Kent architecture

10 things to do in Kent and Sussex during midterm week

Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells, a great place to get some fresh air and exercise. Photo by Sally Loram

Do you need ideas to keep the children busy during the half-term week which runs from Monday February 14th to Friday February 18th?

To help families make the most of their holidays and the rest of the year, InYourArea.co.uk came up with some ideas to help them have fun.

Nature Week at Hever Castle

Hever Castle in Kent. Picture by Kent and Sussex Courier

Or: Hever Road, Hever, Edenbridge. TN8 7NG

Visit Hever Castle in Kent. The 13th century moated castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

From February 12 to February 20, young and old can take part in the Hever Castle Nature Week. Visitors can head to the lake for a free nature-themed scavenger hunt, but rubber boots are advised.

Then, in the Think Tank classroom, kids can paint and decorate their own pinecone and turn them into creatures, or head to the castle and spot the different types of wild animals lurking around the rooms.

For more details visit https://www.hevercastle.co.uk/


Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells

The Spa Valley heritage railway line. Picture by Kent and Sussex Courier

Or: West Station, Royal Tunbridge Wells. TN2 5QY

The Spa Valley to Tunbridge Wells railway will be open on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 February, then Tuesday 15 February to Thursday 17 February and the weekend of 19 and 20 February.

Historic steam and diesel trains run all year round between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge with intermediate stations at High Rocks and Groombridge

Timetables and more details are available at https://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/


Craft activities at the Maidstone Museum

Part of the Plaxtol Protocol exhibit at the Maidstone Museum

Or: Rue Sainte-Foi, Maidstone. ME14 1LH

The Maidstone Museum is hosting mid-term events from Wednesday February 16 to Friday February 18, including craft activities.

Make It Craft sessions are from Wednesday February 16 to Friday February 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Historical craft sessions for children. £3 per child per session, an adult must stay with the children and activities last 30-50 minutes.

The museum is run by Maidstone Borough Council and is located in St Faith’s Street, Brenchley Gardens. Admission to the main is free and from February 9 it is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm with last entry at 3.30pm.

For more details on this and other events, go to https://museum.maidstone.gov.uk/whats-on/events/february-half-term-2022/


Drusillas Park in East Sussex

First-time sloth mom Halina happily shows off her new baby Photo credit. Drusillas

Or: Alfriston Road, East Sussex. BN26 5QS

Keep the little ones happy halfway through with a day at Drusillas Zoological Park, one of Sussex’s top attractions. The park is just off the A27 near Alfriston in East Sussex

The Family Zoo offers children (and adults) a wonderfully engaging animal experience. Lucky visitors may also catch a glimpse of the new baby sloth born in November.

The zoo also includes Go Bananas, a newly renovated under-fives-only area, the Amazon Adventure indoor play area, an adventure maze, and a chance to tiptoe through the Jurassic jungle. Family rides include the Flying Cheetahs and the Safari Express train.

The website has details of ticket prices and other attractions. Visit https://www.drusillas.co.uk/news/february-half-term-2022


The Hop Farm near Paddock Wood, Kent

The Hop Farm, near Paddock Wood in Kent

Or: Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, Beltring, Tonbridge. TN12 6PY

The Hop Farm near Paddock Wood in Kent will open all children’s attractions halfway through, subject to weather. There is only booking tickets online in advance.

Popular attractions include the indoor play center, driving school, magic castle, animal farm and giant jumping pillows. There are also lots of new additions to the animal farm, including spring lambs and piglets.

As a special mid-term treat, the Hop Farm is hosting Dinosaur Days on February 14 and 17. Get up close to live-action dinosaurs and baby dinos, roaming the family park at regular intervals during the day.

Circus Zyair takes place at The Hop Farm daily during half term, so when visiting the family park, check out this annual circus event. More details here

More details and online booking at https://thehopfarm.co.uk/events/2022-spring-half-term


A walk in the park in Tunbridge Wells

Grosvenor and Hilbert Park. Photo by Gary Francis

Grosvenor and Hilbert Park is the oldest public park in Tunbridge Wells, opened in 1889.

