I first visited Bewl Water several years before having kids and my husband used to go sailing there as a child. Each time we go, we seem to discover something different and last Saturday was no exception.

New Changes at Bewl Water

Since the site was taken over by the Markerstudy Group around three years ago, there have been several exciting changes at Bewl Water, including the reduction of the entry fee, which is currently £3 per car.

The upper level of the Sailing Club has been transformed into the beautiful Boathouse Bistro and the ‘Bewl Belle’ boat ferries passengers around the lovely lake. In addition there are birthday party packages including laser tag, mini ranger safari cars and more plus children’s holiday camps!

Family and friends at Bewl Water, rambling in the country park in the region of Tunbridge Wells

We sometimes just visit for a family walk and a afterward stops for a play in the playground for the boys, or more often than not, we like to take their bikes and get them to cycle out to the edge of the forest with a bit of help from us!

Pick up a map on arrival and you can choose which direction you would like to go in. We usually walk (or cycle) along the long stretch next to the left of the lake but this time, we started off on the sailing club side and had a lovely stroll through the forest pathways alongside the lake.

Set across 800 acres and surrounding a stunning lake, Bewl Water which is hailed as the largest stretch of open water in the South East. It is located near the lovely village of Lamberhurst and takes us around half an hour to get there from the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Fun fact - the Bewl Water reservoir can hold more than 31,000 million litres of water – enough to provide for nearly 200 million people!

Adventures for the kids

There are two playgrounds at Bewl - one for smaller children at the top of the hill leading down to the lake and then a larger playground for the older kids (probably around age 3+) looking onto the lake. The bigger play area includes a large wooden pirate ship which my boys always enjoy playing on - climbing up and down the ladders, pretending to steer the ship and generally causing havoc!

Is this one of the longest slides in Kent? Family activities in the country park Bewl Water, Tunbridge Wells region

Bewl Water must surely have one of the longest slides in Kent. My three year old loves this and spent much of the morning during our recent visit running up the steps to the top of the slide and whizzing down it.   

We also went along to the Boathouse Bistro, not to be confused with the Waterfront Cafe which is attached to the main building next to the carpark.

Mouth Watering Menus And Wonderful Views

The Boathouse Bistro is in the old sailing club, and has superb views over the lake. The restaurant has a contemporary, warm and welcoming feel to it with a reasonably priced set menu which changes each week. It is open from Friday to Sunday and from the moment we entered, we knew this was going to be a fantastic meal!

My husband and I opted for the Oak Smoked Loch Duart Salmon starter. This was a very generous potion which was beautifully presented - the lime gel and capers paired with the salmon worked so well together and I was excited to see what the main course would be like.

Boat House Bistro, overlooking the lake at Bewl Water, eating out in the country park in the region of Tunbridge Wells

I chose to have the lamb cutlets with a spiced potato cake, buttered french beans and carrot & mustard puree. I would often go for the steak in this scenario but decided to try something different. Again the meal was presented perfectly and the different flavours from the sauce, lamb cutlets and spiced potato cake worked so well together. We felt truly relaxed as the boys were digging into their chicken breast nuggets and chips and we took in the magnificent views of the lake. 

There was a decent choice of dessert but choosing the Bewl Eskimo Bars - chocolate ice-cream and brownie bars, ready to dip in a hot salted caramel sauce - was a no brainer and they did not disappoint!

Delicious dessert at Boat House Bistro, eating out in the rural country park in the region of Tunbridge Wells

I can highly recommend The Boathouse Bistro and am sure we will be back there again soon. The staff were very friendly and the overall feel was relaxed but with a superb menu of beautifully presented food. The bistro can also be hired for private functions and offers bespoke cookery classes too!

Next up was our ride on The Bewl Belle. If you are dining at the Bistro, you can ask for the boat to pick you up from the jetty there, rather than boarding at the main area. The round-trip took around 40 minutes in total.

We based ourselves in the indoor seated section, but spent most of the trip in the outer area, taking in the views of the lake. It was fairly windy on the day we were there and although it was a lovely trip, it would be even better if the sun was shining properly and there was a warm breeze. Something to do again when the summer finally arrives!

Onboard the Bewl Belle, boat trips on Bewl Water, the country park in the region of Tunbridge Wells

Whether you fancy a low-key visit with a little walk around part of the lake and a trip to one of the play areas, or a more extensive day out, hiring bikes to ride around the 12.5 mile parameter of the lake, visiting The Boathouse Bistro or the more informal Waterfront Cafe, Bewl Water is a great option for both families and adults who fancy discovering the great outdoors local to Tunbridge Wells.

There’s a packed agenda of events going on over the coming months too, including an Austin Seven Rally for Father’s Day, Dragon Boat Racing, the Bewl Water Race Series (half, full and ultra marathons) and more! Visit the Bewl Water website to find out more.


Written by Clare Lush - Mansell of My Tunbridge Wells


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Bewl Water
Lake / Reservoir
Boating and sailing on Bewl Water, on the edge of the borough of Tunbridge Wells Kent

Set in the heart of the High Weald and surrounded by 800 acres of outstanding natural beauty, Bewl Water is the perfect place to watch the seasons change and to enjoy some healthy family fun for all ages.

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