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May half term sorted!

But Easter was only yesterday I hear you cry! Don’t worry, Muddy has you covered with the best family-friendly things to do over May half term in Kent and beyond.

Paddle Cabin, East Peckham

We love this new watersport venture, Paddle Cabin, just launched by friends and co-founders Hayley and Jo who are in love with the paddle boarding way of life and all the incredible benefits and experiences that come with it. Offering Super-friendly SUP sessions for all levels, from their cute cabin in East Peckham.

The River Medway is a hidden gem, offering a tranquil and wide waterway, passing through meadows, woods and villages, offering a wide variety of birds and wildlife. 

They offer loads of options for paddle boarding lessons, coaching, experiences and a community of local paddlers. Book a family session and have fun some! Find out more here.

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Goudhurst

Top travel guide the Lonely Planet released its first ever list of the nation’s most ‘memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling sights’ – and our very own Bedgebury Pinetum sits right there in the list of UK’s best sights and experiences not to be missed. There’s so much to do and explore this Half Term at this local gem including; walks, bike trails, Go Ape (pictured) and their Natural Play Area, with a shipwreck, giant rope swing and planks to keep your balance on. That should tire them out!

Wildwood, Canterbury

For the perfect family day out, you should consider heading to Wildwood, positioned just outside Herne Bay, where you can get to know over 200 native animals set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland. Expect to see bears, wolves, Arctic foxes, bison, owls, wild boar, lynx, wild horses, badgers and beavers – and that’s just 10 of those 200!

How about booking an Experience for something a little different? Book a Bear, Lynx, Arctic Fox or Wolf experience and go behind-the-scenes to feed them and learn all about your chosen animal. Or have your children ever wanted to be a keeper for the day? They can deliver feed to some of the animals, prepare food for them, clean out the enclosures (and we mean clear out everything – euggggh) but it might encourage some good disciplines for back at home?!

There’s plenty to see and do, simply stroll through the woodland, admire the animals and head to their two play areas with tree-top towers, wild fort towers, climbing frame. There’s even an under-5’s play area too with swings, slides and most importantly, lots of seating for YOU! Takeaway hot food and drinks available or bring your own picnic. Book your day ticket now!

Penshurst Place Gardens, Penshurst

Why not visit Penshurst Place Grounds and Gardens this Half Term? Their Adventure Playground is filled with a giant zip wire, swings, slides and is the perfect place to let the kids run wild. Then follow the Woodland Trail which is an encompassing 1km loop where you’ll be able to experience and the enjoy the nature around you. Book your entry ticket here.

Shhhhh don’t tell anyone but you don’t need to go in Penshurst Place to enjoy it! Their estate is one of the largest privately owned in the South East of England with 2,500 acres of parkland, woodland and farmland, there’s so many public footpaths and walking trails to enjoy all year round. Plus located just outside Penshurst Places’ visitor entrance and car park, Porcupine Pantry is open for takeaway 9-5pm every day. It’s the perfect pitstops for walkers or cyclists with benches and tables dotted all around with lovely views of Penshurst Place.

Kent Life, Maidstone

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 as well a indoor and outdoor play areas, farm rides on the land train or tractor and even a cuddle corner with some very cute animals! You are in danger here of having too much to do with your offspring. Buy your tickets here.

Canoe Wild, Canterbury

This brilliant water sports company is your one-stop-shop for messing about on the river in Canterbury. Join the friendly team at Canoe Wild on the beautiful River Stour where you can hire canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and much more. A brilliant activity to do with the kids this Half Term and what’s more the hire centre sits on the Grove Ferry Picnic Site, the perfect spot for enjoying refreshments alongside the picturesque banks of the Great Stour River. Book your adventure now.

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks

Lots of fun to be had at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens! With 12 acres of historic gardens with their woodland paths and breathtaking views, you won’t want to miss out. Spot the yeti in their woods between 2-4pm, explore their fiendishly tricky hedge maze and let off steam in their Adventure Playground. Enjoy ‘Wild Weaving‘ this May Half Term until Sun 6 June, create a natural loom as a memory board of your time at Riverhill.

