The best parks and open spaces in Kent for a walk or a picnic with the kids
Flowers are in bloom, the evenings at their longest and this week the days are set to be a lot warmer too!
If you want to stretch your legs after a day of home schooling, walk the dog or get the family outside for a couple of hours for some food we've selected some parks and open spaces where you can do just that...
Betteshanger Country Park, Sandwich Road, Deal CT14 0BF
The vast park includes walking and running routes, one of the longest cycle road tracks in the UK and has just reopened its bike hire facility to visitors.
Visitors are asked to respect the park and its facilities and to follow the latest government guidelines relating to social distancing both for themselves and the safety of other park users and staff.
Betteshanger meanwhile says it is taking all the measures it can to help combat the virus including deep cleans of all facilities in the park and making hand sanitiser available at points around the site.
Toilets on site are also open. More details about what to expect here.
Cobtree Manor Country Park, Aylesford, Forstal Road, Aylesford, near Maidstone ME20 7AG.
Cobtree Manor Park has over 50 acres of parkland which stands on the site of the old Maidstone Zoo. There is plenty of space for walkers and picnics, and a sculpture trail to enjoy, making it an interesting place to spend a few hours.
As you walk through the parkland you can 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. It is a great place to explore.
Further information about Maidstone's open spaces can be found here at www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/other-services/parks-and-play-areas/primary-areas/parks
Haysden Country Park, Lower Haysden Lane, Tonbridge TN11 9BB
Haysden Country Park boasts 160 acres of open space with woodland, marshland, river and lakes.
The site is designated as a Local Nature Reserve and in part a Site of Nature Conservation Interest.
The park is open every day with gates unlocked at 7.30am. Closing times for the time of year are displayed at car park entrances.
Jeskyns Community Woodland, Henhurst Rd, Gravesend DA12 3AN
This Forestry Commission-owned park just off the A2 at Cobham is a perfect place to get some air. The paths are gravel and vast. They are popular with confident young cyclists on two wheels or those with balance bikes but it may prove a trickier surface for scooter users or youngsters still on stabilisers.
Jeskyns is also popular with dog walkers, enabling you to take your family pet along too, with dedicated exercise areas and areas where pets are allowed off their leads are clearly signposted to other visitors.
The Forestry Commission has opened the car park at Jeskyns to allow people to steadily return with a number of safety measures in place.
The latest information relating to the opening of its sites can be found at www.forestryengland.uk/coronavirus-visitor-information
Bedgebury Pinetum near Goudhurst
Bedgebury is another site which the Forestry Commission has reopened. The car park is now welcoming motorists between 8am and 6pm but it does have limited capacity and does close in busy periods until space becomes available.
With 12,000 trees, plenty of walking and cycling routes, water-side picnic spots, a cafe and public toilets now open it is the perfect place to spend a day in open space away from home.
Play areas and the Go Ape attraction remain closed as a result of the latest coronavirus guidelines but for a guide to the facilities currently available please click here.
Mote Park, Mote Avenue, Maidstone
Mote Park covers 450 acres of parkland. It includes grasslands, woodland, rives and a 30 acre lake.
It's an ideal space for those seeking some open space to picnic or to enjoy a ball game with the family. The Visit Maidstone website describes Mote Park as a 'tranquil landscape'.
Entry to the park is free but visitors will need to use the pay and display car parks for vehicles.
Westgate Gardens, Canterbury, St Peter's St, Canterbury CT1 2BQ
The picturesque pathways and surroundings of the Westgate Gardens can provide a welcome retreat for those wishing to escape the city and make use of some open space for a walk or the chance to sit in the fresh air.
Spring and summer flowers have been in full bloom within the Gardens making it a picturesque place to sit at the edge of the River Stour.
Gravesend Promenade, Gravesend, DA12 2BS
Stretch your legs beside the river at the Promenade in Gravesend whilst watching all the activity on the Thames.
Also known as Gravesend's Riverside Leisure Area there are plenty of flat paths for all walkers as well as parents who may be pushing prams and pushchairs or bringing children on bikes and scooters.
The neighbourning Fort Gardens, just behind the river area, is also worth a visit with a lake, pathways and plenty of planted fresh flowers.
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.
The Leas, Minster
Over on the Isle of Sheppey is hundreds of metres of pathway by the sea just perfect for some time away from the house. The exceptionally flat surface also makes it an ideal spot for all ages looking to escape the indoors, including those using mobility scooters, prams and pushchairs, scooters or bicycles.
Parking is free along many parts of the seafront.
Milton Creek Country Park, Sittingbourne
Nestled behind the residential streets in Sittingbourne is acres and acres of parkland at Milton Country Park.
Picnic on the open fields, walk the pathways between the river ways and fishing lakes, spot everything from boats to wildlife or bring the kids on their bikes for an enjoyable cycle ride in this unusual open space which is just a stone's throw from the town centre. Milton Creek is Sittingbourne's newest open space and you'll find plenty to do for a few hours.
Parking is available on a number of nearby residential streets. For further details and information about visiting click here.
Tankerton Slopes, Tankerton Road near Whitstable
The pathways in Whitstable can sometimes be a little busy and congested but head further along the seafront to Tankerton and there is often far more space for everyone.
Wide paths that stretch along the coastline will offer walkers ample space to stretch their legs or for children to throw some stones into the water's edge or get out on bikes and scooters.
Kiosks at the top of the slopes are open offering hot and cold drinks, ice creams and snacks but customers will be asked to maintain social distancing when queuing.
Parking is also free along many roads in Tankerton.
Riverside Country Park, Lower Rainham Road, Rainham
There are 100 hectares of mudflats, salt marsh, ponds, grassland and scrub alongside the Medway Estuary that stretches through Riverside Country Park.
The area is a haven for wildlife and a fascinating place to take a walk by the water or to picnic on the fields close to the cafe at the country park.
The country park is now open and its car park welcoming motorists whilst the on-site cafe is now open between 10am and 4pm for takeaways only.
Play parks are currently closed in line with government advice and visitors are asked to follow all guidelines on social distancing.
White Horse Wood Country Park, Detling
Have a bird's eye view of the gorgeous North Downs from your picnic spot in the White Horse Country Park. With walking routes and picturesque places to sit and watch the world go by below you, this is a lovely site for some outdoor dining.
The car park on site is pay and display. There is no cafe or kiosk so be sure to bring all the snacks and drinks you want to tuck into! For more information click here.