Little Kent life - enjoying the last of the summer in Bedgebury Pinetum
PUBLISHED: 16:53 02 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:55 20 February 2013
Our intrepid Mum and her town young sons enjoy the late-summer sun in Bedgebury Pinetum and find retail bliss in Sevenoaks...
If you do onething this month
Make the most of the late-summer sunshine with a day spent outdoors at Bedgebury National Pinetum on the Kent/East Sussex border, two miles north of Flimwell. Surrounded by miles of conifers, families can take peaceful forest walks, tackle fun play trails and adventure playgrounds, go on cycle rides and enjoy top-quality refreshments. Admission is free, although there is a charge for parking. Bedgebury Pinetum opens all year round. Events this month include a fun run in aid of Marie Curie on
10 September with a forest discovery day on 11 September 01580 879482.
3 more things to do this September
Another great outdoor choice is The Leas Coastal Park in Lower Leas, Folkstone.
Great for picnics, with a large childrens playground; the park also has an amphitheatre, landscaped gardens, toddler park and cycle route. If you have time afterwards, wander down to nearby Folkestone beach for some warming fish and chips.
Inspire young brains as the kids go back to school with a trip to Maidstone Museum. This free attraction is easy to find in the centre of Maidstone and has a nice caf with several interesting things to see. Highlights for little visitors include exhibits on ancient Egypt, dresses and costumes and that perennial crowd-pleaser dinosaurs 01622 602838.
Enjoy a group hug with the enchanting tale of How the Koala Learnt to Hug on 25 September at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. Suitable for children aged four upwards. Audience members can also meet the author,Steven Lee, when he will sign copies of his book, on sale at a reduced rate after the show 01892 530613.
Retail therapy in Sevenoaks
At first glance, Sevenoaks isnt all that set up for children, with a lack of large high-street chains and colourful family restaurants. However, explore a little further, and you will find quite a few smaller places providing retail opportunities for the little people.
The charming Smart Mama, Clever Papa shop on London Road sells really lovely clothes for newborn to five-year-old children, alongside well-made wooden toys and other traditional curiosities, while the first floor of Lorimers on the High Street is a veritable treasure chest of toys, puzzles and games.
The intriguingly named Fingz, also on the High Street is well worth a visit, as it is well stocked with arts and crafts materials and party supplies.
Sevenoaks transport links are good as well, with a sizeable bus station, adequate car parking and good rail links. There are a few cafs dotted about, but for a real treat, pop into the Royal Oak Hotel on the High Street for some afternoon tea. We were made to feel very welcome there and my boys thoroughly enjoyed their cakes.
Top thing to do
Have a stroll around the deer park at Knole. This beautiful National Trust house is set in a 1,000-acre deer park, where sika and fallow deer are allowed to roam freely. Take a picnic and enjoy seeing these friendly creatures up close.
Caf culture -Cool places to eat with the kids
What: Lamberhurst Vineyard caf
Where: The Down, Lamberhurst01892 890412
This caf located inside one of the oldest vineyards in Kent is very children friendly, with special menus, childrens portions, highchairs and decent baby changing and bottle-warming facilities. There is also a pets corner with pygmy goats and rabbits, a nice shop and plenty of space to go for a post-snack walk around the vineyard. A good lunchtime option.