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Kent summer holidays: ideas to keep the kids busy in the school break

By Angela Cole

There’s so much going on across the county to try this summer holidays. Here's what's on...

BAYFEST, HERNE BAY

The annual festival beside the sea has plenty for families. This weekend, there will be a carnival, with a parade starting in Central Parade, and floats making their way through the town on Saturday, August 11. The festival also includes live music and a range of exhibitions. On Wednesday, August 15, head to the Seaside Museum in William Street for Sea Creatures storytime and crafts from 11.30am. For more details of what’s going on until Bank Holiday Monday August 27 go to hernebayfestival.com

There's more seaside fun with BayFest. Jacob Westwood has a go at the beach fun day Picture: Alan Langley
There's more seaside fun with BayFest. Jacob Westwood has a go at the beach fun day Picture: Alan Langley

BETTESHANGER COUNTRY PARK, DEAL

Relive some classic 80s family cinema at the country park on Saturday, August 11 with open air cinema. The Goonies will be screened in the heart of the park. The film choice was made by visitors and the winning film was Steven Spielberg’s 1985 classic. The fun doesn’t stop with the movie, as there will also be local food and drinks in the festival village tipis. Pack a comfy chair, a blanket and a hamper. Sit back, popcorn in hand; relax and enjoy an alternative cinema experience under the stars. Details at betteshanger-park.co.uk

Step back to the 80s with The Goonies Picture courtesy of Warner BrosCategory
Step back to the 80s with The Goonies Picture courtesy of Warner BrosCategory

DOVER CASTLE

The English Heritage castle holds its Tudor Pageant on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12, between 10am and 5pm both days. Get spirited back to 1544 with King Henry VIII as he prepares to invade France. Hear the sounds of cannons, muskets and drums during a colourful parade showcasing the strength of his army. Witness a re-enactment of a dramatic siege, take a seat to watch a play then step into the Tudor encampment and laugh with the King’s hilarious fool. Try your hand at striking Tudor coins, feel the weight of Henry’s armour and learn about the food eaten by courtiers and peasants - plus there’s junior jousting and Monk Monopoly to try. For details go to english-heritage.org.uk/dover

Tudor fun at Dover Castle
Tudor fun at Dover Castle

For lots more ideas, click here.

DIGGERLAND, STROOD

There’s bucket loads of fun on offer at the Strood fun park this summer.
There’s the Giant Dirt Digger, a monster JCB 3CX, and a race in the go-karts. Plus visitors can take a spin on the legendary Spindizzy, and for little ones, there’s the Little Tikes play area with new outdoor toys. More details at diggerland.com

Head to Diggerland in Strood this summer
Head to Diggerland in Strood this summer

DREAMLAND, MARGATE

There are summer activities at the amusement park throughout the summer, including new rides, magic shows and a Circus School by Gorilla Circus. Also on Tuesdays until Tuesday, August 28 will be street football, with the Yo Street Zone. Back at the park for a third year running, the professional football skills organisation will be teaching and demonstrating ball control, freestyle and panna football through workshops and events between noon and 5pm. The cost is included in park entry.

Play football together this summer
Play football together this summer

HISTORIC DOCKYARD, CHATHAM

Marking 400 years of the dockyard, Brick History takes visitors through 13.8 billion years of historic moments in time in LEGO. There’s also a kids for a quid offer this summer. Details at thedockyard.co.uk

A LEGO exhibition is at the dockyard this summer
A LEGO exhibition is at the dockyard this summer

PENSHURST PLACE

Summer Sundays at the historic house and gardens near Tonbridge include falconry, children’s crafts and open air pantomimes. Running until Sunday, September 2, the Hawking Centre will be demonstrating the skill of these magnificent predators as they work in harmony with trained dogs in live shows.

Penshurst Place falconry on Summer Sundays
Penshurst Place falconry on Summer Sundays

THE HOP FARM FAMILY PARK

There’s daily fun at the attraction new Paddock Wood until Sunday, September 2, with Hopper the Rabbit & co from 10am every day. TV characters including Peppa Pig and George and Peter Rabbit will also be appearing on selected days, plus there will be entertainment in the Big Red Barn. For details go to thehopfarm.co.uk

PORT LYMPNE, HYTHE

Go wild at Port Lympne this summer holidays where you can jump on a safari truck and journey through the South American, Asian and African Experiences; spot amazing animals and step back to the Jurassic period for sightings of life-size dinosaurs in the UK’s largest outdoor dinosaur exhibition featuring the spine-tingling Spinosaurus.

Port Lympne
Port Lympne

TONBRIDGE TO PEMBURY CYCLE PATH

The well-travelled cycle path has seen some 70,000 cyclists ride over it every year for 13 years and so has been resurfaced for the summer this year. Also known as the Tudor Trail, the five-mile, mostly off-road path, runs from Tonbridge Castle to Penshurst Place. It starts at the Racecourse Sportsground by Tonbridge Castle and runs along the river, through Haysden Country Park and out into the countryside finishing at Penshurst Place. The work has been carried out by Tonbridge and Malling council. To download a route map, visit explorekent.org/ activities/tudor-cycle-trail

ROCHESTER & UPNOR CASTLES

Throughout the summer little ones can step back into the 11th century at Rochester Castle and craft their own medieval masterpieces from flags to royal portraits and even castles. Nearby Upnor Castle, pictured, and Temple Manor are also hosting family craft days, where you can create everything from jellyfish sun-catchers through to pirate treasure and crusader helmets.

Details at visitmedway.org

Upnor castle
Upnor castle

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