Dunorlan Park Lake is lots of fun in the summer holidays

Dunorlan Park Lake is lots of fun in the summer holidays

Tunbridge Wells

Summer Holidays in Tunbridge Wells

2019 - The long, lazy days of summer are here and the school summer holidays will disappear in a flash. Weeks of glorious fun still 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 things to do in Kent and here are some 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.

Play on the Tunbridge Wells Common!

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! Watch out for the free events that go on like pond dipping or rubbing trails.

Dunorlan Park, a tranquil oasis on the edge of Royal Tunbridge Wells town

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 West Kent 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 group 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 self guided heritage trails, to accessible paths, toddler walks to long rambles and hikes to Stone Age rock sites 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! Open from mid-July. Or enjoy Summer Sundays with Falconry on the South Lawn, as well as the storytelling and medieval crafts in the Old Coach House.

Discover your adventure at Penshurst Place and Gardens, Georgina Edwards Photography

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 (adults only).

Don’t miss the Summer Diesel Gala in early August, truly a popular attraction with many interactive events, including Ales on the Rails so what are you waiting for?

Spa Valley Railway, Royal Tunbridge Wells, real fun for everyone!

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. 

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.

Cycling is popular in this region, check out bike hire and trails on the Cycling page.

Bicycles of various sizes with attachments for children are offered for hire at Bedgebury and Bewl Water so you can make use of their family friendly tracks.

Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, walking and many special events at Bewl Water and other activity parks across the Tunbridge Wells region

Adrenaline-fuelling activities such as mountain biking and rock climbing are available in the region. Bedgebury has additional mountain bike trails. Penshurst Bike Park is well known for its exciting off-roading trails and jumps.

Become immersed in the huge War and Peace Revival at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood on 23-27 July. A very popular event that has been around for many years now.  Camping is an option here and free for 0-15 year olds.

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 galleries to visit across the town and borough providing any future Turners with inspiration!

Discover skills in theatre, pottery and cooking through local workshops. Expand your horizons with Trinity Youth Theatre, Slap ‘n’ Dash Pottery, Cookery Schools which include chocolate making fun amongst others.

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, art, gift, toy and delicatessen 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.

In Paddock Wood, try not to panic in the Time Quest | Escape Room. Don’t worry there are no horror stories or zombies here instead exciting challenges for the family. Spend an hour trying to get out by solving clues from a themed set of puzzles. A great idea for teenagers or a group of friends.

Summer in Tunbridge Wells

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

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