If like me you’re hoping to get outdoors this weekend, even if it does mean wrapping up warm, then we have some lovely suggestions for places to go with family and friends in and around Tunbridge wells. We have tried to include an option for the all-important coffee and a warmup at each location! Remember the rule of 6 and enjoy your weekend!
♥ PYO pumpkins is back at Lower Ladysden in Goudhurst from Saturday 3rd October. We’ve been told they have a lovely crop, in all shapes and sizes, so go along, grab yourself a wheelbarrow and choose the perfect pumpkins for some Halloween creations. There are a few changes to note this year. The main difference being that to control numbers, entry onto the site is for pre-booked ticket holders only. Tickets can be booked Here for £2 per person (children 3 and under go free). The farm shop will be open too, serving coffee and cake. Once you’ve carved your petrifying pumpkins, upload a photo of them to Instagram or Facebook and tag Lower Laysden to be entered into the pumpkin carving competition!
♥ Tempt the family out for some fresh air and exercise on a walk through the colourful autumnal trees collecting conkers. I have been told that the South Garden at Emmetts Garden, Penshurst Parkland and Riverside Walks and Hever Castle all have collections of horse chestnut trees. When you’re done playing Conkers, why not turn your prized conker collection into crafts, there are plenty online for inspiration, including my favourite; the cutest hedgehog babies!
♥ A nearby family favourite with something for everyone is Bedgebury Pinetum. Enjoy the views from the café, hunt for the Gruffalo (check out the , follow the adventure play trail or ride the family cycling route (bike hire available). For thrill-seekers, there is some challenging mountain-biking and the Go Ape tree top adventure (pre-booking advisable). For a change and while you’re in the area visit nearby Gulliver’s Play Café in Cranbrook, with its play areas for younger and older children and fresh food made on site. They even offer a pre-ordered lunch box option, perfect for a picnic at Bedgebury!
♥ A friend went to the PYO flower meadow at Cherry Gardens Organic Farm this week and said there are still flowers left for picking, in particular the beautiful Dahlias. The flowers are really reasonably priced, and the farm shop sells lots of homegrown and local produce. You can find them just outside the village of Groombridge. Whenever we have been here, we stop off at Daily Bread in Rusthall, the all-day brunch menu and homemade crumpets are delicious! Or if fruit is your thing, Downingbury Farm in Pembury have PYO blackberries and raspberries at the moment.
♥ This might be a bit optimistic, given that it is currently pouring with rain BUT Camber Sands was a bit of a no-go area in the summer this year, as it was very over-crowded. I am hopeful now that one of the most beautiful beaches in Kent/East Sussex is now a lovely place to escape to once more before winter really sets in. This super stretch of golden sand and dunes stretches for miles and you might even be able to find a sheltered enough spot in the dunes to enjoy a picnic or fish and chips from the café. There are two carparks, both pay by phone at the moment and public toilets. The bonus of Camber is that it’s just a few miles from the idyllic town of Rye, with all the lovely independent shops and eateries.
♥ Minor Mania is back open at Bells Yew Green. I’m personally glad this soft play centre has survived the last few months which no doubt must have been incredibly tough.Pre-book your session by calling 01892 752042. Check out their website to see what social distancing plans they have in place.
♥ Jump In in Tonbridge has sadly closed but Urban Jump in Uckfield could be worth a visit? My son went there for a birthday party last year and they really enjoyed it. As well as the trampoline area, there are free style foam pits, climbing walls, balance beam, interactive challenge, basketball hoops and a full size dodge ball court.
♥ Head over to Buttercups Goats Sanctuary near Maidstone to visit over 140 mistreated or unwanted goats, now living out their days peacefully roaming free in ancient parkland. Entry to visitors is every Thursday to Monday between 11am – 4pm for goat feeding, hot and cold drinks, snacks and souvenirs. They would really appreciate your support, as like so many charities, the sanctuary has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crises.