Kent Family days out: Walmer Castle, Knole, Wingham, Bluewater and Canterbury Tales

by Lauren Abbott

Canterbury Tales Medieval Garden

We had the most fun I think it’s possible to have in a small back garden when we joined the team at Canterbury Tales earlier this year.

Oscar, aged six, went into Knight School where he learnt to use a shield and jump like a knight from the round table. Perfect, old fashioned fun for a boy and his friends. We also took part in maypole dancing, story time and medieval medicine making lessons in the grounds behind the city tourist attraction. It was the most perfect afternoon in the sunshine.

The Medieval Garden activities are included within the price of your ticket to Canterbury Tales and while Chaucer’s tales, the darkness and sometimes odd looking models, took some getting used to for the younger children, it is a great day out for families.

Knight School at Canterbury Tales
Knight School at Canterbury Tales

Knole Park

For picturesque woodland surroundings, a perfect place to picnic, tree climbing and a bit of deer spotting you can’t beat Knole Park in Sevenoaks.

If you don’t wish to visit the National Trust property itself, admission to the grounds and its medieval deer park is just £5 with your car parking fee, which is a fantastic price for a family day out. For that small charge you have access to acres and acres of ancient woodland just perfect for miniature explorers and you can also use the tearooms and cafe for anyone needing ice cream refreshments!

In August, Knole Park holds Family Mondays with arts and crafts for ages five and over. Themes include dressing-up in clothes from the Victorian era, making crowns and leaving stick trails, making musical instruments inspired by nature, creating dragonflies and planting.

Knole House in Sevenoaks
Knole House in Sevenoaks

Pirate Cove Crazy Golf

The 36-hole crazy golf course at Bluewater was the first time we’ve taken children to play crazy golf and they loved it.

Despite expecting them to be bored after hole number five, the four of them aged three, five, six and nine, really took to the game and the course kept their attention until the very end! We played through tunnels, over pirate ships, past waterfalls and through cargo nets and bridges.

It’s a brilliant fun course for families and we teamed it with a walk on Bluewater’s free nature trail, lunch in the food court and a visit to the play area to give us a whole day out.

Have a go at some pirate crazy golf
Have a go at some pirate crazy golf

Walmer Castle

Originally a Tudor fortress, Walmer Castle in Deal evolved into a homely residence for many well known names from the Duke of Wellington to the Queen Mother.

Inside the castle you can explore its history with a wander through the rooms and its extensive corridors while also trying on costumes related to the days of the duke.
You can even have a peek at the original Wellington Boots – although I have to admit to my son being more amused and fascinated with chamber pots under the beds! Typical small boy toilet humour!

But it’s outside that our family had the most fun – exploring acres of magnificent gardens and woodland. We peered into ponds growing tadpoles, wandered through bluebells, explored the hidden sculptures, found dens in the wood and roamed kitchen gardens where food and cut flowers are grown for the tea rooms.

We spent hours roaming outside in the sunshine and it was definitely the best part of our visit.

Historic Walmer Castle
Historic Walmer Castle

Wingham Wildlife Park

Lions and tigers and bears! Well maybe not bears, but possibly every other creature you can imagine including those of the prehistoric variety. We have been here with the children twice in the last year because they love it so much and there is so much to see and do.

We always arrive as Wingham Wildlife Park opens and we are always, without doubt, the last to leave. Alongside big cats and chimpanzees, monkeys, wolves, penguins and meerkats, there is an enormous reptile house, birds, bats, butterflies and that’s just for starters.

The addition of the dinosaurs has been a big hit and the children also love the enormous adventure play area for a run about. We’ve watched tigers being fed, walked with lemurs and had butterflies settle on our heads.

It’s a fantastic place for animal encounters and we’ll definitely visit again before the summer ends.

Don't miss the penguins at Wingham Wildlife Park
Don't miss the penguins at Wingham Wildlife Park

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