyard Chatham (Pay once, visit all year)
- Canterbury Tales
- White Cliffs of Dover
- Hastings Cable Car and Caves
- Howletts Zoo
- Chislehurst Caves
- Knowle Park (Deer Spotting)
- The Strand, Gillingham (Free, just parking fee)
- Dreamland, Margate
- Wingham Wildlife Park
- Bedgebury National Forest (Free, just parking fee)
- Groombridge treetops
- Camber Sands
- Dymchurch and St Marys Bay
- Mote Park
- Kent Downs
- Eagle Heights (You can often find cheaper tickets on Wowcher/Groupon)
- Ice Skating – Planet Ice Gillingham
- Tobogganing – Chatham Ski Centre
- Maidstone Museum (Free)
- Druidstone Park
- Little Street Imaginative Play
- Tyland Barn (Free)
- Rare Breeds Centre
- Cobtree Manor and Park (Free, just parking fee)
- Clare Park
- Bluebell hill Picnic Sight (Free)
- Fort Amherst
- Whitstable Beach
- Rochester Mystery Trail
- Canterbury Cathedral
- Mr Mulligans Tonbridge
- Dungeness lighthouse.
- Port Lympne Zoo – outskirts.
- Dinosaur Forest Port Lympne
- Ifun Herne Bay
- Leisure Island Fun Park
- Adventure Kidz High Ropes
- The Friars, Aylesford
- Dymchurch to Hythe Little Railway.
- Bluewater Shopping Centre
- Meet Thomas The Tank Engine in Tenterden.
- Hever Castle
This is only just the beginning… The list of places to go is neverending I swear!
LET’S GO TO THE SEASIDE:
When it’s summertime there’s nowhere better than an old fashioned trip to the seaside. We are very fortunate enough to be surrounded by so many lovely beaches here in Kent. Each one is unique from one another giving you a huge variety of British beach and seaside experiences.
The perfect place for a family day out! This has always been our first choice when it comes to a day at the seaside. The reason for this is because there is so much more than just a beach there. You have rides, arcades, parks, the famous little railway and plenty of places to have a child-friendly pub lunch when you get peckish. Even though Dymchurch is mostly a pebbled beach, only five minutes down the road you will find St Marys Bay which is completely sand! Talk about the best of both worlds.
Herne Bay is our second favourite choice. Not only do you have all the benefits of a classic seaside trip. You will also find a great town centre only minutes away from the beach itself. Herne Bay is also home to my favourite afternoon tea/coffee shop so if you’re thirsty make sure to head over there. Welcome to Alice And The Hatter, Herne Bay. Of course, you don’t need to be a Disney fan to appreciate this place. It is a lovely shop to stop by, devour a slice of homemade cake and enjoy the uniqueness it has to offer. Then after that, you can head for the beach to scoff down a classic bit of fish and chips! How good does that sound?
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING FREE?
Are you forever googling ‘free days out near me’ and ‘cheap days out near me’ because same.
Why pay out extortionate prices when there are some fantastic inexpensive gems right on your door step. Only problem is it’s a lot harder to find those gems than lets say, Peppa Pig World. You’re lucky because I’ve done all the hard work for you. Here’s three of our favourite free things to do for kids.
Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
Bedgebury is a great woodland and forest centre that is home to over 12,000 trees. The area itself is absolutely beautiful and makes the perfect place to have a family picnic. Why not take a step back and let the kids go off and explore nature. I can assure you the kids will love it and this really is the most perfect place to do just that.
We love going here and quite often spend all day however, if you just want a quick visit there are cheaper options. Between the hours of 8 – 11 am the parking is only £3 whereas all day is £10 (off peak) and £13 (peak time).
As you walk around you will come across many outdoor play areas and can even bump into the Gruffalo himself. If you don’t fancy walking then don’t worry because you can always bring your bike and head off on one of the fantastic cycling trails made available. Then again, if you’re anything like me a trip to the coffee shop is pretty good too.
Cobtree Manor Park
This is another local woodland walk and play park that we love to visit on a regular basis. The best thing about this place is that nothing is too far away and they have all the facilities you would need within a short distance.
A fun fact about this place is that hidden in the woodlands you will find a tree which my partner Matt and I have carved our names into. We have done this every year for the past 4 years since the day we first met. How adorable is that! Don’t get me wrong neither of us can be arsed to carry it on but we do. Parking here is very affordable so if you are looking for a free/cheap day out this would be a good choice!
