It’s the first week of the summer holidays and there’s two things I like to do to mark the occasion.
a) Very little. It’s time to appreciate the freedom and be lazy, spontaneous and have a rest.
b) Write a list of all the things we could to do in the remaining five weeks of summer. Doing very little becomes monotonous very quickly!
There are so many places in Kent we have come to love and will always be on our list, plus some new things we want to try. If anyone has any to add, I’d love to hear them!
1. The library
Okay so let’s start small…a simple place to start is your local library to get a free trip out and some reading material to kill any down time. Kent libraries are running the Summer Reading Challenge again this year so what are you waiting for?
2. Dreamland Margate
Recently rejuvenated and possibly one of the most instagrammable places in Kent, this seaside destination of my teenage years is forever a favourite of mine. We visited with the girls out of season this year and they are desperate to go back when the rides are open!
3. The Turner Contemporary Gallery
Whilst in Margate, one not to miss is the free to enter Turner gallery – often running kids workshops over the summer, and Tigs has literally been begging to go back here this holiday season.
4. Rochester Castle
We have recently signed up to English Heritage, and on top of our list to visit is our very local Rochester castle. I can’t believe I have never been! Can’t wait to take the girls for a tour around the grounds..maybe we’ll catch a train over and make a day of it in historic Rochester.
5. The Nature Trail at Bluewater
Another one on my to do list, the free Nature trail in the grounds of Bluewater. Complete with a pixie garden at the finale, this is one the girls are sure to love. Could also swing by the beach at bluewater again, that was a huge hit last year!
6. The Historic Chatham Dockyard
Another one of my absolute faves here in Kent – The Chatham Dockyard is an epic day out for the entire family, and one we had underestimated before our first visit. Whether you think you are into maritime culture or not, this gorgeous site is steeped in history, adventure and is the perfect place for the kids to burn off steam. Oh, and you might just bump into a familiar face or two…
7. Riverhill Himalayan Gardens
Having driven past this luring sign once before, we visited last fathers day and fell immediately in love. Unfortunately, Tigs ran a fever midway through our walk around and we had to make a sharp exit via a stop for Calpol. Let’s just say our time at Riverhill gardens was cut short and we definitely need to visit again to complete the experience.
8. Quex Park
Not far from my favourite Kentish coast (which goes without saying WILL be visited over the summer) is Quex Park. Soooo much to do here on a day out – the maze, the gardens, the museum (will blow you away), and if all else, the soft play. If you’ve never been I can’t recommend it enough.
9. The Cyclopark
Whether you’re looking for a cycle track, a place to learn to ride, or just a gorgeous park with a lovely cafe and clean toilets, I’ll be frequenting the cyclopark probably weekly as with the cycloplay pass it’s my go to destination with the girls.
10. Stanhill Farm
A new one for me, but I am counting down until Stanhill farms PYO sunflower fields are open….plus there is a Maize maze to get lost in for a while.
11. Lullingstone Park and Castle
Super close to the lavender fields at Castle farm (you’re too late for Lavender I’m afraid) is Lullingstone park. A gorgeous (and shady) woodland riverside walk, where you can paddle in the shallows, followed by a tour of the castle (as I said, English heritage) plus a huge field to run around in and a bit of a park. A pretty perfect summer destination.
12. Kent Wildlife Trust
Back in the early part of 2018 we visited Kent Wildlife Trust at Maidstone, on a very wet and soggy day. We made a promise we would come back to Kent Wildlife Trust in the summer, and as another top free Kent destination, it’s happenning this summer.
13. Belmont House and Gardens
Spotted on instagram and caused me to double take as I’d never heard of Belmont House, considering we have lots of family connections in Faversham. Pinned, saved, on my list…I do love a manor house with gardens.
14. Mount Ephraim
As above, Mount Ephraim was one of the places we shortlisted as a wedding destination but never made it to. Still on my list guys, still on my list.
15. Upnor Castle
Visited once a year or two ago and somewhere I really want to take Dad Muddling Through to. Again, an English Heritage destination so it’s leapt up our list for this summer!
16. The big cat sanctuary Smarden
We watched the TV show and couldn’t believe this cool place was in kent and unheard of. I passed a sign for it the other day and promised myself we’d head there this year to see how the cats are all getting on.
17. The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
Tigs and Mouse visited Dungeness beach via the railway with their grandparents back in May, and I was beyond jealous when I saw the pictures. I utterly and completely need to do this day out soon, if not just to see the girls faces on the steam train.
18. Port Lympne and Howletts zoo
As a huge supporter of the Aspinall foundation, I’d always take any opportunity to visit Howletts and Port Lympne. Packed out with everything you need for a family day out at a wild animal park, no summer holidays is complete without a visit.
19. Kent Life
I haven’t visited Kent life since my goddaughters third birthday…way before I was a Mum. Needless to say I really need to up the anti with a visit to my local farm park Kent Life with the girls. They’ve been twice with Nanny and Grandad…I have some catching up to do and their reports back have always been of an amazing day out.
20. Hemsley Conservation Centre
Another conservation park but on a smaller scale, this new animal sanctuary in Vigo, Kent deserves all the support and word on the street is that is has some new residents since our last visit, and also one of our favourites has said goodbye. We will always love HCC!
Obviously loads of these destinations will roll over to half term…or next summer…or the summer after (!) but sometimes it’s nice to have a point of inspiration. Whatever you do or don’t get up to in kent over the holidays, have a fabulous summer.