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Muddy’s Guide to Summer

Stuck on what to do with your children for SIX whole weeks? Don't panic, Muddy has you covered with 31 suggestions for the best bits of Kent.

The Octonauts, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, NOW – 4 Sep

Join Captain Barnacles and the Octonauts on an interactive, activity-based adventure through the tides of maritime history, learning the key skills needed to join the Octo-Crew. You’ll collect an Octonauts Training Log on arrival, follow the Octo-Map alongside Captain Barnacles to locate Kwazii, Peso, Tweak, Shellington, Dashi and Professor Inkling hidden around the Historic Dockyard and complete fun activities to learn their specialist skills. On completion of the Training Log, you’ll be named an honorary Octo-Agent and receive a special certificate. Summer fun sorted!

Young Paddlers Club, Canoe Wild, Mon 4, 11 & 18 July

Join Canoe Wild’s fantastic young paddler sessions this summer after school and learn to kayak and paddle board with Canoe Wild’s trained instructors whilst being safe and having fun. This brilliant water sports company is your one-stop-shop for all the messing-about-on-the-river fun you can possibly imagine. Join the friendly team on the beautiful River Stour where you can hire canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and much more on Monday evenings, 4:30-5:30pm. Suitable for 8-14 year olds. £15 per 1 hour session.

Dino Expedition, Betteshanger Country Park

Join the Dino Expedition this summer at Betteshanger Country Park. Find your own fossils at Fossil Park and learn about our collection of dinosaur fossils including a tooth from one of the fiercest carnivores ever to have roamed the planet – Spinosaurus! With educational boards and games, this is a great activity for 2022, when every child will be obsessed with Dinosaurs as the new Jurassic World film hits cinemas. Complete your session by Hunting the Hybrid dinosaur in the woods and have your photo taken with it.

Backstage Youth Theatre Workshops, Trinity Theatre, Sun 10 & Thurs 21 July

Help make some of the costumes, sets and props for Trinity Theatre’s summer productions. There’s a wide range of workshops covering all the different areas of Backstage Theatre, learn about every department and how they all work together to put shows on. Go along for an introduction session where you’ll be able to have the chance to look around the theatre and backstage, meet their practitioner team and be up to speed with all of the shows they have coming up over the summer. Then Sun 10 July, 2-6pm will be a technical session and Thurs 21 July, 5-7pm for a set / props session. In order to help out on their shows throughout the year, attend the workshops, show your dedication and you may be allocated a role on a show! The perfect time to build up experience and skills.

Canterbury River Tours, Canterbury

Why not book a picturesque trip through the centre of beautiful, historic Canterbury? Canterbury Historic River Tours provide a range of multi-award-winning guided tours – fun for all the family! View the stunning architecture as you journey through the heart of Canterbury on the River Stour and discover parts of the city that are only accessible by these tours. Each boat is chauffeured by a helpful guide, who presents the historical facts of the passing buildings and monuments in an entertaining manner. View their tours here and book in! We like the sound of their Evening Tours – take a relaxing trip along the Stour on a warm summer evening. We likey.

Jousting Events, Hever Castle, Sat 16 July – Mon 29 Aug 

Witness brave knights display spectacular jousting skills in an authentic arena at Hever Castle this summer. Watch exhilarating displays of action, stunts, falls and tights in an arena complete with medieval spectator stands and a Royal Box. Each tournament begins with a procession from the Castle forecourt when Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn lead visitors across the grounds to the Jousting Arena.

Paddle Cabin, East Peckham

If you haven’t been to Paddle Cabin yet where have you been? Co-founders Hayley and Jo offer super-friendly SUP sessions, coaching and experiences to help your feel at home on the water. From intro sessions for beginners, coaching for improver paddlers, family sessions, date night experiences and more. Discover and learn in a safe and positive environment and at a pace that suits you, all run from their cute cabin in East Peckham along the River Medway. Book a family session and have fun some!

Medway Gaming & Creative Festival, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Sat 16 & Sun 17 July

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is hosting the 2022 Medway Gaming and Creative Festival this July; a celebration of video games, gaming culture and creativity. The Festival has something to appeal to every gamer, from pro to novice, and will showcase talent, art, creativity and culture, uniting players for a weekend of entertainment. Watch, play, learn about games, meet special guests, join competitions, experience new and retro gaming as well as enjoying interactive exhibits such as the Robot Arena and Cosplay masquerade.

