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Indoor activity guide and What's Ons

OUT AND ABOUT

Parents’ Survival Guide

Stick me on the fridge!

Wintry weather is starting to get a grip - rainy days and bored, complaining children may be on the horizon. But don’t despair! Here at Families West Kent Magazine we have researched ways to help you keep your sanity and make your winter more enjoyable.

We’ve compiled an in-depth guide to indoor activity options throughout West Kent. So when the temperature plummets and the skies open, take a deep breath, put Paw Patrol on for ten minutes and start reading. Importantly many of these venues have cafes with coffee, cake and other grown ups.

Please make sure you look at the details on the websites first and check opening times and days before setting out to avoid disappointment.

If you have very little ones and their idea of fun is to throw themselves around soft play areas, leap onto small bikes or cars and hurtle down slides, take them off to a soft play centre. Many centres cater for older children too with fairly challenging older age activities.

So head for Minor Mania in Frant near Tunbridge Wells (www.minormania.co.uk), Manic Monsters at Edenbridge (www.manicmonsters.co.uk), Wear M Out - Tonbridge and Maidstone (www.wearmout.co.uk), Cheeky Dino children’s play centre, Maidstone (www.cheekydino.co.uk), Little Street, Maidstone (www.little-street.co.uk/ maidstone/) or Tiny Town, Larkfield (www.yourtinytown.co.uk/).

Other indoor venues like play cafes also put on activities and soft play sessions like the Little Play Café in Tunbridge Wells (www.thelittleplaycafe.co.uk) or the Soft Play at Sevenoaks Rugby Club (www.thesoftplaycafe.co.uk).

If they want to work off some serious

Kent’s first and the world’s largest Clip n Climb is a place where climbing meets theme park in an exciting new leisure concept for ages four and up. It is challenging fun for all the family to enjoy.

One of 150 centres worldwide, the Tonbridge centre has 33 individual and multi climber wall challenges of varying design and difficulty. These include two special attractions: the infamous Vertical Dropslide and Stairway to Heaven.

Intrepid visitors can test their resolve and determination across the arena - climb commando on

Get Clip n Climbing!

Jungle Vine, reach new heights on Sky Scraper, take the speed climbing challenge, get tangled up on Spaghetti Junction, tackle the Lightening Crack or go Face to Face and race against friends.

Each climbing wall has three different challenges with differing degrees of difficulty so there is a challenge for the novice as well as the more experienced.

No climbing experience is necessary as a full safety briefing is given for every session, and includes a 30 minute safety brief and harness fitting – the

automatic belay devices take up the slack as you climb and then lower you gently to the ground. After the safety briefing there is an hour in the climbing arena.

The facility also includes a kids’ play area, free wifi and a café, plus plenty of car parking. Full party packages are available. The venue is open 2pm to 8pm during the week and 9am to 8.30pm at the weekends and school holidays.

ClipnClimb Tonbridge, Unit 4 Tonbridge Business Park, 2-8 Morley Road Tonbridge TN9 1RA.

Visit www.clipnclimbtonbridge.co.uk or call 01732 753330

energy, let them bounce it off at Jump In trampoline centre Tonbridge (www. gojumpin.com/tonbridge) or Gravity, Maidstone (www.gravity-uk.com/ lockmeadow-maidstone). It’s better than having them bouncing on your sofa! For some challenging high ropes and indoor quad bikes try out Adventure Kidz in Aylesford (www.adventurekidz.co.uk) which also has soft play for younger ones.

If they are climbing the walls, take them somewhere they can do that safely. At ClipnClimb in Tonbridge there are activities to suit all levels plus a kids’ play area (see below and www.clipnclimbtonbridge.co.uk).

Done indoor play and activity centres? Head for a museum. No longer places of dreary items in glass cases and hushed tones, many local museums host children’s activities, crafts, interactive exhibits and special events especially in school holidays. Why not investigate Maidstone Museum (www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk), or Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham (www.re-museum.co.uk).

If you don’t want to go too far afield, check out your local leisure centre. You will find swimming a good indoor option, plus many leisure centres have soft play areas and play sessions. Take a look at Maidstone Leisure Centre (www.maidstoneleisure.com), leisure centres in Sevenoaks, Edenbridge and Swanley (www.sencio.org.uk) Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre (www.fusion-lifestyle. com/centres/tunbridge-wells-sportscentre),

The Weald Sports Centre in Cranbrook (www.fusion-lifestyle.com/ centres/the-weald-sports-centre) or Tonbridge Pool, Larkfield Pool and the Angel Centre in Tonbridge (all at www.tmactive.co.uk).

