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Family visitors flying kites by the South Foreland Lighthouse, Kent, on a sunny day in August
Family visitors flying kites by the South Foreland Lighthouse | © National Trust Images/Solent News and Photography Agency

Family-friendly places in Kent

Let little explorers loose in the outdoors. They'll love squelching in mud kitchens, scrambling across natural play areas and running free across open meadows, whatever the weather. When it's time to refuel, grab a coffee and kids lunchbox from the café or pitch up a picnic blanket on the lawn. There's no need to book in advance, and with wide parking spaces, baby changing facilities, picnic benches and buggy-friendly paths our places are ready to welcome you.

May half term in Kent

New family trails, a teddy bears' picnic and geology-inspired activities for May half term in Kent

Children playing in the garden and jumping off a tree stump at Chartwell, Kent

Chartwell 

Commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings (6 June 1944) at the home of the great wartime leader, Sir Winston Churchill. Discover the role Churchill played in the planning and preparation for the Normandy landings, known as D-Day during the Second World War. In the gardens, kids of all ages have the chance to hone their skills in preparation for the invasion, code named Operation Overlord. In the house, discover objects with links to D-Day and find out how Operation Overload unfolded. Runs 25 May to 16 June, 10am-5pm, free with admission.

A family looking into the moat at Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle 

Come and create your very own story book in Scotney's summer half-term trail. Use the spinners around the garden to discover your characters, story line and 'happy ever after' ending. £3 per trail plus admission. Suitable for ages 3 to 10.

A child holds out their hand, holding an ammonite, while standing on a wet sandy beach
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Emmetts Garden 

Discover prehistoric treasures and follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs on our half term trail as we mark 60 years since geologist Charles Boise entrusted Emmetts Garden to the National Trust. Trail includes a prize and runs 25 May to 2 June, 10am to 4:30pm. £3 plus admission. Outdoor Theatre season also begins on 1 June with a comedic performance of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Pre-booking required, click for details.

Teddy bear relaxing in a hammock with a newspaper, in the garden at Melford Hall, Suffolk

Ightham Mote 

If you go down to the Mote today...you’re sure of a warm, cuddly welcome as the annual teddy tradition returns for May half term. See bears of all shapes and sizes around the Mote, then bring your own cuddlies along for a traditional teddy bears picnic on the North Lawn against the musical backdrop of the Biggin Hill Band. Teddy display 25 May to 2 June, 10am to 5pm, free with admission. Biggin Hill Band 2 June, half hour performances at 11.30am and 12.45pm, free with admission

Apple blossom in the garden at Quebec House

Quebec House 

Experience Georgian coffee house culture with the hot topics of the day to discuss and debate. Learn how coffee then was different from today’s and enjoy a sweet treat made by our volunteer cooks in the kitchen. Saturday 25 to Monday 27 May, 11am to 2pm, free with admission

Family playing on thrones in the courtyard at Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Bodiam Castle 

Can you unlock the mystery of the castle keys? Explore the castle ruin to find the hidden keys, try your hand at puzzles and learn about the Keeper of the Castle. Mystery-solvers will become keepers of their very own special key to take home. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, see history come to life as a medieval encampment pitches up at Bodiam Castle. Meet characters from the 1400s and discover their way of life. Enter the arena to watch dramatic sword demonstrations, have a go at dressing a medieval knight and more. Trail runs 25 May to 2 June, 10am to 4pm. £3 with small prize. Designed for children aged 4 to 12. Have-a-go-archery runs 25 to 2 June, 10.30am to 4pm, £4 for 6 arrows. Suitable for adults and children aged 6+. Medieval encampment 25 to 27 May, 10am to 4pm. Free with admission.

A family strolling across the top of the rectangular pond at Bateman's with the rose garden in the foreground

Bateman's 

Baloo, the sleepy brown bear, has hidden puzzles and games to play around Bateman’s for you to discover. Put your skills to the test and uncover the clues around the house and garden. Trail runs 18 May to 2 June, 10am-4.30pm. £2 with small prize. Best suited for primary aged children.

Summer holidays in Kent

Find non-stop family adventures and fun throughout the school holidays as part of the National Trust’s Summer of Play (sponsored by Starling Bank).

Children playing summer sports at Nostell Priory, Yorkshire
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Knole 

Family fun in the parkland all summer with adventure packs, cricket, boules and more (throughout school holidays). There’s a special week of Tudor-themed fun inspired by Knole’s former royal residents too (5 to 11 Aug, 11am to 3pm) with face painting, target practice and dress-up. Book admission to guarantee entry.

Jock VII, one of the long line of resident ginger cats, walks along a path at Chartwell, Kent
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Chartwell 

Follow the Adventures of Jock the Cat family trail (£3 plus admission, with prize), inspired by Chartwell's famous marmalade feline. Kids will love the two-storey treehouse, swings and Canadian Camp too.

