Affordable campsites to book during the May half term near Kent attractions such as Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and Dreamland

When it comes to keeping the kids busy over the school holidays, Kent is bursting with fun family attractions and top-notch days out.

If you want to make a real day - or few days - of it, you can always pitch a tent at a campsite and enjoy a budget break with the family. So, if you’re visiting some of these places this half term, here’s where you can book an overnight stay under the stars to make it a truly memorable trip…

Pack your tent and sleeping bags and take the kids on a camping adventure this half term. Picture: Facebook / Badgells Wood
Pack your tent and sleeping bags and take the kids on a camping adventure this half term. Picture: Facebook / Badgells Wood

Canterbury Cathedral

Discover England’s oldest cathedral and soak up some of Canterbury’s fascinating history, from the infamous death of Thomas Becket to visits from the royal family.

The Barn, which is only around 10 minutes from the cathedral by car, offers pet-friendly grass pitches for up to six people. Located on a working farm and billed as an ‘off-grid’ campsite, this is the perfect chance to put the screens away and get in touch with nature.

Details: Pitches start from £27 per night. Book online here.

The campsite in Kingsdown is close to the seafront and it’s a pleasant walk along the beach to Deal. Picture: Facebook / Kingsdown Camping
The campsite in Kingsdown is close to the seafront and it’s a pleasant walk along the beach to Deal. Picture: Facebook / Kingsdown Camping

Deal Castle

This seafront castle dates back to the days of Henry VIII and offers lots to explore, including underground tunnels, a Tudor exhibition and views of the beach from over the castle walls.

If you’re looking for a seaside break, Kingsdown Camping is just up the road. You can drive to the castle in 10 minutes or, if you prefer, take a leisurely stroll along the beach towards Deal. You can even add extras such as sea views, fire baskets and picnic tables.

Details: Pitches start from £12 per person, per night. Book online here.

The beautiful campsite Hawthorn Farm is surrounded by gardens, orchards and woodland. Picture: Hawthorn Farm
The beautiful campsite Hawthorn Farm is surrounded by gardens, orchards and woodland. Picture: Hawthorn Farm

Dover Castle

Sitting atop the White Cliffs is Dover Castle, a fortress that has overseen England’s battles since 1066. See the castle’s wartime hospital and Great Tower and, during the half term, there’s also two events - World War II Weekend and Kids Rule - to keep visitors entertained.

Hawthorn Farm is nestled within 28 acres of landscaped gardens, orchards and woodland just 10 minutes from Dover Castle and the beach at St Margaret’s Bay. The pitches sleep up to six people and there’s an on-site cafe, shop and nearby play park.

Details: Pitches start from £32 per night. Book online here.

Dreamland, Margate

Take the kids on a traditional British holiday with a trip to Margate where you can ride Dreamland’s Scenic Railway, visit the sandy beach and admire art at Turner Contemporary.

The family-run campsite at Nethercourt Touring Park, in Ramsgate, is a great base to visit not only the cosmopolitan hub of Margate in around 15 minutes, but also beaches at Joss Bay, Minnis Bay and Stone Bay. The site has a free WiFi zone, utility room and showers.

Details: Pitches start from £29 per night. Book online here.

Stay just a stone’s throw from Hever Castle on a family-run farm and campsite. Picture: Instagram / Hever Camping
Stay just a stone’s throw from Hever Castle on a family-run farm and campsite. Picture: Instagram / Hever Camping

Hever Castle, Edenbridge

Anne Boleyn’s childhood home is brimming with stories, but it’s not all about the history. Enjoy the great outdoors at Hever Castle with award-winning gardens, a water maze and Tudor-themed play park. Kids can also get creative during the school holidays with Art Week.

Hever Camping, just a five-minute drive from Hever Castle, is run by sisters Sarah and Gina. The farm has been in the family since the early 1900s and used to provide milk to Hever Castle, but now it is a crop farm and camping destination surrounded by tranquil countryside.

Details: Pitches start from £12 per person, per night. Book online here.

Historic Dockyard, Chatham

Explore one of the country’s biggest maritime attractions in the heart of Medway, with activities such as the ropery, submarine, naval ships, exhibitions and more.

Badgells Wood, in Meopham, is less than 30 minutes away and has lots of options. There’s the Tudors Spring pitches, which are ideal for families, or The Oaks’ pitches, which go much deeper into the woodland. There are even adult-only pitches if you want a couples’ getaway.

Details: Pitches start from £24 per person, per night. Book online here.

Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury

See more than 390 animals, including gorillas, leopards, giant anteaters, rhinos, tigers, wolves and the UK’s largest herd of African elephants, at Howletts Wild Animal Park.

You couldn’t get much closer to the animals than Woolton Farm, just a five-minute drive from the entrance to Howletts. The campsite practically backs onto the wildlife park, with pitches surrounded by strawberry fields and meadows, as well as the on-site cafe, bar and shop.

Details: Pitches start from £12.50 per person, per night. Book online here.

Lots of Kent’s campsites are dog-friendly, so even pets can come along for the trip. Picture: Facebook / Badgells Wood
Lots of Kent’s campsites are dog-friendly, so even pets can come along for the trip. Picture: Facebook / Badgells Wood

Kent and East Sussex Railway, Tenterden

The country’s first ‘light railway’ sees heritage steam and diesel locomotives travel from Tenterden to Northiam and Bodiam with stunning views of the Kent and Sussex countryside.

The Otter Channel Campsite sits on the banks of the River Rother, just 15 minutes from the railway line. The site boasts views of the old Romney Marsh shoreline and, for adventurous guests, there are three ‘hot bucket’ showers and kayaks and paddleboards available to hire.

Details: Pitches start from £35 per night. Book online here.

Leeds Castle, near Maidstone

With acres of beautiful grounds, a fabulously decorated castle and an endless programme of activities, it’s no wonder Leeds Castle is one of Kent’s busiest tourist attractions.

Those staying at Welsummer, which is a 10-minute drive from the castle, can choose from bell tents, cabins, huts and grass pitches in the meadow. All of the accommodation is set in the picturesque woodland and within easy reach of the site’s bathroom facilities and kitchen.

Details: Pitches start from £30 per night. Book online here.

Camping at the peaceful Lathe Barn is a much more affordable option than staying in the safari park at Port Lympne. Picture: Lathe Barn
Camping at the peaceful Lathe Barn is a much more affordable option than staying in the safari park at Port Lympne. Picture: Lathe Barn

Port Lympne Safari Park, Hythe

Spend the day at Kent’s biggest wildlife park and hop in one of the safari trucks to see giraffes and zebras roaming the vast Kentish savannah.

While this stunning safari park has its own animal lodges on-site, for a more budget-friendly stay you can pitch a tent at Lathe Barn. The campsite, which is in Romney Marsh, just 10 minutes from Port Lympne, offers free phone charging stations and a shop stocked with food, drink and camping supplies.

Details: Pitches start from £15 per person, per night. Book online.

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