Keep Your Children Entertained During Your Holiday in Kent
Family holidays in Kent should always be an adventure. There are few things guaranteed to keep children occupied whatever the weather, but this is a corner of England that offers dozens of family activities. Down the centuries, the county played a leading role in the defence of England, and the numerous castles that remain provide child-friendly activities all year round.
Selecting the best family-friendly castles in Kent is no easy task, but here are four that will be a hit with every child.
Built on the site of an Iron Age hill fort, the current Dover Castle dates from the 12th century. Today, the medieval Great Tower, 83 feet tall and 100 feet square, is fully restored, recreating the splendour of Henry II’s royal palace. Explore the castle and experience the lifestyle of true knights of old.
Dover Castle also guards the secrets of recent history. A network of wartime tunnels, dating from World War II, shows the preparations made in order to defend Britain from possible invasion. Visit the underground hospital and see the fully restored wards and operating theatre.
Leeds Castle, located near Maidstone, is acknowledged as the most beautiful castle in Britain. It is a true fairy-tale castle and caters for all the family, offering not only a chance to explore the castle buildings but also a range of activities in the surrounding grounds. The near-impossible yew-hedge maze keeps adults and children occupied while they attempt to solve its mysteries, which include an underworld grotto.
Elsewhere on the estate, a splendid aviary is home to over 100 species of birds from round the world, and captivates children of all ages. Extensive playgrounds include a scale-model of the castle for youngsters to explore and a toddlers’ play area for the under-fives.
If you want to discover a castle with a difference, then Lullingstone Castle is definitely for you. Not only will you and your family enjoy touring the castle buildings, you will experience the unique outdoor attraction that is the World Garden of Plants. This astonishing collection of fascinating plants from around the globe is the work of modern day plant hunter, Tom Hart Dyke.
Children will love some of the most unusual specimens that include the stinky “Dog Pooh” plant, the Queensland Stinger – said to be the most dangerous plant on earth – and one of the world’s hottest chillies, the Dorset Naga. See these and many other magnificent plants and beautiful flowers during your visit.
The fortified castle at Deal is an outstanding example of a Tudor artillery bastion, complete with cannons. Built in the 16th century at the order of King Henry the Eighth, it is one of a chain of castles along the coast, and one of the best-preserved. The entire castle is open to the public almost all year round, and children will spend hours exploring the network of passages, storerooms, bunkers and living areas.
Learn about Deal Castle’s eventful history which is laid bare in an absorbing interactive exhibition located in the Visitor Centre. After your tour, stop for a picnic in the castle grounds before moving on to nearby Walmer Castle.
Come to Kent
Whatever your interest in history, don’t miss the chance to stay in one of Britain’s most varied holiday destinations. Come to South-East England and visit one of the many family-friendly castles in Kent.