Today I want to talk to you about some ideas for summer.
I don’t know about you – but the summer holidays often fill me with dread, until I have figured out a plan for us all. That probably says a lot about how I operate, but I find that if I have at least some ideas of what we can do together, as well as a clear idea of what days I am going to work, then we all end up being happier and more relaxed. It’s when we stumble from one day to the next and can’t agree on what we all want to do when we get into trouble… with everyone arguing and nobody wanting to do anything anymore…
So, today I want to share with you some ideas that I have had a look at for things to do this summer. It is suitable for pre-school and primary school ages, as that’s what my children are at the moment. My lot also need a mix of planned and unplanned days – as well as days out and days at home, or at a friend’s for a playdate. So that is what I tend to stick to. And I build around that the days that I need to work.
So, the principles are:
1 day a week planned day out as a family to go on an ‘adventure’ as Rupert calls it
1-2 days a week playdates or other scheduled activities (including summer camp and time for me to work)
1-2 days a week downtime
So what adventures are there in the South East that are different and lots of fun for children to do? Here are my top 10:
A wonderful reservoir in Kent where you can hire bikes, just let the children play on the adventure playground and have a picnic. We often bring our own bikes and either cycle around the whole lake (it’s 12,5 miles) so takes us most of the day with our lot, or we go 1/4 of the way (or as far as we feel like), have a little break to play on the shore and then cycle back again.
You can even do some Glamping, do water sports (including hiring boats) or take a dip in the water on the adventure water park (you’ll need to book this). The website with more information is here:
2. St Andrew’s Lakes
This is an Aquapark near Rochester where you can do wild swimming or even bring your own paddle board to use. If you don’t have one, they have a variety of boats and paddle boards to hire for all sizes and abilities. Or you can just sit on the man made ‘beach’, enjoy the crystal clear waters and have an ice cream. There is also a waterpark to enjoy for the older children as well.
3. Amphibious vehicle (but not available until next year)
An amazing way to get to know London by road and by water. These WW2 vehicles have been completely rebuilt from scratch and take you on a fascinating tour around London. They are currently not running, but will be back next year. It’s one of my favourite ways to get around London, so I had to include it in my top 10 ;-)
4. Port Lympne
This is Kent’s largest Safari & wildlife park. You get to see Giraffes, Gorillas, Rhinos and lots more in stunning countryside. Plus your ticket helps fund not only the welfare of the animals at Port Lympne, but also animals overseas.
5. Christmas Tree Farm
This is a lovely little farm in the village of Downe with a whole host of animals for the children to feed – from goats, horses, cows, pigs, rabbits, sheep, llamas and Guinea pigs. My children love wandering about and figuring out which animals to feed next and how (i.e. keeping their hands flat even when it tickles when the animals feed!). It’s not always open, so check before you set off!
6. Knole Park – go from Goddon Green
We love National Trust properties and Knole Park is one of our favourites. If we can’t park at Knole, we will often head to Godden Green and walk through the woods to get to one of the back entrances of the park. There is a wonderful Café , great paths to walk or cycle on and there are the Deer to admire in all seasons. There is also a lovely little bookshop that does reading for little ones in term time and Knole House to explore.
7. The seaside
Fish and Chips, Ice cream and a bit of time to collect some sea shells!! A wonderful way to spend a day! We love Brighton and Whitstable for the town-seaside-holiday buzz that you get. And Camber Sands for the white beaches to wander and body board or paddle board.
8. Climbing at Chimera or Clip and Climb
A great indoor climbing and bouldering centre that has different levels for diffenet abilities and is just something slightly different to do with the family. If your kids are too young for bouldering Clip and Climb is a great way to get into climbing too.
Another National Trust property with lots to do for the kids, especially in the summer. There are little sheds filled with outdoor toys and activities for all ages – from deck chairs to balls to cricket sets. There is also a wonderful café on site and a great 5m circular walk that takes you from the back of Emmetts through the surrounding villages and back again. Wonderful views and there is a pub half way with a playground, in case the little ones can’t make it all the way back (one of us will often sit with the kids on the playground while the other parent walks back to get the car)
10. The Little Brown Jug
A wonderful pub in Chiddingstone Causeway near Tonbridge with great food, beers and a playground for the kids to enjoy while the adults get to chat and relax. We’ve come for Father’s Day in the past and combined it with a walk and it’s been a great day out.
That’s all from me this week. Next week we’ll talk a bit more good books, Audio books, travel games for when you are out and about.
I hope have a great rest of your week.
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