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Muddy’s Summer Bumper Guide

Here's the cool stuff in Kent and beyond to keep you and yours occupied throughout the hols. Summer, sorted!

We’ve spent hours, days, weeks, in fact what feels like centuries, sifting through all the stuff going on these hols to create a curated list just for you. Only the best, quirky or coolest happenings in Kent and beyond makes the Muddy Guide – to keep you and yours occupied throughout the summer. So stress not about those hipflask-at-the-ready weeks stretching out in front of you. Sit back have a read and start planning your fun.

Bewl Water Aqua Park, Open Now

The Bewl Water Aqua Park is now open and a great way to cool off in the heat. 3000sq meters of floating inflatable fun will consist of two trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, hurdles, springboards, overhang climbing frame, giant iceberg… you get the idea. Kids must be aged eight + and be more than 1.2 metres tall (3.9 feet). There will also be special sessions for six and seven-year-olds. Youngsters aged from eight to 15 must have a responsible adult on the shore for the duration of the session. There’s also plenty of food and drink options courtesy of the Waterfront Café and Boat House Bistro on the water’s edge. Adjust swimsuit and summer-time fun, here we come. bewlwateraquapark.co.uk

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Segway Tours, Leeds Castle, Open Now

Visit the castle in a different way with their fab range of Segway tours! The Scenic tour is only 35mins long and is great for beginners or if you’re feeling confident go straight for their Adventure Tour which is 60mins long. Better yet, try their Twilight Castle Tour, see the stunning sunset and race around Leeds Castle’s beautiful grounds with no one else around. Muddy tried, tested and approved. Prepare to never want to walk again. segwaytours.co.uk 

Summer Cinema, The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, Now
How about going to the cinema but at the Gulbenkian? Renowned for their reasonable ticket prices (adult tickets are only £8.70 and they even do 2 for Tuesday), friendly service and amazing shows! With an all day cafe/bar/restaurant with lunch and evening menus, eat some good food and catch a good film – what’s not to love? From Secret Life of Pets 2, Yesterday, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Toy Story 4 and more. Book your tickets now: thegulbenkian.co.uk

Animal Experiences, Wingham Wildlife Park, Book Now

Wingham Wildlife Park, near Canterbury, is a popular family attraction and now boasts more species than any other zoo in Kent. This is a small, manageable-sized park, so easy to get around, found in a picturesque region of the county. For little ones there’s play areas, mini diggers and go-karts. But by far the best thing about this bijou zoo is the hands-on animal experiences to try – like Keeper for a Day or Meet the Tigers (arrrrgh) to Penguin Experience (awww) or Meerkat Experience (simples, also pictured above). There’s also a Dinosaur Zoo too for any Jurassic-mad mudlets. winghamwildlifepark.co.uk

Nature Activities, Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Now

Sissinghurst Castle Garden have turned the inside of their oast house into a nature play area with lots to explore this summer. Discover bark rubbing, create your own wild art. Find out more about bees and their importance to our outdoors. Take up the nature pledge, write down your pledge on one of the leaves and add it onto the tree to inspire us all into making a difference. Learn tips on recycling and how to cut down on waste. Pull up a comfy hair and read about some of the famous people who have inspired Sissinghurst throughout the generations. There’s tons of leaflets, maps and wildlife sheets when you visit the last house, help yourself and start exploring through the estate! From wildlife bingo, bird spotting and dragon fly trials. There’s plenty of things to do here this summer… nationaltrust.org.uk

Dusk Safari at Port Lympne Wildlife Park, Until 30 Aug

Experience a wild night out with all the family with the chance to spot amazing animals ranging from South America to African whilst taking in the stunning sunset views. Even enjoy a meal at the Port Lympne Hotel. Dusk Safaris will run on selected Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings from 5.45 pm. aspinallfoundation.org

Summer Holiday Tennis Camps, Evolution tennis, July  & Aug 2019

This summer Evolution Tennis have a huge range of fab camps and coaching where your mudlets can have fun and potentially learn or hone a new skill. For children aged 4-12 years olds, groups are tailored to ensure all new players enjoy the right experience level while also being a great fun opportunity for more seasoned players. Running at the Brenchley & Matfield Tennis Club and the Tonbridge Tennis Club. My minis have done this club loads of times and have enjoyed it almost as much as I’ve enjoyed having them out of the house for the morning! evolutiontennis.uk.net 

