What’s Open! Kent’s best outdoor attractions
The time has finally come to put on some real clothes (joggers don't count, sorry) and have some fun in the fresh air - at a social distance, of course.
Going out is the new staying in! Yep, it’s finally time to emerge from your cocoon, put on some actual shoes and head out into the world. Stay safe of course but we think it’s time to get out there and support your local events, stores and experiences.
Rare Breeds Centre
Set on a 100 acre farm, the Rare Breeds Centre works to secure the future of rare and native breeds of farm wildstock, with pigs, cows, cattle, horses, poultry, goats, birds of prey and rodents all living within the grounds.
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 the Aerial Assault Course, (including the brass rubbing trails through the Rainbow Wood – can you find the Giants?) on to the Aerial Assault Course at the Mysterious Marsh, Big Red Trailer Rides, Tube Maze and Hill Fort.
Just go online to their website to book your ticket and time slot.
Goodnestone Park Gardens
Let me introduce you to Goodnestone Park which is a stunning, privately owned stately home and garden near Canterbury. Gorgeous Goodnestone Park is the family seat of Julian Plumptre, the 22nd Lord FitzWalter and sits in 15 acres of land and manicured gardens.
Did you know that Jane Austen was a regular visitor here? And she based the double wedding in Pride & Prejudice on a marriage that took place in Goodnestone Park’s very church? You are literally living and breathing a little bit of literary history in a corner of Kent.
Once you have explored the gardens, you can refuel at The Old Dairy Cafe which is no ordinary tearoom as the chef, Chris, is from Corner House in Canterbury so you can expect some inventive and delicious dishes as well as the classic sandwiches to keep everyone happy. Drinks and takeaway snacks are available at the moment and you can sit outside.
The garden is open daily from 11am – 5pm, booking isn’t required. The gardens are very spacious so most areas allow for easy social distancing, where there is limited spacing and narrow paths, these have either been closed or a one-way system put in place with signs to indicate it.
Recently listed as of one of the UK’s most beautiful sites, Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest is back in business baby! The National Pinetum is home to a world-leading collection of conifers and provides a beautiful setting for peaceful walks and picnics. Bedgebury Forest has miles of family cycling and mountain-biking, walking, and running trails.
Their car park is open for a limited capacity between 8am – 7pm daily. Many of their visitor facilities are still closed (play areas are out of bounds) but Bedgebury Cafe is open for takeaways!
A word of warning – they’re super busy at the weekends so our advice is to book a day off ON A WEEK DAY, go whatever the weather, and make a day of it.
Wingham Wildlife Park
Wingham Wildlife Park is now open. Not discovered Wingham Wildlife Park yet? It’s Kent’s bijou zoo where you can get up-close to the animals.
You’ll find this outdoor attraction in a picturesque region of the county just off the road (A257) that links Canterbury and Sandwich. Not only does it boast more species than any other park in Kent (fact fans) there’s a Dinosaur Zoo for any Jurassic-mad mudlets too.
For entry to the park you must pre-buy tickets for specific time slots on specific dates. You can purchase your PRE-BOOKED TIME SLOT HERE.
Bodiam Boating Station
Bodiam Boating Station is now open. With a new jetty to make it easier to board the boat safely and contact-free. New opening hours 10am-7pm for boat hire and 12pm-8pm for the takeaway service – should you want to order from the menu so it’s ready for when you step off your boat (and we highly recommend that you do!) Get out there with the family for some safe-distanced, outdoor fun.
Bewl is now open for walking, cycling, fishing and member’s water sports. Did you know Bewl Water is the largest stretch of open water in the South East?
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in the heart of the High Weald. A visit to this stunning reservoir is fantastic family fun and great value. Bewl Water Aqua Park is opening 19th June!
Parking and admission is £5 and entry closes at 6pm. The reservoir route is 13 miles so if you want to walk allow 6 hours and cycling allow 3 hours. Please abide by the one way routes and maintain social distancing.
