Published: 06:00, 21 May 2019
With half term and a bank holiday coming up there’s double the fun: here’s our guide to the best events across Kent:
The atmosphere of the 1940s comes to the castle on Saturday, May 25 until Bank Holiday Monday with Second World War treats, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings, arena shows and vintage army vehicles. Life on the Home Front features with a beauty parlour and a brew from the Naafi wagon.There will also be live music from the Swingtime Sweethearts. For more, click here.
Discover life in the Edwardian era at Hever Castle this half term, between Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, June 2. Visitors can enjoy a traditional Punch and Judy show as well as try their hand at games from the period including hoopla, tin-can alley and boules or enjoy a leisurely game of croquet on the lawn.
Famous author and friend of the Astor family, Arthur Conan Doyle investigates reports of fairy sightings around the gardens while children can learn about the roles of the household at a Butler School or find out more about Edwardian inventions. They can also head to the Tudor Towers adventure playground or the natural play area, Acorn Dell. Details at hevercastle.co.uk
There will be seven days of free activities with the kmfm Street Team at the shopping centre for half term from Bank Holiday Monday until Sunday, June 2, between 11am and 3pm every day. They include art and craft workshops, free face painting and the chance to colour in ice cream designs or make and take sea creatures. Events will be held outside Boots and the new JD Sports branch, with any donations going to Demelza and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Details at hempsteadvalley.com
Little ones can walk through the orchards of the National Fruit Collection at Faversham with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust during half term on Wednesday, May 29. They'll be able to learn all about different species of bumblebee, pollination and fruit trees. The walks, at 10am and 1pm, are suitable for ages five and over, who need to be accompanied by an adult. If you have an annual pass to Brogdale, it is free. More details at brogdalecollections.org
Running from Thursday, May 23, the trail gets kids tracking down 10 of their favourite superheroes. Pick up a trail map from the concierge for £2 and there's a prize for completed ones. Find out more at bluewater.co.uk
The town centre is closed to traffic on Sunday, May 26, so that there's plenty of room to celebrate all things green and growing. The annual Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May event will feature more than 50 stalls and garden goodies; children's crafts and activities, plus workshops and plenty of local produce to buy. There will also be entertainment from the likes of Headcorn Ukelele Band, Weald of Kent Morris and Magnificent Mo and the Backline Ferrets. The fun runs from 10am to 4pm. Details here.
FOX & ROOSTER TRAIL, IGHTHAM MOTE
Grab your compass and head out to explore the gardens at the National Trust property near Borough Green from Saturday, May 25 until Sunday, June 2. It's also a chance for young ones to tick off No.45 of the 50 Things: how to find your way with a map. Trails are £2.50 plus normal admission.On Thursday, May 30 kids' crafts will feature making a funky foam magnet animal, for £2 extra.
The Bird Trail for half term runs from Saturday, May 25 until Sunday, June 2, between 10am and 4pm every day. Young visitors can learn about bird life and complete the trail around the garden. The trail costs £1, plus normal admission charges. Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/emmetts-garden
The classic family tale is at the Central Theatre, Chatham, on Sunday, May 26. The producers of the theatre's panto, Jordan Productions, bring a show with new songs and bags of fun, starring Tom Swift and Ant Payne star as Baloo. Book at medwayticketslive.co.uk
A swashbuckling adventure awaits as the exhibition arrives from the V&A Museum of Childhood from Saturday, May 25 to Sunday, June 2, exploring the history and impact of pirates in children's culture with toys, books, illustrations, games, costumes and photographs. Details at thedockyard.co.uk
Activities from Saturday, May 25 to Friday, May 31, include the Sheep Show daily 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. The New Zealand style presenters educate and entertain with their different breeds, introducing them to visitors, and demonstrating shearing. Visit kentlife.org.uk
This year for Stone Week, from Tuesday, May 28 to Thursday, May 30, young visitors can learn about historic graffiti found in the cathedral. The team behind the cathedral's Graffiti Project, will be sharing their discoveries and leading activities. There will be a self-led graffiti hunt. Activities run from 11am to 3pm daily. Children need to be accompanied by an adult. Normal precinct charges apply. To find out more go to canterbury-cathedral.org/whats-on/event/stone-week In the run-up, the private cathedral gardens will be open on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26.
