Published: 00:01, 13 August 2016
| Updated: 16:11, 09 October 2019
School’s out and summer’s here! Here’s our guide to some of the fun you can look forward to throughout the long summer holidays across Kent
The McArthurGlenDesigner Outlet has a host of fun and games planned for the summer holidays. From Thursday, August 4 to Saturday, August 6, there will be Nike sports days where the Nike Training Club and the Nike Running Club will run high-intensity classes and from Monday, August 8 to Friday, August 12 there will be a summer party with Hamley's between 10am and 5pm, with storytime, a teddy bear's picnic and a fancy dress parade. Kent Life will be at the site doing arts and crafts on Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 and Peppa Pig and her brother George will be meeting youngsters in the food court on Wednesday, August 31.
Besides the shopping, there’s plenty to get a kick out of at Bluewater. The world’s first indoor football theme park is open until Monday, August 22. There are 15 challenges to tackle, including foot darts, street foot golf and powerball, plus a chance to win a £1,000 Bluewater gift card.
There’s also an improved nature trail, where kids can pick up a leaflet and follow the footprints from outside Zizzi to discover the lakes and parkland outside. When they’ve completed the trail, hand the sheet to the red concierge desk for a special gift from Sidney, Bluewater’s resident squirrel.
Children can make their own pizzas from scratch on Mondays August 8, 15 and 22 and then eat them for their lunch, at a workshop costing £15 per child. Tuesdays will see den building on August 9, 16 and 23, at £10 per child. Wednesdays will be days for upcycling on August 10, 17 and 24, for £20 per child and Thursdays will be cake baking on August 11, 18 and 25 for £15 per child. Fridays are reserved for pond dipping in a grassy glade and searching for mini beasts on August 12, 19 and 26, for £10 per child. To book a place call 01732 463255 or email BeckyB@boreplace.org, or visit boreplace.org for more details.
The Canterbury Tales Medieval Story Garden is new for this summer and features a bevy of medieval characters plus maypole dancing, a knights’ school, and the chance to experience the art of alchemy and storytelling. Catch a story every day throughout August until Wednesday, August 31. For details visit canterburytales.org.uk
There’s plenty of adventures to be had at the dockyard this summer – and they’re free for kids.
One child for every full paying adult goes free during the summer holidays. They can check out the three playgrounds, two historic battleships, a submarine and the film set.
Also open for the summer will be Dockyard Explorers, for ages six and older. Just pick up the free booklet and let the Captain’s Cat show you the ropes. There are fun missions and fun facts to find out about.
From Monday, August 1, until Sunday, September 4, ages four and up can join Doc Yard’s Time Travelling Techsplorers where young visitors travel back in time to learn about the dockyard’s history and try hands-on family science experiments. For more details, visit thedockyard.co.uk
This summer’s reading challenge for youngsters celebrates some of Roald Dahl’s best-loved stories. Children can join the Big Friendly Read at any Kent library and get a free collector’s folder to keep their special cards in. They feature Quentin Blake illustrations from some of Dahl’s stories, and there are six to collect, including The BFG, which is also out in cinemas. For details go to bigfriendlyread.org.uk
Six weeks of fun on the farm start with a fortnight of nature trails and animal activities.
The attraction just off the M20, near Maidstone, is open daily, but special events include a chance to meet the Gruffalo and hear his story on Sunday, July 31.
Between Monday, August 8, and Sunday, August 21, there will be craft activities with the Creative Crafters in the Paint a Pot Studio. From Monday, August 22, until Sunday, September 4, there’s a summer holiday camp with Punch and Judy and traditional games, while on Bank Holiday Monday there will be the park’s first ice cream festival. For events, prices and times, call 01622 763936 or visit kentlife.org.uk
Live the high life this summer holidays with a trip to Go Ape. Children as young as six can release their inner Tarzan with a junior route and older children can fly through the sky on a zip wire or try a Tree Top Adventure. For details visit goape.co.uk/
Enjoy some medieval merriment at the castle at weekends throughout the summer.
Jousting tournaments feature men at arms dressed in period costume and battling it out medieval style.
Youngsters can also learn about medieval weapons and dress up in fabric costumes, as well as discover how to put on a suit of armour.
The jousting tournaments will be at weekends throughout the summer. Round off the day with shield painting and have a go at archery.
For details, times and admission prices, call 01732 865224 or visit hevercastle.co.uk
Until Sunday, August 21, there will be free kids’ activities at the Medway centre each day from 11am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm. Suitable for all ages, with parents’ supervision, events will be inside the centre, outside Pandora and Thomson. They include treasure hunts on Monday, August 8, and between Friday, August 12 and Sunday, August 14, balloon modelling from Tuesday, August 9 to Thursday, August 11, cupcake and cookie decorating from Monday, August 15 to Wednesday, August 17 and art and crafts between Thursday, August 18 and Sunday, August 21. For details of all events, visit hempsteadvalley.com or like on Facebook at facebook.com/HempsteadValley.
From Monday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 31, Groombridge Place presents: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, transforming the attraction near Tunbridge Wells into the world of J.M. Barrie’s well-loved book.
