Four more FREE and really cheap places to take young kids near Tonbridge, Kent – Part 3

For kids & families Free & cheap things to do

This post continues my list of free (and really cheap) places to go in the West Kent (Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Maidstone) area.

 Parts one to four of this list can be found by clicking here and parts five to eight can be found here.

I’m so pleased that people found these lists useful; and many have come forward to offer other places for inclusion and so I thought I would visit the places suggested and continue adding to the list!

9) Pepenbury, Pembury

Pepenbury is a residential home providing support for people with learning disabilities. It is set in beautiful Kent countryside in Pembury, a short drive from Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells.
Pepenbury have a very toddler-friendly woodland walk; you can even make music along the way
In the middle of the woodland walk is a secluded area with some swings, a treehouse and a few other bits of playground apparatus as well as some picnic benches. If you walk on through the woods, there’s a cute little mud hut too.

During May they have amazing bluebells, and currently (June) a lovely wildflower field to walk around. They also have farm animals, including pigs, chickens, donkeys and goats, and rabbits and guinea pigs to see.

There’s a little cafe run by the residents, and a little nursery where you can buy plants to take home. Make sure you call in as the centre runs on donations!

Once a year they hold an open day, which gets busy, but whenever we’ve been during the week it’s been us and a few other families!
Find out more here.

10) Swanley Park, Swanley

This is a real treat for a sunny day. About ten minutes off of junction 3 of the M25, about a half hour drive from Tonbridge, is Swanley park; six acres of open grass, a lake with ducks and boating, a playground, a splash pool, a sandpit, a little cafe and a little train.

Swanley Park

We parked in the further car park (there are two) and when we visited on a Friday during term time,  I was surprised that there weren’t pay and display machines or signs, although I believe there is a charge at weekends and during school holidays.

The splashpool is what makes Swanley Park really popular during the hot weather. Just for toddlers and small children it’s paddling-pool depth with water sprays for the kids to play in. Make sure you take swimming costumes, swim nappies and towels.

When we visited, the weather was a little cooler than we were expecting but it was still fairly busy and the kids spent about an hour going in and out of the pool.
When we visited, they also had a bouncy castle which the kids could go on for £1.50 which predictably they begged to go on and then came off within four minutes. There are other activities that you can pay for, such as mini golf and boating on the lake, but if you take a picnic and stand firm (and have a child that perhaps naps in a buggy…) then you could spend a whole day there without spending a penny (literally – they do have toilet facilities)!

Find out more here.

 11) Bewl Water, Lamberhurst

Bewl water Lamberhurst Kent for young kids toddlers and babies
In the opposite direction, just off of the A21 is Bewl Water. Bewl is a huge resevoir; the biggest stretch of water in the South East in fact. It offers lots of watersports but it’s also a great place to take young kids for a very cheap day out as it costs £2 to park all day, but there isn’t a charge to get in and you can easily spend several hours or more there.
Bewl water Lamberhurst Kent for young kids toddlers and babies
It’s got a fairly steep hill so is best tackled with walking children or carriers although it wouldn’t be impossible to take a buggy.
Bewl water Lamberhurst Kent for young kids toddlers and babies
There are two playgrounds; one which is more suitable for younger children and one for slightly older children with a great big slide which was the highlight of the kids’ day.
Bewl water Lamberhurst Kent for young kids toddlers and babies
Be aware they will get mucky from the bark chips, so make sure you remember a change of clothes and don’t wear white!
Bewl water Lamberhurst Kent for young kids toddlers and babies
There’s a sandpit, and ducks (obviously). There’s also a long flat stretch of pavement which is great for scooting or cycling, although we didn’t take the scooter.Bewl water for young kids toddlers and babies
There is a cafe (and a restaurant) but we chose to take a picnic, although we did use it for tea and ice cream. There is mini golf which costs £2 per person and a water taxi which costs £6 for an adult and £4 for a child over 2. We didn’t use them this time, so can’t tell you whether it’s worth it!

Find out more here.

12) Maidstone Museum, Maidstone

 But what if the weather is rubbish? I hear you ask.
If it’s piddling it down and you aren’t one of those people for whom ‘there is no bad weather just bad clothes’ is true, then providing you can get there you should check out Maidstone Museum where you can while away a few hours for free in the dry.
For the cost of parking you can spend an afternoon checking out the various collections (it’s bigger than you think) or like us you can head straight to the natural history section and look at the dinosaurs (not real ones, but there are a few models and sound effects, enough to impress a two year old dinosaur fanatic and scare the crap out of his big sister).
They have a little children’s corner in the dinosaur section with colouring in and a bigger one in the natural history area with books and activities.
Yes it looks like they’ve closed it especially for us, but we were in fact the only people there.

It has excellent baby change facilities and is slap bang in the middle of town if you need lunch or shopping. There’s a cafe (which we didn’t try) and they even host children’s parties which seems like a fab idea!

Find out more here.

As a bonus suggestion, don’t forget to check out your local library

 A special thank you to Bobux for the kids’ amazing sandals, which have put up with a lot of miles (and no doubt have a lot more to come!). Please do check out Bobux here for some of the coolest kids’ shoes available. We absolutely love them.

What’s your favourite low-cost local activity? Have something you think I should add? Get in touch!

Parts one to four of this list of free things to do in Tonbridge (and nearby) can be found by clicking here.
Parts five to eight of this list can be found by clicking here.

Four more FREE and really cheap places to take babies, toddlers and young children/kids in and around Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, West Kent -Pepenbury, Swanley Park, Bewl Water, Maidstone Museum

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