Published: 07:28, 18 June 2020
| Updated: 08:31, 19 June 2020
Non-essential shops may have reopened, but if shopping isn't on your list, why not bag yourself a visit to some of the other attractions that have now opened up? Here's what's new to do across the county:
Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Reserve
The team at the Aspinall Foundation reopened the doors at Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury, and Port Lympne Reserve, Hythe, this week. Bosses at the animal parks in Bekesbourne and Hythe have put safety measures in place to keep visitors, staff and animals safe, including restricting the numbers of visitors each day. Safaris around the Port Lympne site will also not be running. Other new measures that the parks have brought in include adding a one way system so that people can walk around each park and minimise contact and crossing points with other visitors, closing play areas, adding barriers to create safe distances to vulnerable animals, card only payments and encouraging people to buy pre-booked tickets in advance. For more information about the changes and to pre-book go to aspinallfoundation.org
Wildwood near Herne Bay
The British wildlife site welcomed back visitors this week, with members getting a look at the animals a day ahead of those booking tickets. There will also be some evening visitor sessions on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 6pm and 9pm, for those over the age of 16. There will be a new one way system and a temporary exit, while animal talks will not be taking place, and hand sanitiser will be available around the park, while most inside spaces will stay closed such as the reptile house, badger building, cafe and shop, although take away food and drink will be available. Items from the shop can be bought online but collected during a visit and play areas will still be closed.
To find out more go to wildwoodtrust.org
Wingham Wildlife Park
The park's keepers have been busy posting videos of the animals on social media while the site has been shut but now people will be able to see the animals for real now that the site reopened this week. The site's facilities including gift shop and toilets will all be available but buildings such as the reptile house, tropical house, chimpanzee building and orangutan and giraffe building will be shut for now along with children's play areas. Visitors need to pre-book a date and time slot. To book go to winghamwildlifepark.co.uk
Groombridge Place, near Tunbridge Wells
The site with its 17th century moated manor house, formal gardens and 200 acres of parkland, is planning to reopen its gardens and parts of the estate on Monday, June 22. Check the website for more details nearer the time and pre-book tickets at groombridgeplace.com
The trust has now reopened the estates and gardens at four of its Kent sites, and has added two more to the list this week. Scotney Castle at Lamberhurst and Sissinghurst Castle Gardesn were the first two, followed by Chartwell at Westerham and Knole at Sevenoaks. The gardens, estate and car park at Ightham Mote near Borough Green have reopened this week, and Emmetts Garden at Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, has also reopened. You'll need to book tickets in advance of your visit, and will be turned away if you haven't done so. New tickets and sites are released on Fridays.
Tickets are now on sale to visit Dover Castle, which is one of the first of the charity's landmarks to reopen to paying visitors, from Saturday, July 4. The landmark is one of 45 around the country that is on a list of those the organisation would like to have open next month, with plans to have the remaining sites up and running by August. English Heritage's free to enter sites have already reopened.There will be social distancing and strict hygiene measures. To pre-book your visit click here.
Walmer Castle and Gardens is also opening on Saturday, July 4 and tickets are on sale now. Though the castle itself won't be open, visitors can see the Queen Mother's Garden and the recently opened Glen. Book your ticket by clicking here.
After open air markets reopened, Kent's car boot sales have started to gather again within new safety measures.
Leysdown Car Boot Sale: The Sheppey boot fair opened on Sundays from 7am for the first time since lockdown two weeks ago.The fair has implemented a single file, one-way system for visitors to navigate through and is making sure there is only one row of cars per aisle to create more space.
Farm Boys Sunday Boot Sale: The Gravesend boot sale opened last week and will continue to each Sunday on Fox Hounds Lane in Southfleet from 10am to 11am. The fair has signs up and roped off areas to keep people distanced. It does not have a one-way system but organisers have worked to give people enough space to distance where they need to.