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19 October half term saviours!

Half term's looming but don't be afraid, we've sorted the fun with 19 brilliant things to do in Kent and beyond to keep the little people entertained.

Pumpkin picking!

  • Pumpkin Moon in Maidstone AND Rainham, Sat 17 & Sun 18, Fri 23 – Sat 31: Have family fun in the fresh, open air! Pick your pumpkins and warm up with the food and beverage stalls. Get your tickets & book your time slow now. pumpkinmoon.uk
  • PYO Pumpkins in Medway, Sat 17 & Sun 18, Fri 23 – Sun 25, Mon 26 – Sat 31: Riverside Farmers will still be holding their annual Pick Your Own pumpkin event – grab your wheelbarrows and get picking! Morning sessions open at 9-11am and the Afternoon sessions are 1-3pm. pyopumpkins.co
  • Tulleys Farm in Crawley, selected days from 3 – 31 Oct: There are 12 acres of pumpkins producing over 75,000 in all sorts of shapes and sizes so you’ll be spoilt for choice here! Entry starts at £2 for Adult/Child, under 2s go free! tulleysspookfest.co.uk 
  • Stanhill Farm in Dartford, from Sat 17 Oct: Family friendly farm with pumpkins of all dimensions perfect for eating and for decorating! Why not bring a picnic and make a day of it? stanhillfarm.co.uk 
  • Chilton Manor Farm in Sittingbourne, from Sat 17 Oct: Don’t just pick your own pumpkins, why not get ready to purchase fruit and vegetables too? chiltonmanorfarm.co.uk 
  • Saffery Farm nr Faversham, Sat 24 – Sat 31: Saffery Farm has been in the business 35 years and is giving you the chance to PYO your own pumpkins this October! Don’t forget your wellies, you were warned. facebook.com/pages 
  • Four Winds Farm in Fordcombe, Sat 24 – Sat 31: PYO your own over the half term at Four Winds Farm with hot refreshments! Get your tickets here: facebook.com/events
  • Why not try Felderland PYO Farm on Deal Road? With a Halloween shop, family photo stations, hay bale play zone, coffee shop and hot food – sounds like a fun family day out! Buy your tickets in advance here: felderland-pyo.co.uk

Leeds Castle

We’re so lucky to have some of the UK’s most incredible landmarks right on our doorstep here in Kent. Leeds Castle has beautiful gardens and offers a year-round calendar of events. Not forgetting the playgrounds, The Maze, Bird of Prey Centre with Falconry Shows, Adventure Golf, Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and Segway Tours – making it the perfect family day out.

This October Half Term, download the Leeds Castle App and explore the grounds to scan codes and complete the Halloween themed activity trail! Challenge accepted. All you need to do is book your Admission tickets, choose a time slot and download the App. Once you’ve paid for your day, you get to visit Leeds Castle for FREE for 15 months (returns back to 12 months from Dec 31 2020). So there’s plenty more days of fun to be had where that came from.

Port Lympne Safari Park & Wild Animal Reserve

At the county’s only safari experience you can jump onboard a safari truck, included in your entry ticket, and travel through the Reserve’s South American, Asian and African Experiences spotting amazing animals along the way, including Kent’s only giraffe herd, camels, bears, zebra and many more. There’s plenty of wonderful walking routes to explore too, where animal enthusiasts can see big cats, including the resident lion pride and playful cubs, gorillas, monkeys, lemurs, black rhino and tapir to name a few.

Bowles Rocks

Get outdoors and get active this Half Term at Bowles located on Eridge Green in Tunbridge Wells, there’s plenty to do at this outdoor activity centre with rock climbing, archery, orienteering, bouldering, sledging, skiing, ropes courses, bushcraft, zip-wire plus kayaking and raft building in their heated indoor pool! Book their day courses here.

Bore Place

Bore Place is many amazing things rolled into one. Set in 500 acres of countryside, near Sevenoaks, it’s host to a whole variety of Holiday Clubs at the moment! This October there’s Den Building & Campfire Fun, Autumn Arts & Crafts and a Halloween On The Farm. So drop off the kids and get them booked in for the day. Or bring the dogs and complete one of their many walks through the fields and woodlands, offering beautiful panoramic views. These gentle circular routes, start and finish at the Bore Place car park and are way marked by colour-coded directional discs and tall oak posts.

Kent Drive-In Cinema

Sit back, (popcorn in hand) relax and enjoy an alternative cinema experience from the comfort of your own car. Experience a spooky family night out with Kent Drive-In Cinema at their locations in Canterbury on New Dover Road or Betteshanger Park. Book your tickets here.

In Canterbury; Casper, Beetlejuice, Disney’s Coco, Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters, The Addams Family, Hocus Pocus and so much more, showing Thurs 29 – Sun 1 Nov.

Or watch these at Betteshanger Park; Scoob!, Beetlejuice, Hotel Transylvania, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ghostbusters and lots more, showing Thurs 29 – Sun 1 Nov.

Forgot your snacks? Don’t worry, you can order drinks, delicious burgers, hot dogs, halloumi or rosemary fries straight to your car!

Bodiam Boating Station

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. Just click here to see the many ways that you can enjoy your time on the water.

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. From here you can paddle up to the National Trust’s Bodiam Castle before heading back to the Boating Station for refreshments in their gorgeous, rustic café.

The Climbing Experience

Tarzan incoming! Well, not quite, but time to get high on life at this warehouse 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 your day out here.

Wildwood

For the perfect family day out, head to Wildwood, just outside Herne Bay with over 200 native animals set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland, there is guaranteed to be an animal-favourite for everyone and there’s lots to do this October Half Term…

One for the older kids (minimum 12 years old) and for a limited time only, meet their rescued bear cubs, Wish and Lucy and help the Keepers for an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience. Like the sound of that? Find out more info on their Bear Cub Experience here.

