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Summer holiday activities

Summer holiday activities

David Hogkinson

Summer Holidays

The long, lazy days of summer are here and the school summer holidays have arrived. Weeks and weeks of glorious fun stretch ahead and doing nothing is not an option.

If you are looking for some inspiration, look no further! Tunbridge Wells has some of the best summer holiday ideas to get you started for all the family.

Budget Friendly Staycation Fun

Discover the parks, the Common and woodlands around Tunbridge Wells. These wonderful green spaces cost nothing and will keep you occupied for hours.

Pack a picnic and head to the Common where you can burn off lots of energy whilst enjoying the greenery and fresh air.

Or how about a nature trail where you can look for birds, butterflies and bugs? If you look very hard you may even spot a grass snake. And don’t forget the ponds which are home to frogs, toads and newts.

Alternatively, make up some wacky contests such as wheelbarrow races, 3 legged races, or boules. What about a game of hide and seek? Or simply take a book and relax.

Discover the ducks, geese and swans on a stroll around the lake shore in Dunorlan Park, an oasis for wildlife and people. The café is lovely for relaxing, and kids under 12 years old will love the natural play area and dipping pond. If you fancy messing about on the water there are boats available to hire too.

Many of the parks have fantastic children’s play areas and sports facilities from tennis courts and football pitches to the wheeled sports area in Grosvenor and Hilbert Recreation Grounds. They are great places for the whole family to practice their athletic skills.

Buy a discount pass to the Wonders of the Weald and save money. Freebies and discounts are available at the following attractions in the stunning Wealden countryside: 

Scotney Castle, Kent & East Sussex Railway, Hole Park Gardens, Groombridge Place, Chiddingstone Castle & Gardens and Biddenden Vineyards.

Family  Walk in Tudeley Woods by David Hodgkinson
Photo: Family Walk in Tudeley Woods by David Hodgkinson

Walk the walk

For those sunny days when you really want to be in the big, wide outdoors, there is plenty of things to do - whether you want to stay close to home or go further afield.

There’s a lot to be said for fresh air and exercise and Tunbridge Wells is well designed for it with 69% of the Borough designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!

From strolls on the Common and around the parks, town walks and heritage trails, longer rambles and hikes to High Rocks or Groombridge and on to the Tunbridge Wells Circular, we have it all. It’s hard to work out what to do next!

Adventures in the Big Outdoors

All across the Borough you can find a range of outdoor activities where children and adults can learn new skills and have lots of fun.

On 2 July, croquet is on the lawn at Penshurst Place. Take up a mallet and have fun learning this noble French sport in an aristocratic backdrop.

Could your children survive in the woods?  Let them escape into the wild and learn a range of survival and camping skills while having fun, shelter-building, and wilderness cookery, orienteering, roped tree-climbing and a swim in the private lake in the grounds at Penshurst Place’s Bushcraft Overnight Summer Camps before falling asleep under the stars in a traditional Bell Tent. No two days are the same.

You could try to lose each other in their famous Maize Maze which opens from 15 July! Or enjoy Summer Sunday activities including Falconry on the South Lawn, as well as the storytelling and medieval crafts in the Old Coach House.

Bedgebury is an idyllic place for a picnic and there are some lovely trails to explore whether on foot, by bike or horseback. Not forgetting the adventurous Go-Ape zone and adventure playground open all year. With miles of footpaths to explore there’s no need to leave your four-legged friend at home.

The Spa Valley Railway trips take you on an enchanting tour through the green valleys of the Weald every weekend in the summer to Groombridge Place with its many magical outdoor adventures like Crusoe’s World.

The steam and diesel trains go through a Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Ancient Monument, High Rocks, where you can wander around the magnificent ancient sandstone outcrops in a tranquil woodland setting and play amongst them.

Truly a wonder not to be missed, so what are you waiting for?

Bewl Water Country Park has the largest lake in the south east and offers a variety of exciting water sports for the whole family. 

It is an amazing place to challenge yourself, choose from one of the many activities on offer.

Every Sunday in August is Bar-Be-Que day at Bewl Water! You can come from 3pm to 6pm and relish a delicious feed and perhaps have time for a Pimms? Admire the beautiful lake, go sailing and simply take it easy.

The walking and cycle trails at Bewl present their own challenges too. The walk can take up to 6 hours and there are many beautiful places to sit and enjoy a picnic or simply take in the views or watch the wildlife.

The kids can burn off any excess energy in the fantastic outdoor play areas. 

Alternatively, simply slow down and take a cruise on the passenger boat and enjoy the spectacular views of the ancient Wealden countryside.

Rainy Day Options

Friday Fun at the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery
Photo: Family Fun at the Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery

Grey skies won’t dampen your spirits as there is plenty to delight and engage you in Tunbridge Wells.

The Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre and its sister centres in Cranbrook and Paddock Wood, offer a wide variety of sports activities during the summer holidays such as squash, tennis, badminton, short tennis, racquet ball, basketball and swimming to name a few.

For the creative there are a series of free drop-in arts and crafts activities at the Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery during the school holidays. The activities are suitable for all ages. Holiday Happenings take place every Tuesday and Wednesday in August. There are also some Nature Safaris to be enjoyed on Thursdays.

The Cranbrook Museum is a really friendly place to go to as well, very cheap and you can show the children the way school used to be - canes and all!

Check out the variety of other things to do on our Festivals page as well as the Events nearer the time as well.

The days will pass so quickly you'll end up wishing the holidays were longer.  So here’s the accommodation options in Tunbridge Wells!

For the ultimate outdoor experience, camping is available at Manor Court Farm, Apple Acres and The Hop Farm (at Paddock Wood, on the train line).

Mabledon Farm is also an option if you don’t have children with you.

External links

Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk

Wonders of the Weald

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