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Summer holiday activities

Summer holiday activities

David Hogkinson

Summer Holidays in Tunbridge Wells

The long, lazy days of summer are almost upon us and the school summer holidays will arrive in a flash. 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

First of all there’s the parks, the Common and woodlands in town and all around the Tunbridge Wells region. These wonderful green spaces cost nothing and will keep you and yours occupied for hours.

Pack a picnic and head out 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 with its outdoor decking offers a relaxing seat for a while. Kids under 12 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 Seven Wonders of the Weald at the Tourist Information Centre in Royal Tunbridge Wells and save money. Freebies and discounts are available at the following attractions in the stunning Wealden countryside: 

The National Trust’s Scotney Castle and Knole, the Kent & East Sussex Railway, Hole Park Gardens, Chiddingstone Castle & Grounds, Biddenden Vineyards with Royal Tunbridge Wells the welcoming hub to all these superb wonders.

A Blue Badge guided tour is cheap and a fascinating way to find your bearings as well as find out all the scandals, the reason for the “Royal” and the spa waters in such an entertaining fashion. The guides really are fun!

Walk the walk

For those sunny days when you really want to be in the big, wide outdoors, there are plenty of places to go.

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 heritage trails, to accessible paths, toddler walks to 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 revel in the fun of beginner’s luck!

You could try to lose each other in the famous Penshurst Place Maize Maze with new dead ends for 2018! Open from 14 July. Or enjoy Summer Sundays with Falconry on the South Lawn, as well as the storytelling and medieval crafts in the Old Coach House.

Could your children survive in the woods? During the August Bank Holiday, let them escape into the wild and learn a range of survival and camping skills while having fun, shelter-building, and wilderness cookery, orienteering and roped tree-climbing at one of the Penshurst Place Bushcraft workshops.

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

Don’t miss the Summer Diesel Gala on 4-5 August, truly a popular attraction with many interactive events, so what are you waiting for?

The train trips take you on an enchanting tour through the green valleys of the Weald every weekend in the summer including to Groombridge. Here you’ll find a fairy tale country manor with gardens that provides many magical outdoor adventures like Crusoe’s World and TreeTops Walkway – a rope to walk on high up in the tree canopy, the highest in the UK. All this and more at Groombridge Place and the Enchanted Forest. By the way, there’s a river boat too!

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

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

The walking and cycle trails at Bewl present specific physical tests. The walk can take up to 6 hours although there are many captivating seats upon which to enjoy a picnic, take in the views or watch the wildlife.

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

Bikes of various sizes with attachments for children are offered for hire as well.

Laid back options are available! Admire the beautiful vast lake, sunbathe on the lawns, dine in the bistro or partake of a cruise on the passenger boat and enjoy the spectacular views of the ancient Wealden countryside.

Become immersed in the huge War and Peace Revival at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood on 24-28 July. A very popular event that has been around for many years now.  Camping is an option here.

Rainy Day Options

Grey skies won’t dampen your spirits as there is plenty to delight and engage all around 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 souls amongst you, there are a series of free drop-in arts and crafts undertakings at the Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery during the school holidays. Suitable for all ages.

Holiday Happenings is another activity from the Museum that takes place every Tuesday and Wednesday in August - check back for details nearer the time.

Cranbrook Museum is a treasure trove of artefacts from the town depicting how people used to live and a quaint little building in itself dating from 1480! This is the medieval era, the time of Edward IV, 3 years after Caxton printed the first book in England and just before the Tudors came to power.

Cranbrook not only has some incredibly ancient architecture to admire, it has the advantage of boasting numerous independent bijou cafes and little art, gift, toy and delicatessan boutiques to browse too. A sure-fire way to keep the gloom at bay!

Read a little insight from a visitor’s experience: Discovering New Places in Charming Cranbrook.

We recommend you check 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 for the Tunbridge Wells region!

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

Apple Acres is an option for camping if you don’t have children with you.

Recommended reading

For more inspiration from other visitors, read the blogs and itineraries:

a-splendid-summer-sunday-at-penshurst-place

7-brilliant-beer-gardens-around-tunbridge-wells

scenic-driving-tour-around-the-weald-of-kent

seven-days-holiday-in-tunbridge-wells

a-family-weekend-in-tunbridge-wells

a-day-of-discovery-at-beautiful-bewl-water

External links

Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk

Seven Wonders of the Weald

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