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Summer holidays Kent 2019 guide to things to do with the kids across the county

By Angela Cole

The summer holidays are coming... from beaches to rollercoasters and summer trails to mazes, here’s what’s getting things started across Kent from this weekend


Back for the summer is The Beach, which opens on Saturday, July 20, with rides for thrill-seekers, plenty of sand with deck chairs to soak up the sun in and a range of beach-inspired events throughout the summer. They include Punch and Judy shows, puppet shows and bubble making, circus activities, a pirates' treasure hunt, teddy bears' picnic and unicorn and dragon races. Entry to The Beach at Bluewater is £3 for adults and children over three, with tokens for rides to be bought separately. More details can be found here.

The Beach at Bluewater is back for a third year
The Beach at Bluewater is back for a third year

Magician Jamie Raven, who shot to fame on ITV's Britain’s Got Talent, will be staging a magic school at Bluewater shopping centre throughout the summer until Sunday, September 9. The first of its kind, Jamie will perform some 250 performances and a magic school for children and adults to learn tricks of their own. There will also be a magic shop and birthday party experiences. To book tickets and find out more visit jamieraven.co.uk/makingmagic

Magician Jamie Raven will be at Bluewater
Magician Jamie Raven will be at Bluewater


A cone treasure hunt runs daily at the pinetum in Goudhurst until Sunday, September 1. Grab a map from the visitors centre from 9.30am and head off in search of a larch, a pine and a tree called Douglas. Other things to try include the Zog activity trail, which is also on every day, by following the trail through the woods,with the activity pack which costs £3 from the visitors centre. You can also view the Art of Trees outdoor exhibition. Find out more at bedgeburypinetum.org.uk or call 01580 879842.

Follow the Zog trail at Bedgebury this summer Picture: Magic Light
Follow the Zog trail at Bedgebury this summer Picture: Magic Light


Forest Jack's Forest School will stage four-hour sessions of interactive woodland activities for six to 11-year-olds from Monday, July 22 to Wednesday, July 24, and again from Monday, July 29 to Wednesday, July 31. For one day it costs £30, and for two days £55. Find out more at chiddingstonecastle.org.uk or call 01892 870347.


Six weeks of super-charged, summer fun starts at the Margate attraction on Friday, July 19 with its first Roller Coast Festival, which runs until Sunday, September 1. The park will be open every day with themed weeks throughout the holidays. They also include Superheroes Week and Carnival Week which includes a Greatest Showman sing-a-long. The park is free to enter, and guests can pay per ride or buy discounted ride wristbands in advance online. Details at dreamland.co.uk.

Dreamland recently celebrated its 99th birthday
Dreamland recently celebrated its 99th birthday


It’s all about the animals at Kent Life in Maidstone from Wednesday, July 24 to Sunday, September 1. There will be animal shows with lambs, goat kids and an agility course until Monday, July 29. There are Big Top performances throughout the summer including ferret roadshows and clowns. Admission to the site in Lock Lane, Sandling, costs £9.95, £8.25 for three to 15-year-olds while under threes go free. Find out more by calling 01622 763936 or at kentlife.org.uk.

The Big Top hosts a range of shows at Kent Life this summer
The Big Top hosts a range of shows at Kent Life this summer


Take the summer challenge at Penshurst which this year has three different levels - one for little ones, the annual challenge and a competitive sequential maze. The six-acre maze is redesigned every year and this year is a hot air balloon to signify exploration and discovery. The maze will remain open until Sunday, September 1. If you take a selfie around the maze for social media use #PenshurstMaizeMaze you could win a family season ticket. For more details go to penshurstplace.com/whats-on.

The Maize Maze has opened at Penshurst Place for the summer
The Maize Maze has opened at Penshurst Place for the summer


The Knights of Royal England will be staging jousting tournaments at Hever Castle with displays of action, stunts, falls and fights in an authentic arena, complete with a Royal Box featuring Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Bring a blanket or watch the joust in style from the medieval spectator stands, set in the gardens of the 13th century castle. Tournaments run at the castle every weekend throughout the summer until the late August bank holiday weekend, except Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4. Admission is £14.95 for the gardens or £9.40 for five to 17-year-olds.

Knights and Princesses at Hever Castle Picture: Alison Bailey
Knights and Princesses at Hever Castle Picture: Alison Bailey

The summer holiday Knights & Princesses School also returns to the castle on Wednesday, July 24, until Friday, August 30. Kids from seven to 14 can experience what it was like to grow up and serve in medieval times at the castle. Classes last around 40 minutes at intervals in the day and end with a jousting activity. Children are encouraged to come in costume. Details at hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224.


In the 30th anniversary of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s much-loved picture book, the show is at EM Forster Theatre,

Tonbridge on Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 25. Tickets at emftheatre.com

We're Going on a Bear Hunt
We're Going on a Bear Hunt


Leading up to the summer holidays action, when a retro beach arrives on Saturday, July 27, the dockyard is running a Kids for a Quid offer, through until Sunday, September 1. The online offer is for a child's entry at £1 with every full paying adult. And don’t worry if you’ve forgotten your bucket and spade - there will be plenty available for free with any kids’ meal at the restaurant. To find out more and to book go to thedockyard.co.uk


Join Hopper the Rabbit for summer holiday fun, which runs at the park at Beltring, Paddock Wood, from Saturday, July 20 to Sunday, September 1 daily from 10am. Besides the usual attractions there will be visits by children's TV characters including PJ Masks and PAW Patrol on selected days. Find out more by visiting thehopfarm.co.uk



From Saturday, July 20 until Sunday, September 1, there will be a summer family trail, for £2 plus admission costs, from 10am to 4pm daily and Big Tree Climbing on Monday, July 29 and Monday, August 12, between 10am and 5pm with experts fpr £20 per person. There will also be a guided walk and photography courses.


The property will have Themed Thursdays from Thursday, July 25 to Thursday, August 29, between 10am and 4pm. There will be different activities each Thursday to keep little ones entertained, such as family gardening, games through the ages and a family trail.

The National Trust has plenty of activities for families throughout the summer
The National Trust has plenty of activities for families throughout the summer


Learn about Winston Churchill's beautiful butterflies with a trail which runs daily until Sunday, September 1 from 10am to 4pm. The Butterfly Trail costs £1 plus normal admission.


There will be an Ant Trail through the garden and woodland through to Sunday, September 1, between 10am and 4pm. The trail costs £1 plus normal admission.


There will be Wednesday Arts and Crafts from Wednesday, July 24 to Wednesday, August 28 between 2pm and 4pm. Shelter under the cow byre and get creative in the surroundings of the garden with nature-themed arts and crafts for little ones. The crafts are free with normal admission costs.

To find out more about all National Trust activities this summer across Kent go to nationaltrust.org.uk

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

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