Days out in Kent - 10 of the best places (trust us, kids will love #7)

These days out in Kent are not to be missed, and some are completely free to do

Days out in Kent illustrated by a family walking togeth in a forest with a kid on a man's shoulders
(Image credit: Getty images / Future)

Days out in Kent will be a hit with all the family, trust me. These are some of the best things to do and, I've got you covered for all weather with a mix of indoor and outdoor adventures. 

If like me, you're a relentless researcher - I've lost many an evening to researching the best travel strollersthings to do with toddlers, followed by the best dad jokes - then you'll be glad of this article. I've done the leg work for you. I'm the family editor here on and have lived in Kent for almost 10 years now, so I almost consider myself a local. And, with a five-year-old in tow, I definitely know my way around a country park or two. 

Kent is a big place, famed for being the 'garden of England' and its dramatic white cliffs of Dover. There's so much to do from lush green countryside walks to coastal town sandcastle making, not to mention the historic castles and impressive cathedrals you can roam around. From the city of Canterbury to historic Rochester, Kent is rich in heritage, full of stories from a time gone by. There's no shortage of things to do in Kent.  So take a look at our round-up of 10 of the best days out in Kent.

How to get to Kent: Trains from London Bridge, Charing Cross, London Waterloo East, Victoria, and St Pancras International all connect to Kent, with London St Pancras International operating the High-Speed One service, taking less than 40 minutes from the capital to the heart of the Garden of England. If driving, getting from London to Kent is relatively simple. Once on the M25, if you're coming from the North or East, you will cross the Dartford Bridge (toll charge). Once over the bridge you will be in Kent and can follow the signs for the M2; if you’re coming from the south and west: on joining the M25, continue until you reach the M26 which will connect you with the M20. 

From a trip to a fabulous water park to a zoo adventure, this round-up of affordable places to visit caters to families looking for history, or adventure - there's something for everyone. 

Days out in Kent - 10 of the best places to visit

1. St Andrews Lakes, Medway

Not many people know about Kent's largest aqua park. St Andrews Lakes is excellent for all the family - from ages 2 to 6 years old. It has rock climbing, inflatables, pedalos, kayaks, or paddle boards, or just chill on the 'beach'. It's hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Medway in a village called Halling. The locals call it the Blue Lake. 

Me, my husband, and then four-year-old spent a whole Saturday at St Andrews Lakes, we loved the unique inflatable kid's aqua park - pic below. It was fantastic fun with a splash depth of water, so stress levels were a little lower. Ted couldn't get enough of the built-in slides, rope features, and obstacles - and I loved that it was all soft whenever he lost his footing - no injuries here. It's all designed for the little ones aged from 2-6 years old. Each session is 45 mins in duration - the perfect time for little ones. 

Days out in Kent illustrated by a colourful inflatable in water

(Image credit: St Andrews Lakes)

There is parking at St Andrews Lakes, but expect to take your car to the carwash the next day as a lot of chalk and dust will coat it. These lakes are within an old quarry, and the water is a beautiful blue from the mineral deposits of limestone rocks. 

Average time spent here: 3-6 hours

Information: Opening times: 1 July - 31 August weekdays 10am - 8pm. Weekends 8am - 8pm | Price: Adult tickets from £12, family of 4 in the Aqua Park is £80 | Age suitability: Suitable for all ages, but some add-ons and experiences have age restrictions | Parking: Yes - free, and on-site | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: Yes | Toilet on site: Yes | Dog-friendly: No - guide dogs only  

2. Kent and East Sussex railways

Nestled in the quaint village of Tenterden, you really do feel like you step back in time. This is a great day out that the whole family can enjoy. 

Mum-of-three, Dionne tells us; "Even my teenager liked it, didn't get a full smile, but also no scowls. And I loved the nostalgic feel of it all, I was in awe of the steam train."

Run by a majority of volunteers, they add to the magic of the day as you sit back on the beautifully restored carriages and weave your way through the picturesque countryside. The journey time between Tenterden and Bodiam takes around 50 minutes each way. The route is along the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and follows Rother Valley for much of the journey. If you want to make sure you know what train you're getting, check out their locomotive rota before booking tickets. P.S. It's worth noting that they also run the Santa Special train services for Christmas magic.

Average time spent here: 2 hours

Information: Opening times: Mon - Sun from 1020am from Tenterden and 1135am from Bodiam. Weekends 8am - 8pm | Price: Adult return tickets £24.50, child return £13.50 family of 4 return £63 | Age suitability: Suitable for all ages | Parking: there is no car park at Bodiam station | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: No | Toilet on site: Yes | Dog-friendly: Yes - on leads and off seats  

3. Clip n' climb, Tonbridge

The great thing about here is, no experience is necessary and there are plenty of fun challenges to get stuck into. Bright and colourful climbing walls with a stairway to heaven and a drop slide, suitable for the age of 4 and up. There are also toilets and a cute cafe with cakes and hot drinks.