Drusillas Park; Creepy Crawlies Weekend, Sat 13 – Sun 14 July 2019

Slither, slide and creep down to Drusillas Park and meet some amazing mini monsters. The Discovery Centre, open between 11am and 4pm, will be swarming with weird insects, slimy molluscs and scary spiders and experts from the British Tarantula Society will be available to answer your questions. For some people this is the perfect day out. drusillas.co.uk

Bat Walks, Bedgebury Pinetum, Sat 13 & 20th July 2019


There’s so much more to Bedgebury than dog walks and bikes – it’s a leading forest conservation area with heaps on offer for outdoor/wildlife lovers. Bedgebury is lucky enough to have six species of bat that make the Pinetum their home. Armed with bat detectors, join local bat specialists, Simon Ginnaw and Val Collins, at sunset to see and hear some of the bats that live in the Pinetum and learn more about these mysterious creatures. This is also an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the Pinetum at night. bedgeburypinetum.org.uk

Open Air Theatre, Smallhythe Place, 13 July and 7 & 15 Aug

How about some theatre al fresco? Sit outside and enjoy the theatre at Smallhythe Place with The Winter’s Tale in July and Alice in Wonderland and Sense & Sensibility happening in August. Bring your deck chairs and rugs for a pre-show picnic in the garden from 5:30 pm. Great opportunity to do something with the family. Book now: nationaltrust.org.uk 

Penshurst Maize Maze, Penshurst Place, Sat 13 July – Sun 1 Sept

Step into the shoes of a great explorer and circumnavigate Penshurst Places’ Maize Maze! Wind your way through the hidden corners, concealed passages and collect clues from different checkpoints hidden in the maze. Once you have collected all the clues, you’ll be able to crack the puzzle and be in with the chance of winning a Penshurst Place family season ticket. The eco-friendly maze is great for children and adults. The maze is open day from 11am-6pm, last entry at 5pm. penshurstplace.com

Summer Jousting, Hever Castle, Sat 13 – 28 July
The annual Summer Jousting Tournaments will begin at Hever castle on the 13 & 14 July and then will continue every weekend til 28 July. The Knights of Royal England will be entertaining the crowds with exhilarating displays of action, stunts, falls and fights in an authentic arena complete with a Royal Box. Join Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and the Knights of Royal England in the procession to the Jousting arena. Battling it out in the saddle and on foot in one-to-one combat, the valiant knights will then compete for points to find this season’s ultimate champion. Bring a blanket or watch the joust in style from the medieval spectator stands and cheer your knights to glory. Get your tickets now! hevercastle.co.uk

Jamie Raven’s Magical Residency, Bluewater, 15 July – 8 Sep 2019

A recognisable face? Jamie Raven, the lovable magician who shot to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, is bringing his unique blend of stage presence and illusions to Bluewater for a residency that is the first of its kind. Jamie will be performing throughout the summer at Bluewater giving families the chance to see magic up close and in person at one of 250 performances. A magic school will teach children and adults some of the tips and tricks for creating their own incredible magic. One-of-a-kind birthday party experience are also available for a fantastic celebration. A sensational start to your summer holiday, guaranteed to leave you in awe! jamieraven.co.uk

The Luna Cinema, Tonbridge Castle, Fri 19 – Sun 21 July

This summer, The Luna Cinema transforms the grounds of the majestic Tonbridge Castle into an impressive setting for open-air cinema! Go and enjoy a unique cinematic experience with this incredible line-up over a series of 3 days: Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone, A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. Doors open 7:45pm and the show starts at 9:15pm, better book your tickets now: thelunacinema.com

The Beach at Bluewater 20 July – 8 Sep 2019

Fancy a refreshing swim? The beach could be coming to your doorstep. The beach is returning this summer at Bluewater, hosting an ever-growing number of thrilling rides for adventure-seekers and lots of sand for those looking to lounge on the deck chairs and soak up the sun. Beach-inspired events will be taking place throughout the summer, including Punch and Judy shows, Bubble making and puppet shows and circus activities. At an astonishing price for entry to the beach, only £3 for adults and children over the age of 3 years. bluewater.co.uk

