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Boredom Busters - Summer Holiday Guide

From left: Kai Yardley, Zack Hewett, Mae Yardley, Bethanie Yardley, mum Becky Yardley, Chloe Yardley, Lilly Hewett, mum Lisa Hewitt and baby Billy enjoy events at the Museum of Kent Life. Picture: Matthew Walker
From left: Kai Yardley, Zack Hewett, Mae Yardley, Bethanie Yardley, mum Becky Yardley, Chloe Yardley, Lilly Hewett, mum Lisa Hewitt and baby Billy enjoy events at the Museum of Kent Life. Picture: Matthew Walker

The school holidays continue but what is there to do?

Better still, what is there to do that's free or costs less than a tenner for the family?

That's where we hope this guide will come in handy.

Not only is it packed full of ideas, they'll help you through the credit crunch.

It's not definitive. If you have any events going on not listed here please get in touch in the Speakout below and we'll add it to the list.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started - scroll down, or click the links below to skip to ideas in your area:

Maidstone / Tonbridge and Malling / Tunbridge Wells / Swale

  • The Odeon, in Lockmeadow, Maidstone, and Tunbridge Wells shows kids films on Saturdays and Sundays – £2.50 for a child and adults free.Pick Your Own fruit and veg. It’s a fun and healthy way to buy your food.Go to the library - a wealth of the world’s best entertainment. Get on your bike! There are plenty of recommended routes at KCC's website or why not head to Bewl Water, near Lamberhurst? It costs £6 to park the car and then you can cycle 12.5 miles around the reservoir. Or try cycling along Regional Cycle Route 12 – an almost entirely traffic free five mile route from Tonbridge Castle to Penshurst Place.
  • Explore part of the Pilgrim’s Way. Why not take a nature guide and improve your knowledge at the same time?Tried fishing? A fishing licence for a 12-16-year-old costs £5 for the whole season, £25 for an adult.A free guided walk to check dormouse boxes takes place on August 17 at 10am, as part of the Valley of Visions project. Call 01622 662012 for meet details.


  • Spot flora and fauna at Boxley Warren nature reserve. Parking is limited in Boxley village so follow the brown signs from A229 to Tyland Barn, parking at the top of Chatham Road. Take a short walk along the North Downs Way marked route.Get out on the River Medway. Kentish Lady river cruises depart just off Bishops Way, Maidstone (opposite Maidstone Crown Court). A one-way trip costs £3 for adults, £1.50 for children (return is £5 for adults, £2 for children)Concerts take place on Sundays throughout the summer in Brenchley Gardens, Maidstone, at 3pm. Click here for details.Leeds Castle, near Maidsone, has an annual pass. Adult passes are £15, senior citizen/students/visitors with disabilities cost £12.50 and children (4-15) £9.50.
  • Museum of Kent Life, at Sandling, also has an annual pass. Pay £7.50 for adults and £5.20 for 3-15-year-olds, Gift Aid your admission and you can get in free for the next 12 months. However, the Privilege Pass does not cover Special Events.Watch cricket at various venues. Mote Park is a good place to start but virtually every village green will host a match on Saturdays or Sundays. Keep your eyes peeled and simply stop off and watch!Bearsted Woodland, off Church Meadow, Bearsted, officially opened in July. Enjoy a walk or a cycle. It’s buggy and wheelchair friendly too.Teston has some lovely walks along the river, and there’s plenty of ducks, swans and boats to keep an eye out for. Teston Bridge Country Park is a great spot for a family barbecue.
  • You don’t have to leave Maidstone town centre to find some tranquility. Enjoy a stroll through Whatman Park and the Millennium river walk or why not try skateboarding or pond dipping?For spectacular views of the beautiful Kent countryside, head to the White Horse Wood Country Park at Detling.Admission is free into Maidstone Museum, in St Faith’s Street. This summer they’re offering activity groups for children to mark 150th anniversary. Monday and Wednesdays there are craft sessions, 10.30am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm. For £2 children can make a creation inspired by the “kaleidoscope” collection and take it away. Tuesdays is storytime and the cost is £2 for one adult and two children. Thursdays is a free Hands on Station where visitors guess the object from the collection and Fridays you can join staff to create your own kaleidoscope or collage for £1.50. At the weekend there are free colour trails and brass rubbings.South Park, Armstrong Road, Maidstone, has been revamped and includes a free trampoline.
  • Families can get creative at a new ceramic cafe at Renaissance Crafts in Starnes Court, Union Street, Maidstone. Buy a plate, bowl, mug or other item and then decorate it for free in the studio - there is also free limited parking. For more information call 01622 750467.Enjoy a treasure trove of folktales with Barefoot Storytelling at Maidstone Library, St Faith’s Street, Maidstone, on August 9 and August 30, 2pm-3pm.A free fire-lighting demonstration and workshop, part of the Valley of Visions project, takes place on August 13 at 10am and again at 1.30pm. Meet at Tyland Barn, Sandling. There’s a free flint knapping demonstration and workshop on August 14, 10am-1.30pm, as part of the Valley of Visions project,. Meet at Tyland Barn, Sandling.
  • Wildflowers and Butterflies of the Downs, is a free guided walk organised as part of the Valley of Visions project, on August 24 at 10am. Meet at Blue Bell Hill picnic site. See more than 60 carriages at the Maidstone Carriage Museum, Mill Street, Maidstone. The museum was the first of its kind in Britain and is still viewed as one of the finest in Europe. The museum is open every day, 10.30am-4pm until mid-September. The last entry is at 3.30pm and admission is free.

