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8 of my Favourite Free Things to do in Kent

By Kirsty Lavender – 19th March 2021
Folkestone Free things to do in Kent

8 of my Favourite Free Things to do in Kent that the Whole Family can Enjoy!

Now that it seems we are nearing the end of a national lockdown it’s time to get back to a bit of normality and start planning those days out again. Throughout lockdown, I have been dreaming longingly of all the places we can visit in beautiful Kent when restrictions are lifted and have started compiling a long list!

However, for a typical family, many of these days out do not come cheap. Thankfully there are many free things to do in Kent so that you can have a great day without having to spend a penny, well if you ignore petrol and packed lunches that is!

I have lived in Kent for most of my life and now enjoy exploring it with my family. So if you are ready for some post lockdown inspiration check out my ideas for free things to do in Kent that are sure to entertain the whole gang. From taking in some inspiring art or a breath-taking view, to getting to know the local wildlife or perhaps some local history, there is something for everyone.

All of these free things to do in Kent are tried and tested by my very own family tribe and have an extra added seal of approval from my rather fussy three year old!

 

Folkestone Artworks

Not only is Folkestone a gorgeous seaside town to visit it is also home to the UK’s largest outdoor collection of contemporary art. The changing exhibition has over 70 different artworks by artists including Tracey Emin, Anthony Gormley, and Yoko Ono. There are a number of different routes you can follow or simply take a wander and see what surprises you find! My little boy’s favourite is the giant seagull.

Whilst you are there take a wander to the colourful creative Quarter and browse the independent shops, grab some lunch from the harbour arm or take the kids to the fantastic play park at Lower Leas Coastal Park. There is so much to see and do in Folkestone that I think it has to be at the top of the list for free things to do in Kent.

https://www.creativefolkestone.org.uk/folkestoneartworks/

 

Knole Park

This is a fantastic day out that the whole family will love. Whilst you have to pay for parking, (unless a National Trust member) entry to Knole Park itself is free and can be accessed by foot.

Beautiful all year round, the park is abundant with large, open green spaces as well as beautiful parkland perfect for a wander. Knole is home to a 350-strong wild deer herd and is definitely the highlight of the visit. You’ll be amazed at how many you come across on your visit. Take a picnic and enjoy watching these majestic creatures going about their day.

When it comes to choosing free things to do in Kent I don’t think you’ll get this close to such gorgeous wildlife anywhere else.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole

 

Reculver Towers

Here you can explore the ruins of St Mary’s Church which sit within a Roman Fort (most of which has been washed out to sea) The imposing towers can be seen across the coastline from Herne Bay to Birchington and are often photographed.

At the site, there is a brilliant play area for the kids (this does get very busy in the school holidays) and is a great spot to have a picnic. After lunch, take a peaceful walk or cycle along the coast to Minnis Bay, stop here for a paddle in the sea or even an ice cream, before heading back.

There are many historical free things to do in Kent but with gorgeous scenery, a play park for the children and a beautiful walk this has to be the best.

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/reculver-towers-and-roman-fort/

 

Dreamland

Although you will need to pay to go on any of the rides, entry to the park itself is free. The park is based on a traditional fairground and has mostly vintage rides. The park has a history spanning 100 years and is home to UK’s oldest wooden roller coaster, the grade II listed Scenic Railway. I remember being terrified of this ride as a child and yet devastated when part of it was lost to a fire. It has fortunately been restored so that we can still enjoy it today.

Dreamland holds many free events and activities throughout the year such as ice cream festivals and film screenings and makes for a fun afternoon out.

https://www.dreamland.co.uk

 

Turner Contemporary

If you are visiting Dreamland you should also head to the Turner Contemporary, Margate’s contemporary art space. All exhibitions are free to visit and have previously displayed works by Tracey Emin, Anthony Gormley and landscape painter J.M.W Turner who the gallery is named after. In 2019 the gallery also exhibited the Turner Prize for the first time.

There are often free activities for children to learn about the art and have a go at creating their own.The gallery is situated on the harbour arm and offers stunning views of the sky and sea that Turner was so fond of. Once you are done take a wander along the pier and check out the shall lady, grab some fish and chips and settle down to enjoy the sunset.

The Turner Contemporary is only open on certain days of the week so do check opening times before you visit.

https://turnercontemporary.org/about/

 

The White Cliffs of Dover

This has to be my favourite place to go for a walk in Kent. With breathtaking views and a great place to stop for a picnic, this is one we do often. The world-famous cliffs jut dramatically out to sea so that you can enjoy an exhilarating walk with unrivalled views of the English Channel. There is a variety of flora and fauna and if you’re lucky you might even come across a few grazing Exmoor Ponies.

Follow the meandering paths along the cliffs (being careful not to venture too close to the edge!) and make your way to South Foreland Lighthouse where you can refuel at Mrs. Knott’s Tearoom with a cup of tea and delicious homemade cake.

When it comes to free things to do in Kent you can’t beat a picturesque walk and this one is definitely the most stunning that I know.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-white-cliffs-of-dover
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/south-foreland-lighthouse

 

Spend the day at the seaside

There is nothing better than spending time topping up your vitamin sea no matter the time of the year! From lazy summer days sunbathing or bracing winter walks you can take your pick of Kent’s gorgeous beaches, many of them award-winning.

For traditional seaside fun visit Herne Bay and its Victorian-style pier, there are some great spots to grab an ice cream too. If you are after sandy beaches I would recommend Botany Bay in Thanet, with its stunning sands and gorgeous chalk cliffs it is popular with day trippers and locals for a day by the sea. Being by the sea reminds me so much of my childhood and I just love sharing that experience with my own little ones.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/south-foreland-lighthouse

 

Woodland Walks

If the beach isn’t your thing then try a walk in one of Kent’s beautiful woodlands, the woodlands in Blean being my favourite. Perfect for a walk any time of the year and ever-changing with the seasons! These woods have a wide range of clearly signposted walking routes including some that are pram and wheelchair friendly and definitely dog friendly. As a mum of a very lively threenager I cannot recommend a woodland walk enough for somewhere he can shout, run, splash and generally just let off steam!

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/blean-woodlands/
https://explorekent.org/activities/blean-woods-national-nature-reserve/
https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/nature-reserves/west-blean-and-thornden-woods
https://explorekent.org/activities/clowes-wood/

 

I hope you have enjoyed my post and that I have inspired you to try out some of these free things to do in Kent.
Now, why not check out some of my favourite walks for more free things to do in Kent?
https://girlabout.co.uk/walksinkent/

Hopefully, we will all be able to get out and enjoy them again soon. Until then happy planning!

 

Kirsty x

Kirsty Boyd Kent
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