The Wildwood Quest, Wildwood, 22 July – 1 Sept

Looking for the perfect family day out this summer? Come and see Wildwood’s wolf pack in their huge woodland enclosure, watch their rescued bears play fighting in the pool and marvel at the acrobatic red squirrels leaping from tree to tree in the new red squirrel walkthrough. Grab a bite to eat at the cafe or bring a picnic as the kids run wild in the adventure play park with climbing walls, rope bridges, slides and scary drop slide. They’ve also got a range of FREE events happening across summer from arts and craft, Knight School and even Birds of Prey everyday at 2:15pm, the chance to meet on their cuddly, friendly critters up close and there will be hourly talks everyday by the expert team at Wildwood, 11am – 3pm. For their full timetable of events: wildwoodtrust.org

The War & Peace Revival, The Hop Farm, 23 – 25 July
The greatest celebration of military history and vintage lifestyle in the world! Come along and see the greatest gathering of military vehicles, living history, vintage village, classic cars and the world famous trade stalls at The Hop Farm this July. Even a fantastic evening entertainment programme. Better yet, kids go free! Get your tickets: warandpeacerevival.com
Wednesday Kids Summer Crafts, Smallhythe Place, 24 July – 28 Aug
There’s plenty to do at Smallhythe Place this Summer! Wander through the gardens, bring a picnic or even grab one of their House quizzes or nature worksheets from the Visitor Reception and see what you can learn as you explore the house and grounds. But don’t miss their free natured-themed arts and crafts in the sunshine from 2-pm every Wednesday. nationaltrust.org.uk
Knights & Princesses School, Hever Castle, 24 July – 30 Aug
Throughout the summer holidays your little ones can experience what it was like to grow up and serve in a royal household in medieval times at Knights & Princesses School. Children can learn how to prepare and protect armour, discover the best way to arm and disarm their master before battle, find out the correct way to give a proper and perfect greeting and take part in a have a go Hobby Horse Jousting activity. New for 2019 your kids will also learn how to slay a dragon before receiving their ‘School Certificatel and being officiated as Knights, Princes and Princesses of Hever Castle. Knights & Princesses School takes place daily from 24 July – 30 August and is included in normal Hever Castle admission prices. For more details: hevercastle.co.uk
Madagascar, Marlowe Theatre, Weds 24 – Sun 28 July
I like to move it move it! Following the smash hit Madagascar The Movie franchise, Dreamworks has transported their animal A-listers from screen to stage (following in the footsteps of Hollywoods finest) and woo-hoo! the touring musical is coming to Kent this summer. It’s showing from Wed 24 – Sun 28 July at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, starring X-Factor 2016 winner Matt Terry. Get your tickets here: marlowetheatre.com

Target Archery, Betteshanger Park, Thurs 25 July – Tues 27 Aug

Have you ever fancied trying your hand at archery? Betteshanger’s GB Archery qualified intrusctors can coach you and your kids the best techniques to shoot with accuracy on their dedicated outdoor range. Precision, control and a steady hand are all you need for achieving the best results. You’ll learn how to hold the bow and the correct body stance before aiming and shooting at the target. Suitable for ages 8 and over. betteshanger-park.co.uk

The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone, Fri 26 – Sun 28 July
A musical play adapted and directed by David Wood, based on the book by Judith Kerr direct from a smash-hit West End season. The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger! Following their smash-hit West End season, the tea-guzzling tiger is back on the road and will be at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone from one weekend only. A delightful family show packed with magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos! atgtickets.com
Kids for a quid! Chatham Historic Dockyard, Sat 27 July – Sun 1 Sept 
Loads of fun for all the family this summer at the Historic Dockyard! PLUS Children from 5-15 years old can get their entry ticket for just £1 for this summer with every full paying adult or concession (all tickets are valid for 12 months). Relax on the Retro Beach with deckchairs, ice cream and Punch and Judy. Find out the weight of your head and be amazed by the world’s strongest child at Doc.Yard’s end of the Pier Show. Cool down in No.1 Smithery and visit their temporary exhibition space, where this summer it’s all things pirates! They’ll be home to the National touring exhibition from the V&A Museum of Childhood. Wondering what else is included in your ticket? The 80 acre site is certain to keep you busy. 2 guided tours are included in your entry tickets, walk the ropewalk with their Victorian guide as they take you back in time. Or swing through the hatches of HM Submarine Ocelot, the last navy warship! thedockyard.co.uk

