Summer holiday activities taking place across Kent in 2022 including Broadstairs Folk Week and Dover Castle

The summer holidays have only just begun, but odds are you’re already spending hours online trying to find things to do to keep your kids entertained.

You’re in luck, as we’ve done the leg work for you. We’ve found some of the county’s top summer holiday activities that you and your family are sure to love…

Broadstairs Folk Week is an annual live music extravaganza by the beach. Picture: Tony Flashman
Broadstairs Folk Week is an annual live music extravaganza by the beach. Picture: Tony Flashman

Broadstairs Folk Week

This 55-year-old festival is a summer tradition in the beautiful beachfront town of Broadstairs. The festival is brimming with traditional folk music from local and nationwide artists, and this year’s line-up includes the likes of Lindisfarne, Show of Hands, Open Water, Mishra and many more. There is also dancing, street food, a craft fair, festival bar, bandstand and, of course, the stunning sandy beach for visitors to enjoy. From live music to a vibrant coastal atmosphere, this week-long festival will draw in families from across the county.

Broadstairs Folk Week takes place from Friday, August 5 to Friday, August 12 at various venues throughout Broadstairs. The festival is free, but individual events may be ticketed. For more information, click here.

Dance and Drama Workshops at AMPFest, Maidstone

Introduce your children to the world of performing arts with a number of fantastic free workshops during the summer holidays. Maidstone Borough Council and the Hazlitt Institute have teamed up to create AMPFest, which will offer free dance and drama workshops for young people aged six to 18 years old. With workshops such as pirate adventures and learning the Encanto dance for younger children to Strictly-style dance classes and improv workshops for teenagers, there’s something for any hopeful performer to get their creative juices flowing.

AMPFest workshops take place from Tuesday, August 2 to Wednesday, August 10 at the Hermitage Millennium Amphitheatre in Maidstone. The workshops are free, but participants should register online here in advance.

Get up close to prehistoric creatures at the Dino Days this summer. Picture: Hop Farm
Get up close to prehistoric creatures at the Dino Days this summer. Picture: Hop Farm

Dino Days at the Hop Farm Family Park, Paddock Wood

For budding palaeontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts, these roar-some days are sure to be full of fun. The Dino Days at this family farm near Tonbridge introduce kids to live action dinosaurs, which roam the park and get up close and personal to the visitors. The Hop Farm will also be open throughout the summer holidays, with fairground rides, a magic castle, animal farm, bumper boats, ice cream parlour and even an on-site campsite surrounded by picturesque Kentish countryside.

Dino Days take place on select dates between Wednesday, August 3 and Wednesday, August 24 at the Hop Farm Family Park in Paddock Wood, near Tonbridge. These summer activities are included in a standard entry ticket, book online here.

Family Nature Trails, Sevenoaks

Five delightful eco-friendly trails are opening for the summer season across Sevenoaks, encouraging families to enjoy local wildlife and learn more about their eco-systems. The trail will take explorers through some delightful nature spots, such as Farningham Woods and Shoreham Woods, with plenty of fun facts and quizzes to test your knowledge along the way. On top of all that fresh country air, everyone who completes the trail is in with a chance of winning an eco-hamper that includes wild seed flowers, a reusable shopping bag, bamboo cup and more.

The five eco-friendly trails are open from Friday, July 22 to Sunday, September 4 at various locations in and around Sevenoaks. The trails are free to take part in. For more information, click here.

Watch brave knights battle at Dover Castle this summer. Picture: English Heritage
Watch brave knights battle at Dover Castle this summer. Picture: English Heritage

Knights’ Tournament at Dover Castle

Step back in time and find yourself in the middle of a thrilling tournament of strength and skill. The Knights’ Tournament at Dover Castle sees rival knights compete against each other to prove their bravery with sword fights and a dramatic finale. This spectacular sporting contest is all set among a traditional medieval encampment, where you can meet villagers from the Middle Ages and find out about their way of life, including weapon repairs, camp cooking and hands-on crafts.

The Knights’ Tournament takes place from Saturday, August 27 to Monday, August 29 at Dover Castle. Tickets cost £2.50 in addition to a standard entry ticket, book online here.

Paddington Bear at Betteshanger Country Park, Deal

Stepping straight out of the film and into Deal’s Betteshanger Park, this cuddly bear is a true family favourite. Paddington Bear will be meeting and greeting young visitors, so make sure you bring your camera to capture the special moment. The marmalade-loving bear will also be hosting a magical story time for his new friends. When you have spent enough time with Paddington, you can also enjoy a turn on the bouncy castle and tuck into tasty ice cream or snack from the food vendors before heading home.

Paddington Bear will be at Betteshanger Park in Deal on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7. Tickets cost £15 and include entry for one child and two adults, book online here.

Meet cartoon characters and incredible animals at the stunning nature reserve. Picture: Port Lympne Reserve
Meet cartoon characters and incredible animals at the stunning nature reserve. Picture: Port Lympne Reserve

Meet the Characters at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve, Hythe

Your children can meet some of their favourite TV characters with these fun-filled meet and greets. Throughout the summer, characters such as Paw Patrol’s Chase, Marshall, Rubble and Skye and the pups from Bluey and Bingo and Hey Duggee will be coming to the Hythe nature reserve to say hello to their young fans. During your time at Port Lympne, you can explore the park's impressive 600 acres of wildlife, including safari tours of the Kentish savannah and hundreds of animals.

Characters will visit on select dates throughout August at Port Lypme Hotel and Reserve, Hythe. The activity is included in a standard entry ticket, book online here.