Dad-of-two, Lee tells us; "I didn't know what to expect but it was great, the boys (who are 10 and 8) were a bit unsure at first but the staff were so reassuring and knowledgeable that they settled in and gave it a go."

If your child is feeling unsure, you can don a high vis and go into the climbing area with them until their confidence builds. And, if it's summer, just remember that your kids will need to wear 'closed toe' shoes such as trainers, to climb.

There are 44 individual and multi-climber walls, there are exciting challenges available for all abilities. Plus a rock effect climbing wall. All sessions are an hour, you will also need to allow additional time for getting your harness fitted plus you will have a safety briefing about how to use the equipment - so probably best to arrive 10-15 minutes before your session starts.

Average time spent here: 1 - 1.5 hours

Information: Opening times: During term time 2pm - 7pm, during school holidays 930am - 630pm | Price: Adult return tickets £24.50, child return £13.50 family of 4 return £63 | Age suitability: From aged 4 | Parking: Yes, and free | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: Yes, great for under 4s. | Toilet on site: Yes | Dog-friendly: Only guide dogs  

4. Howletts Wild Animal Park, Canterbury

With over 390 animals Howletts is set in 90 acres of ancient parkland, with lions and tigers of different species, primates large and small – lemurs, gorillas, giant anteaters, elephants, rhinos and so much more. It really is a full day out with plenty of walking (all push-chair friendly) Free maps are given on entry. Be warned leaving is through the gift shop. You're welcome to take food in as there are picnic tables, and there is also a cafe to buy food at. 

Mum-of-two, Jas tells us; "My top tip for slushy lovers is to buy the £4 slushy that you can refill throughout the day for £2.50 and you can take the bottle back with you next time and get your refills for £2.50.... if you don't lose it, like me."

If your kids fancy it, and you have the budget, there is a Treetop Challenge within the park with high ropes course - this is £7 extra. And, if you time it right you can arrive in time for feeding - check the site for details. 

Also, the park frequently has different kids' characters visiting, especially through summer holidays, Paw Patrol anyone? Check out their Special Guests.

If you're travelling via car and prefer to use a Sat Nav use postcode CT4 5EL.

Average time spent here: 2-4 hours

Information: Opening times: April - Oct 930am - 6pm / November - March 930am - 5pm | Price: Adult tickets from £18.37, child from £15 | Age suitability: All ages| Parking: Yes, and free | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: Yes. | Toilet on site: Yes, at the entrance and throughout the park | Dog-friendly: Only guide dogs  

5. Dockyard Chatham, Chatham

A 400-year-old dockyard is a surprisingly great day out for all the family. The HMS Cavalier allows you to walk all around, taking in the sleeping quarters and toilets on board for the original sailors. You get a real sense of pride (Everything is so well looked after) and history at the Dockyard. Each school holiday something is put on whether it's a Lego exhibition or a Pirate show (also worth noting that the BBC popular drama Call the Midwife is filmed here so fans can book a set tour).

Mum-of-two, Sam tells us; "This was a lovely day out the cafe is so cute, took a while to persuade my two to leave it for the ships and submarines!"

The best thing is there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained, both indoors and outdoors, so a great day out regardless of the weather. If driving to the Dockyard, use ME4 4TY for satnav.

Average time spent here: 3 hours

Information: Opening times: 10am - 4pm daily | Price: Adult tickets online £25, child online £15, under 4 goes free | Age suitability: All ages| Parking: Yes, and free | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: Yes, soft play | Toilet on site: Yes | Dog-friendly: Only guide dogs  

6. Betteshanger Park, Deal

Betteshanger Park, originally an old coal spoil heap, is now 250 acres of beautiful regenerated parkland, packed with activities, walks, and wildlife.

Tucked away in the Kentish countryside you and your family can explore the area on foot with a spot of orienteering or along cycle tracks with a hired bike (or your own!). On your way keep an eye out for the local wildlife, and enjoy the gorgeous woodlands and views. You could take some time to build a den, attempt the obstacle course, visit the play area, or even take in a screening at the open-air cinema. Plus they always have events on, such as Bluey visiting! Check out their site for more details. 

Be sure to introduce yourself to some of the more ancient elements of the park by going fossil hunting. You can also enjoy wildlife walks and cycle trails.

Mum-of-one, Jen raved about Betteshanger Park to us; "Not only did it keep my five-year-old mesmerised all day, but the Lamp Room was amazing, not your usual park cafe that's for sure - the chic decor made me forget I was a mum-in-a-rain-coat for two minutes. I felt like I was in a London bar."

