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Kent is jam-packed with fabulous days out for families. Take little ones for fun days out at the handful of zoos and animal parks, where alongside meeting the animals and learning about conservation, there are always lots of additional things to do such as kids' activities, play areas and wildlife trails. Farm parks make great days out for toddlers where they can get up close to the animals, while museums and adventure parks are fantastic attractions for families with children of differing ages. There are a whole host of wonderful attractions and things to do in Kent - some attractions are even free of charge.
Check out our selection of places to go in Kent below:
ZOOS AND ANIMAL PARKS
Howletts is a 90-acre wildlife park, home to more than 400 animals, where it’s possible to see endangered and exotic creatures. See tigers, monkeys, elephants and much more in a lovely spacious environment – they are especially famous for their 15 black rhinos. This animal park is real treat for animal fans, while the kids will also love running about in the play area and taking on the treetop challenge. There are many themed events too that happen at the park so be sure to check their website before a visit.
Port Lympne is home to the UK’s original safari park experience, transporting you to the plains of Africa and Asia to some of the best-loved animals roaming freely about the grounds. Among the 700 animals you can meet are the only giraffes in Kent, lions, leopards, bears and primates. After exploring the safari zoo, discover life-sized prehistoric creatures in the Dinosaur Forest, wander over 600 acres of parkland and run wild in the play parks.
WILDWOOD, HERNE BAY, KENT
Come nose to nose with an array of British wildlife at Wildwood – there are more than 200 native animals here including deer, foxes, wolves, wild boar, beavers, badgers and lynx. Toddlers can learn all about some of the smaller animals in the Cute Corner, while the amazing adventure playground caters for young children all the way up to teenagers, split into two different zones and home to Kent’s tallest drop slide.
This former hop farm is now a lively farm park with tons of cuddly animals and fun attractions to have a great time on. With animal talks taking place throughout the day, you can see all your farm favourites as well as llamas and meerkats and even watch some ferret racing! The park also boasts jumping pillows, bumper boats, soft play, a 4D cinema, magic shows and more.
Kent Life has a real working farm, home to sheep, cattle, pigs, donkeys, ducks and more, and an opportunity to find out about rural life over across the decades in the county. There’s an old village with oast houses and farm buildings, and children will love Cuddle Corner where they can encounter young animals. You can also take your kids to the ‘paint a pot’ studio or take a tractor ride around the 28-acre site. There’s a varied programme of events on at the farm so be sure to check their website. In between activities you can enjoy some refreshments at Dotty’s Tea Room.
This 100-acre farm is a great place to visit and offers some animal species you’ll struggle to see elsewhere. Discover birds of prey and creepy crawlies before cheering on your favourite in the pig race and meeting goats, rabbits, ducks and cows in the children’s barn. Swings, hill forts, zipwires and more can all be found in the two play areas and the fun assault course found on site.
CASTLES AND HISTORIC HOUSES
Leeds Castle is a spectacular setting for a family day out, transporting you back in time through the Norman, medieval and Tudor periods. Discover amazing artefacts and lavish interiors, learning about how noblemen once lived in centuries past. Aspiring knights can have run of the Squires’ Court and Knights’ Realm playgrounds, before navigating their way through the tricky maze.
A historic National Trust house found in the medieval town of Sevenoaks, Knole House has many great things to do to enjoy, many of them being free of charge, including the deer park and Visitor Centre, packed with interactive displays. There’s a series of themed trails to follow around the house itself, covering topics such as animals and music, while for younger children there are discovery cubes to play with throughout.
With a special audio tour for children available, it’s easy for kids to learn all about this fascinating 13th century castle. There’s just as much to discover outdoors as there is inside, with the hundred-year-old hedge maze, wooden adventure playground, miniature model village and water maze. For a small extra charge, families can have a go at boating on the lake, shield painting and archery.
AMUSEMENTS AND ADVENTURE PARKS
Image: Andrew H
Great for all kinds of family fun, Dreamland is home to all the classic seaside amusements, from merry-go-rounds to helter-skelters, and so much more. After you’ve indulged in a bit of nostalgia, get your skates on for the roller disco, or head to the Dreamland Ark to meet rabbits, reptiles and more. Over in the Octopus Garden, there’s a giant indoor play zone, as well as a circus tent and an arts and crafts shed to capture your children’s imagination.
Not to be confused with Dreamland, kids and grown-ups can ride and drive real diggers and JCBs of all shapes and sizes. There’s more than 20 great rides for all the family here, from the Spindizzy to the stomach-churning Groundshuttle and the high-up views of the Skyshuttle. Down on the ground, there are the dodgems, go-karts and soft play to let loose on. Diggerland is great for kids both big and small!
Image: Linda Spashett
This underground museum is built around the remains of a Roman town house, complete with intricate mosaics, and offers a glimpse into life in the South East after the Roman invasion. Stroll through the Roman marketplace, have a go at making your own mosaics and try on togas, among other activities, at this family-friendly insight into Roman Britain.
HERITAGE RAILWAYS AND STEAM TRAINS
Enjoy a leisurely trip on board a heritage train through the lovely Kentish countryside with the East Kent railway. At the Shepherdswell station there is also a wonderful woodland walk as well as miniature and model railways to discover. Many fantastic special events are hosted here throughout the year, from the Teddy Bear’s Picnic to the Santa Specials, which are well worth paying a visit for.
Image: Everyman Films
This railway is a small gauge railway that runs 13.5 miles across Romney Marsh between the remote and bewitching Dungeness and the small town of Hythe. It’s a fantastic way to explore the area, and take in the expansive beaches that border the wetlands of Romney Marsh. You can also hop on and off between four stations along the way.
Image: Justin Foulger
The Kent and East Sussex Railway wends its way from Tenterden (the Jewel of the Weald) for 10 miles to Bodiam in East Sussex, where you can hop off and enjoy a trip to the stunning ruins of Bodiam Castle. Explore the area at your leisure, as the railway provide Travelcards which allow you to hop on and off the train all day. A fantastic range of events for kids takes place throughout the year, including Days Out with Thomas, featuring Thomas the Tank Engine, and Fright Night trains for Halloween.
MAP OF ATTRACTIONS
Find all of the fantastic places to visit listed above, as well as our favourite family days out in Sussex, featured in our handy map below and discover where you can go near you!
If our long (and incomplete) list of family-friendly days out and activities have given you enough reasons to have your next break with the little ones in Kent, take a look at our collection of family cottages across Kent perfect for a staycation to remember.
If you're looking for even more fun things to do on your family holiday, we've also put together some fantastic ideas for family days out in neighbouring Sussex.