Bedgebury Pinetum, nr Flimwell

Bedgebury Pinetum is one of the UK’s best sights and experiences not to be missed but don’t take our word for it! There’s so much to do and explore this summer at this local gem including; walks, bike trails, Go Ape with nerve-testing crossings of Tree Top Challenge, to the high ropes of Tree Top Adventure that are ideal for the little ones, the forest canopy waits to be explored. Or enjoy their Natural Play Area, with a shipwreck, giant rope swing and planks to keep your balance on – that should tire them out!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, EM Forster Theatre, Mon 18 & Tues 19 July

Don’t miss this delightful family show this July at EM Forster Theatre. Watch as four master puppeteers weave their way through Eric Carle’s stories, bringing to life a menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets in a magical show that recreates the wonderfully colourful world of Carle’s illustrations. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features four classic titles; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar which celebrated its 50th Birthday in 2019.

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks, Weds 20 July – Sun 4 Sep

Lots of fun to be had at Riverhill this summer! With 12 acres of historic gardens with their woodland paths and breathtaking views, you won’t want to miss out. They’ve got 7 weeks of summer holiday fun from crafts, treasure hunts and workshops! They’ll be kicking off week 1 with a Troy Treasure Hunt and Week 6 is their very popular obstacle challenge (pictured) running Weds 24 Aug – Mon 29 Aug. Not just for the kids, it’s fun for dogs and adults as well! Then spot the yeti in their woods between 2-4pm, explore their fiendishly tricky hedge maze and let off steam in their Adventure Playground.

Bodiam Boating Station, Bodiam

This lesser-known gem is a brilliant river activity centre 6 miles from Rye and 8 miles from Cranbrook and a real Muddy favourite. Perfect for a family day out, with every kind of boating you can imagine on offer. Amble up the River Rother at your own leisure in one of the rowing boats, kayaks, tandem kayaks, Canadian Canoes or SUPs. Refreshments are provided in their gorgeous, rustic café.

Twelfth Night & A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Scotney Castle, Fri 22 & Fri 29 July

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

There’s two productions at the beautiful Scotney Castle this summer! See one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, chock full of love, mistaken identity, high comedy and lots of music! Heartbreak Productions brings you an open-air production of Twelfth Night as you’ve never seen it before. Orsino, Olivia, Viola and the others join reality-TV coupling show “Twelve Nights” – think Love Island meets Big Brother. Gates open 6:30pm, curtain up at 7pm. Adult tickets: £12. Child tickets: £8. 

Or watch Quantum Theatre‘s outdoor production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and soak up the magical atmosphere at Scotney Castle with an evening of love, intrigue, mischance and marriage. Gates open 6:30pm, curtain up at 7pm. Adult tickets: £14. Child tickets: £9.

Summer Holiday Fun, Kent Life Heritage Farm, 22 July – 31 Aug

Looking for something fun to do with the family? Kent Life Heritage Farm Park is a 28-acre working farm and visitor attraction in Maidstone. It’s heap of fun for the little ones who can discover more than 200 farmyard animals including donkeys, alpacas, sheep, pigs and goats plus this summer they have a whole host of entertainment from their all-weather indoor arena, Big Top, that hosts a variety of interactive and exciting shows from Circus Skills (22-24 and 30-31 July), Flip the Clown: Ghostbusters (26-29 July), Adventure Game Show (22-26 Aug), Borris and Norris (1-5 and 27-31 Aug), Einstein’s Entertainers: Science Experiment Shows (8-12 Aug) and Adam & Leanne: Magic Shows (6-7 Aug and 13-21 Aug) plus animal encounters, paddle boating, their outdoor play areas and the Vintage Village. All performances are included in your standard ticket cost.

Huckleberry Woods, Faversham

Calling all animal lovers! Huckleberry Woods is a small, rustic farm devoted to micro and miniature animals – aww! Visit their gorgeous micro-pigs, miniature donkeys, teddy bear sheep and alpacas. Mingle with the free-ranging animals around their orchard and even take them for a walk! Escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a relaxed 2 hour visit to Huckleberry Woods that provides a more personal experience as they only allow a limited number of guests. After meeting the animals, why not relax with tea and cake whilst the kids left off steam in the play area?

Little Shop of Horrors, The Malthouse, Fri 22 & Sat 23 July

There’s always lots going on at this state-of-the-art theatre housed within a stunning conversion of a Victorian Malthouse. Standing proud as the centre of Drama for the King’s School, Canterbury – and open to the public – there’s always lots of family-friendly performances during the school holidays. Feed the need for musical hilarity with this delicious sci-fi smash about a man-eating plant with their production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Into The Fairy Kingdom, Emmetts Garden, Fri 22 July – Fri 2 Sep

From 22 July until 2 Sep, return to the Fairy Kingdom at Emmetts Garden with a brand new story to follow last year’s popular summer trail. Help the magical character, Puck, as he prepares to throw the best summer party for everyone in the Fairy Kingdom, exploring the gardens and taking part in all sorts of different activities as you go, (it’s £2 per trail).