Average time spent here: 3 hours

Information: Opening times: 8am - 5pm | Price: Free | Age suitability: All ages| Parking: Yes, £5 | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: Yes. | Toilet on site: Yes, at the entrance and throughout the park | Dog-friendly: Yes, but on a lead at all times  

7. Diggerland, Rochester

Diggerland is so simple, it's basically a construction-inspired - and award-winning - theme park where the adults can have almost as much fun as the kids driving and operating a range of different diggers. Be warned though as Dad, Lee tells us; "Diggerland is full of coin-operated rides, be prepared to bring all the change or be pestered to death." There are 20 different rides in total, plus an outdoor Little Tikes play area for under 5s.

Days out in Kent illustrated by yellow digger train with peole on

(Image credit: Diggerland)

Worth noting that you will get dirty here, whether dry or wet, it's muddy and dusty and great fun. Make a note of your child's height before you get there - all the rides ask for height before allowing entrance. You can also bring a picnic if you like but there is a cafe on site that sells food too.

Average time spent there: 3-4 hours

Don't miss; 

Information: Opening times: 10am - 5pm throughout school summer holidays Other dates check the site out | Price: Adult and child tickets from £25.95, children under 100cm free | Age suitability: All ages, ut best for aged 4-14 years old| Parking: Yes, and free. Plus EV charging points | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: Yes. | Toilet on site: Yes, at the entrance and throughout the park | Dog-friendly: Only guide dogs  

8. Quex Adventure Farm Park, Birchington

Whether you want the farm, Pygmy playtime, goat feeding, bounding, playing, or getting lost in a maze Quex Adventure Farm Park has it all. With cafes on site and picnic tables, it's up to you how you enjoy lunch.

Mum-of-one, Kira tells us; "Really lovely day out. We enjoyed all of the activities but really loved the pirate boot camp and the tractor ride. All of the staff were really lovely and went out of their way to make sure everyone was okay."

Quex Park offers more than just a playpark there's archery and paintballing, mini golf, and mazes. For some of the activities no booking is needed, for others, you need to book ahead of time. Check the site for more details. 

Average time spent here: 2-4 hours

Information: Opening times: 10am - 5pm throughout school summer holidays Other dates check the site out | Price: Range of free and paid for | Age suitability: All ages | Parking: Yes, and free. | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: Yes. | Toilet on site: Yes, at the entrance and throughout the park | Dog-friendly: Yes, on a lead 

9.Frampton Farm, Dover

Frampton is a small family-based working 26-acre small holding between Dover & Folkestone in Kent. When you visit you can help the farmers with their morning feed and animal care routine. Feed the Alpacas, Chickens, Ducks, Goats, Sheep & Pigs.

Their aim is to keep the farm as natural as possible and they don't cater for large numbers of visitors. The maximum number of people visiting at any one time will be 8 and they encourage small family/friend group private bookings.

Mum-of-four Victoria tells us; "I love that this is small, not too many people. My youngest gets overwhelmed easily with lots of people, so the small groups worked brilliantly for us."

Keeping it small means you get a great opportunity to see all the farm animals in their natural setting on the farm, to learn how they're cared for, and what their needs are. A fun and educational visit all in one.

Average time spent here: 1-2 hours

Information: Opening times: Mon - Sun 9am - 4pm | Price: Adult tickets £30, child £15 | Age suitability: Suitable for all ages | Parking: Yes, free | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: No | Toilet on site: Yes | Dog-friendly: No

10. Mote Park, Maidstone

Mote Park, in Maidstone, is a great place for a fun family day out – the 450-acre site is enormous. This one comes into both the free and affordable camp – you can spend barely a penny here, or book some of the paid activities available. 

The play park has a range of equipment for little and older children, some of the activities are short at 20 minutes in duration, but an hour on the sky trail for under a tenner is great value. 

The crazy golf is basic, mum-of-two, Jasmine tells us; "It's not too fancy but cheap and cheerful for younger kids." The park also has a 30-acre lake with lots of activities including sailing, boating, diving, rowing, windsurfing, and swimming. You can also hire a pedalo swan to explore the islands, reeds, and trees with the kids. And while there is a cafe serving hot drinks and food, you can take a picnic along as there are lots of picnic tables dotted about. 

Average time spent here: 2-5 hours

Information: Opening times: 8am - 10am | Price: Free for the park, activities range | Age suitability: Suitable for all ages | Parking: Yes, £2 for 6 hours | Disabled access: Yes | Children’s play area: No | Toilet on site: Yes | Dog-friendly: Yes

Still looking for inspirational days out? Take a look at how to bag yourself free National Trust tickets or maybe venture a little further than Kent with these epic days out in the South East take a look and check if you can save £25 on family days out with this simple summer hack.

Stephanie Lowe
Family Editor

Stephanie Lowe is Family Editor at GoodToKnow covering all things parenting, pregnancy and more. She has over 13 years' experience as a digital journalist with a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to all things family and lifestyle. Stephanie lives in Kent with her husband and son, Ted. Just keeping on top of school emails/fund raisers/non-uniform days/packed lunches is her second full time job.