If you’ve visited Otto’s along Sevenoaks High St then you’ll know just how fab their coffee is! Grab your snacks from Otto’s Pop-Up Cafe at Riverhill who will be bringing their usual exceptional food and drink. Open for takeaway only but there’s plenty of benches around to sit. They are completely single-use free so don’t forget your keep cup. No keep cup, no coffee! Their words not ours. Book your timed entry tickets now.

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! Book your tickets here.

Hever Castle, Hever

This Half Term, join Hever Castle’s Discovery Week! Learn about inventors, discover ancient artefacts and find out more about physics and archaeology in 3 different shows where you can meet Victorian and Edwardian scientific explorers as they debunk myths and explore inventions from history. Or get your hands dirty with an archaeological dig, what will you find buried in the sand and mud?

When you’ve finished discovering, enjoy one of their Adventure Playgrounds which include Acorn Dell, a natural playground for toddlers and children up to 7+ year olds with its 2-metre high living willow structure, giant sandpit, mound with tunnels to clamber in and a climbing frame. Or for the older ones, there’s Tudor Towers (7-14 years) with its own moat, drawbridge and three turrets. Plenty of fun to be had!

Elmley Nature Reserve, Isle of Sheppey

Enjoy a real UK safari experience at Elmley Nature Reserve! We are not talking lions, tigers and bears (oh my) but since 1991, Elmley has been deemed a National Nature Reserve and is an internationally recognized 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! We’d recommend booking one of their Tours, drive around in their Safari Truck with guide Abbie and see some of Elmley’s most special wildlife. After a stomp through their nature trails, fuel up in their Cafe before you head home. Book your day ticket here.

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.

You’ll find Bodiam Boating Station smack bang on the border of Kent and Sussex near to the village of Robertsbridge, is not far from the A21 that runs from north Kent down to the coast. Refreshments are provided in their gorgeous, rustic café.

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham

Just reopened! This landmark venue makes for a great day out, celebrating everything associated with the great age of sail. The exhibition is all really interactive, there’s always new stuff happening and with three massive, MASSIVE warships to explore – what more do you want?!

The Historic Dockyard (which you may already recognise from Call The Midwife) is an 80 acre site and included in your ticket (which lasts for 12 months by the way so you can keep having fun!) is 2 guided tours, 3 historic warships, temporary exhibitions, galleries, gardens, indoor and outdoor play areas and much more. Buy your tickets now!

Emmett’s Garden, Sevenoaks

The best time of year to visit Emmett’s Garden is here! Standing on one of the highest spots in Kent, it offers fantastic panoramic views over the Weald, this National Trust gem has something for everyone. It’s a fantastic destination for kids and its dog-friendly too with great walking opportunities and plenty of picnic spots. Book your timed entry slot here.

Wingham Wildlife Park, Wingham

The Meerkat Experience

Explore Wingham Wildlife Park, the perfect family day-trip in a brilliantly, manageable-sized park set in a picturesque region of the county (just off the A257 road). Not only does it boast more species than any other zoo in Kent (including a variety of primates, big cats and penguins, lemurs, meerkats and otters to name a few) there’s a Dinosaur Zoo too for any Jurassic-mad mudlets. We’d really recommend booking one of their interactive, hands-on animal experience – like Meet the Tigers (arrrrgh), Penguin Experience (awww) or Meerkat Experience (simples). Book your tickets now.

Chartwell, Westerham

Picture source: Pinterest

Former home of one of our country’s most well-known political figures and now a wondrous place to visit with beautiful gardens and woodland to explore – the pooches are welcome too! There’s 80 acres of woodland and farmland belonging to the Chartwell Estate including a play area with swings, balance beams and see-saws – even dens and bomb craters to play in! Tickets are released every Friday so don’t forget to book your entry time slot before you go.

Bewl Water, Lamberhurst

As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in the heart of the High Weald, Bewl Water is a beautiful place to visit. Walk (or cycle!) around the reservoir and let the little ones loose in their Adventure Playground. The Waterfront Café is open and has a large terrace looking out over the water with plenty of picnic tables, making it the perfect location to take in the views. 

Their Aqua Park is now open for the summer season and if you haven’t been yet, it’s basically 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). Book the kids in now.