How about bowling? Look at Hollywood Bowl Maidstone (www.hollywoodbowl. co.uk/our-centres/maidstonelockmeadow) and at Knight’s Park, Tunbridge Wells (www.hollywoodbowl. co.uk/our-centres/tunbridge-wells).

For ice skating, check out the skating rinks in our What’s On and Festive guide or ditch the blades and head for Sevenoaks Leisure Centre roller disco every Saturday evening (www.sencio.org.uk).

Some heritage properties and National Trust properties put on special children’s craft and festive activities at this time of year so take a look at the What’s On guide which lists activities like making Christmas cards or Christmas decorations at properties like Knole.

If crafts don’t hit the spot, for guaranteed undercover entertainment (you can’t get more undercover than in a tunnel) check out Fort Amherst at Chatham, the largest Napoleonic Fort in Britain with tunnel tours and activities (www.fortamherst.com).

After a full day of these activities, even the most energetic child should crash out in the car on the way home – giving you a nice quiet evening. Win win!

10 Families West Kent November/December 2018www.familiesonline.co.uk

What’s on &

Festive Guide

A selection of what is going on in the area:

1 NOV ONWARDS Sevenoaks Remembers arts festival The Stag Theatre, London Road, Sevenoaks TN13 1ZZ The Sevenoaks Remembers festival is a series of special events to commemorate the end of the First World War, including a new play The Dimming of the Day set in Sevenoaks, Great Power (devised and performed by the Stag Youth Theatre) and other events. For details see www.stagsevenoaks.co.uk Booking is online or via the Box Office 01732 450175.

EVERY SATURDAY 6pm – family session; 8pm – open session (ages 8+ only) Roller Disco Sevenoaks Leisure Centre, Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks, TN13 1LW. Customers are allowed to bring their own skates however no inline skates are allowed. Paid event. Info at www.sencio.org.uk

3 NOV & 1 DEC 12pm-5pm Penshurst Christmas Fairs by Support Local Pop Up Markets Kingdom Penshurst Tonbridge TN11 8DU Free Entry Browse a selection of homeware, gifts, jewellery, clothing, candles and much more. www.supportlocalpopup.co.uk

4, 18 & 25 NOV & 2, 9 & 16 DEC 10am-4pm Tunbridge Wells Christmas Fairs by Support Local Pop Up Markets One Warwick Park Hotel Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TA Find Christmas gifts by local crafters including homeware, jewellery, clothing, candles and more. www.supportlocalpopup.co.uk

11 NOV 11am-4pm Tonbridge Vegan Festive Fair Angel Centre, Angel Lane, Tonbridge TN9 1SF

Food, crafts and gifts for Christmas. £3 entry. Info at www.thefatcarot.co.uk

11 NOV 10.15am & 1.30pm Autumn Nature Explorers Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve and Jeffery Harrison Visitor Centre, TN13 3DH. A fun autumn event where families can get stuck in with pond dipping, mini beasting, bark rubbing, searching for fungi and much more! Paid event. Info at www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ events

15 – 17 NOV 9am – 5pm Wealden Times Midwinter Fair Hop Farm, Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, TN12 6PY. Set in a tented village at the Hop Farm, showcasing over 220 exhibitors for three days. Info at www.thehopfarm.co.uk/events

17 & 18 NOV Mid Winter Market at The Tithe Barn, Lenham Court Lodge Farm, Lenham ME172QD Lenham’s medieval tithe barn hosts its 5th pre-Christmas ‘made by hand’ craft and art market including local food and drink producers. It will showcase the work of 60 stall holders, mainly Kent based artisans. Info at www.facebook.com/thetithebarn/

18 NOV The Royal Tunbridge Wells Christmas Lights Royal Victoria Place, 300 Victoria Rd, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2SS. This year the lights will be switched on across town when Father Christmas takes up residence in his Festive Grotto under cover of Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre. Info at www.visittunbridgewells.com

We aim for accuracy but do check with the venue before setting out in case details have changed after print... And don’t forget to tell them you saw them in Families West Kent.

www.familiesonline.co.uk email: editor@familieswestkent.co.uk 11