Carnival of History, Leeds Castle, Sat 27 & Sun 28 July
Celebrating their 900th anniversary, join Leeds Castle for their incredible Carnival of History event! Travel through nine centuries of the Castle’s history across two days, culminating in spectacular carnival processions through the grounds. Witness large-scale carnival costumes, historic re-enactors, music, dancers amid a dazzling riot of colour and celebration. For the full timeline of events and for more info: leeds-castle.com

Once upon a Castle at Hever Castle, Sat 27 & Sun 28 July 2019

Go back in time and experience what it was like to live in Tudor times, discovering armour making, cookery and archery. Go on an adventure through the gardens visiting friendly ‘flame’ the dragon. Inside the castle, help look for the princesses’ cat and meet fairy creatures along the way. hevercastle.co.uk

Whistable Oyster Festival, Sat 27 – Mon 29 July 2019

Join in with the fun at the Landing of the Oysters and proudly parade through the town. Definitely a unique family-fun event that’s not to be missed. Have a claw catch on at the Crabbing, cheer on the competitors in the famous Oyster Eating Competition, spend an afternoon on the pull at the Mud Tug, take in the sea views and explore the Tankerton Food Fair. Make sure to hang about as the beautiful sight of the beach will be full of glowing Grotters at twilight… Magical. whitstableoysterfestival.co.uk

Carroty Wood Holiday Clubs, Mon 29 July – Fri 2 Aug
 Let your kids enjoy a full week of adventure activities including abseiling, canoeing, climbing, archery and many more. Then ending the week with a talent show and BBQ. Ideal for 9-14 year olds and it runs 9am – 5pm every day (final day til 8:30 pm). Book it up now: rockuk.org

Reuthe’s Forest School, Sevenoaks, 30 July & 6, 13 & 27 Aug 

Come and explore the Lost Gardens for the day with Reuthe’s Forest School Leader. Let your kids run wild through the rhododendron forest and they’ll learn woodland essentials like building, whittling, the ancient art of leaf crown weaving and wand making – to name a few! School beings at 9:30 am at the Basecamp Cafe and will finish at 2:30 pm lunch included. Recommended for children aged 5-10 years old. For more info: reuthes.com

The Luna Cinema, Leeds Castle, Thurs 1 – Sat 3 Aug

Famed as the world’s most beautiful castle, Leeds Castle near Maidstone in Kent makes the perfect setting for cinema under the stars. Located on Cedar Lawn, it’s a truly magical setting and with a line-up like; Bohemian Rhapsody, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and The Greatest Showman, it’s an experience not to be missed. Usual open-air rules apply – by which I mean, bring a camp chair, perhaps an umbrella to avoid getting soggy and there’s a bar (someone else is driving, right?) thelunacinema.com

Summer Holiday Clubs at Bore Place, Thurs 1 – Weds 21 Aug

Bore place offers a range of creative activities for kiddies to get stuck in this Summer including The Bore Place Bake Off, arts and crafts with their Get Crafty day of clay modelling, Way of the Woodsman, a Really Wild Day Out, the chance to spend the day searching for small furry creatures that make Bore Places’ farm their home, Teddy’s Bear Picnic and even a day dedicated to Den Building and Campfire Making. Take your pick! boreplace.org

Castle Canines, Hever Castle, 3 & 4 Aug 2019

This is a perfect one to get the kids and the pups out in the sun… Hever Castle has a paw-fect (he he) weekend for all dog lovers – with stalls, entertainments and prizes for the best pooches. Castle Canines is a weekend dedicated to our four-legged friends – whether you own your own dog or just love them, there is something for everyone. Enjoy displays and entertainment from a variety of dogs including Pets as Therapy Dogs, Guide Dog Puppies, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Army Dogs, Labrador Rescue, huskies from the Siberian Husky Welfare Association and the Southern Golden Retriever Display Team. Even Newfoundland Dogs in Action who will be doing a water display on the lake! hevercastle.co.uk

Family Mondays at Knole Park, Mon 29 July & Mon 5 – Mon 19 Aug 2019

Visit Knole on Family Monday during the summer holidays for a range of activities in the amazing grounds! From archaeology to arts and crafts. We are always partial to a visit to Knole to see the amazing deer and stags and the lovely recently updated cafe. nationaltrust.org.uk

Forest School Holiday Club, Betteshanger Park, Mon 5 – Fri 23 Aug

Betteshanger is back with their popular Holiday Club! For children aged 4-11 year olds, they’re guaranteed to have a jam-packed day of fun and woodland adventures. The day will be full to the brim with learning how to use a whole range of different tools, lighting fires, campfire cooking, creating rustic crafts, building dens, climbing trees, making friends and exploring. For £25 per day this includes the activities, equipment, snacks and hot drinks. betteshanger-park.co.uk

