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.

Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May is a 'cracking' free event in one of the small country towns in the heart of Kent. The town is totally taken over, the road is closed off to traffic so great family fun to be had on the main high street including a huge number of stalls, live music plus a delicious mouthwatering hog roast.

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 do a spot of rambling.

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 25th 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 selected days kids travel for a quid and dogs are welcome free of charge - check their website for details.

On Saturday 25 May, dine aboard the High Weald Belle on an upmarket five course evening meal seated on the restored 1960s carriages hauled by a steam or diesel locomotive from Tunbridge Wells West! Ticket includes a double return trip from Eridge.

A three course Sunday Roast lunch is available on Sunday 26 May, again aboard the vintage train carriages, whilst experiencing double return journey from Eridge with the High Weald Belle steam engine. Pre-Booking is essential.

On Thursday 30 May, enjoy a Fish and Chip Lunch on one of the heritage trains taking you through the beautiful Kent countryside. 

We advise you to book soon, these are extremely popular – cream teas have already sold out!

At Penshurst Place and Gardens learn about the native insect life that is all around us in our gardens and countryside.

During the Spring Bank Holiday weekend of 26 - 27 May, a special event is on – The Minibeasts Hunt. Go all David Attenborough and cuddle a cockroach!

Also on are the ever popular Bushcraft sessions. Be like Bear Grylls and learn to survive in the wild!

Find out ‘How Did They Get There?’ on the Great Explorer trail all week as well, included in the price of normal entry.

For a slice of serenity visit 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, from 25 May to 1 June, 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 in its fourth year running in Tunbridge Wells, now extended to a four day weekend event. Be prepared for a family friendly weekend of fantastic music and fun not to mention camping if you book quickly!

The Hop farm is a pretty country setting for a full Spring Bank holiday weekend of electronic music, entertainment, camping, yoga, puppet shows and circus workshops, not to mention fire-eaters!

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 The Peter Pan Live Spectacular from 10am – 4:30pm. Book online to save queuing.

If you love cricket, then come along to the Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival at the famous Nevill Ground.  See Kent, newly promoted, beat Nottinghamshire at the Specsavers County Championship Division 1 game- maybe! 

Rainy Day options in Tunbridge Wells

If the holiday weather is less than perfect visit the exhibition 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 is holding auditions for a musical thriller, Sweeney Todd, open to ages 13 -19.

Cranbrook Museum is a sure-fire (free) delight for the family, in the lovely market town of Cranbrook which is also home to one of the tallest running smock windmills in the country – also free entry.

The Salomons Museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm – free entry! Come and see the collection of momentos from the famous family of Salomons.

Sir David Lionel Salomons, was a scientist, engineer, photographer and inventor. The manor house was the first in the country to install electricity in a private home. 

See the private theatre installed with one of the largest and most exceptional electrically powered philharmonic organs - the Welte Organ - and now the only one of its kind left in the world.  This model was built especially for Sir David Lionel.

His son and heir, Captain David Reginald Salomons, was such a hero in the First World War his life was made into a West End musical called ‘The Dreamers’. 

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. See our camping page too.

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

External links

Woodland Trust

The Forest Way Cycle Route

Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk on Explore Kent 

The Seven Wonders of the Weald Discount Pass

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