Looking for things to do in Tunbridge Wells this Summer?
Summer is here but have no fear as we have plenty of recommendations for the best things to do in Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas…
Please double check with the venue beforehand (if relevant) and please ensure you purchase entrance tickets online beforehand if needed. We have included a mix of events, days out and shorter activities – both in Tunbridge Wells and also places that we think are within easy distance for a day trip from Tunbridge Wells.
We hope you have a lovely Summer and any feedback or suggestions for additions would be much appreciated. Feel free to comment below!
Festivals, Events & Shows!
♥ The Tree of Life Festival – a fantastic family friendly mini festival experience on 18th & 19th August in Tunbridge Wells, raising money for three great charities. Full of children’s activities include story telling, arts and crafts workshops, forest schools, hula hooping, sports day fun and games. More info here!
♥ Kouyou Theatre and Kent County Parks present a charming and fun Open-Air adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s Classic, The Wind In The Willows. Taking place on Tuesday 17th & Wednesday 18th August at Trosley Country Park, Friday 20th August at Lullingstone Country and Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd August at Shorne Country Park.
♥ Word Play Fun Day at Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival on 22nd August. Taking place at The Forum, there’s an exciting lineup of events including children’s workshops.
♥ Free Park Safaris with Dr Ian Beavis and the team at The Amelia at different parks around Tunbridge Wells on selected dates from 5th to 26th August
♥ A selection of family friendly shows in a stunning setting at Hever Festival Theatre this Summer. Including The Jungle Book, Dustbin Dorris and Horrible Histories!
♥ Treasure Island at EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge from 18th to 22nd August. An outdoor performance with Tom Swift and Wicked Productions. Guaranteed swashbuckling fun!
♥ Tunbridge Wells Pride is back in person on Saturday 21st August. From 2pm-4pm in The Forum’s Back Garden will be Children’s Pride, featuring Drag Storytime with Aunty Vicky and Uncle Drew, Disney Lipsyncs, Party Dances, and Prizes! Space is limited in the back garden, so please arrive promptly to grab the best seats!*
♥ The Pantiles Food Festival is back on 14th and 15th August from 10am. Celebrating the best of local produce and cuisine with a weekend of amazing food, live music and entertaining cooking demonstrations. No tickets needed!
♥ Fireman Sam Live at Assembly Hall Theatre on 18th August. See Fireman Sam ‘Save the Circus’ in an all singing, dancing, action-packed show.
Join Tunbridge Wells District Children’s Centres for a Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Hilbert & Grosvenor Park on 24th August. Booking required!
Five farms to visit in Kent & East Sussex
♥ An absolute must-visit this Summer! Join Four Winds Farm in Bidborough from 9th to 15th August for their sunflower trail with PYO sunflowers and potatoes too. Ticket available in advance only and can be purchased here.
♥ We had the loveliest day out recently at Godstone Farm! Visit the lovely farm animals, wander around the dinosaur trail and enjoy the fantastic play areas. So much to do there!
♥ Lower Ladysden Farm in Goudhurst have opened their Maize Maze again this year! Check out their PYO strawberries and farm shop too as well as their lovely farmshop and outdoor seating area.
♥ One of our favourite farms is Kent Life. a vibrant and fun destination with plenty of farm animals and the Vintage Village to explore what life would have been like during World War II.
♥ Blackberry Farm in East Sussex has re-opened and there’s plenty to do while there. Enjoy the farm walk, small animal barn, tractor ride, barrel bug ride and the outdoor play area.
10 top days out in Kent & East Sussex
Some of the top attractions near Tunbridge Wells that we return to again and again…
♥ Have a day out at Drusillas, a brilliant family zoo with plenty of activities and a splash pad for a spot of water play.
♥ Step back in time at The Historic Dockyard Chatham which will be jam-packed full of summer fun! With a fantastic range of attractions, iconic buildings and historic ships to explore, tickets need to be pre-booked.
♥ Children and adults alike can ride, drive and operate REAL diggers, dumpers and other full- size construction machinery at Diggerland in Kent.
♥ Experience 700 years of history at Hever Castle. Check out their superb play areas, go boating on the lake, explore the stunning castle and look out for their popular jousting events this August!
♥ One of the best places to go in Kent with a great mix of things to do is Leeds Castle. Discover almost 900 years of history and explore 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens. The Adventure Playgrounds, Bird of Prey Centre, Adventure Golf and Gardens are now open. All visits must be reserved online, including existing ticket holders who can book for free.
