Our guide to days out in Kent this May half term, including arts and crafts, family activities and outdoor trails
From nature walks to family activities, spring into the May half term with these fun-filled days out across Kent...
Make the most of the warm weather and take a stroll through the beautiful orchards at Brogdale. During the school holidays, you can take part in the bee walks, which take visitors through the grounds in search of bees buzzing around the late spring blossoms. Discover the important part bees play in our ecosystem by watching them hard at work and explore the hives inside the exhibition. You can even create your own pollinator-friendly wildflower patch to take home and watch the bees flock to your own garden.
Bee walks take place from Monday, May 30 to Wednesday, June 1 from 10am to 3pm. Tickets start from £7.50. Book online here.
Elmley National Nature Reserve, Sheerness
Take a walk on the wild side at the UK’s only family-owned national nature reserve. Explore Elmley’s 3,300 acre estate and take in views of the sweeping marshes and out to Swale, all while spotting the 40 or more species of bird that breed and raise their young here. During the half term, you can sign up for special nature activities that take visitors on a leisurely walk to the ponds where you might see frogs, grass snakes, grebe chicks and ducklings. From there, you can visit the Schoolhouse on the lookout for owls, hares and marsh harries, before enjoying a relaxing picnic lunch by the duck pond.
Nature activities take place on Monday, May 30, Tuesday, May 31 and Sunday, June 5 from 11am. Tickets start from £7. Book online here.
Hop Farm Family Park, Paddock Wood
Take part in outdoor activities for the whole family at the Hop Farm. The farm will be open for a number of fun games and experiences, from crazy golf to the giant jumping pillows. Your kids can also get behind the wheel at the Driving School, meet the animals, make a splash in the bumper boats and enjoy the thrill of fairground rides and inflatables. There will also be special animal experiences, such as horse talks and a cuddle corner, to introduce young children to these friendly farmyard creatures.
Outdoor activities take place from Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 4.30pm. Tickets start from £4. Book online here.
Hever Castle, Sevenoaks
Learn about historic works of art, enter a painting competition, dig for mosaic pieces, create your own bookmark and search for paintings in the castle grounds Hever Castle’s Art Week. Step back in time as the art show teaches children about the creative techniques of Victorian artists and lets them join in and try some, while those who want to be part of the art can have their own face painted in a range of vibrant and colourful styles.
The half term also sees the launch of the Hever Festival season, which this year opens with a spectacular double bill of Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin tribute shows on Saturday, May 28. The festival continues throughout the summer with a range of performances, from opera to children’s shows.
Art Week takes place from Saturday, May 28 to Wednesday, June 1 from 10.30am to 4.30pm. The event is free with a standard entry ticket. Book online here.
Historic Dockyards Chatham
Join your kids’ favourite underwater explorers for a nautical adventure. The Octonauts trail opens this half term and sees Captain Barnacles and friends guide your children through a number of interactive activities and challenges to see if they’ve got what it takes to join the Octonauts crew. You can fill in the training log, follow the Octo-Map and find out all about maritime history from these loveable characters. If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to meet them!
The Octonauts trail is open from Saturday, May 28 until Sunday, September 4 from 10am to 5pm. The trail is free with a standard entry ticket. Book online here.
Kent Life, Maidstone
Join in the animal-themed activities this half term at the Kent Life farm. Whether it’s cooking up your own treats for the sheep, crafting animal masks, meeting the farmyard friends or learning all about the spring lambs from the experts, there’s plenty to keep you busy. If animals aren’t really your thing, you can still have fun on the farm with the hand-powered paddle boats, Vintage Village, outdoor play area and Paint-a-Pot studio. Before you head home, don’t forget to grab a slice of wood-fired pizza from the Pizza Garden or a cake from Dotty’s Tea Room.
Animal activities take place from Saturday, May 28 to Wednesday, June 1 from 10am to 5pm. Most activities are free with a standard entry ticket, excluding the paddle boats and Paint-a-Pot studio. Book online here.
Lullingstone Castle, Dartford
Kick off your bank holiday by taking a trip back to medieval times. For one weekend only, Lullingstone Castle is transforming into a medieval village and bringing history to life with a host of interactive displays. Expect live cannon firing, mock battles, characters in costume, roaring campfires and medieval weapons to transport visitors to another era. During your time at Lullingstone, one of England’s oldest family estates, you can also pass through the stunning World Garden in all its late spring glory.
The Medieval Weekend takes place on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29 from 11am to 5pm. The event is free with a standard entry ticket. Book online here.
Penshurst Place, Tonbridge
To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Penshurst Place is showcasing some of the greatest events in Her Majesty’s reign with an exciting new trail. Taking visitors through the years, from the 1950s up to today, there will be a number of clues to uncover each event dotted across the 11-acre gardens. Explore the shrubs, trees and plants of the formal gardens as you hunt for hints and, if you manage to crack the clues and figure out these monumental events, you’ll be one step closer to unravelling the tricky half term riddle.
This half term also sees the start of the estate’s beautiful peony display. Marvel at 100 metres of pink peonies in bloom - but be quick, as this display only lasts for a couple of weeks and is expected to be gone in early June.
The Queen’s Reign trail is open from Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 5pm. The trail is free with a standard entry ticket. Book online here.
Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington
If you want to try something different during the school holidays, then these aerobatic and obstacle flight challenges could be just what you’re looking for. You and your family can create your very own animal gliders and compete against each other in a series of challenges to see who has the best aerial aptitude. Fly your glider through hoops, land it on the target and test its distance to score points - and bragging rights, of course. While you’re there, you can also stop off inside the Powell-Cotton Museum and check out the natural history collections and cultural objects inside the Grade II listed house and spend some time wandering through Quex Park.
Winging It takes place on select dates from Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, June 5 from 11am to 4pm. The activity is free with a standard entry ticket. Book online here.
Wildwood, Herne Bay
If you’ve caught the wildlife bug, then you won’t want to miss out on these half term activities. Insects are some of the most important animals on the planet, so the team at Wildwood think they’re worth celebrating - and you can join them with a host of fun-filled bug-themed things to do. Try your hand at bug crafts, go insect-spotting with the I Spy sheet and head out on an interactive and educational Moth Trail. Learn more about the UK’s 24,000 species of insects, among other animals such as the park’s new additions: baby ravens, chough chicks and baby storks.
The Darling Bugs of May takes place from Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 5pm. The activity is free with a standard entry ticket. Book online here.