We know what it’s like – there’s never enough to do when you take kids away on holiday. Whatever you plan, there’s always room for more and when you’ve got sprogs of all ages, it can be a challenge to keep them all happy. But fear not – in Kent and Sussex, there are lots of year-round events that will entertain the troops for another day. Here are our favourites:
It’s not all about raving and tent-hopping during the festival season. Many festivals now are brilliant for family fun, catering for tiny tots up to teens. This colourful festival has lots on offer including live music, fairy Zumba classes, talent shows and huge bubbles sessions. In the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside in the delightful village of Alfriston, you’ll have the gorgeous Sussex Downs as a backdrop as you gather with other fairy lovers to practise your circus skills and head for the Pirate Ball.
The Love Supreme Jazz Festival
This hugely popular annual three-day event in Glynde Place is gaining momentum in both the local community and for lovers of camping and jazz across the UK. You may know the estate for its slightly loftier associations with Glyndebourne Opera House, but this fab festival is catching up in popularity. Head for the Kids’ Green which offers lots of fun activities for children including hula-hooping, circus skills, an open mic and disco (bring your earplugs) as well as an outdoor trapeze. Do some family bonding with the Dynamic Family Yoga sessions – you’ll definitely need to channel your zen as the kids drag you around the grounds from activity to activity.
England’s Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle
Come to one of the most beautiful castles in the south for this one-of-a-kind medieval-themed festival, where you can go back in time and imagine life during these dramatic times. This magical weekend is very family-friendly with wizards, jesters, dragons and princesses all competing for your offspring’s attention, while adults can watch the bands and sample a real ale. Watch the Knights Jousting and the twice-daily Battle and Siege of the Castle and delight in the fabulous Falconry displays. You can even have a go at a bit of axe-throwing, assuming you’re all on good terms. The moonlight cinema showing medieval-themed classics is hugely popular with the kids and the historical edge will definitely score parent points when it comes to filling in school holiday journals.
Into the Trees
Two wild days of abandon in the heart of the Ashdown Forest – what could be better summer fun for children permanently attached to the screen? They’ll be submerged into their very own Huckleberry Finn story kayaking across rivers, tree climbing in forests and discovering the ancient woodland of Pippingford Park. The great news is that you can now all camp as a family, so parents don’t have to miss out on all the adventure either. When evening falls, sit around the huge communal campfire and watch the evening performances, then head back to your tents and fall asleep under the starry Sussex skies.
Zog Trail at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
You’ll love this ethereal forest in the middle of the Sussex countryside, where thousands of pine trees in pristine woodland are the backdrop for an exciting forest journey with the accident-prone orange dragon Zog and his pals! Scoot along the trails through the woods and search for characters from the story, collect stars like Zog did when he was at dragon school and complete challenges as you wander along. Pick up a Zog activity pack with a special lens to discover hidden pictures and finish with something tasty at the café.
Day Out with Thomas and Santa Specials on the Kent & East Sussex Railway
Depending on what time of year you make your escape to the south, hop aboard one of the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s super event days, which will take you across the beautiful Kent and Sussex countryside at a vintage pace. Join Thomas and friends, meet the Fat Controller and get acquainted with Sodor Station Sweepers Rusty and Dusty. Watch re-enactments of classic Thomas tales, listen to Rusty and Dusty’s storytelling and try out some balloon modelling. The Railway has lots of other events throughout the year – in the snowy season, little ones will love the Santa Specials from Tenterden to the North Pole – actually Bodiam Station, but we’ll keep that between us. Kids will love this very special journey as Santa and his merry elves pass through the carriages, giving festive gifts out as you chug towards their native land.
The Carnival of History at Leeds Castle
Bring your little lords and ladies to travel through time at the spectacular Leeds Castle near Maidstone. The romantic castle rising majestically from a moat and nestled in 500 acres of parkland is stunning on its own, but it looks even better when there’s something that will entertain your brood. Come and help to celebrate the castle’s 900th anniversary throughout 2019 with a look back at the fascinating and turbulent times it has lived through. From Norman beginnings through Tudor times up to the present day, it is all explained in exquisite detail. The exhibits of the dog collar museum are a favourite at any time of year, as is the unusual maze (is it a circle or a square?) which leads you back to civilisation through a mystical underground grotto.
The Kent County Show
Always a popular choice, the Kent County Show is one to put on your list. There’s so much to see including (depending on the year) famous dogs who can do tricks, heavy horse displays, falconry, cooking demos and military and gymnastics shows on horseback. If you’ve got the family dog on board, head to the Festival of Dogs where fun dog shows and agility demonstrations will get tails wagging. Bookish children will love the Living History area and model aeroplanes, while tiny tots will want to base themselves in the children’s area, where they can meet lots of furry animals, enjoy a pony ride and watch some vintage Punch and Judy.
If you need somewhere to keep the brood together on your trip to the Beautiful South, Bramley and Teal Holiday Cottages have a great selection of Kent cottages in which to base yourself.
Collab with Bramley and Teal Holiday Cottages