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I have been going to The Strand Park since I was a little girl and now I take Alexis there. It must be doing something right for us to still be returning after 20 years. Majority of everything here is free however, there are a few bits that you can pay extra for. Nothing is seriously expensive and overall its a very cheap day out. There are plenty of areas in which you can sit and have a picnic as well as there being a small cafe/ice cream store. Our favourite part about The Strand is that the walkway is very large and the pavement is smooth. Sounds silly but this makes it the perfect place to ride scooters, bikes and other fun toys.
- Outdoor paddling pool.
- Outdoor sand pit play areas.
- Multiple park areas for children of all ages.
- Outdoor swimming pool with slides and water fun areas.
- A miniature railway that costs around 50p-£1 to ride.
- Fairgrounds are held here most years.
- Ice cream shop.
- Bouncy castle and slide in the summer time.
THE ‘I WANT ADVENTURE’ DAYS OUT NEAR ME:
A beautiful castle that holds great sentimental value to our family. In the castle grounds, Matts mum has a memorial bench and we often visit to have picnics alongside her. Not only are the castle grounds beautiful but they have such a relaxing atmosphere too. There are plenty of quiet and remote spots to sit back and relax in. As well as having lots of history to learn and fun for children of all ages. We love to take trips on the train and often take a quick trip on the boat across the lake to get lost in the maze. If you’re looking for a real adventure then you can always ride the Segways and climb through the jungle on their go ape!
The best thing about Leeds Castle is that they have a pay once and visit all year scheme! How good is that?
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High Ropes at Adventure Kidz
Adventure Kidz is an indoor soft play area for kids but with a great twist. It is home to the indoor high ropes for adventurous children. If your child isn’t tall enough to go on the well known Go Ape it is always worth checking here. Not only does it make this soft play stand out from the rest. The staff always go above and beyond to provide this exciting extra. Besides the high ropes, there is also plenty of other things to do for children of all ages. Prior to the COVID-19 Lockdown, we loved to go along and enjoy their huge baby sensory area which is absolutely fantastic for little babies. It’s never too early to take your baby to soft play and Adventure Kidz is the perfect place for them to start.
If you like history, adventure and something a little unnerving then Chislehurst Caves is definitely for you! I have actually been to these Caves multiple times as I found it that fascinating. You get to travel deep underground through caves on a guided tour. It is a labyrinth of man-made tunnels, forming a maze covering over 6 Hectares and are up to 30 metres below the homes and woodlands above. Who knew you could make history as interesting and exciting as this tour does!?
THE ‘I DON’T MIND PAYING WHEN IT’S SO WORTH IT’ PLACES:
One of the most fun, unique, and adventurous places I have ever been to. I am 24 years old and spending the whole day driving around on diggers was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Whether you have little ones or big, reckless and chaotic kids there is something for everyone here. At Diggerland you can not only learn how to use a digger yourself but you can also ride on one too! They have transformed a variety of different construction machinery into rides… Crazy right!? Definitely well and truly worth visiting as there’s nothing else like it.
Howletts and Port Lymph Wildlife Park & zoo
These two sister zoos are a fantastic place to visit if you are a true animal lover. Unlike some other zoos, this company work tirelessly hard to protect and save endangered species around the world. I love how this Zoo’s main priority is to love, nurture and care for the animals. No animals at these zoos are forced to put on a show and entertain us which I think is brilliant. It’s a nice feeling knowing that the money I paid for my day out goes towards helping these animals even more. I would definitely recommend visiting either one and/or both wildlife parks. Although, I must admit Howletts has always been my favourite.
Rare Breeds Centre
I love how this place has a fantastic twist compared with other farms in your local area. This isn’t just any farmyard but rather a place for Rare breeds to call home. We really enjoy going here and have been back to visit multiple times. The Rare Breeds Centre in Ashford, Kent is a great day out for all children. My brother actually had his 2nd birthday party here and loved it so much. We often return to see what new and exciting things they have to share with us all.
Whether you’re local or looking for a weekend getaway somewhere new. I hope that this post has given you some ideas and enticed you to visit Kent. I would also love to hear about the fun days out you have available in your local area. We love a good family trip away at the best of times and I am always looking for new places to see. Make sure to let us all know your favourite days out in the comment section below!