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Kent: What to do with kids this summer holidays from Minecraft to bushcraft and mazes to circus fun

By Angela Cole

From Minecraft to bushcraft and circus skills to getting lost in mazes, there's still lots to get up to this weekend and beyond during the summer holidays for families. Here's our up to date guide:

BETTESHANGER COUNTRY PARK, DEAL

Get back to nature with a wild weekend including “wild” workshops in bushcraft and wild cooking as well as drop-in archery, fossil hunting and nature walks on Saturday, August 18 August and Sunday, August 19. On Saturday, August 18, there will be bird of prey photography workshops with leading local wildlife photographer and TV presenter Richard Taylor-Jones - of BBC Countryfile, The One Show and Springwatch - at 11am and 2pm, which are a special opportunity to meet and photograph the birds up close and in flight. There will also be birds of prey displays on Sunday, August 19. There is a cost for the workshop, other events free. Details at betteshanger-park.co.uk

Get to meet and photograph owls at Betteshanger Country Park Picture: Richard Taylor-Jones
Get to meet and photograph owls at Betteshanger Country Park Picture: Richard Taylor-Jones

MINECRAFT EVENT, DOVER CASTLE

People visiting Dover Castle this weekend will be able to have a go at rebuilding the fortress for themselves – using the popular block-building game, Minecraft. The castle is one of just two English Heritage properties to host a Minecraft workshop this summer as part of its #LoveCastles season. Minecraft experts Blockbuilders and YouTuber Amy Lee will be on hand on Sunday, August 19 to coach players in the art of virtual castle building. All builds will be put onto a secure public server so visitors can continue with their project at home. The workshops are at intervals from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Sessions can be booked on the day, although places are limited. For details go to english-heritage.org.uk/dover.

Minecraft comes to Dover Castle
Minecraft comes to Dover Castle

SUMMER GARDEN PARTY, FREMLIN WALK

ITV’s Style Doctors will be at the Maidstone shopping centre on Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19 as part of its week-long party with activities, summer-themed street food, entertainment and garden games. The fashionistas will be appearing at the Fashion & Beauty School, providing fashion advice, beauty tips, demonstrations and showcases. More details at fremlinwalk.co.uk

HEMPSTEAD VALLEY, GILLINGHAM

This weekend is the last for the free summer activities at the shopping centre, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year in October. There will be arts and crafts, treasure hunts and face paining, games and competitions. They run every day between 11am and 3pm until Sunday, August 19. The free sessions are suitable for all ages and are held outside Boots, but children do need to be supervised. For details go to hempsteadvalley.com or facebook.com/HempsteadValley. Parking is free at the centre.

Crafts are on offer Picture: Paul Harris
Crafts are on offer Picture: Paul Harris

For more summer holidays ideas across Kent click here

HISTORIC DOCKYARD, CHATHAM

Marking 400 years of the Chatham dockyard this year, Brick History month takes visitors through 13.8 billion years of historic moments in time - all in LEGO. Fans can also have a go at making their own LEGO creations. It runs until Sunday, September 16. Details at thedockyard.co.uk

HOP FARM FAMILY PARK, BELTRING, PADDOCK WOOD

The summer-long activities at the park in Beltring, Paddock Wood, which run until Sunday, September 2, includes appearances by kids’ TV favourites and the next will be on Thursday, August 16 when Peppa Pig and George will be popping in at intervals during the day. There’s entertainment in the Big Red Barn and the chance to try the other fun activities including Hopper’s Animal Farm, Bumper Car and Zorbs. For details go to thehopfarm.co.uk

Mete the meerkats at Kent Life, Lock Lane, Maidstone Picture: Sean Aidan
Mete the meerkats at Kent Life, Lock Lane, Maidstone Picture: Sean Aidan

BY THE SEA, KENT LIFE, MAIDSTONE

Look out for the pirates and princesses and dig for treasure or build sandcastles at the farming attraction in Sandling, Maidstone. Until Sunday, September 2, the By the Sea activities will make you feel like you’ve spent a day at the seaside. There will also be shows in the Big Top and visitors can enjoy the usual offering, including cuddle corner, meet the family of meerkats and take a ride on the brightly coloured land train around the farm. Kent Life is open daily from 10am to 6pm with last admission at 5pm. For details call 01622 763936 or visit kentlife.org.uk

LEEDS CASTLE, MAIDSTONE

To celebrate the Maidstone castle’s maze’s 30th birthday, visitors can take the Maze Challenge this month. The challenge, included in normal admission costs, includes tongue twisters and a memory game. To book tickets to visit and take the challenge, visit leeds-castle.com

Leeds Castle's maze is 30. Picture: Pete Seaward
Leeds Castle's maze is 30. Picture: Pete Seaward

MAIZE MAZE, PENSHURST

Try not to get lost in Penshurst Place’s five-acre Maize Maze. You could win a family season ticket by posting a maize selfie with #PenshurstMaizeMaze. Details at penshurstplace.com/whatson

This year the maze has been planted in the shape of a giant clock face. It takes around 40 minutes to complete.

KIDS IN PYRAMIDS, TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Kids can get a glimpse of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with the free experience, Kids in Pyramids, at the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells. The look into the world of the Pharaohs and the pyramids is interactive, with kids dressing up to dig for artefacts; climb on a Sphinx and decipher hidden codes. Suitable for ages five to 12, it is open daily throughout the holidays, with kids getting a personalised certificate to take home. Details at royalvictoriaplace.com

There's free fun to be had at the ancient Egyptian experience at the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre
There's free fun to be had at the ancient Egyptian experience at the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre

SCOTNEY CASTLE, LAMBERHURST

Re-live the adventures that the Victorian Hussey family got up to in their holidays with the summer trail and activities throughout the holidays. On Wednesday mornings there is a wildlife activity where you can tick off one of the 50 Things to do before you’re 11¾ . For all the National Trust summer events in Kent go to nationaltrust.org.uk

CIRCUS DAY, WHITEFRIARS

The Canterbury shopping centre is playing host to Devil Stick Peat and his circus school as part of its Hello Summer campaign on Saturday, August 18 between 9am and 4.30pm. There will be circus performances, character walkabouts throughout the day, plus face painting, circus-themed arts and crafts and live music.

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