Explore the countryside at beautiful Penshurst Place…
♥ Get lost in the gorgeous gardens at Penshurst Place and enjoy the Adventure Playground too. Tickets need to be booked in advance and The Baron’s Hall is now open too. Penshurst Place really is a gem and so convenient for families in Tunbridge Wells.
♥ Visit Riverhill Himalayan Gardens for Summer fun this season. Enjoy the adventure playground, marvel at the gorgeous plants and flowers, discover the maize and so much more.
♥ Go wild at Bedgebury! There’s so much space for the kids at this lovely place. Bring the bikes or explore by foot. Take part in the gruffalo trail and enjoy the miles of bike trails and walking trails as well as the play areas.
♥ Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson arrive at Groombridge Place from 22 July followed by Captain Hook and Peter Pan from 6 August. Explore the magical forest, adventure at Crusoes World and the gorgeous gardens while there too.
♥ Indulge in some family fun at Knockhatch, an adventure park with a petting farm, owl sanctuary, indoor and outdoor play areas and more!
Read about 50 days out in Kent and East Sussex.
Things to do in Tunbridge Wells central
Still wondering what to do in tunbridge wells? Here are some more suggestions…
♥ Tunbridge Wells Common – actually a lot bigger than I first thought, with plenty of paths and routes for walkers. Enjoy clambering on Wellington Rocks overlooking the cricket ground and discover something new on your doorstep! Being in Tunbridge Wells, surely this one of the most wonderful walks for families in Kent?
♥ Have you been to Calverley Adventure Grounds? A gorgeous playground in Calverley Park, one of the best things to do Tunbridge Wells with kids, in the heart of the town. It even has a cafe there too! The Inside serves coffee, lunch and baked beauties. Let’s support this lovely local cafe and let the kids enjoy it too!
More things to do in Royal Royal Tunbridge Wells…
♥ Surely one of the top Tunbridge Wells attractions and somewhere I always take family when they visit? Admire the beautiful Pantiles and pop into The Zero Waste Company for some yummy local ice-cream. If you fancy going to a playground too, you could wander up to Grove Park?
♥ Support your local steam railway and enjoy a day out with the kids too. The Spa Valley Railway has several different events taking place over the summer. Always a lovely day out.
♥ Go boating at Dunorlan Park! Why not stay local and enjoy some time out with Dunorlan Park Boats on the lake? A guaranteed afternoon of fun if you are wondering what to do in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Three Places to Pick Your Own Strawberries near Tunbridge Wells
Strawberry picking is another one of our favourite things to do near Tunbridge Wells at the moment. Just make sure you go on a day when it isn’t tooooooooo hot and don’t crazy with picking them as the ripe ones need to be eaten quickly!
♥ Downingbury Farm in Pembury, Tunbridge Wells is a lovely local place offering PYO fruit this summer. Enjoy some tantalising Taywells Ice Cream while there too! Give them a call beforehand if you want to double check that they are open or check out their social media for live updates.
♥ We have been to Maynards Pick Your Own in Ticehurst a couple of times recently. There are lots of different types of fruit, though we went for the strawberries and I thought it was really reasonably priced.
♥ Stonepitts Farm near Sevenoaks is said to have a bumper crop of fruit this year. Very family friendly, popular and reasonably priced too. Strawberries are all grown the old fashioned way. Stonepitts strawberries are enormous this year! Check out their music events too.
Support a local zoo in Kent or East Sussex
♥ We are lucky to have some fantastic animal parks and zoos here in Kent! Visit over 600 acres of wildlife at Port Lympne safari which contains over 700 rare and endangered animals. One of several Kent Tourist attractions we always enjoy going to. Though it’s worth noting that the safari trip isn’t currently running. Find out what to expect here.
♥ Kent’s original wildlife park, Howletts is a dedicated animal conservation charity meaning that your visit directly helps to protect wildlife in the UK which, in turn, enables Howletts to send animals back to the wild in conjunction with The AspinallFoundation. Read our Howletts review here.
♥ Go and see how Wingham Wildlife Park has evolved – it started as a bird park and now has an extensive animal collection, play diggers, go-karts and more.
More things to do in Tunbridge Wells – visit one of our favourite playgrounds!
Some options for things to do in Tunbridge Wells today now that the playgrounds are finally open again!