Broadstairs Folk Week, Fri 9 – 16 Aug

Don’t miss this traditional folk music and dance festival. Over the past 54 years, the festival has become a magnet for people who love authentic music, the opportunity to dance, sing and make some family memories. With over 70 events a day from music workshops, Morris dancing, Pub Gigs, craft and music fair and not forgetting the BIG Parade on the 10th! You’ll find something to entertain you and your family from early til late. broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk

Margate Pride, Sat 10 Aug 2019

Margate is a culture-rich contemporary Pride – a celebration of all of LGBTQI life. Set up to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide in the LGBT community, it’s a place to celebrate creativity, inclusivity and free-thinking! Now in their fourth year, the passion of bringing the whole town together hasn’t faded. The parade begins at 2pm from Cliftonville to the main sands with inspiring speakers from across the LGBTQ+ community and local talent performing. Followed by an afternoon street party and family-friendly rally, 12pm – 6pm. MainStage entertainment 3pm – 6pm. Cockles and Muscles Celebs in Swimwear, 9pm – 3am. Melanie C w/ Sink The Pink at Dreamland, 7pm – 10:30 pm. margatepride.org.uk

‘Fame’ The Musical, Marlowe Theatre  Mon 12 – Sat 17 Aug 2019

Starring Keith Jack (Any Dream Will Do, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Mica Paris (Love Me Tender, Chicago, Mama I Want To Sing) and Jorgie Porter (Hollyoaks, Dancing On Ice), Fame The Musical is coming to The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury this August! Based on the 1980 phenomenal pop culture film. Get ready to sing along to the oscar winning title song with all your family and friends. Enjoy an unforgettable night of outstanding dance, rap and singing. Book it, you will not regret it! marlowetheatre.com 

Children’s theatre: Alice in wonderland at Leeds Castle, Fri 23 & Sat 24 Aug

Get ready to go on a Topsy- turvy journey with Alice and the white rabbit. This fantastical musical is brimming with excitement and dreamlike fun for the whole family to enjoy on a summer’s evening out. You’d be mad to miss it! Tick tock, times running out, book the tickets. You don’t want to be ‘late for this very important date’! leeds-castle.com

bOing! Festival, Canterbury, Sat 24 & 25 Aug

bOing! is an International Family Festival returning to the streets of Canterbury this August. It’s a magical weekend of performance and creativity for all ages with performers and artists from across the world, creating unforgettable festival experiences for over 10,000 people each year. bOing! is free to enter (plus free parking!). Don’t miss this weekend it has an impressive line-up with workshops, VR experiences and performances from WILD, Stoel, Jamboree and so much more. boingfestival.com

Cider Festival, Brogdale Collections, Sat 24 & Sun 25 Aug

The Artisan Cider Festival is back and better than ever! Local food and entertainment is up for grabs over the whole weekend. Excellent for the family with festival games, children’s activities and crafts. Enjoy the amazing range of the best local ciders, artisan food stalls and discover the fruit filled orchards with a free guided walking or tractor trailer tour – don’t miss this! brogdalecollections.org

Ice Cream Festival, Kent Life, Mon 26 Aug


Leave your favourite t-shirts at home, because it’s time to welcome back the Ice Cream Festival! Sample tasters from ice cream vendors, chocolatiers and sweet stalls. Pop into the Village Hall and put your creative talents to good use whilst grown-ups can treat themselves to a tipple from the bar or try the Pimms on the Village Green. Join in the animal activities or why not visit the face painter? Sit back and enjoy music from the ‘Dairy Stage’, take a trip on the fun farm ride or enjoy traditional entertainment with the Punch and Judy show! kentlife.org.uk

FURTHER AFIELD…

Action Watersports, Lydd, Open Now

Action Watersports in Lydd, (near Rye just outside of kent but it is worth the extra time spent in the car to get there), by the seaside. Perfect for a fun family day out with the kids whether it be trying out waterskiing or testing your balance with SUP-ING (otherwise known as paddle boarding). They also offer wakeboarding, FLYBOARDING!(flyboarding is for 16+ only) actionwatersports.co.uk

Complied by: Rosie Scott

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