Rare Breeds Centre, Ashford

Release the little people! Rare Breeds Centre in Ashford has lots going on to keep the kids entertained. Children can meet and pet friendly animals, including cuddly rabbits, hamsters, new born chicks, goats and horses. And if you’re really lucky, you may even meet a piglet or two. After you’ve finished with the animals you are spoilt for choice with a load of brilliant outdoor activities, check out their Adventure Playground with zip wires, swings and tyre snakes to climb on. Or watch the Falconry displays, go on a woodland walk and lots more. Phew!

The Rascally Diner, Sun 24 July

Photography: Alex Brenner

Everybody clap your pans – it’s time for The Rascally Diner! Cook up a stink as part of Rufus Skumskins O’Parsleys’ kitchen crew or bring a pot to bang and ward off evil cakes in this fun-filled, messy performance about food. Inspired by the award-winning children’s book The Rascally Cake, by Jeanne Willis and Korky Paul, join LAStheatre for a riotous and ridiculous outdoor family. Suitable for children aged 5+.

Summer Holiday Camps, Bore Place, Mon 25 July – Fri 5 Aug

You’ll do well to book into Bore Place‘s Holiday Clubs, they are always quick to sell out! Why not drop the kids off for some healthy, outdoor holiday time exploring and enjoying the beautiful Bore Place organic farm estate? Their friendly and welcoming education team will ensure your children have fun, make friends and learn through doing. 

There’s On The Trail of The Green Man (suitable for 6-11 year olds) running Mon 25 – Fri 28 July, 9:30am – 4pm. Book in for the whole 4 days or just individual days. Let your little ones brush up on their wildlife ID, express with art and design and discover traditional skills such as fire lighting, den building and tool use. Plus there’s Survive & Thrive (suitable for 6-11 year olds) running Tues 2 – Fri 5 Aug, 9:30am – 4pm. Where they’ll learn new skills on this three-day survival course with map reading, navigation, fire lighting, cooking, tool use, den buildings, basic first aid, foraging and plant identification.

Summer Holiday Treks, Alpaca Annie

Book a trek with Alpaca Annie – Finalist for Best Family Attraction in Kent in the 2022 Muddy Awards. You’ll be in control of your very own alpaca as you take a unique walk through the beautiful Romney Marsh countryside, while also learning more about your new furry friend. Your two hour experience includes: One hour alpaca trek, feeding your alpaca, photo opportunities and educational talk about alpacas. Only adults (+14 years) can handle the alpaca on the trek. There’s a limit of one child and one adult per alpaca. If you have more than one child that you would like to bring on a trek, each child will need to be supervised by an adult (children under the ages of 14 years must be supervised by an adult.) Booking up fast so be quick!

The War & Peace Show, The Hop Farm, Tues 26 – Sat 30 July

The War and Peace Show Home Front is the greatest celebration of military history and vintage lifestyle in the world! It’s jam packed full of historical and educational displays based on a small village in the south of England during the Second World War, from shop fronts, military vehicles, classic cars and the world famous trade stalls at The Hop Farm this July. Better yet, kids go free!

Summer Fun Thursdays, Ightham Mote, Thurs 28 July and 4, 11 & 18 Aug

Ightham Mote are hosting summer fun every Thurs until 18 Aug with activities such as Build A Bug Hotel, Raft Making, Nature Drawings and Making Musical Instruments, there’s no reason to be bored! Plus the stunning moated house has tranquil gardens, streams, lakes, an orchard and colourful flower borders plus a natural play area, there’s a lot to explore this August.

Children’s Photography Workshop, The Battle of Britain Memorial, Sat 30 July & Weds 17 Aug

Booking is now open for the Battle of Britain Memorial’s summer holiday photography workshops! Budding photographers will learn how to use their cameras and smartphones creatively to capture the Battle of Britain Memorial site. Be taken to all the best photography spots across the site and learn brilliant tips and tricks to get some impressive shots of the Memorial’s replica Hurricane and Spitfire, seated airman statue, impressive architecture and more. Book now for dates on Sat 30 July or Weds 17 Aug.

