Where To Visit In Kent And Sussex!
My Mum grew up in Kent, the garden of England, and likes to go back from time to time for days out and little stay-cations so that she can visit all the haunts she loved when she was little. We’ve taken the children there with her on a few occasions now and stayed in both Kent and its neighbouring county Sussex for some exploring and family fun and would highly recommend it as a base to find some great days out! Kent and Sussex Cottages have lots of lovely places to stay and I have to say that I’m rather taken with Middle Barn in Sevenoaks (Kent) which is right in the heart of the county. Close by are the pretty towns of Leigh and Chiddingstone which are great for walks and pub lunches and this particular property has been carefully and beautifully restored to a high standard offering a bright light modern open plan living area with a contemporary feel yet retaining its original beams – perfect for a family stay! Chiddingstone is a surviving Tudor village full of charm and history with The Castle Inn pub offering traditional pub food then also close by is Hever Castle the childhood home of Ann Boleyn, Penshurst Place and Chartwell the home of Sir Winston Churchill. And let’s not forget that London is only a short train journey away or for excellent shopping opportunities, great cafes and restaurants there are the close towns of Royal Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks, which also offers glorious walks within the grounds of Knole Park.
They don’t call kent the garden of England for nothing, it’s wall to wall lush greenery and in the summer fruit picking in abundance. Last summer we went blackberry picking just on the streets local to where my Mum is from and the sun shone down on us as we did so making us all happy. It goes to show that you don’t always need to put your hand in your pocket to entertain the children and with such a gorgeous backdrop why would you need to do anything other than stroll and take in your surroundings!
After all that outdoor waling and soaking up the fresh air you’ll want somewhere lovely to eat and we thoroughly enjoyed a meal at The Plough in Eynsford which is right on the river. You won’t get away from wanting to walk and take in all the picturesque sights but you can stop and have a goo meal in the middle of everything. This is a picture of my oldest two paddling in the ford just by the pub while they fed the ducks, see, it’s simply gorgeous there!
And one BRILLIANT day out for the kids is Kent’s Diggerland which sounds like it might not be the ideal attraction for all children and perhaps only the place to visit for the digger centric minded however, we all had the most brilliant day out there last year and were surprised by the amazing rides which are a LOT more thrill seeking once on them than they look from the outside. I’d say people who are heavily pregnant as I was this time last year need to beware though – I might have made a bit of a bumpy ride with my misjudgement for poor little Raffie in my tummy! It’s not cheap to get in but it is worth the dollar and actually, although I had been advised this was a half day type of place to visit we could have easily filled the whole day with fun here! Best advice would be to take a picnic (the food was pricey and didn’t look great) and plan to stay until the end so that you can get on everything! They have big rides and little and most things are included however there were a couple of (annoying) coin rides which I am never keen on with a theme park!
Of course close by is the county of Sussex, another great place to do a mini vay-cay and we’ve enjoyed a few visits again with my Mum who loves this part of the world! I think Battle Abbey Cottage, which is only a few miles from Winchelsea beach could be perfect! There’s much to do in Sussex too and I particularly like the market town of Battle which grew up around Battle Abbey and takes its name from the famous battle Battle of Hastings. There are curio shops, cafes and points of interest in the town centre which make for lovely strolls and shopping. Do stop in one of the gorgeous cafes for a cup of tea and a slice of cake – you won’t be disappointed!
Sussex is rich in things to see and do and from beaches to wildlife parks there’s something for everyone. We like the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway runs from Hythe to Dungeness on a picturesque journey which the whole family will enjoy. Hop on and hop off at each station to see a little bit of everything and if you book in advance you can save 10% on the price of your tickets! The children loved this when we did it but probably not as much as daddy who spent ages looking at the trains, both real and model at the station in Hythe! Jonny’s no steam train enthusiast but once there the bug just bit him!
We also love Drusillas in East Sussex which is absolutely fantastic! The kids loved it here when they were tiny but equally as much so when a bit bigger too and I really would make this a stop even without little people as it’s a really interesting location with a great history. There’s something for all ages and the rides are just enough to give a bit of a theme park vibe without taking over from their zoo. I’m not keen on places like Chessington World of Adventures which seems to do neither zoo nor theme park well; I think they should concentrate on one area to get right but Drusillas seem to have the balance perfectly. They’re not too big but it’s still well enough for a whole day out and we LOVED it here!
And then there are the beaches – we’re big on beaches in the Rocknrollerbaby family and our favourites for Sussex are stoney Hastings and Camber Sands which is gloriously sandy! I’d spend the whole day on the beach whatever the weather seriously I would and luckily for me the children have inherited my love of all things British and beachy! There’s not loads going on at either of these beaches but there’s beach huts and ice cream a plenty in Hastings while Camber Sands will wow you with its beauty! We wouldn’t want to visit Sussex and miss out on these beach days!