The best parks and play areas for bikes and scooters in Kent
If the kids got new wheels for Christmas and you're looking for a safe place to cycle or scooter then look no further.
From country parks and adventure playgrounds to open spaces and coastal paths, we have rounded up some of the best places to test them out.
1. Betteshanger Country Park
The vast park includes walking and running routes, one of the longest cycle road tracks in the UK, bike hire facilities and a play area with rope walks, slides, climbing frames, cradle swings, see-saws, swinging steps, stepping stones and a swinging rope snake.
The park is open all year round from 8am, but bike hire and cafe opening times vary, and be sure to confirm closing times when you arrive.
Sandwich Road, Deal CT14 0BF
2. Cobtree Manor Country Park, Aylesford
On the site of the old Maidstone Zoo, the park is part of the Cobtree Manor Estate. There are a number of play areas to choose from, picnic benches, a cafe and sculpture trail and you can even see parts of the old zoo still standing in the grounds including the elephant house together with information boards to help you understand how the land was once home to a number of wild animals. A great place to explore. The main gates open at 6.30am and in December and January will close at 5pm.
Forstal Road, Aylesford, near Maidstone ME20 7AG.
3. Haysden Country Park, near Tonbridge
With a lake, natural play area with aerial runway, climbing challenges, slides, chimes, a bridge, roundabout, tyre and other toddler swings near the main car park, a cycle route, picnic tables and cafe there is plenty to find fun in at Haysden Country Park. The park is open every day with gates unlocked at 7.30am. Closing times for the time of year are displayed at car park entrances.
Lower Haysden Lane, Tonbridge TN11 9BB
4. Jeskyns Community Woodland, near Gravesend
This Forrestry Commission-owned park just off the A2 at Cobham is a perfect place for a play. The paths are gravel and popular with confident young cyclists on two wheels or those with balance bikes but it may prove a trickier surface for scooter users or those still on stabilisers.
The park also has two fantastic play areas, complete with a sandpit and tree house. Jeskyns is also popular with dog walkers with dedicated exercise areas and areas where pets are allowed off their leads are clearly signposted to other visitors.
Jeskyns is 200m off the A2 at the Gravesend East junction and reached by following signs to Sole Street.
5. Lower Leas Coastal Park, Folkestone
Overlooking the Channel, the Lower Leas Coastal Park is a secluded haven. Paths wind around the three play zones – wild, fun and formal and the fun zone is home to one of the region’s largest adventure playground. There's plenty of places to try out new wheels and a National Cycle Route even runs through the area.
Lower Sandgate Road, Folkestone CT20 2EX
6. Mote Park, Maidstone
Mote Park is great for cycling and walking - there are lots of trails and paths to follow across the park. Ideal for children of all abilities and using all manner of wheels there are plenty of spots in which to test out new toys.
The park is open from 8am until dusk and don't forget your change for the pay and display machines!
Mote Avenue, Maidstone, ME15 7SU
7. Toddler's Cove, Westgate Gardens
Small scooters and children's bikes are perfectly suited to the picturesque pathways and surroundings of the Westgate Gardens. And nestled at the back of the Gardens is the fantastic Toddler's Cove play area enabling children to ride or scooter to a great place to play. Alongside the large adventure play area is a large riverside picnic site together with nearby parking and toilets.
St Peter's St, Canterbury CT1 2BQ
8. Gravesend Promenade
For a cycle beside the river, head down to the Promenade at Gravesend, also known as Gravesend's Riverside Leisure Area. There are plenty of flat paths and surfaces for learning to cycle and scooter and there are children's play areas and sports courts to enjoy too.
The promenade offers parking at a number of neighbouring council-run car parks and the riverside area is also just a short walk from the town centre.
Gravesend, DA12 2BS
9. Cyclopark, Gravesend
Skate parks, cycle paths, children's play areas and a cafe for refreshments makes the Cyclopark at Gravesend an ideal attraction for anyone looking to get out on new wheels.
They also offer various classes and clubs for those keen to master bike riding as well as balance bike classes for toddlers. Family bike and cycle helmet hire can also be arranged. To check opening hours in December and January, or for details of new classes running, please click here.
The Tollgate, Watling Street, Gravesend
10. The Leas, Minster
Over on the Isle of Sheppey is hundreds of metres of pathway by the sea just perfect for young riders. The flat surface is ideal for families coming with anything from scooters to cycles, balance bikes to trikes.
At one end of The Leas is a cafe and parking is free along the seafront.
11. Tankerton Slopes, Tankerton
The pathways in Whitstable can sometimes be a little busy for young cyclists but head further along the seafront to Tankerton and there is far more room to ride and parking is free in many parts of Tankerton. It can be very windy so wrapping up warm is advisable.
Tankerton Road, Whitstable