The historical gardens and estate, well known for its large enchanted forest, will have popular characters from the story performing, with plays including Bed Time At The Darcy’s, a 15 minute interactive performance; Hook’s Hideout, also 15 minutes and Pan’s Journey To Neverland, a 45 minute spectacle. Young visitors can also join in at Tiger Lily and The Crocodile’s workshop and sing, dance and play and meet the characters who will be wandering the grounds throughout the day, as well as get their face painted or take a boat ride up the canal. For details go to groombridgeplace.com
Follow a Winnie the Pooh trail around the gardens and woodland of Winston Churchill’s former home throughout the summer, using a self-led family trail to help Pooh find some bees for his honey. Daily from 10am and 4pm until Sunday, September 4, it costs £1 per trail. For details, visit nationaltrust.org.uk
Themed Thursdays will feature Victorian day and a teddy bears’ picnic throughout the summer holidays until Sunday, September 4. Running between 10am and 4.30pm, you can also try quizzes or kids can go wild in a natural play area. For details and admission prices visit nationaltrust.org.uk
The National Trust stately home will stage Family Mondays throughout the summer with different crafts each week. Activities include crests and crowns, wool and weaving plus deer and animal tracks. Running between 11am and 3pm each Monday until Monday, August 22, the events are free but donations are welcome.
Almost hidden away in Sevenoaks town centre, the house at Knole is surrounded by a medieval deer park that is perfect for a family summertime stroll or a long, lazy picnic.
Children love watching the deer run wild and it is a safe place for them to use their scooters, learn to ride their bikes or have a kickabout.
Have your own adventure every day at Scotney, near Lamberhurst. Families can build a den in a wilderness camp, explore the discovery room or follow a trail around the house. You can also join a wildlife hunt on Wednesdays. Events run daily from 10am to 4pm until Sunday, September 4. For details, go to nationaltrust.org.uk
Join Hopper the Rabbit and friends for family fun throughout the holidays until Sunday, September 4. There will be some special visits on selected days, including Peppa Pig and her brother George on Wednesday, August 3 and PAW Patrol's Chase & Marshall on Wednesday, August 17, Ben and Holly will also be there on Wednesday, August 31. While at the site you can visit the Magic Castle, 4D cinema and Hopper's Animal World. For details of everything on offer visit thehopfarm.co.uk
With indoor and outdoor play areas, sandpits and rides galore, the attraction just off the M2 at Strood has fun including dodgems and go-karts. Get to grips with a real JCB or take a head-reeling turn on Spindizzy. Aimed at four to 14-year-olds, there are also picnic tables around the site and a goodie store to search for souvenirs to take home.
For details and admission prices, visit diggerland.com
Enjoy a day out with Thomas at the Tenterden station when the friendly engine brings some of his friends along to delight youngsters.
Trains will be hauled by Thomas throughout the day and you can also meet Rusty and Dusty, Sir Topham Hatt’s mischievous sidekicks. There will also be balloon modelling and magic shows. Children will get a goody bag on arrival and a Day Out with Thomas certificate.
Thomas days will be on Sunday, July 24 and Monday, July 25. For details of ticket prices, train times and other events through the summer, go to dayoutwiththomas.co.uk or call 01580 765155.
There’s eight weeks of summer fun for youngsters of all ages at the castle, near Maidstone, between now and Saturday, September 3.
Summertime, which launched with the classical concert earlier this month, brings adventure, music and open-air cinema to the castle which was once the home of Catherine of Aragon.
There’s also a maze challenge to tackle between Monday, August 15 and Friday, August 19. Other events through the summer include open-air theatre and opera. For details of all the events, prices and times, visit leeds-castle.com
There will be a seaside themed weekend to start the summer off at the Sittingbourne shopping centre on Saturday, July 30, when you can see a Punch and Judy magic show, join a free sun catcher workshop and candy floss stand between 11am and 4pm.
On Saturday, August 6 from 11am the centre will be teaming up with Demelza Hospice Care for Children for a kids’ sports day with fun mini challenges, plus a free headdress making workshop to start the celebrations for the 2016 Games in Rio. Saturday, August 13, will be Superhero Saturday with young visitors able to meet two special superheroes and dress in fancy dress. For details of events go to theforumsc.co.uk
Head for some fun by the seaside at the amusement park, which is now free to enter. Apart from the classic rides, including the scenic railway and dodgems, there are events for younger visitors, including a Big Fish Little Fish family rave on Saturday, August 6, at 2pm and 4pm, and a dance session with the Ragroof Players, Happy Feet, on Sunday, August 7, at 6pm and 9pm.
For details of events and costs, visit dreamland.co.uk
Upcycling and recycling is the subject of the summer-long exhibition Treasures from Trash.
Running at the museum in St Faiths Street until Saturday, September 10 you can see personal objects, toys and games which have all been made from salvaged materials. A chance to contemplate what you upcycle when you get home, and to try some hands-on activities on offer. For details go to museum.maidstone.gov.uk