Kent attractions preparing to reopen which have been closed since March because of coronavirus
The latest ease of lockdown measures has meant that a number of other Kent attractions are preparing to reopen to visitors once again.
Animal parks and some historical attractions will soon join country parks and gardens in having families in their grounds once again. We take a look at those across the county who have announced plans to reopen and what visitors need to know and expect before visiting...
Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Reserve
The team at the Aspinall Foundation say they are "delighted" both Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury, and Port Lympne Reserve, near Hythe, can open their doors again after closing in March.
Bosses at the animal parks in Bekesbourne and Hythe say measures will be put in place to keep visitors, staff and animals safe, which includes restricting the numbers of visitors each day.
Other new measures that the parks will adopt include adding a one way system so that people can walk around each park and minimise contact and crossing points with other visitors, closing play areas, adding barriers to create safe distances to vulnerable animals, card only payments and encouraging people to buy pre-booked tickets in advance.
The safari - which sees visitors travel on a vehicle together - will also not run at Port Lympne.
For more information about all the changes and how to pre-book your family's visit see www.aspinallfoundation.org/
Wildwood near Herne Bay
The British wildlife at Wildwood will see noticeably more visitors from Monday when the attraction joins those welcoming visitors again.
Monday, June 15 will be a members day to thank those who have supported Wildwood during the closure and then from Tuesday, June 16 the park will be open to all visitors.
Anyone wishing to visit must pre-book and from next week there will also be some evening visitor sessions on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 6pm and 9pm, for those over the age of 16 who may wish to visit when the park is likely to be quieter.
There will be a new one way system and a temporary exit to allow for it, animal talks will not be taking place to avoid crowds gathering, hand santiser will be available around the park and most inside spaces will remain closed such as the rat barn, reptile house, badger building, cafe and shop although take away food and drink will be available.
Items from the shop can be bought online but collected during a visit and play areas will also remain shut.
For more details about these safety measures in place and how to pre-book a date and time to visit please click here.
Wingham Wildlife Park
The park has been a big hit on social media during the closure with Wingham's keepers regularly filming tours of the park and animal feeds, which have been watched by hundreds and thousands of interested animal-loving viewers tuning in to its facebook videos.
But from Monday (June 15) staff are planning to meet families in the flesh once again as it prepares to reopen to its first visitors.
In a message on its facebook page Wingham says take-away catering, the gift shop and toilet facilities will all be available but buildings such as the reptile house, tropical house, chimpanzee building and orangutan and giraffe building will be shut for the time being as will children's play areas until government regulations change.
Anyone planning on a visit to Wingham will need to pre-book a date and time slot to ensure the park can manage visitor numbers, which will be restricted each day to enable social distancing for all at the attraction. For more details about this please click here.
English Heritage will reopen Dover Castle to visitors from July, with people able to pre-book tickets from next week.
The landmark is one of 45 around the country that is on a list of those the organisation would like to have open next month, with plans to have the remaining sites up and running by August. English Heritage's free to enter sites have already reopened.
In a statement the charity said: "We've been regularly sharing updates on our plans to reopen and we're excited to share with you that we're hoping to reopen 45 more of our sites in July.
"We have introduced limits on visitor numbers to help keep everyone safe, and you won’t be able to visit without your booking confirmation. If you’re a member your ticket will be free, but you still need to book in advance. Tickets will be available to book mid-June."
Markers on the floor to remind people of the two metre distance will be put down where necessary, barriers will be used in places like toilets and admission areas to help social distancing and there will be increased cleaning regimes across the sites. There will also be hand sanitiser widely available.
To learn more about how to plan your visit to the English fortress, and more on the safety measures in place, click here.
Walmer Castle and Gardens
With its picturesque gardens and grounds, Walmer Castle near Deal, alongside Dover Castle, is also amongst the 45 English Heritage attractions that will open early next month.
Families looking for a change of scene will love the serene Queen Mother's Garden and the newly opened Glen, a planter former chalk quarry now open for the first time in 100 years.
Visitors keen to explore this fascinating site will need to pre-book tickets when they are made available from next week. This will enable staff to safely monitor those visiting the site at any one time.
A number of other safety measures, like at Dover Castle, will also apply to help maintain staff and visitor safety.
To learn more about English Heritage's plans for Walmer Castle please click here.
Other attractions already open to visitors
Lots of outdoor attractions in Kent have been reopened in the past three weeks as restrictions on travelling and visiting outdoor spaces have been relaxed by the government.
Tickets are released every Friday for the following week and every visitor must have a pre-booked date and time to visit or they will be turned away. Learn more about how to do that here.
And whilst the Castle itself remains closed for the time being, Hever Castle has opened its gardens and grounds to visitors, also with a pre-booked admission ticket. Learn more about that here.