Parks, playgrounds and open spaces in Kent perfect for an Easter holiday meet-up
Being able to meet another household or as part of a group of six outside has come just in time for the Easter school holidays in Kent.
If you're making plans to finally catch up with people during the next two weeks whilst the kids are off we've come up with some of the best places in Kent with plenty of space for a play date:
1. Betteshanger Country Park, Deal
The vast park includes walking and running routes, one of the longest cycle road tracks in the UK 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 and has bookings open for bike hire, orienteering and geocaching. There is also an Easter trail taking place during the school holidays that families can pay to join. Read more here.
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 and a 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. There is also ample grass space and picnic benches for taking a pit-stop or bringing your own food. A great place to explore.
3. Haysden Country Park, near Tonbridge
With a lake, natural play area and cycle route there is plenty to find fun in at Haysden Country Park. Opening and closing times vary and will be displayed on entrances and exits for visitors.
4. Jeskyns Community Woodland, near Gravesend
This Forrestry Commission-owned park just off the A2 at Cobham is a perfect place for a play and a walk. 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 play areas. 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. Learn more here.
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. A National Cycle Route also runs through the area.
6. Mote Park, Maidstone
Mote Park is great for cycling and walking - there are lots of trails and paths to follow across the park. There is also a popular play area which is suitable for children of all ages keen on a place to play.
There is plenty of open spaces to find a spot of your own for a picnic whilst those feeling more adventurous could book onto its high ropes course for an additional charge.
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 walk, ride or scooter to a great place to play. Families can sit next to the river to picnic and there are also benches and toilet cubicles to make things more comfortable too.
8. Gravesend Promenade and Fort Gardens
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, not to mention the opportunity to watch the boats moving up and down the River Thames.
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.
9. Cromers Wood, Milstead
Just outside of Sittingbourne town centre is Cromers Wood near Rodmersham. There is numerous walking routes across the ancient woodland and a pond within the nature reserve to visit too.
To learn more about finding the woodland click here.
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.
There is free parking along the seafront. A sweet shop and cafe are also accessible on the promenade with benches and grassy spots perfect for taking a rest.
11. Tankerton Slopes, Tankerton
The pathways in Whitstable can sometimes be a little busy but head further along the seafront to Tankerton and there is far more room to cycle, scoot, walk or negotiate pushchairs and parking is free in many parts of Tankerton. It can be very windy so wrapping up warm on colder days is advisable. A play area can also be found in nearby Whitstable Castle where the tea rooms is also scheduled to open soon for takeaway service.
12. Bewl Water near Lamberhurst
Described as 'the perfect place to walk, cycle and run in beautiful Wealden countryside' Bewl Water has ample amounts of open space, miles of paths, toilets and takeaway services, there is also an adventure playground! Parking and admission is £5 for pay and display. To learn more click here.
13 Bedgebury Pinetum, near Goudhurst
Bedgebury's forest and some facilities are open to visitors and its Go Ape site is also welcoming advanced bookings now too. The car park is open daily 8am to 5pm but with limited capacity so may close temporarily at short notice to maintain safety and social distancing.
Car parking charges are £14 for a day in peak times and £10 off peak (weekdays during term time only). Learn more at www.forestryengland.uk/bedgebury
14. King George's Park, Sittingbourne
With a playground area, ample field space for ball games and picnics and popular with dog walkers this park in the centre of Sittingbourne has something for everyone.
There is also a cafe selling hot and cold food and drink to take away. A small car park within the park grounds is free to use.
15. Riverside Country Park and Play Area, Rainham
Riverside Country Park, maintained by Medway Council, is open during the current lockdown period, adhering to government guidelines. The cafe is open for takeaway only and toilets remain open until the cafe closes. The children's play areas are also open to visitors.
To learn more click here.
16. Victoria Park, Ashford
There are 17 acres of space at Victoria Park in Ashford. There are play areas for the kids and places to picnic and relax for the adults. Takeaway coffees are also currently available from The Coffee Shed van that is parked near the fountain.
Victoria Park has a dedicated facebook page for all the latest information. Click here to learn more.
17 - 24. Kent Country Parks, countywide.
KCC has nine country parks across the county.
They are Brockhill Country Park near Folkestone; Grove Ferry Picnic Site in Canterbury; Lullingstone Country Park; Manor Park in West Malling; Pegwell Bay in Thanet; Shorne Woods near Gravesend; Teston Bridge near Maidstone; Trosley Country Park near Meopham and White Horse Wood at Detling.
Visitors will be able to buy takeaway food and drinks from cafes at parks which have these facilities and toilets, where available, will also be open. Children's play areas are also open at a number of sites but social distancing, as always, must be observed.
For further information about visiting a country park owned and maintained by KCC please visit www.kent.gov.uk