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Leap year: Ideas for how to make the extra day on February 29 count in Kent

Once every four years, we get a whole extra day to enjoy on February 29.

You could either follow a normal Saturday routine of lazing in front of the telly and popping to the pub or make the most of having an additional 24 hours to play with. Here are some ideas for ways to make this leap day a memorable one in Kent.

Jump on a quadbike at Outdoor Pursuits in Sittingbourne
Jump on a quadbike at Outdoor Pursuits in Sittingbourne

Zorbing, quad biking or hovercrafting

Whizz down a hill at almighty speeds in a huge, bouncy zorb ball and try not to scream as the grass and sky blur into one in this unique experience. Don't worry though, you'll be strapped in tight. If you want to share the thrill, you can go in shared zorb ball, face to face with your pal, so all exhiliaration will be visable. Zorbing at Outdoor Pursuits in Sittinbourne starts at £50 per person.

You can also jump on a quad bike at the centre, and go for a ride through the fields. Pulses will be racing as you drive through chicanes and round hairpin bends in the time trials on a powerful 150cc machine. Supervised by an instructors and led through acres of woodland, you will encounter many differing types of terrain, calling on high levels of concentration to get you through the course. Prices begin at £40 per person for an hour-long session.

Get your adrenaline pumping in a zorb ball at Outdoor Pursuits
Get your adrenaline pumping in a zorb ball at Outdoor Pursuits

The Wormdale Farm site is also home to several state-of-the-art hovercrafts - both for land and water. Flying Fish Snapper hovercraft is easy to drive, but fast enough for experienced thrill seekers. First, you will be on the ground and learn how to control the Flying Fish, before getting the option tot test your new skills on mud and water. Prices start at £80 per person. Duration of the session depends on how many people are involved.

Book any of these experiences at outdoorpursuits.com.

Abseiling and rock climbing

Conquer your fear of heights and abseil down a tower. The abseil tower experience will see you lower yourself on a rope down a 27-foot structure, using your feet to keep your balance. Just remember not to look down and you'll be fine. Anyone aged seven of above can have a go, and you will be fully supervised by a qualified instructor while you descend. You can have as many goes as you want within the allotted hour for £23 each, at Harrison Rocks in Birchden Woods, Tunbridge Wells.

Conquer your fears at the Climbing Experience in Maidstone
Conquer your fears at the Climbing Experience in Maidstone

For those who think they may enjoy the climb up more than the climb down, you can also head to Maidstone's Climbing Experience. Try your hand at bouldering, where you climb a set route of holds up a specially designed wall. You don't need a harness or any equipment - the heightest point is 4.5m and mats provide a soft landing in case you fall. Or, if you'd prefer to be harnessed up, you can climb the fun wall - a share face which provides a brilliant introduction to the sport. Prices begin at £12.50. Book at climbingexperience.co.uk.

Animal encounters: Meet rhinos, gorillas and lemurs

Come face to face with a ginormous rhino or feed lemurs by hand with an animal experience at Howletts or Port Lympne.

Depending on the animal, you could get to feed, go behind the scenes of the enclosures and learn amazing facts during a unique insight into the lives of these incredible creatures.At Howletts near Canterbury, you have the option of meeting giant anteaters, honey badgers, lemurs, rhinos and tigers for £75 each. Or head to Port Lympne in Hythe, encounter giraffes for £75 or meet the small cats which live at the zoo for £100. This does not include park entry.

Come face to face with a lemur at Howletts
Come face to face with a lemur at Howletts

The group experience lasts for 30 minutes and will bring you face to face with some of the most iconic and endangered animals on the planet. The expert keepers will share their knowledge as you marvel at the zoo's inhabitants and immerse yourself in the wild world. Book at aspinallfoundation.org.

Take a day trip to Paris

Although Kent has lots to offer, you may want to spread your wings and travel a little further afar.

Ashford International and Ebsfleet International offer direct links to the romantic city of Paris in just two hours from £49.50 each way. Perhaps you could zip over for an authentic lunch of garlic mussels or Camembert and fresh baguette overlooking the Eiffel Tower or head to one of the stylish basement jazz bars for some authentic live music? Either way, you can head off in the morning and be back in time for work the next morning. Book at eurostar.com.

Hop on the Eurostar for a quick trip to Paris
Hop on the Eurostar for a quick trip to Paris

Hop on board for a ferry ride

Boat trips during the winter months in England are quite hard to come by but you can still stretch your sea legs with a trip on the ferry from Tilbury to Gravesend. Jump on board at Tilbury Riverside pontoon and head out across the River Thames and hold on tight to the railings and feel the wind rush through your hair as the boat bobs along until you reach the Gravesend Town Pier. An adult return during peak times is £5 or £2.50 for children, and can be purchased on board.

There are plenty of ferry crossings throughout the day
There are plenty of ferry crossings throughout the day

Go on a hack in the countryside

If you've always fancied horse riding, this extra day could be the time to start. Head out on a hack in the stunning Kentish countryside. The horses at Bursted Manor Riding Centre near Canterbury are willing and well-mannered, meaning beginners can feel assured their experience will be steady and calm for most.

Go on a hack with Bursted Manor Riding Centre (picture taken in different location)
Go on a hack with Bursted Manor Riding Centre (picture taken in different location)

The hack will take you through woodland, bridleways and wild fields.

The taster trek is for those with little or no previous experience - but you'll still get to not only walk and trot your new four-legged friend but may even get the chance to have a little canter.A one-hour hack costs £36. To book, call 01227 830568.

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.


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