Published: 14:05, 03 June 2020
| Updated: 11:16, 05 June 2020
As restrictions start to ease, and venues begin to reopen, are you thinking of getting out with your loved ones this weekend?
We've put together a guide to some of the things you could be doing...
1 Visit a country park: After car parks at Kent County Council-run sites reopened last week, others have reopened, including the 250-acre Betteshanger Country Park near Deal, which opened to visitors again on Monday. With its acres of cycling and walking space, and fresh air, there should be room for plenty to step out safely. Details at betteshanger-park.co.uk
2 Head to one of English Heritage's free to enter sites: English Heritage is planning to reopen some of its staffed sites from early July, but some of its free to enter sites are already open. They include Kits Coty House and Little Kit’s Coty House, the remains of two megalithic ‘dolmen’ burial chambers; Faversham Stone Chapel; Reculver Towers and Roman Fort; the Knights Templar Church in Dover; St Leonard’s tower; Sutton Valence Castle, near Maidstone, and St Augustine’s Conduit House, near Canterbury. Details of the sites are at english-heritage.org.uk
3 Walk around a reservoir: The 800-acre Bewl Water site at Lamberhurst has reopened to visitors, with its aqua park scheduled to reopen from Friday June 19. Find out more here.
4 Buy some local goodies: Kent Farmers’ Markets are working on ways to reopen with space to social distance. This Saturday, June 6, there is a market at Egerton from 2pm to 4,30pm and on Sunday there are markets at Sevenoaks from 9am to 4pm and Wye from 9am to noon. Find out more at kfma.org.uk
5 Stroll in a garden: Gardens have also started to open. Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge, reopened its gardens to pre-booked ticket holders from Tuesday this week while Hever Castle reopened its 125 acres of grounds and gardens this week, to pre-booked and timed tickets. Some open-air attractions including the water maze and play areas will follow soon. Details at penshurstplace.com and hevercastle.co.uk. Hole Park at Rolvenden opened last month while Great Comp Garden at Borough Green is now open to season ticket holders. Find out more at holepark.com and greatcompgarden.co.uk
Other sites have also taken the tentative steps towards opening. They include:
Forestry England which has now reopened its car parks at both Bedgebury Pinetum in Goudhurst and Jeskyns community woodland near Gravesend.
Gravesend Borough Market reopens on Saturday, June 6 between 10am and 2pm, and is for food only.
Maidstone Market at Lockmeadow will reopen next week, on Saturday, June 13 and will be held in the outdoor Market Square and the covered car park area so there is more room for social distancing. The market will open twice a week - Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7am.
The National Trust has begun to reopen some of its sites with limited pre-booked tickets, Find out more here.
Families searching for something different to enjoy this summer could set sail on Kent's waterways as companies offering canoe or kayak hire reopen for business.
Among those welcoming visitors back after restrictions were eased this week are Seapoint Canoe Centre in Hythe; River Medway Canoes and East Kent Canoe Wild in Canterbury.
The news that the county is starting to reopen its attractions safely has been welcomed by Visit Kent. Chief executive Deirdre Wells said: “Following updated guidance from the government, we know that our Kent residents and nearby visitors will be keen to get outside and blow away the cobwebs.
“Our number one priority right now is ensuring that people are able to enjoy our glorious county in a safe and responsible way; looking after ourselves, one another, and the landscape around us.
“With over 3,700 km², encompassing winding footpaths, stunning coastal views, and exciting cycle trails, there’s more than enough Kent to go around, and we hope that over the coming weeks, as the country starts to make tentative steps towards reopening, people will enjoy getting off the beaten track and seeking out some new favourites away from the crowds.”
More by this authorAngela Cole