Family days out don’t need to cost the earth. We’ve put together a list of free things to do in Kent with kids. From art to animals, here are some fun things to do with your family that won’t leave you feeling the pinch.
Free Outdoor Play Spaces and Country Parks
Love the great outdoors? We’ve put together a list of top Parks and Open Spaces in Kent, many of which are free to visit (but be aware that some locations may charge a small fee for car parking).
From pond dipping at Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells, to Jeskyns Community Woodland and Greenspace in Cobham that has its own Fairy Village to discover, there is plenty of outdoor space in Kent to keep kids happy for hours.
Mote Park, Maidstone
off Mote Avenue, Maidstone, Kent ME15 7SU
One of the largest public parks in South East England, Mote Park is registered Grade II on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Located at the heart of Maidstone, the park has two children’s play areas; one near the main car park and a smaller one near the School Lane entrance. Every Sunday from the end of March through to October, the Maidstone Model Engineering Society run a model railway that charges just 30p per ride. You might also spot model boats on the lake. Other charged activities include the pitch and put and Segway hire. A parking charge of £1 applies for up to 6 hours and £12 for over 6 hours.
Opening times: Monday – Friday 9.00am until dusk; Saturday & Sunday 8.00am until dusk
Free Museums and Attractions
Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury
18 High Street, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2RA
The Beaney is part art gallery, part library and visitor information centre. This award winning family-friendly facility offers stat-of-the-art galleries and a programme of events to suit all ages. Among others things, you will see Greek, Indian and Anglo-Saxon artefacts, a mummified cat, and historic paintings. To help children engage with the art, there are ‘Explorer Points’ to touch and feel, the opportunity to recreate some of the artwork by dressing-up, farmyard-themed family activities, and lots more creative things to do. The gallery also hosts regular kids’ workshops (small fee applies).
Opening times: Monday – Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 9.00am – 5.00pm; Thursday 9.00am – 7.00pm; Sunday 10.00am – 5.00pm
Guildhall Museum, Rochester
High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1PY
Guildhall Museum can be found in an imposing 17th-century civic building in Rochester town centre. Highlights include a full-size reconstruction of part of a Medway prison hulk; a Victorian drawing room and kitchen; the Dickens Discovery Room; and the Rochester “Riverside Eye” camera interactive. The museum also provides free themed trails for children and families.
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 10.00am – 5.00pm
Headcorn Aerodrome, Headcorn
Shenley Road, Headcorn, Kent, TN27 9HX
Here’s another top venue for plane fanatics. Headcorn Aerodrome is one Kent’s few remaining grass strips and it’s a wonderful place to watch aircrafts and parachuters come and go. The FREE Lashenden Air Warfare Museum is on-site, housing miscellaneous wartime exhibits and memorabilia and there is a children’s play area which features a wooden aircraft for kids to climb on (must be supervised by an adult at all times as it is not fenced off). There are also two places to grab a bite to eat; The Holding Point Café that serves smaller meals and snacks and has an outdoor seating area, and Wings Bar which offers more substantial home-cooked food. Entry to Headcorn Aerodrome is free, but on event days there will be a charge on the gate, so check the website before you set off.
Opening times: Open daily
Lashenden Air Warfare Museum opening times: March & April – Open Sunday and Bank Holidays (except Good Friday) 10.30am – 6.00pm; May – September – Open Saturdays, Sundays & Bank Holidays 10.30am – 6.00pm; October – Sundays only 10.30am – 6.00pm; November & December – Sundays only 10.30am – 4.00pm
Maidstone Museum, Maidstone
The bright and airy Maidstone Museum is a family-friendly venue that offers something for all ages. Exhibits include local history and the ancient Egypt collection, complete with mummy. The museum holds regular activities for children (small charge applies), and has its own café, outdoor seating area for the summer, and baby changing facilities.
Opening times: (April 1-October 31) Tuesday-Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm; Sunday 12.00pm-4.00pm; Winter season: (November 1-March 31) Tuesday-Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm; Sunday closed
Sevenoaks Library, Gallery and Museum
Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1LQ
The Sevenoaks Museum has a number of local interest displays and exhibits on everything from the ancient Egyptians to World War II. There are activities for children including activity sheets and crafts. The adjoining library also hosts a regular baby rhyme time and a story time for children aged 3 & 4 years.
Opening times: Monday – Wednesday, & Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm; Thursday 9.30am – 7.00pm; Saturday 9.00am – 5.00pm; Closed Easter (9-12 Apr) and 24-26 Dec, 1 Jan.
The Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum, Ramsgate
The Airfield, Manston Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT12 5DF
The Museum is located at the historic RAF airfield at Manston in Kent. The building is home to the Spitfire MK XVI (LF) and Hurricane IIC aircrafts, as well as a number of other aviation related artefacts. There’s ample free parking on site, as well as a gift shop and café that is open daily.
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 10.00am – 4.00pm
St Peter’s Village Tours
St Peter’s Church, Hopeville Avenue, St Peter’s Broadstairs, Kent CT10 2TR
This award winning tour lead by an independent group of volunteers offers 4 different guided walks around the historic village and churchyard of St Peter’s in Broadstairs. You’ll meet many costumed characters from past centuries, along with a few surprises! Children very welcome on our tour, but a minimum age of 10 years is suggested if you want them to fully appreciate the experience. The tours are free of charge, however they do request for donations at the end (an average of £4 per adult).
Opening times: May – Sept (see website for selected dates)
Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, Tunbridge Wells
Civic Centre, Mount Pleasant, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1JN
The Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery is located in the library building in the centre of the town. The museum tells the story of Tunbridge Wells and also exhibits a number of other interesting collections, including a childhood section with toys, games and memorabilia from yesteryear (plus a Noah’s Ark toy that children can play with). Visitors can pick on an interactive backpack to help them explore what the museum has to offer. There are I SPY activity trails for kids to complete as they walk around, as well as a colouring-in room. In addition, the museum hosts Friday Fun sessions each month for children aged 2-5 years.
Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday 9.30am – 5.00pm; Closed Bank Holidays, Sundays and Mondays www.tunbridgewellsmuseum.org
Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Carriages, Maidstone
Mill Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6YE
Located in the beautiful 14th-century stables of the medieval Archbishop’s Palace complex, Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Carriages has more than 60 vehicles on display. These range from grand carriages such as Queen Victoria’s State Landau, to Victorian ‘growlers’. The museum is regarded as one of the finest of its kind in Europe.
Opening times: Early May to mid-September Wednesday-Sunday 12.00pm-4.00pm