Tonbridge and Malling

  • Take a free guided walk around Peter’s Pit, near Wouldham, on August 13 at 7pm, as part of the Valley Of Visions project. Meet outside Burham Church , Church Street, Burham.Leybourne Lakes Country Park has some lovely lake views. Find it just off the A228, Leybourne.See if you can spot the chalkhill blue butterfly and the musk orchid at Trosley Country Park, Waterlow Road, Vigo.Visit the Coldrum Stones at Trottiscliffe. They are reportedly older than Stonehenge. You can find them just off the Pilgrim’s Way.
  • Cuxton Landscapes Lost and Living is a free guided walk, part of the Valley of Visions project, taking place on Wednesday, August 20, at 6.30pm. Meet at Ranscombe Farm car park.Also reportedly older than Stonehenge is Kits Coty and Little Kits Coty. The ruins of two prehistoric burial chambers take their name from a shepherd called Kit, who used the stones for shelter in the 17th Century. Find them at Blue Bell Hill, just off the A229, near Maidstone.Have a picnic at Manor Park Country Park in West Malling.Go and find the Arc de Triomphe-style folly in Park Road, Nettlestead and take a walk past the historic church and Roydon Hall.
  • Discover water voles at a free event as part of the Valley of Visions project on August 26 at 2pm. Meet at Leybourne Lakes Country Park.Join a free tour of Aylesford Priory, as part of the Valley of Visions project, on September 4 at 2pm.

Tunbridge Wells

  • Make the most of an annual pass. The Hop Farm Family Park, Paddock Wood, offers an annual pass. Price is £30 for adults and senior citizens and £36 for children (three to 15). Membership includes unlimited entry all year plus unlimited entry to sister attraction Yesterday’s World at Battle, East Sussex.Bedgebury Forest has some stunning scenery and you can walk round it, cycling it or even run it. Park the car for £7.50 and then try their professionally-endorsed orienteering routes, designed by Saxon Orienteering (affiliated to the British Orienteering Federation), which cater for all levels of expertise and experience. The four courses range across Yellow (beginners), White (easy), Orange (intermediate) and Light Green (advanced) and vary from 1.6km to 2.7km. Maps are available from the Bedgebury Visitor Information Office for 50p. If that all sounds too much, let the children loose in the large play area while you sit and watch.


  • Fun in the Sun, for eight to 14-year-olds, includes, cycling, athletics, arts and crafts, archery, trampolining, fencing, basketball and Charlton Athletic coaching. The sessions, held at Sittingbourne Community College and organised by Swale council, run 10am-2.30pm, July 28-August 22. Cost is £4 per day. Call 01795 417600 for details.Go on the hunt for rare flowers and insects at Peene Quarry Picnic Site, near Newington – see if your kids can spot the nationally scarce Adonis Blue butterfly.If your children love pirates, they’ll love the pirate family fun day at Holy Trinity Church, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, on Saturday, August 30, 10.30am-4pm. Admission is free but by ticket only. Telephone Fr Lorne Denny 01795 472016.Charlton Athletic Football Club is holding a Summer Slam of fun and games at Milton Recreation Ground, off Vicarage Road, Sittingbourne, on Friday, August 15, 10am-5pm. Cost is £2 per person and it’s open to children aged 8-14. To book call Swale council on 01795 417600.
  • See if there’s an Olympic athlete in you by taking part in the Beijing challenge at Milton Recreation Ground, off Vicarage Road, Sittingbourne, on Friday, August 22, 10am-5pm. Cost is £2 per person and it’s open to children aged 8-14. To book call Swale council on 01795 417600.
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