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Family Cycle Trails

Family Cycle Trails

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest

May Half Term

The May half term is almost here. Are you wondering what to do with the kids during the school holiday?

Look no further. Help is at hand, we’ve come up with some ideas for things to do around Tunbridge Wells over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

The Best of Tunbridge Wells Life is Free 

Explore the green spaces on the doorstep.  Dunorlan Park, with its large lake, is a green and tranquil oasis, and we think, one of the best places to spend a lazy afternoon near Royal Tunbridge Wells.

While you relax and unwind, the natural play area will keep the kids occupied as they explore and play creating their own amusements.

Hilbert and Grosvenor Park is a family favourite, for its large children’s playground, pond, dripping wells and nature reserve together with the kick-around area.

The Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons are the place for free-wheeling fun and adventure. Explore the various trails on the Tunbridge Wells Common; look out for the birds and wildlife. 

There is something to discover around every corner. What will you find? At 256 acres there is a mass of space, all ready to be fully explored.

This is the ideal time of year to discover our wonderful woodlands.

This month sees an explosion of wild flowers and birdsong.

Create your own adventure in these wild playgrounds, full of mystery and enchantment and plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities.

To help families enjoy and learn about the ancient woodlands the Woodland Trust has free downloads and inspirational ideas to keep the kids occupied.

Adventures in the great outdoors

With so much stunning countryside on the doorstep, the milder weather and longer days, the whole family can get outdoors and get active.

Since it is the National Month of Walking in May, you have ample opportunity here to get into the sport of walking.

The miles of footpaths offer a chance to learn new, or brush up your existing, navigation skills, so grab a map and embark on an exciting adventure!

The Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk is a 27.5 mile long walk which shows you a handful of our most celebrated features, like the Rocks. 

Of course, you can do as much or as little as you like but why not take up the challenge of completing it over a few days? Find accommodation nearby.

Winnie the Pooh and his friends are waiting to be discovered in the Ashdown Forest.

As Pooh said when you put on your Big Boots, an Adventure is bound to follow (A.A. Milne).

Can you find the sites of Pooh’s great adventures in this Year of Literary Authors? First published in 1926, this is the setting for the real Pooh stories.

The Pooh walks are just right for younger children. Be sure to leave time for a game of Pooh Sticks on the famous bridge. See if you can locate the Enchanted Place and Roo’s Sandy Pit. 

The Ashdown Forest is a wide open heathland and woodland for fun, walks and picnics. When the weather's good, there's no better way to spend the day than with a picnic amongst your family and friends.

Winnie the Pooh remarked that it’s fun to talk about lunch (A.A. Milne). Visit the Farmers Market on Saturday 27th May and pick up some fresh locally produced goodies for a delicious picnic.

For those who enjoy cycling, the Forest Way Country Park offers off-road cycling for the family with stunning views of the countryside.

The Forest Way runs along an old railway line and it is an important habitat for wildlife as a 'green corridor'.

For a retreat from the hustle and bustle of life, head out and explore the Bewl Water Country Park, under new management, with its spectacular panoramic views across the water.

Why not try the new tourist train or boat cruise if you don’t want to walk or cycle around Bewl? If you are feeling active, cycle or walk the 12½ mile trail around the lake.

Alternatively, take to your bike to appreciate the scenery at Bedgebury Forest.

With its family friendly cycle routes for all abilities, it’s a fantastic place to spend the day.  The Adventure Play area provides an exciting journey of exploration for the younger kids, replicating some of the ordeals faced by the plant-hunters throughout history.

Attractions Around the Borough of Tunbridge Wells

You can take a ride on a heritage diesel or steam train to get out of town for a spring walk in the beautiful Wealden countryside. Pick up one of the footpaths at High Rocks or Groombridge village.

The Spa Valley Railway travels through the stunning High Weald countryside and is easily accessible for all.

Check their handy web calendar for the timetable over the bank holiday weekend and half term week. On Saturday and Sunday departures leaving Tunbridge Wells West are at 10:30am, 11:55am, 1:20pm, 2:45pm and 4:10pm.

Kids travel for a quid and buggies, bicycles and dogs are all welcome free of charge!

Also on Saturday 27 May, you can go for an upmarket afternoon tea aboard the 2.45pm 1960s diesel locomotive from Tunbridge Wells West, and return by steam!

On the Bank Holiday Monday, watch out for cute children’s characters from CBeebies, Bing & Flop!

At Penshurst Place and Gardens learn about the native wildlife that is all around us in our gardens and countryside. Follow the garden trail and find out more about our indigenous creatures and how to encourage them into your garden.

During the Spring Bank Holiday weekend of 28th and 29th May, a special event is on – The Beasts Roadshow. Go all David Attenborough and cuddle a cockroach!

For relaxation go to Pashley Manor Gardens. These restful gardens with sweeping vistas, formal walled gardens and winding woodland paths are the ideal peaceful country stroll.

Don’t miss the exhibition of exquisite sculpture in the gardens, most pieces are available to buy. In addition, for the eight days of the Sculpture in Particular exhibition, the wood panelled Great Hall of the House, which is not usually open to visitors, will host a display of smaller pieces of sculpture.

The Alfresco Festival is a relatively new event for Tunbridge Wells returning for its second year. Be prepared for a family friendly weekend of fantastic fun!

The Colebrook Lakes is the pretty country setting for a full Spring Bank holiday weekend of music, entertainment, camping, yoga, creative re-cycling and graffiti art, not to mention a roller disco!

Give the kids a day to remember with hours of fun playing in the Enchanted Forest at Groombridge Place.  It’s a magical world of mystery and intrigue with giant tree swings, a raised board walk with zip wires and rope swings, wooden bridges, a maze and Crusoe’s World with its recreated pirate ship.

The special event for the half term week is Pirates & Mermaids from 10am - 5:30pm.

If you love cricket, then come along to the Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival at the famous Nevill Ground.  See Kent beat Sussex at the County Championships - maybe!

Rainy Day options in Tunbridge Wells

If the holiday weather is less than perfect Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery has it covered with Holiday Happenings – arts, crafts and a trail. Free for the family on 30th and 31st May –10.30am and 2pm for 2 hours each time. Just drop in!

‘Rare Skills’ is the exhibition of the week at Trinity Theatre, an old gothic revivalist church building. Admire “uplifting” paintings and drawings that represent local landscape, history and culture in all kinds of media – traditional and modern.

For budding creatives, Trinity Theatre often holds masterclasses for slightly older children.

This year, create your own audio adventure by making a radio show for ages 11-16 on 30 May. 

Design, create and perform with your own puppet for 7 – 11 year olds from Wednesday to Friday during half term. These are so popular, so do book quickly.

There is plenty more on too: an NT screening, films and Cake Decorating for families.

If you want to sit back and be entertained, the Assembly Hall Theatre presents spectacular entertainment.

On 30th May and 3 June, ‘Remembering Fred’ and the Counterfeit Stones respectively proffer evenings of toe-tapping music and song classics made famous by Fred Astaire and The Rolling Stones. You’ll be dancing in the aisles, or should that be in the streets?!

Comedy nights are on too with Count Arthur Strong and Al Murray. Be sure to visit our What’s On page for details of all these and many other events taking place during your holiday.

We have beautiful and accredited accommodation whether it's bed and breakfast, hotel or self-catering to suit all budgets and all family sizes including dogs.

For more inspiration, see our Be Inspired menu and the Festivals page as well.

External links

Woodland Trust

The Forest Way Cycle Route

Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk on Explore Kent 

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