Get Outside This Summer!
Kent has enough outside space for everyone to enjoy a bit of its exquisite fresh air. But what to do? For some, just being outside is treat enough, but for others it’s all about the activities. So where can you go this summer in Kent for a great day out in the open air, and what can you do when you get there?
Kent Life // www.kentlife.org.uk
Kent Life in Sandling, near Maidstone, is a great place to visit for a day of fun, and since it hosts a load of different activities you are not going to get bored here. From donkey rides to zorbing and circus skills (and not forgetting the animals themselves, which you can feed and pet), as well as character visits on certain dates throughout the summer, there is enough to keep the whole family occupied. Take a picnic or indulge in some homemade treats at Dolly’s Tearoom.
Cyclopark // www.cyclopark.com
Cyclopark, located in Gravesend and just off the A2, is Kent’s most exciting and exceptional multi-sports activity centre. It can be found amidst 43 hectares of landscaped parkland, but is close enough to civilisation to enable a day out there to be more fun than bothersome. Although the name might suggest that it is just about bikes, there is a lot more to it than that including a 600sqm games area (perfect for basketball and football), a 2.9km long tarmac running track, 1400sqm skate park, and a 3000sqm kids’ adventure playground.
Dover Sea Safari // www.doverseasafari.co.uk
Dover Sea Safari tours are many and varied, but they all have one thing in common – getting visitors out into the Channel for a new perspective on the coast of Kent. There are different safaris to choose from including the iconic White Cliffs & Beyond tour, which lasts for one and a half hours. This tour gets you as close as it is possible to the White Cliffs themselves, and then, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, you will be taken on a journey to some of the prettiest towns and villages along the coast including Deal, Kingsdown, and Walmer.
As well as this, there is the wonderful Secret Seals Safari. This two-hour tour take you to where the seals play – its engines off and time to drift as you watch in awe as these magnificent, beautiful creatures frolic in the sea.
Or what about the Maunsell Forts? This is a four-hour tour, and it allows you to explore more closely these army-built air defence towers that hail from World War II. It is an eerie and evocative journey.
Joss Bay Surf School // www.jossbay.co.uk
Nationally recognised as being one of the top providers of professional surf lessons for all ages and abilities, Joss Bay Surf School can be found in the eponymous bay, near Broadstairs. There are lots of different courses to book onto, and the summer is the perfect time to enjoy them as it gives the added benefit of being slightly warmer! Courses include group and private surf lessons so you can learn on your own or with friends and family – choose whichever is going to be more fun!
AV8 Helicopter Tours // www.av8helicopters.co.uk
There is something altogether thrilling about helicopters, and if you combine the joy of flying in one with the stunning glory that is Kent, you can’t go far wrong. The Kent Sightseeing Tour takes in all the wonders of the county including the loveliest castle in the world, Leeds Castle; Canterbury Cathedral; and the fantastic Chatham Dockyard.
If you fancy venturing further afield, you can also book onto the London Sightseeing Tour which will show you all the iconic sights (the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the O2 Arena and more) that the capital has to offer.
Kent County Cricket Club // www.kentcricket.co.uk
Could there be anything more perfectly Kentish than Kent’s own cricket club? Possibly not, and when the sound of leather on willow fills village greens across the county we know that summer has arrived. Kent County Cricket Club was formed in 1842, and has been the epitome of Kentish class ever since. Why not visit The Spitfire Ground in Canterbury (the club’s headquarters), the Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells, or The County Ground in Beckenham to get a real idea of exactly how this most English of games should be played?
Kent Ballooning // www.kentballooning.com
Kent Ballooning is the longest running hot air balloon company in Kent, and as such this is the place to go to find the best of the best when it comes to these spectacular and unusual flights. Chief pilot, Michael, has lived in Kent all of his life, and he knows the county and all its quirks. He knows it best from the sky, which is why you can rest assured you will be in safe hands if and when you decide to take advantage of the tours that Kent Ballooning offers.
Flying season for hot air balloons runs from April to October, so the summer is the perfect time to enjoy this exhilarating mode of transport. A variety of different packages are available, each one showcasing the Garden of England at its best. Float gently over sights including Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral to see Kent as you’ve never seen it before.
To really make the most of your time in the air, you can upgrade your flight to include champagne or even in-flight photography.
Go Ape // www.goape.co.uk
There are two places where you can ‘Go Ape’ in Kent: Leeds Castle and Bedgebury Pinetum. Both are excellent bases from which to fling yourself into the trees and embark on an adventure that will take you through places that humans rarely experience. These high-wire treetop adventures, as well as zip line fun, are suitable for everyone over the age of 6 (although 6-12 year olds have their own special junior course) who have a sense of adventure and a head for heights! The original adventure includes Tarzan swings, rope bridges, high-rise obstacles, and an enormous zip wire amongst other fabulous games. This one of a kind adventure will kindle the explorer’s spirit within you, and once you have completed the course, the sense of achievement that goes with it will be immense!
Buckmore Park // www.buckmore.co.uk
Buckmore Park is a world-renowned go-karting track based in Kent, not too far from Chatham. This track is where Jenson Button honed his driving skills, and where Lewis Hamilton chose to practice. It is also where it is possible to race against friends, family and colleagues, or simply against your own personal best to find out who is the ultimate karting champion.
There are two ‘turn up ‘n’ drive’ circuits that cater for everyone aged four upwards, and everyone who goes karting at Buckmore gets full and comprehensive training and instruction – as well as a natty racing suit and helmet. For fun, thrills, and a few spills (it’s inevitable), visit Buckmore Park and try something new. You never know, this could become a new hobby…
Canoe Wild // www.canoewild.co.uk
Canoe Wild offers some really very exciting and totally unique summer adventures in Kent. The canoe river guided tours take place on the River Stour, and each one lasts for three hours, during which time you will cover five miles of stunning Kent countryside, all the way from Fordwich to Grove Ferry. If the sea is more your style then kayaking in the wilder waters is also possible – and you’ll be able to spot marine birds and seals, and, if you’re incredibly lucky (and many are) a dolphin.