♥ Grosvenor & Hilbert Park – Not far from Tunbridge Wells town centre in a residential area, this park is good for children of all ages. There’s an onsite cafe too and for older kids, there’s a skate park. Feed the ducks at the little lake while you are there. Watch out for the big hump-like structure in the middle of the playground. It can be a bit tricky to keep track of the kids if you have more than one with you!
♥ Pennington Park in Southborough – one of my absolute favourites especially since we can walk to it. Parents have a 360 view of the kids as it is a circular and enclosed park. There’s a large sandpit and several different play structure as well as benches in the middle for the parents and carers to sit on. The park also has a large climbing frame in the adjacent field, tennis courts, basketball court and crazy golf (you’ll need to take your own equipment).
♥ Hawkenbury Rec – located on the edge of town, Hawkenbury Rec has a lovely children’s play area as well as cricket pitches and tennis courts and plenty of space for the kids to run around.
A different day. A different playground!
♥ St John’s Recreation Ground – has a decent play area with sandpit, zipwire, swings and more. There’s plenty of green space in this park as well as a bike / skate ramp, basketball park and a good place for kids to take their bikes too. Parking can be sparse on the neighbouring roads but you can usually find a space.
♥ Barnett’s Wood Nature Area – Just off Powdermill Lane in High Brooms this is a lovely place for a forest walk and in addition, there’s a natural playground with a basket swing and timber activity trail, located near the picnic area. This map might help.
♥ Southwood Road Recreation Ground, Rusthall – The Playground at Southwood Road Rec in Rusthall has lots of space and lots of sand! There’s an aerial ropeway and selection of timber equipment as well as a small concrete skate park area. A ball games area with basketball posts and tennis courts, and a BMX cycle track too. I did find it a little tricky to keep an eye on both of my kids at the same time but they were perhaps being extra energetic that day!
♥ Langton Village Hall / Langton Pavilion – This is a lovely little playground, especially good for younger children. It is completely enclosed and easy to keep track of the kids. There’s a large stationary car which they seem to like playing on as well as swings, a mini carousel and more. And of course, there’s the gorgeous Langton Pavilion Cafe which is currently open until 6th August, then closed for two weeks and reopens again on 24th August.
I have mentioned them in other parts of this blog post but Calverley Adventure Grounds are an absolute must too and of course the lovely natural playground at Dunorlan Park. Grove Park just off The High Street in Tunbridge Wells has a nice little playground too.
Our favourite walks in Kent and East Sussex
You can read our blog post with 35 of the top walks in Kent and Easy Sussex but here are ten of our favourites – a great choice for cheap things to do in Kent and East Sussex…
♥ Birchden Wood / Harrison Rocks – Just outside Groombridge, this is extremely buggy friendly with lovely wooden creatures scattered throughout the forest. including a snake and a very large acorn along with some little outdoor dens hidden throughout the woods. There is a fee for parking.
♥ Broadwater Warren – A beautiful place to visit on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells (between Groombridge and Eridge). The trail takes about two hours, though we usually just do part of it when we go. There’s an onsite carpark which is free! Look out for the wild ponies and try to visit Decoy Pond.
More of the top walks and places to visit near Tunbridge Wells Kent
♥ Hargate Forest – There are two walks to take at the beautiful Hargate Forest in Broadwater Down, Tunbridge Wells. The entrance can be found at TN2 5PE which is the postcode for a property opposite the site entrance. The green walk is one mile long and take approximately 30 minutes to walk.
♥ Haysden Country Park – The great thing about Haysden Country Park is that it has a bit of everything – a fun playground, a cafe (with outdoor seating only), a big lake with pedestrian and cycle path and a forest. We like walking across to Tonbridge Playing Fields and back via the river. There is a fee for parking.
♥ Hurst Woods which is a gorgeous forest walk in Tunbridge Wells with a stream and a circular route. The best way to enter is via Conistion Avenue. There’s a little stream there too and a couple of routes to discover.
♥ Pooh Sticks Bridge – I‘m still surprised at how near the Ashdown Forest and Winnie-the-Pooh land is to us! Pooh Sticks Bridge can be found just beyond the village of Hartfield. This is a lovely family day out and a nice way of nurturing an interest in books too. Read more about our visit to Pooh Sticks Bridge here.
More things to do near Tunbridge Wells Kent. You can’t beat a family walk!
♥ Southborough Viaduct walk is an absolute gem and another one that we discovered during lockdown. There are several ways of doing it but this route has good directions. It takes you through forests, fields, across bridges and streams and of course a pitstop at the infamous viaduct which the train passes over on the way into High Brooms.