Grosvenor and Hilbert Park facilities include a large playground, cafe, ornamental lake and public toilets. There is a wheeled sports area suitable for skateboards, BMX bikes and inline skates.

Dunorlan Park, also in Tunbridge Wells, was laid out in the 1850s and 1860s. In 2003/4 the park underwent a major restoration at a cost of £2.8million, following a price from the £2.1 million Heritage Lottery Fund.

As well as boardwalks and a lake, the park also has public restrooms and a cafe. There is a wonderful natural adventure playground, with plenty to play with, including the ‘Dunorlan Dragon’.


The Bluebell, East and West Sussex Railway

The Bluebell Railway runs from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead. Photo by Kevin Shaw

Or: Sheffield Park, Sussex, Uckfield. TN22 3HQ

The Bluebell Railway runs from Sheffield Park in East Sussex to East Grinstead in West Sussex and reopens on February 12. The railway was one of the first preserved heritage lines in the country and has one of the finest collections of vintage locomotives and steam cars. .

The Kids for a Quid days resume during the fortnight of February from February 12 to 27, meaning children under 16 travel for just £1 when accompanied by a full paying adult. This offer cannot be combined with other special offers.

For booking details and train times, visit https://www.bluebell-railway.com/half-term/


Discover the secrets of Bodiam Castle in East Sussex

Bodiam Castle in Kent. Picture by Kent and Sussex Courier

Or: Bodiam, near Robertsbridge, East Sussex. TN32 5UA

Originally built in 1385, Bodiam Castle has spent centuries as one of England’s best-loved and best-known castles.

You can uncover the medieval myths and mysteries surrounding unicorns on a family-friendly trail at the castle which has its own 600-year-old stone unicorn hidden in your adventure. A road map is available at the visitor reception and you can follow the hoof prints in the castle park. The cost is £2 per trail and includes a small medieval-themed prize.

Reservations are not required and the event runs from February 12 to 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Visitors are advised to wear clothing suitable for the weather, rubber boots or sturdy shoes.

To hear tales of dragons, knights and castles, join the volunteer storytellers inside the first floor tower room to enjoy a short walk-in storytelling session. These run throughout the day and last 15-20 minutes and are suitable for young children. The dates and times are February 13, 15, 16, 17 and 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

More information can be found at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-castle/whats-on


Enjoy a garden path in East Grinstead

Standen House. Picture by East Grinstead Courier

Or: West Hoathly Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex. RH19 4NE

Standen House, the National Trust property of East Grinstead, has a garden trail to follow during mid February when visitors can explore the garden and grounds. The ‘Spectacular Standen’ garden path is open daily from Saturday February 12 to Sunday February 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Follow the trail with Basil the Bird as you explore the gardens and learn about the many ways Philip Webb made Standen so spectacular. He was the architect and designer best known for his unconventional country homes. The trail is £3 per child, including a small prize.

Then you can warm up in the small room where there are toys and activities for the little ones. It is open every day from February 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More information about Standen can be found at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/standen-house-and-garden/features/february-half-term-fun-at-standen


Visit the cinema

Generic cinema image. Credit Geoffrey Moffett, Unsplash

Or: Knights Way, Tunbridge Wells. TN2 3UW

The Odeon Cinema in Knights Park in Tunbridge Wells shows a selection of films suitable for all ages.

Sing 2 is an animated comedy with a U certificate. A star cast of animal entertainers prepare to kick off their most dazzling stage extravaganza yet.

Walt Disney’s Aladdin (30th anniversary) is also on view. When a street urchin vies for the love of a beautiful princess, he uses the magical power of a genie to pose as a prince in order to marry her.

To see details of all films shown, visit the website https://www.odeon.co.uk/cinemas/tunbridge-wells/