A family enjoying time together
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Scotney Castle 

Clown around with circus themed games and activities this summer. Explore the Badger and Pepper play area, or find a shady spot for a picnic and ice-cream. Runs 27 July to 2 Sept

Children in a sack race in summer in a National Trust garden
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Emmetts Garden 

Get active with cricket, hoola hoops, sack races and more. Let loose in the Wild Play area near the café, with climbing frame, willow tunnels and fairy toadstools. 20 July to 1 September

Girls playing outdoor giant jenga during the Wey River Festival at River Wey and Godalming Navigations and Dapdune Wharf, Surrey
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Quebec House 

Giant Jenga, hobby horses, quoits and other games in the garden. Back by popular demand there will be family yoga sessions on offer on selected Fridays, as well as archery on Wednesdays in August. 20 July to 1 September

Westerham, Kent

Fully open today
Child having a go at soft play archery with an adult demonstrating the technique
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Bodiam Castle 

Roll up, roll up! The Medieval Fair is back, packed with family games and activities. From mini jousting to soft play archery, hobby horses to quoits. Meet historical characters, become a knight in training on a new trail, and look out for storytelling, crafts and medieval armour displays. 24 July to 1 September

Illustration of two children looking at a bear
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Bateman's 

Will you succeed in The Jungle Book Games? Have a go at Mowgli’s rhythmic ribbons, keep your balance in the Kaa sack race, score high in the Hathi hoopla and create your own games’ opening song on Baloo’s music station. There’s plenty to keep the whole family busy on this action-packed trail. Discover new adventures with live, drop-in storytelling sessions in the gardens on select dates too.

Top things for families to do in Kent

Three children in the wild play area at Chartwell, Kent. Two children are climbing on low tree trucks and a boy in an orange t-shirt is carrying a large stick.
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Family-friendly things to do at Chartwell 

Meet the royal residents of Chickenham Palace, or pop into the enchanting ‘Marycot’, a little brick house built by Sir Winston Churchill for his daughter Mary. Climb the two-storey treehouse and reach the sky on the swings in the Old Quarry. Chartwell is a great place to play and let imaginations run wild.

A family of four walking across the grass parkland at Knole in Kent looking for clues on a family trail activity
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Family-friendly visits to Knole 

Book into the Knole Fawns toddler group on Friday mornings. There's babyccino coffee mornings and stories on Mondays too. Discover the royal treasures in the showrooms using the new children's spotter trail. Go deer spotting on a stroll around the parkland.

Children enjoying an Easter trail
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Family days out at Scotney Castle 

Swing, climb and squelch in the Badger & Pepper play area. Peer into the moat to spot the swish of a fishy tail. Can you find the dinosaur footprint in the rocks of the Old Quarry, a relic from when iguanodons roamed?

A woman and a child enjoy looking at daffodils in springtime.
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Emmetts Garden 

Guard the fort and hop into the enchanted fairy ring in the new natural play area, located just past the Old Stables Tearoom. Can you walk across the balance beams without falling off? Why not challenge each other to see who can build the biggest den? Play the giant wind chimes and clamber to the top of the climbing frame – the fun is never ending.

Enjoy a family day out at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
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Family activities at Sissinghurst Castle Garden 

Head to the natural play area down by the lakes for den building. Meet the resident dragon and find the fairy door hidden in the trees. Pick up a free seasonal spotter sheet from visitor reception.

Walking in the gardens Ightham Mote
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Visiting Ightham Mote with the family 

Celebrate the season with autumn eye spy. Race through the living willow tunnel, practice your balancing skills and make mud pies in the natural play area. Change of clothing advised!

Family playing on thrones in the courtyard at Bodiam Castle, East Sussex
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Family-friendly things to do at Bodiam Castle 

Experience the feeling of walking over the bridge, through the gatehouse and stepping back into Medieval times. Spy the original portcullis, ancient stone unicorn, murder holes, gun loops and medieval bread oven. Pick up a new illustrated autumn spotter sheet or try the castle trail with Nosy Crow.

Visitors on the bridge, looking over the River Dudwell in the garden at Bateman's, East Sussex
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Family-friendly things to do at Bateman's 

Drop in for story time in the garden, with short sessions perfect for little imaginations. Run free in the natural play area with swings, see-saw and climbing frames. Look out for the wise old owl perched atop the carved oak tree. Inside, meet the 120-year-old doll 'Crocus', who was given to Rudyard Kipling’s little girl, Elsie. She was so well loved; her nose has rubbed off with kisses.

View across the lake towards Scotney Castle, Kent

Discover more in Kent

Fairy-tale castles, historic royal residences and the home of Churchill can all be found in Kent.