♥ The Hollies is in an absolutely stunning location at the Ashdown Forest. Enjoy rolling fields, beautiful views and animals (sheep and cows mainly) wandering around in their natural habitat. You can do the walk in a loop which takes approx an hour and there’s a WWII memorial (know at the Airman’s Grave) halfway along the walk, as well as a stream and lots of cow-pats which my boys enjoyed spotting! The free carpark (called The Hollies) which can be accessed via Crowborough Road, postcode TN22 3HU.
♥ Walshes Park in Crowborough – what a find! For the first time recently and what a find it was! The park is a mix of boardwalk, slightly bumpy tracks and fields with a stream along the way. Bikes are apparently allowed for children (not adults) and we parked at Alderbrook Way (which you’ll need to put in the sat nav). Please note that Alderbrook Way is a residential street so considerate parking is a must.
♥ Lullingstone Country Park – As well as a playground at Lullingstone Country Park, there’s also a lovely stream nearby to go paddling in as well as lots of fields and woodland to explore. There’s a small fee for parking.
♥ Kingdom in Penshurst has a short circular route which is great for parents with little ones. Kingdom is now open Friday to Sunday each week, serving delicious food between 10am-3pm from their gorgeous Mother Truck. Card payments only.
♥ Dene Park – a large mixed woodland with an array of pathways from which to explore the variety of deciduous trees and conifers and enjoy glimpses into the surrounding countryside. Parking is free and there’s a little river to discover too.
Five best places for bike rides
You can read about the best family bikes rides in Kent and East Sussex but here are five of our favourites for now…
♥ Explore the disused railway ‘Forest Way‘, a 10 mile stretch ideal for cycling (as well as walking and horse riding) between Groombridge and East Grinstead. We like to park at the old train station in Hartfield. This is a fab place to cycle as it is quite flat and buggy friendly too.
♥ Cycle from Penshurst to Tonbridge castle (or the other way around) along the Tudor Cycle Trail which is mostly off road. We usually park up at Tonbridge Swimming Pool (parking is free on Sundays) and cycle out to Haysden Country Park where we then have a little break before continuing on. It can get quite hilly so be prepared for that!
♥ Explore The Cuckoo Trail, a 14 mile surfaced path through the Sussex countryside that is traffic free (although there are a few roads to cross over on the way) and a safe route for walkers and cyclists of all ages.
♥ Combine your ride with a spot of birdwatching at Rye Harbour nature reserve, a stunning coastal habitat with changing coastline and military history. This has been recommended by several parents recently and we are hoping to check it out too.
♥ The River Medway towpath cycle route follows the river closely which makes it very hard to get lost and is a safe and traffic free way to get into Maidstone from Aylesford Bridge. We haven’t done this one but it has been recommended.
Five favourite beaches to visit in Kent and East Sussex
You can read about 15 of the top beaches in Kent and East Sussex but here are five of our favourites:
♥ Another one of the top things top things to do in Kent – a visit to Dymchurch. It’s a lovely seaside resort with a long sandy beach and lots to do for the little ones. There are several cafes and a little funfair in addition to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The beach at Dymchurch is mainly sandy.
♥ Kent’s Greatstone Beach in New Romney is one of my new favourites. It’s like a quieter version of Camber with miles of soft white sand. There’s a smallish carpark with toilets and the walk over the sand dunes to the beach is simple. When the tide is out, it does require quite a long walk out to reach the water, but sure that’s all part of the fun?
♥ More alternative stuff to do in Kent. Joss Bay, which is close to Viking Bay, has been recommended several times to me as a super sandy beach for families to visit. The popular Joss Bay Surf School is the perfect place to learn how to ride the waves, if that’s your kind of thing. Or you could just sit back and relax while watching the children do it…
♥ Around 10 miles East of Hastings, Winchelsea has been recommended to me several times as a quieter beach option. It’s a beautiful drive to get to this pebble beach from Tunbridge Wells. Although it is mainly shingle, when the tide goes out there’s a really lovely sandy area and shallow water for the kids to play in too.
♥ We have been to Bexhill a few times recently. The boys took their bikes and cycled along the promenade and running around the beach. We usually park along the promenade towards the cliffs (it is free) and ideally visit when the tide is out so that there’s some sand. Eggerton Park has a super playground which is worth a visit while there too.
