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Canoe Wild

Summer holiday plans for older families

Sophie Hewitt
28th March 2022

Roll on those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…The sun has arrived and the summer holidays are almost in sight! Here at Visit Kent we’re here to help you pack some fun into those six weeks with short breaks and days out ideas to keep you and your tweens and teenagers happy. We’ve missed two years of carefree summer holidays – that’s two years of adventures, so let’s start planning and pack in those memories, because before you know it, your little teenage birds will be flying the nest.

Have you heard? Kent’s Heritage Coast has made it into the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2022 list, making our little corner of the world officially the 4th best region to visit…in the WORLD. With that kind of international recognition and as the ONLY UK destination to make it onto the hitlist, we’re declaring 2022 a must visit year for Kent!

With brand new experiences, accommodation to Instagram about and a whole host of beautiful landscapes to discover, let us tell you, this IS the year you really, really #MustVisitKent. Read on and discover what we have in store for you and your family.

Broadstairs Folk Week

Let’s start with a festival…a day out that you AND the kids can enjoy. Broadstairs Folk Week’s Band in a Weekend event is perfect for older kids, as a workshop session that invites young musicians of all abilities to form a band, located at the festival campsite. So while they’re flexing their talents and becoming the next (insert the current highest streamed artist here), you can settle into the campsite for the weekend and enjoy all this fest has to offer, not to mention a beautiful beach and plenty of restaurants, bars and free music.

Wild Classroom Family Cooking Workshops

From music-maker to baker, we’re all about developing those talents in Kent. Step into Belmont House’s kitchen garden and join one of the Wild Classroom family workshops this summer. Collect fresh ingredients from the gardens, before cooking up a few dishes and learning the techniques of cooking over a fire. The perfect way to teach your young’uns all about fresh food and seasonal produce.

Medway

Honestly, where we do we start in marvellous Medway? This is the place for adventure! Unleash your inner Ninja Warrior in the massive indoor obstacle course in Chatham, or jump into the summer with Jumpin Fun, the giant inflatable adventure park. For those sensationally hot days (fingers crossed) the Strand Open Air Pool is the perfect place to bathe in the rays in the outdoor adventure pool, while St Andrews Watersports Aquapark offers Total Wipeout adventures for the thrill-seekers. And if you fancy a little calm in amongst the adrenalin, Playopolis Café serves up food and drink with a side of hundreds of boardgames!

RSPB Dungeness Sound Mirrors

Bring history to life at RSPB Dungeness this summer and join one of the August Sound Mirror open days. After two years of closures, the Sound Mirrors have reopened and will reveal the secrets of World War 2 defence systems. Built before the war, these relics were once created to sound the alarm against enemy planes crossing The Channel, and today this secretive island is the only place in the world where all three designs can be found – perfect for lifting history off the pages of the textbook.

Micro Museum

The kids may not remember those dark times of dial up internet or phones attached to the wall, but the Micro Museum in Ramsgate tells the tale of home and personal computing, highlighting the inventors of the digital age and even relics of the computing world from the 1940s to the 21st century (we guarantee you’ll recognise a few things from your own childhood). And after that trip down memory lane, which we assure you will include aghast looks in your direction when they find out you once had to remember your friends’ home phone numbers, they can have a go at classic games on the original consoles, which if you ask us, is your time to shine.

Penshurst Place

The sun is shining and the gardens of Penhurst Place are calling! Sure, you’ll get to appreciate the manicured gardens, the beautiful roses, the incredible blend of colour and the shapes of the flag garden, but today we’re here for kids…So take to the trails, find hidden clues in gardens, master the zipline in the adventure playground, and let imaginations run wild . And speaking of wild…it’s time to answer the call with the must-visit Woodland Trail, brimming with wildlife, den building trees and log pyramids.

Royal Engineers Museum

What were we saying about bringing history to life? This hidden gem of a museum houses some of the most important pieces of British and European history. From one of the largest collections of the fallen Berlin Wall, to a complete map that surveyed the area where the Duke of Wellington fought the famous battle of Waterloo. There are countless artifacts and hidden treasures that are just waiting for your historian to get stuck into.

Canoe Wild

We promised you adventure, right? Paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, they’ve got it all here at Canoe Wild. Travel up the River Stour from Fordwich to Grove Ferry (or the other way around) and enjoy beautiful scenery, beaver sightings(!) and a perfect adventure to bring the whole family together. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, have a look at the sunset paddles, sunrise paddles and SUP socials that will be running in the evening’s fortnightly throughout summer.

Surf’s up

The Isle of Thanet’s sensational beaches are one of our go-tos when the heatwave hits and with Kent Surf School and Joss Bay Surf School right there in situ, we reckon your teens will love it there too. Take to the boards with SUP and surfing lessons at Joss Bay with Joss Bay Surf School, and Viking Bay with Kent Surf School. Both schools offer lessons and courses and are perfectly located for a post-surf meal in Broadstairs afterwards.

White Cliffs Country

White Cliffs Country has some stunning coastline, so it makes perfect sense to start your explorations of it on a coastal tour aboard a RIB speed boat with Dover Sea Safari! Next on the agenda is Dover Sea Sports Centre for water sports like dinghy sailing and raft building. For two-wheeled fun Betteshanger Park offers 3km of tarmac track and 10km of rugged mountain bike trails. Or take little historians on a journey into the past on a guided tour of Fan Bay Deep Shelter in the White Cliffs of Dover.  125 steps take you in and out of the shelter 70 feet underground, which are unlit so the only light will come from head torches!

Margate to Canterbury Cycling tour

Take to two wheels with the kids for a guided tour along the stunning Kent coastline and through the countryside from Margate to Canterbury with Col's Kent Bike Tours. Taking in several stunning bays, seaside sights, countryside, quaint villages, Britain's smallest town, a quirky tea shop lunch stop, optional river dip for the brave (eek), culminating in a tour of the cultural and historical heart of Canterbury. Along the way, there are frequent stops where your guide will share stories about the history, culture, and landscape, including little-known local secrets!

Tunbridge Wells 

From watersports to high ropes, Tunbridge Wells has all you need to keep the thrill-seekers happy this summer. Start off with a visit to Bewl Water and your teens can take on everything from rowing, to stand up paddleboarding and windsurfing on Bewl Water's lake. While Bedgebury's incredible pinetum is home to Go Ape, a rope-swinging adventure where kids big and small can master high ropes, climbing and everyone's favourite, the zip wire. 

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