Port Lympne Reserve, Ashford

Visit the savannah – right here in Kent! Go on, sit back and enjoy the view with Port Lympne’s safari experiences! Choose from a selection of unique safaris where zebra, wildebeest, ostrich, and many more animals roam free with stunning views to the Kent coastline. Or, go behind the scenes with the animal encounters. Get hands on with the range of animal experiences for all ages. Budding animal keepers can find out what it takes to care for some of the world’s most endangered animals on a keeper experience day or come face to face with some of their visitor favourites on a 30 minute animal encounter. The wild just got wilder!

The Mighty Kids Beat Box Show, Sun 31 July

Older kids and teens, listen up! Do you like music, laughing and whack-a-doodle-noodle craziness? Grab your pet adult and join in! Award-winning comedian Jarred Christmas and world champion beatboxer Hobbit bring a brand-new show packed with interactive jokes, silly billyness, beatboxing, and epic sounds created by you! It’s the hottest ticket in town; so pop on your oven gloves, get involved!

Pond Dipping & Bug Hunting, Elmley Nature Reserve, Isle of Sheppey, Sun 31 July – Weds 31 Aug

With 3,300 acres, Elmley provides the perfect place for your little ones to explore and get closer to nature. It’s a family-run farm with approximately 700 cattle grazing the pasture each year plus chickens, ducks and tractors to admire! Plus this summer they have pond dipping and bug hunting activities to keep your little ones busy with. Just bring your wellies, sunscreen, a sun hat and some water and their in-house nature guide, Abbie, will take you on foot to the best spots on the marsh to find the most exciting critters. See dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, bumblebees, beetles and all the wonderful marine life – you might see owls and hares along the way too! Each session there’ll be a maximum of 6 children so they can make new friends and memories. Selected dates from 31 July til 31 Aug, times vary. £5 per child.

Summer School, The Talentz, E M Forster Theatre, Mon 1 – Fri 5 Aug

Got a kid that has stars in their eyes – or who could just benefit from building their confidence by being part of an incredible stage production? Then why not sign them up to The Talentz, the award-winning musical theatre company for 4 to 21 year olds offering exceptional training in the performing arts and they have two amazing Summer School programmes this year… 

Juniors (4-11 year olds): It’s musical week! Sing, dance, act, create set, props, costumes and have a lot of fun with music from Matilda, Encanto, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Merry Poppins and Frozen! Plus they’ll perform in the end-of-week show on Friday at 5pm. £175 for the full week and show.

Seniors (12-18 year olds): Create a full musical in a week and perform at the EM Forster Theatre on the Friday evening at 7pm. Shows to include: Heathers, American Idiot, SIX, & Juliet, Waitress and Hamilton. £175 for the full week and show.

Kid’s Pizza Making Workshops, Macknade in Faversham & Ashford, Tues 2 Aug – Fri 26 Aug

Love pizza? Look no further! Let your kids have the chance to make it, cook it and eat it themselves. Join Macknade in Faversham (held on Tuesdays between Tues 2 – Tues 23 Aug, 11am – 3pm) and Ashford (held on Fridays between Fri 5 – Fri 26 Aug, 3-6pm) for a series of pizza making throughout the summer holidays. Drop in anytime between the time slots, grab a ticket at the tills for £5 each and join the team to make your own mini pizza. From preparing and playing with the dough, to adding the tasty ingredients and of course eating their own personalised pizza. Suitable for children aged 4-12 and all children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Children’s Theatre: Rapunzel, Leeds Castle, Fri 5 & Sat 6 Aug

Let your hair down and get tangled in a brand new musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel. Grab the kids and enjoy the laugh-out-loud script, heaps of audience interaction, catchy songs, unforgettable characters and even the odd water gun or two! With magic and mayhem throughout, this is one hair-raising adventure the family won’t want to miss. Arrive at 5pm to get the spot spot before the show starts at 5:30pm and finishes approx at 7:30pm with a 20min interval. Under 3s go free!

Aqua Park, Bewl Water, Lamberhurst

Muddy tried and tested! The Aqua Park at Bewl Water is now open for the summer season, experience 3000sq meters of floating inflatable fun – consisting of two trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, hurdles, springboards, overhang climbing frame, giant iceberg… You get the idea. The brilliant thing about this day out is that it appeals to girls, boys, kids of all ages, and even teens. It’s a great holiday activity for groups, families, and children from 6 years old (there are some sessions times/restrictions for younger children).

Outdoor Theatre: As You Like It & Rapunzel, Emmetts Garden, 11 & 23 Aug

Following last year’s hugely successful tour of Macbeth, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, return with a joyous and celebratory production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Emmetts Garden on Thurs 11 Aug. Gates open at 6pm for picnics and the performance starts at 7pm. £17 for adults and £10 for children OR join Immersion Theatre for their production of Rapunzel on Tues 23 Aug, it’s the perfect treat for the whole family! The performance starts at 4pm til 5:30pm. £14 for adults and £9 for children.