Five National Trusts to visit with kids in Kent
If you have membership, visiting a National Trust can be one of the best and budget friendly days out in Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas.
Pay a visit to one of the many child friendly National Trusts nearby and get involved in some of their trails and activities:
♥ Chartwell – So much to do you can definitely make a day of it here! The highlights for children being the playhouse Churchill designed for his daughter in the garden and the two-storey treehouse, which is roughly a 30-minute walk from the house, more suited to a baby carrier than a buggy.
♥ Emmetts Garden – Mainly outdoors and buggy friendly, Emmetts Garden near Sevenoaks offers pretty formal gardens, amazing views from one of the highest points in the county and lots of grassed space for running around and picnicking. Enjoy adventures in the wild play area, make-believe with the dressing up clothes inside the tepee and hunt for the tree that smells of burnt toffee!
♥ More National Trust Kent places to visit – Ightham Mote. A great choice for the whole family to enjoy the fresh air at this medieval moated manor house near Sevenoaks. The highlight for us is always the novelty of the stream set within the natural play area, so pack wellies and spare clothes as they are bound to want to paddle or build dams! Here you will also find balance beams, chimes, dens, steppingstones etc.
♥ Scotney Castle: The nearest (and probably my dearest) National Trust property, is a medieval castle lying in a peaceful valley on the edge of Lamberhurst. Scotney Castle has a lot to offer children; a natural play area that has something for most ages I’d say, including a mud kitchen, tennis ball run, and natural drum kit.
♥ Knole in Sevenoaks – another favourite, the magnificent parkland estate surrounding the house is idyllic for picnics, playing games, little bikes and scooter and you’d be unlucky not to spot the resident herd of wild deer.
Five places to visit when it’s raining
Some places to visit near tunbridge wells when it is raining! We are a little more limited at the moment with this but there are still some interesting options!
♥ Test your resolve and determination at Clip n Climb in Tonbridge and try out one of their many climbing walls as well as the infamous Drop Slide and Stairway to Heaven. Perfect for cheeky little monkeys with energy to burn!
♥ Design, paint and glaze your own pottery at Slap ‘n Dash in Hawkhurst – remember to book ahead. After you’ve finished your creation why not stop by the onsite Waterside Cafe for a spot to eat? A picturesque view included.
♥ Marvel at the big screen and visit the Odeon in Tunbridge Wells to catch the latest kids films. There are both old and new releases showing at the moment at a reduced rate. T
♥ Children aged 4 to 11 can sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library. Join the ‘Wild World Heroes’ for a summer of reading. If you haven’t visited the gorgeous new library in Southborough yet, it is definitely worth ‘checking out’…
♥ Explore the underwater world and learn about reptiles at Hastings Aquarium. With over 40 naturally themed habitats there’s sure to be something to catch your little one’s eye. There are two free (though donations welcome) museums nearby too – the Fisherman’s Museum and Shipwreck Museum.
5 exciting classes to sign up for around Tunbridge Wells
As well as a super choice of Summer camps for the kids to go along to, we have mentioned five of our favourite classes below – a great option for Tunbridge wells things to do especially if you would like the kids to experience something new…
♥ Arty Farty Retreat in Southborough has some super sessions over the summer for both kids and adults. Including Clay Camp, a Wild Witch Workshop and Family Crafternoons.
♥ Little Forest Ponies in Cowden have a range of holiday fun this Summer from 3 day holiday camps to Pony Fun Days for 5 to 12 year olds who are confident and happy to be left at the stables without their parents.
♥ Stagecoach Performing Arts Tunbridge Wells have just a few places left in their Summer Trolliday workshop for 4 to 6 year olds and their ‘Racoking Through The Ages’ workshop from age 6+. Oh what fun!
5 more things to do in Tunbridge Wells this Summer…
♥ Mr Mulligan’s Dino Golf in Tonbridge is currently open and a great way to while away a morning or afternoon. Book online to guarantee your tee time.
♥ Who will wipe out first on the 1500sqm meter inflatable Aqua Park at Bewl Water? Open to anyone age 6 and over, this looks like so much fun! There are lots of other activities to do while at Bewl Water too, making it a fab family day out.
♥ Explore the gorgeous gardens and grounds at Herstmonceux Castle. Within the beautiful 300-acre estate, families can explore formal gardens, woodland trails, meadows, and lakes, play area and maze – all set around a majestic 15th century moated castle.
♥ Be quick! Temper Temper have a limited number of chocolate making workshops available in July and August which are available to book online.