The popular medieval weekend is back on Sunday, May 26 and Bank Holiday Monday, between 11am and 5pm. The gardens are turned into a magical medieval village with live firing cannons, campfires, tents and medieval weapons, as well as have-a-go archery. There will be live displays in the arena at 1pm and at 3pm. Go to lullingstonecastle.co.uk
Visitors to Sir Winston Churchill's former home at Westerham near Sevenoaks will be able to take part in an exotic animal trail from Saturday, May 25 until Sunday, June 2 for half term. Running from 10am to 4pm each day, the fin family trail sees animal characters from London Zoo and around the world hidden throughout the garden. Some of them roar, some of them climb, others fly, two of them swim and one of them even hops. To take part in the trail, it costs £1, plus normal admission costs. While at the National Trust property, pop in to the Museum Room and see Sir Winston's 1953 Nobel Prize, which is on display, thanks to a three-year fundraising project. The prize was awarded to the former Prime Minister for Literature in recognition not just of his writing, but of his commanding speeches which reverberated around the globe. To find out more go to nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell or call 01732 868381.
Leeds Castle’s medieval jousting tournament sees English knights on horseback taking on the French in an exciting clash. Competition runs from Saturday, May 25 to Bank Holiday Monday with authentic jousting contests being played out before the crowds. Also on offer through the long weekend will be mighty medieval trebuchet shooting into the moat. To find out more go to leeds-castle.com
There will be daily talks and activities throughout half term at the woodland discovery park, which is home to more than 50 species of native British animals from deer to badgers and wild boar to wolves and brown bears.There will be a trail and animal mask making and even the chance to meet the animals. While at the site, children can go wild in the adventure playground with Kent's biggest drop slide, tube slide, wild fort and tree top towers. To find out more of what's on offer, go to wildwoodtrust.org
Storytelling will be staged on Wednesdays, including half term at 11.30am and 1pm. There's around half an hour of entertainment, stories and interactive fun. The centre's Butterfly Tunnel is also open now home to a selection of exotic butterfly species and tropical plants. For more details go here.
Besides the rides and inflatables, and animal farm, for half term, on Tuesday, May 28, PAW Patrol's Rubble and Skye will be dropping in on Tuesday, May 28 to meet young visitors throughout the day. There's also a chance to bounce on the giant bouncing pillows. More at thehopfarm.co.uk
Through interactive displays, learn about the human evolutionary story with a tour through more than 100 replicas bones and teeth. There will also be a fun space for children and experts talking about how humans learnt to make tools and eat. From Tuesday, May 28 until Sunday, June 2. Details at canterburymuseums.co.uk
Commemorate D-Day by creating a fabric parachute to help mini paratroopers have a soft landing, as part of half term activities from Saturday, May 25 to Sunday, June 2, or make a model Lancaster or Spitfire. Find out more by clicking here.
Gorilla-friendly cupcakes will be on the menu at a birthday party at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve near Hythe on Saturday, May 25. Keepers are throwing a first birthday party for baby gorilla, Louango’s first birthday, with festivities happening at 11.30am and 2.30pm. There will be cupcakes for humans and for gorillas, as well as colouring and craft making, included in the price of entry. Other half term activities running from Saturday, May 25 to Sunday, June 2, include a trail, free animal talks and animal spotting. Details at aspinallfoundation.org/portlympne
There's a range of activities throughout the half term holiday, including archery and fossil hunting, while on Bank Holiday Monday, there will be a family Forest Skills Day, when there'll be a range of crafts to take home and activities, for £15. More at betteshanger-park.co.uk/may-half-term
The school holiday activities at Penshurst Place run from Saturday, May 25 to Sunday, June 2, and include garden trails and hidden travel treasures. Children can complete the How Did They Get There? trail sheet to take home a What On Earth? book, and there will be travel-themed crafts where creative kids can make their own hot air balloon, horse or boat in the Old Coach House throughout the whole week. Budding explorers can learn bushcraft skills on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. Experts from Camp Wilderness will be on hand to show the ropes of surviving outdoors and answer questions. Visitors can learn survival skills such as how to build a shelter, whittle equipment and start a campfire with sticks. Also over the weekend on Sunday, May 26 and Bank Holiday Monday, there will be a hands-on mini beast hunt with the Kent Wildlife Trust. Discover the many native species of beetles, bugs and insects that live within the walls of the formal gardens. For more details visit penshurstplace.com/whats-on
There will be a host of nautical and nostalgic fun from Saturday, May 25 to Sunday, June 2. The Ships and Giggles festivities include nautical face painting, Ozzy the Octopus, a hoola-hooping mermaid and pesky pirates exploring the park and Phileas Fogg and his travelling balloon on Thursday, May 30. For more, go to dreamland.co.uk
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More by this authorAngela Cole