Or find the ghosts and solve the mystery on the Spooky Trail, bring your own carved pumpkins to enter the Pumpkin Carving Competition to win an Artic Fox Experience for two, take a lesson in Potion Making (Mon, Tues & Fri) with resident wizard Cornelius Cobweb or if you like the outdoors and learning something new, you’ll love Wildwood’s Bushcraft Days (Weds & Thurs)! Book your visit here. When you enter tell the shop what activity you’d like to do and there they will give you a time slot.

Rare Breeds Centre

Release the little people! 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, climb on the Big Red Trailer Rides, explore the Tube Maze and Hill Fort – phew!

Don’t forget your spooky face paint or costume. Warm up with their lovely selection of hot food from their Patio and make a day of it. Book your day tickets here.

Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place (the ancestral home of Anne Boleyn) is a family-friendly stately home, perfect for exploring. Surrounded by plenty of country fields, bring the dog and stomp around the estate. Not forgetting their Adventure Playground which is a great way to entertain kids. The Porcupine Pantry is open with a delicious menu of hot lunches, sandwiches and cake.

With the ever-changing guidance on events, Penshurst Place are re-working the traditional set up of their most-loved Halloween event; The Wicked Witch of the Wild Wood storytelling! They’re still hopeful it will be going ahead, the stories will still be told but maybe in a different way. More details will be released soon! Click here to stay up to date.

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens

Visit the gardens in all their autumnal glory and hunt for pumpkins (9-4pm, Weds-Sun). Not forgetting their new Pumpkin Grotto! They have created a magical walk-through grotto full of beautiful lit up pumpkins. Walk through the grotto and pop to their Hygge Hut for a quick selfie or two! And of course Otto’s can keep you warm and cosy with their hot drinks, delicious cakes and treats. Pre-book your tickets here.

Wingham Wildlife Park

The Meerkat Experience

Wingham Wildlife Park is Kent’s bijou zoo where you can get up-close to the animals, with one of their interactive, hands-on animal experiences – like Meet the Tigers (arrrrgh), Penguin Experience (awww) or Meerkat Experience (simples). A family-owned park where they house the largest number of animal species out of all wildlife parks and zoos in Kent (fact) and you’ll find it in a picturesque region of the county just off the road (A257) that links Canterbury and Sandwich. What we love about this family day trip is that it’s a brilliantly, manageable-sized park set in a picturesque region of the county that boasts more species than any other zoo in Kent. For little ones there’s play areas, mini diggers and go-karts. 

Mount Ephraim Gardens

Looking for a spook-tacular family day out this Halloween? Complete Mount Ephraim Gardens’ Halloween pumpkin trail, enjoy a devilish falconry display from Joe’s Bows, then rest your feet and enjoy some Halloween treats and drinks in the terrifying tea room. There will also be a prize for the best fancy dress! Open 11am until 4pm. The booking form will be open soon, watch it here.

Hever Castle

Come dressed in your spookiest outfit and follow a pumpkin trail around the beautiful grounds at Hever Castle! This time of year, the Boston Ivy turns a vivid shade of red, definitely a must-see! Stroll through the gardens and get some much-needed natural therapy in the 150 acres of grounds. Book your tickets here and don’t forget your wellies.

Join in with Hever’s pumpkin carving competition from home, all you need to do is share a photo of your masterpiece on Instagram using the hashtag #HalloweenatHever by Fri 30 Oct and the winner will be announced Mon 2 Nov!

Kent Life Heritage Farm Park

Looking for something fun to do with the family? Kent Life Heritage Farm Park is a 28-acre working farm and visitor attraction. Discover more than 200 farmyard animals including donkeys, alpacas, sheep, pigs and goats as well as indoor and outdoor play areas, and Kentish gardens and orchards. You are in danger here of having too much to do with your offspring!

This Half Term have a wicked week of pumpkin carving, spooky tractor rides, creepy bugs and fancy-dress competitions! Are you brave enough to trick or treat in Kent Life’s historic houses? You never know who’s lurking behind the doors! Available from 2pm everyday in Half Term. Book your entry tickets here.

Groombridge Place

Visit Groombridge Place this Half Term for their award-winning Gardens and Enchanted Forest and don’t miss their magical Pumpkin Grotto! Visit the Walled Garden, spot the hidden pumpkins and if you come in fancy dress there may be something special waiting for you…

Set in the beautiful countryside with plenty of outdoor space for the kids to run around including the Enchanted Forest which is famous for its giant trees, nest swings and zip wire, Birds of Prey displays and Crusoe’s World with its wooden rope bridge, giant wooden ship and a new slide to enjoy. You can even take a walk along the canal, through the forest and you may catch a glimpse of the resident herd of Fallow Deer and you can say hello to Harry the resident ‘Zeedonk’, half donkey and half zebra and his Shetland pony friend, Bo Patch! Book your tickets and time slots here.

Brogdale Collections

We also rate Brogdale Collections a celebration of Kent’s fruit and orchard culture where themed festivals are held throughout the year. This October (17-18th to be exact) they are holding Heritage Orchard Days to help save the Charity’s heritage orchards. Enjoy orchard walks, fruit displays, juice tastings, a family apple trail and cider sales. Even harvest your own apples and enjoy the use of Brogdale’s lovely picnic field! These Orchard Days are great way to spend time outside with the family whilst enjoying fresh Kent fruit. Book your tickets here.

Fright Night at Thorpe Park

A dead cert hit with adrenaline junkie teens, it’s the 19th annual Fright Night at Thorpe Park. Expect thrilling rollercoaster rides, spooks, ghouls and social distancing. Recommended for ages 13+.

Find more ideas here

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