Show in a Week, The Malthouse Theatre, Canterbury, Mon 15 – Thurs 18 Aug

Got a budding superstar? Let them join West End Professional for a week of musical theatre training at the Malthouse Theatre in Canterbury, Mon 15 – Thurs 18am, 10am – 4pm. They’ll take part in a variety of workshops in singing, acting and dancing and rehearse a very special ‘one night only’ performance taking place at the theatre on Thurs 18 Aug at 7pm. Places are limited!

Camp Kindling, Sevenoaks, Fri 19 – Mon 22 Aug

Don’t miss out on this summer camp for families this August in Sevenoaks! Camp Kindling is back for its second year and promises to be a wild weekend set in a gorgeous forest retreat with over 100 amazing activities (included in your ticket) to do, learn and discover new skills and make tons of memories! There’s activities such as: Mountain Biking, Axe Throwing, Zorbing, Nerf Battles, Tree Climbing, Orienteering, Survival Skills, Astronomy, Campfire Bread Baking, Primitive Pottery, Loom Weaving, Sand Art, Wood Whittling, Improv Comedy, Woodland Choir and Yoga – phew! 

Then dance the night away amongst the trees with 50 live bands and DJs across the weekend with Rylan (DJ), The Cuban Brothers, family rave unit Junior Jungle, BBC’s YolanDa’s Band Jam and CBeebies’ Nick Cope. Get to relax in wood-fired hot tubs or chill around the campfire. Sound good? Get your tickets now!

Fun Day at Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre, Sat 20 Aug

Grab the kids and enjoy a journey through the history of Britain’s best-loved toys! Featuring rare products from the Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi archives, track the history of Hornby’s iconic model trains and don’t miss the spectacular Model Railway and Scalextric layouts. Pop by on Sat 20 Aug for their Fun Day, 10am-3pm, there’ll be games, offers in-store, cake sale, tombola and raffle all to raise money for EKUBS (East Kent Unit for Breast Screening).

Go Wild!, Scotney Castle, Sat 20 Aug

Get up close and personal with nature at the ‘Go Wild at Scotney’ day with lots of free nature-based activities, guided wildlife walks and craft activities for youngsters. Or why not test your survival skills by making dens and campfires on Weds 23 Aug? Both events are free but normal admission applies.

Biddenden Tractorfest, Holden Farm, Sat 20 & Sun 21 Aug

Biddenden Tractorfest is returning to the fields of Holden Farm in Biddenden this August now in its 8th year, it’s a fun day out for all the family! The tractors are definitely the centre of attention with over 200 expected to exhibit over the weekend plus plenty of stalls, vehicle demos, children’s entertainment, falconry demonstrations, the dog & duck show and working horses to entertain both young and old. Not forgetting food and drink, live music and so much more.

bOing! International Family Festival, The Gulbenkian, Sat 27 – Sun 28 Aug

bOing! is bouncing back at The Gulbenkian in Canterbury this August. Expect an amazing weekend of the very best in theatre, dance, films and fun for all the family, packed with magical performances and experiences. This year features the world premier of a show by Jasmin Vardimon Company based on the tale of Alice In Wonderland, ALICE (pictured). As well as Le Gateau Chocolat’s fantastic show Duckie, a theatrical reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling PLUS new immersive sensory sound experience Fire Songscreated for audience members with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) by Frozen Light and SOO much more! Tickets are on sale now! The majority of the events are free with a select few are ticketed (from £6).

The Beast, Betteshanger Park, Fri 2 – Sun 4 Sep

The formidable inflatable obstacle course and Kids bounce zone returns to Betteshanger Park this September, are you up for the challenge? Run and bounce your way around the many obstacles including inflatable walls, balls and rings. Bounce for fun or compete to beat the course record! Afterward sit back and relax with friends and family to enjoy delicious food and drink from local suppliers. Bounce last 30mins and your ticket enables you to run the course as many times as you can within your allocated bounce slot. Minimum age of 8 years old and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Book now!

The Addams Family School Edition, Fri 5 – Sat 6 Aug

Join the Trinity Youth Theatre this August as they play Uncle Fester, Lurch, Puglsey and more for a heart-warming store of love, family and friendship… with a twist! Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, is all grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows. She’s fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family. With his cherished Morticia in the dark will Gomez manage to keep his daughter’s secret until the two families meet for a fateful dinner with hilarious consequences?

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