Five great summer days out for families in Kent
Just north-west of Canterbury, the lovely market town of Faversham has a host of fun things to keep your family happy.
The town’s position south of the Oare Marshes makes walking routes such as the Faversham Circular Walk a great start to the day. On this route there are three pubs, all open for lunch, so it is ideal for families with older children who enjoy a ramble and delicious pub food.
After your walk, cool off at the Faversham community pools. As well as a traditional indoor pool with family-specific inflatable sessions, there’s a heated lido open during the summer months.
Sunny days with the kids at the pool
Younger children will love an old-fashioned day playing in the outside pool.
There are also several springboards and a diving board at varying heights.
Don’t worry: there’s a 25 metre indoor pool for when the British weather does its worst!
The Discovering Britain website details a gentle four-mile walk exploring Faversham and its surroundings.
You’ll see Faversham's grand Victorian station, wander through the medieval centre of town and encounter the bleak beauty of the Kent marshes, which are immortalised in Dickens' Great Expectations.
Spend a couple of hours browsing the pretty medieval streets where there’s plenty of choice on offer. Creekside Vinyl has fabulous selection of records old and new, and Upstairs Downstairs serves a great afternoon tea.
Open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the Charter Market has a range of stalls selling food, drinks and homeware.
On the first and third Saturday of the month The Best of Faversham Arts, Crafts and Food Market offers a larger selection of stalls, including vegan food, handmade soaps and art. There’s also an Antiques Market that is open on the first Sunday of each month.
If you’re looking for a varied day out on the south coast, Folkestone is the place for you.
Begin the day with a wander through the town to visit some of Folkestone’s independent vintage and antiques shops. Bounce Vintage is a must, with a selection of clothing which older teens are sure to find fantastic.
When everyone starts getting peckish, head to the newly-renovated Harbour Arm and buy lunch from one of the street vendors. With a huge range of stalls including Greek Street and Fish Shack, everyone in the family will find something tasty.
The Harbour Arm is also home to a number of vintage, art and gift shops, so you can continue browsing into the afternoon.
I can thoroughly recommend Little Rock for delicious local seafood -- it's a small restaurant cleverly created from shipping containers right on the beach.
The Harbour Arm
Originally the railway terminal for the Folkestone-Boulogne Ferry, The Harbour Arm embraces the town’s working fishing harbour.
The Harbour Arm is a fabulous cultural attraction: a place to meet friends, see live music and sample the goods from nearly 30 independent food and drink vendors.
F51 Skatepark and Climbing Centre
This is for the more active family!
Folkestone 51 is the world’s first purpose-built multi-storey skatepark. It's an amazing new sports facility.
Run by local registered charity The Sports Trust, F51 aims to provide young people with opportunity through sport.
After lunch, head to the arches at Sunny Sands beach, where you can lay down a picnic blanket in one of the arches while the kids splash about in the sea. It’s a beautiful spot with lots of space and views of the cliffs, so you can while away the hours with a few snacks and a book.
Folkestone Sea Sports are also right next to the beach, and offer rental and lessons for paddleboards and kayaking. They have hour-long Kids Club sessions too, so you can snatch a little peace and quiet!
In the evening, one of Folkestone’s most unique attractions comes into its own: the open-air cinema. Book tickets online for a range of sports events and classic films. This is a great way to finish the day, as everyone can relax for a few hours before the journey home.
Wye Crown on the North Downs
If you’ve got little children with lots of energy, the Wye Downs is a great spot for you.
North-east of Ashford, the rolling hills and stunning views at the top are sure to entertain and tire out the kids enough to sit down and enjoy a picnic near the Crown. A huge carving in the hill created in 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII, it’s a spectacle that you’ll be able to spot on your drive over, and children will love the adventure of trying to find it at the top of the Downs.
After lunch, give the children a kite and make the most of the breeze at the top of the Downs. Bring some pencils and an art pad and see who can draw the most unusual plant or bug. There are some rare species on the Downs such as the late spider orchid, so it’s a great place for budding biologists or artists!
The views from the top of the Downs are stunning
Park in the village and walk to the top to earn you lunch!
If you have little ones, you can drive and park in the road at the back of the Downs. Take the road up to the left of this photo - not many people know this route so there's usually room.
We can recommend the Tickled Trout at the bottom of the village.
You'll have earned it after walking up to the Crown and back!
If you’re feeling adventurous, complete the four mile Wye Downs walk, starting from Wye town. Along the route, you’ll see the fabulous Devil’s Kneading Trough, one of the most famous valleys on the Downs.
At the end of the walk, finish the day with a meal at one of Wye’s many restaurants and pubs including the Tickled Trout where, if you are lucky, you can literally tickle some trout in the shallow river Stour that runs along the side of the beer garden.
I spent much of much teenage years flying radio controlled gliders high above the crown. I love it up there!
Little historians in the family will love Leeds Castle!
Only fifteen minutes’ drive from Maidstone, the castle always pulls out all the stops in the summer – and this year is no exception.
As well as the displays inside the castle, children can take part in a range of activities such as obstacle courses, adventure playgrounds and the maze. The maze in particular is great fun, and leads to a hidden underground grotto.
The children will love exploring; why not split into teams and race each other to the centre? If they enjoy this competition, there’s also a twelve-hole adventure golf course (for a small additional fee).
Summertime at Leeds Castle
There's something for everyone at Leeds Castle in the summer especially for your children:
- Get lost in the amazing maze
- Step down into the mythical underground grotto
- Race to the finish line at the children’s Obstacle Course
Animal-lovers can meet amazing birds of prey and learn all about them in the grounds. This is a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with these wonderful creatures, and find more about what makes them special. Carry on enjoying the grounds with a picnic beside the moat, or wander along the streams and rivers to cool off in the summer heat.
What’s more, your entry will allow you to visit as many times as you like in the year, and there’s an early-bird discount if you book in advance on their website, so don’t miss out!
There’s also a 9 hole golf course that winds its way round the moat. Here are some of our other favourite golf courses in Kent.
Camber Sands Beach
We couldn’t put this article together without a classic beach day, so we’ve chosen Camber Sands – even though this isn’t quite in Kent!
One of the loveliest beaches in the South East, Camber Sands offers all the necessities of a sun, sea and sand day out, with a few fun extras. Once you’ve chosen your spot on the beach, the kids can explore the sand dunes. The dunes are huge and have lots of great spots for hide and seek, so will keep them entertained for hours.
Once everyone is warm, you can run down to the sea and swim, splash and paddle among the waves. It’s a lovely spot and you can see all the way down the coast to Rye Harbour.
Along the beach, there are a number of shops where you can buy fish and chips, snacks and beach essentials to keep you fuelled up for the day.
Acres of sand and dunes and wonderful sunsets
In the evening, Camber is undoubtedly one of the best spots in the South East to watch the sunset.
Bring a blanket and a flask of hot chocolate and watch the sun go down together.
We hope that you’ll have found some inspiration now to go out and enjoy the best of what Kent has to offer.
These are only a few of Kent’s best locations, so why not go out and explore?
Broadstairs, Margate, Rye and Canterbury all have lots to see and do, so keep them in mind too.
And then there’s Dover Castle and the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway – so much to do!
You may get in touch with Millie Green via her LinkedIn profile here.
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Future topics are likely to include Restaurants, Walks, Sports Clubs, Days out with the Kids, Great Pubs for Food and so on.
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