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park are NOW OPEN! Both Port Lympne and Howletts are set in vast open spaces in the stunning Kent countryside, ample space for guests to visit and socially distance themselves from others whilst viewing the wonderful animals on site and helping the charity recover.
The outdoor attraction are implementing measures to make sure everyone is as safe as possible, a few of them are: limited number of visitors allowed in each park per day, a one-way system around the park, hand sanitiser points and more. Pre-book your tickets now!
Hever Castle‘s Grounds, Gardens and Play Areas are now open!
All visitors will need to book a date and time slot online (including Annual Members), this is to limit numbers to protect everyone’s safety. You can book your date and time slot here.
You can upgrade to a Castle ticket at the Castle Entrance, this is because they are limiting the numbers so cannot guarantee Castle entry for everyone. But you can explore the 125 acres of grounds, gardens and boating which are already open.
Mount Ephraim Gardens
The Mount Ephraim Gardens is open. Set in 10 glorious acres of stunning Edwardian terraced gardens against the backdrop of the Kent countryside – it’s a sight to see! Explore the Japanese rock garden, water garden and lake plus there’s a grass maze for the little ones. The gardens will be open on Weds-Sun until the end of October from 11am until 5pm (last entry 4pm).
The West wing Kitchen and Tea Room won’t be opening YET but they will be open for takeaways soon! But you can always bring a picnic of your own.
Bore Place is many amazing things rolled into one. Set in 500 acres of countryside with an organic dairy farm, explore for the day and take one of the many circular walks that are way marked by colour-coded directional discs and tall oak posts.
It also hosts a whole variety of the kind of original and interesting workshops we know you’ll absolutely love – from Artisan Bread Making to an Introduction to Bee Keeping…Oh and there’s Holiday Clubs too which are STILL going ahead this summer, yay!
The Summer Holiday Clubs run 9am – 4pm from Mon 10 Aug and the days are themed, filled with crafts or baking to den building and campfire fun. Book your kids place now.
Scotney Castle is now open. This beautiful wooded estate has over 770 acres to explore making it the perfect family outing. Especially with its romantic gardens and the 14th century moated castle to ignite the kids’ imagination.
Relax in its picturesque garden with the glorious backdrop of the fairytale castle behind you, and why not bring lunch along to eat in its newly created woodland picnic area to complete your day?
To enter this outdoor attraction, you’ll need to pay for your tickets before you go, they release tickets every Friday and we recommend to book them quick! Book your tickets here. They’re reducing the number of people in the parks and there’s a one way route around the gardens with access to the full estate to ensure everyone’s safety.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
One of the most famous gardens in England IN the Garden of England – Sissinghurst Castle Garden is open. It’s a must-do! The garden at Sissinghurst Castle is among the most famous gardens in England and should be on your to-do list. Stroll around the gardens and gaze up at the 4-storey red-brick Elizabethan tower as you go.
Don’t forget to book your ticket before you go! There’s a limited capacity of tickets available each day so get in quick. Book your timed entry slot here.
Wildwood has reopened! The perfect family day out with 200 native animals set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland. There’s a few added new measures to ensure everyone’s safety like a one way system around the park, the encouragement of social distancing, contactless payments and more. For their full reopening plans click here. Don’t forget the book your ticket for this outdoor attraction and your time slot before you arrive at the park.
Elmley Nature Reserve
Another fab outdoor attraction is Elmley Nature Reserve is now open. If you’ve not yet been, Elmley is a National Nature Reserve and is an internationally recognised site for the the conservation of rare birds, plants, animals and insects. With 3,200 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!
Good news is you’ll still be able to continue staying at Elmley this summer! Buy your voucher today and visit when you can! Vouchers are available for 18 months and 10% will be donated to the Kent Community Foundation (a charity which supports local causes and is particularly supporting the most vulnerable at the moment).
Stay in the gorgeous Kingshill 18th Century Farmhouse or Elmley Cottage or how about one of their Shepherd’s Huts with wonderful water views which make them the prime viewing point for neighbouring owls and hares during the summer months. They have lots of special measures in place to keep us all safe when visiting. For the full details: click here.
Click here for more family things to do.