Bore Place, Sevenoaks

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 Den Building & Camp Fire Fun on Tues 1 June, 9am – 4pm, for an action-packed day filled with bushcraft activities, den building, campfire making, all finished off with a toasted marshmallow, hot chocolate and a farm tour. Or Wildlife Warriors on Weds 2 June, 9am – 4pm, will see your little ones hunt for mini beasts and net butterflies, create their own clay pot, plant seeds, play woodland games and much more! Check out their Holiday Clubs here.

Too late? Don’t worry you can still explore what Bore Place has to offer! Set in 500 acres of beautiful countryside, you won’t be bored here. Go on for a long walk or let the littles on loose in one of their many Play Areas around the site.

Beaney Bingo, The Beaney, Canterbury, From Tues 18 May

Get the kids involved with Beaney Bingo! A game to get you exploring the museum in a whole new way. Collect your Beaney Bingo card on arrival and challenge yourself, family or friends to find hidden gems from the Museum’s Collection, using the clues and viewfinder to help you. Play as a team or against each other to see how many artefacts you can uncover. Plus, take a photo of your favourite artefact through your viewfinder and tag them on social media to enter their competition to win an annual Canterbury Museums and Galleries Family Membership! The trail is free, with a £1 suggested donation. More info here.

Bodiam Castle, Robertsbridge

We love this stunning, riverside 14th century moated castle which is now a fantastic and fun-filled day out for the entire family. Go for a walk around the grounds, explore the towers and the masons’ marks throughout the castle ruins and don’t forget to ask the Visitor Reception for children’s trails which you can complete to make your visit even more fun! Tickets are released every Friday so don’t forget to book your time slot

Bateman’s, Burwash

Surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald, Bateman’s 17th-century house, former home to Rudyard Kipling, is a fabulous place to visit for you and the whole family. Follow the trail through the gardens, explore the ground floor of the house, play pooh sticks in the River Dudwell in the wild garden, play in the Natural Play Area with its giant swings, climbing frames and a Kipling inspired totem pole – you won’t be bored here! Fuel up in their family-friendly tea room (takeaway only) or bring a picnic of your own. Tickets are released every Friday so don’t forget to book your timed entry slot before you head off! 

The Climbing Experience, Maidstone

Tarzan incoming! Well, not quite, but time to get high on life this Half Term at The Climbing Experience in Maidstone, run by two passionate Kent-based climbers whose dream was to open an indoor climbing experience in the heart of Kent.

There’s the amazing Fun Wall adventure area which is a great starting point for kids and adults alike and has 15 different climbing challenges to choose from, including a speed wall. Or for the more hardy amongst you, you can try your luck at its state-of-the-art bouldering facility, which includes a 30m competition wall, which offers you space to test yourself and develop your climbing skills. Book now.

RAINING? JUST WANT TO STAY AT HOME? HERE’S SOME MORE IDEAS…

Art & Craft Packs, Heart Smart Arts

We love these art and craft packs, inspired by Art Therapy and designed by a Qualified Art Therapist and Primary School teacher, Harriet. The packs will suit children aged between 4 and 15 years old (and are aimed at all kids, although they can be particularly effective if you’re worried or struggling with your child’s emotional behaviour). Some of the packs can be done in an hour or two, some could be done over a few sessions spanning a couple of weeks. They aim to promote connection and calm. Genius. Shop here.

Activity Packs, Timeout Bags

These award-winning, home activity packs for kids are crammed with screen-free, fun things to do – designed to inspire young creators, engage busy minds and support independent play. Created by Mum of two, Alix Porter (former Harvey Nichols Marketing Executive), each brilliantly-put-together pack contains a unique formula of 8 or 10 handpicked ‘hero’ products in a 100% cotton drawstring bag. Each activity is carefully selected for its educational and emotional benefits. Bags can be bespoke or ready-made and include everything from Mindfulness Packs to Lockdown Birthday Boxes (selection suitable for kids aged between 3-10 years). Check them out here.

Learn French Online with Les Puces

You’ll love these fun online French classes for kids aged 3 – 11 years from Les Puces. The course is a mixture of the cute, colourful pack of materials you receive in the post (bilingual book, progress card, worksheets and a buildable project to fire up their imagination) married with pre-recorded online classes to really stimulate them and encode the learning. There are also Group or Private Zoom Classes available (Group Classes have a maximum of four in a class). You can also buy the bilingual ‘Flip-It’ books in the online shop. Let them enjoy learning a language or learn together!

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