Meet magical masters at Hever Castle and learn their wizarding ways. Picture: Hever Castles and Gardens
Meet magical masters at Hever Castle and learn their wizarding ways. Picture: Hever Castles and Gardens

Spellbound Summer at Hever Castle, near Sevenoaks

Enjoy a magical summer at Hever Castle with a number of enchanting family activities. The castle ground will be filled with mystical sorcerers who will be teaching visitors the tricks of the trade, from spell casting to wand techniques. When you’ve picked up some new skills, you can even help the sourcerers defend the castle from a dragon. Come prepared in your favourite witch or wizard robes and win a prize from the knight who, on certain days, will also be taking part in the summer jousting competitions, full of awe-inspiring stunts and thrilling battles.

Spellbound Summer takes place from Friday, July 22 to Wednesday, August 31 at Hever Castle in Edenbridge, near Sevenoaks. The jousting tournament takes place on weekends during the summer. The activities are included in a standard entry ticket, book online here.

There are more than 50 summer challenges to complete at Leeds Castle so you won't be short of things to do. Picture: Ben Selway
There are more than 50 summer challenges to complete at Leeds Castle so you won't be short of things to do. Picture: Ben Selway

Summer Challenges at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone

The historic Kent castle is launching several new summer activities to help visitors make the most of their days during the school holidays. From dance routines to the sensory station, there are more than 50 fun tasks for families to complete together, so you certainly won’t get bored. This summer also sees the Queens with Means experience open at Leeds Castle, where the queens who lived within these beautiful grounds are given back their voices to tell their own stories in an immersive exhibition. And, if you’re after something more modern, there are also a number of open-air cinema screenings taking place at the castle this summer, including the Greatest Showman sing-a-long.

Summer challenges take place from Friday, July 22 to Wednesday, August 31 at Leeds Castle near Maidstone. The Queens with Means experience is open from Friday, July 29. Open-air cinema screenings take place on select dates throughout the summer.

The summer challenges and Queens with Means experience are included in a standard entry ticket, book online here. Cinema screenings are ticketed separately.

Groombridge Place also has an outdoor playground and woodland areas for children to explore. Picture: Groombridge Place
Groombridge Place also has an outdoor playground and woodland areas for children to explore. Picture: Groombridge Place

Summer Enchanted Forest at Groombridge Place, near Tunbridge Wells

This wonderful enchanted forest will be open all summer, welcoming visitors to its playful performances and live entertainment to keep the whole family happy. Kicking off August with some traditional British fun will be the daily Punch and Judy show, complete with magic tricks and balloons. Later in the month, beloved characters Peter Pan and Tinkerbell will be bringing storytime to the forest’s outdoor stage, and the exhilarating giant tree swings have been renovated and reopened for visitors to hop on and enjoy.

Summer Enchanted Forest activities take place from Wednesday, July 20 to Thursday, September 1 at Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells. Most activities are included in a standard entry ticket, book online here.

Take the kids along to an entertaining Sunday show at Penshurst Place. Picture: Penshurst Place
Take the kids along to an entertaining Sunday show at Penshurst Place. Picture: Penshurst Place

Sunday Storytelling at Penshurst Place, near Sevenoaks

Let your children lose themselves the magic of live theatre with these special storytelling sessions, taking place all summer at Penshurst Place. Each Sunday, this glorious estate will be welcoming the cast of Aardvark Productions to perform their panto-style versions of Pinocchio and Treasure Island. Follow the actors as they journey through the picturesque gardens in a fully interactive experience, where these classic tales are reimagined in a whimsical new way. After the show, you can explore Penshurst Place and take part in traditional garden games, garden trails and falconry displays.

Sunday Storytelling takes place each Sunday from July 24 to August 28 at Penshurst Place near Sevenoaks. The activity is included in a standard entry ticket, book online here.

The Beach at Bluewater returns this summer. Picture: Bluewater (58286120)
The Beach at Bluewater returns this summer. Picture: Bluewater (58286120)

The Beach at Bluewater, Greenhithe

If you don’t fancy fighting the crowds to find a spot on the beach during the summer holidays, you can always pack your bucket and spade and head to The Beach at Bluewater. This man-made beach near Dartford has hammocks and deck chairs dotted along the golden sand, while the paddling pools and water games offer sun worshippers the chance to cool off. The lively fairground will also return this year, with classic rides such as the waltzers and bumper cars alongside new attractions, including the mirror maze and thrilling gyro-swing. For adults, the cocktail bar, which was introduced last year, will be back this summer selling piña coladas served in fresh pineapples for a truly tropical day out.

The Beach at Bluewater takes place from Saturday, July 23 to Sunday, September 4 at Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe. Advance tickets cost £3, book online here.

Families can take a dip on their doorstep during the holidays with The Strand's outdoor pool. Picture: Steve Crispe
Families can take a dip on their doorstep during the holidays with The Strand's outdoor pool. Picture: Steve Crispe

The Strand Lido and Leisure Park, Gillingham

When the weather is heating up and your kids are desperate for a way to cool down, a trip to The Strand might be just the ticket. The Medway park’s lido pool and outside paddling pool are both open for the summer holidays, giving you and your family a place to splash around and have fun while taking in river views. The lido pool has been open since 1896 and is the only remaining riverside tidal saltwater pool in the country, while the paddling pool is a great option for small children or those who aren’t confident swimmers. The Strand also offers visitors peaceful riverside walks, outdoor play parks and cafes.

The lido pool and outside paddling pools are both open from Monday, July 25 to Thursday, September 1 at The Strand in Gillingham. Tickets cost £6.20 per adult and must be booked online in advance.

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