Best Walks In Kent For The Whole Family

Cheryl Freedman
Dec 12, 2023 By Cheryl Freedman
Originally Published on Jun 26, 2020
Family walking in Kent.

We've recently rediscovered how uplifting and fun a simple stroll with your family can be - and the county of Kent is one of the best places in the country to do it, with plenty of space to lose the crowds.

Situated in the south-east of England, Kent has rolling hills, green parks galore, beautiful woodland and sandy beaches to explore. Plus it's known for its microclimate -  so it's often sunny there, while it's less balmy elsewhere.

Remember to keep following government advice for England regarding travel.

Ightham Mote

We adore the pretty Kent countryside surrounding Ightham Mote, a splendid 14th-century moated manor house that's owned by the National Trust. Head into shady woodland, wander down country lanes and across fields and enjoy heart-soaring views at every turn.

Where is it? Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks TN15 0NT

How long does it take to get here? It's seven miles from Seven Oaks, or a 90-minute drive from London.

Length of walk There are several local routes to try - the National Trust recommends a circular walk to Wilmot Hill, which takes 2 hours and is 4 miles long, or a walk to the village of Shipbourne and neighbouring estate of Fairlawne, which also takes 2 hours (3.5 miles).

Is it buggy friendly? No - so pack your sling or carrier

Are there toilets? There are toilets at Ightham Mote, including baby changing facilities; check the website for reopening details.

Is it dog friendly? Yes

Is it bike-friendly? No

Is there parking? Yes - it's £3 for non-members of the National Trust (it's free for members).

What is the terrain like? There are a few narrow paths and stiles to get across on the Wilmot Hill circular walk, so it's one for slightly older kids and adults with good mobility. The Shipbourne walk is easier, with a mixture of footpaths, country lanes, woods and countryside.

Outdoor facilities There is a cafe at Igtham Mote, as well as a picnic area and natural play park. Check ahead to see if things have reopened.

Sissinghurst Castle

Explore the country park outside the grounds of this National Trust property, the former home of writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West. Combine it with a visit to the beautiful Gardens (check if they are reopen yet) with the whole family.  A county day out with a welcome dose of culture.

Where is it? TN17

How long does it take to get here? Around 90 minutes' drive from London

Length of walk The Estate is 450 acres - a circular walk around it should take about 1 hour 30 minutes (3 miles).

Is it buggy friendly? You can push a sturdy buggy round around the Estate. In the Gardens and Mote (when open) baby slings are advised.

Is it dog friendly? Yes (but they are not allowed in the formal Gardens).

Is it bike/scooter friendly)?  No, but there are cycle trails nearby

Are there toilets? Yes, by the main National Trust property.  

What is the terrain like? You might need wellies in winter or if it's raining, as it can get muddy. But the trails should be easy enough for most children to navigate. The Gardens have a few changes of levels, though, so young kids and the elderly should take care.

Is there parking? There's parking at Ightham Mote; £2 for non-National Trust members.

Any amenities? There are cafes, a restaurant and a shop at the main National Trust site; check for reopening details.

Scotney Castle

This 14-century country house has a beautiful woodland estate that's made for family walks, with lovely views across to the Castle.

Enjoy a walk in the forest, and don't miss your chance to tick off some wildlife - see if your kids can spot one of the Sussex cattle or sheep that roam around the park.

Where is it? Tonbridge Wells, TN3 8JN

How long does it take to get here?  90 minutes' drive from London; 15 minutes from Tunbridge Wells

Length of walk There's a one-hour Parkland Trail that the National Trust recommends (2 miles), which takes you past Second World War bomb craters. The Estate itself is a huge 780 acres so make your walk as long or short as suits you!

Is it buggy friendly? Yes, but there are a few steep slopes to push up - so think about using a carrier, if you have one.

Is it dog friendly? Yes

Is it bike/scooter friendly)? No

Are there toilets? Yes, at the main Castle, including baby changing facilities in the disabled toilets  

What is the terrain like? Wear sturdy shoes if you try the Parkland Trail - it's a moderately challenging route, so toddlers should skip it. Elsewhere, choose the level that suits you.

Is there parking? Yes, there is limited parking at the Castle, in a grass car park.

Any amenities? The Castle site has plenty, including family trails, natural play area and a shop.

Shorne Woods Country Park

This park has the lot - an eco-friendly visitor centre, fishing lakes, and play areas –  plus 292 acres of beautiful woodlands, wetlands and meadows to roam around.

Where is it? Brewers Road, Shorne, DA12 3HX

How long does it take to get there? Under an hour from London. 10 minutes' drive from Gravesend

Length of walk There are several trails to follow, of varying difficulties - the Purple heritage walk takes about 45 minutes (0.8 miles) to complete. There is also a 1km easy-access circular walk through birch woodland, lakes and grassy glades.

Is it buggy friendly? Yes

Is it dog friendly? Yes

Is it bike/scooter friendly)? Yes, there is a cycle trail.

Are there toilets? Yes, including disabled, accessible toilets.

What is the terrain like? The Purple trail is step-free, while the easy access trail is suitable for all.

Is there parking? Yes - pay and display.

Any amenities? Loads. There is a visitor centre, cafe, outdoor gym, fishing, sensory garden, play and picnic areas.

Viking Coastal Trail

This scenic bike and walking path, weaves across the seafronts and clifftops of Thanet, taking you past seaside resorts like  Margate across to Reculver Country Park, which has glorious sea views and a Roman fort. We also love beautiful Minnis Bay, which has amazing sunsets and draws a surfer crowd.

Where is it? It starts at Birchington-On-Sea, CT7

How long does it take to get here? 90 minutes' drive from London

Length of walk As long as you like - the entire trail is 32m, but you can choose as little or as much as you fancy. The stretch from Margate to Reculver is 9 miles, and mainly traffic-free, if you want a family walking challenge.

Is it buggy friendly? Yes, you can easily push a buggy.

Is it dog friendly? Yes.

Is it bike/scooter friendly)? Yes, it's ideal for bikes!  In fact, it's a brilliant excuse to cycle as a family, as long stretches are off-road.

Are there toilets? There are some public toilets along the way, including ones on Margate's seafront. The toilets at Reculver have baby changing and disabled access.

What is the terrain like? Much of it is paved, and easy promenade walking - no need for hiking boots. Perfect for older folk and younger children.

Is there parking? You'll find a mix of paid parking, or roadside parking, depending on where you head off from.

Any amenities? You'll be passing plenty of shop and cafes in the towns, but less on the clifftop stretches. There's a great play park in Reculver, as well as a visitor centre with a cafe.

Monkton Nature Reserve

Visit this old quarry for an easy walk with the whole family - explore chalky grassland and a magical wood full of wildflowers. Big and small children will love the choice of fun trails - lookout for brass rubbings, fairy houses or hidden dinosaurs, depending on your mood. Check for reopening times.

Where is it? Canterbury Road, CT12

How long does it take to get there? 90 minutes' drive from London

Length of walk You can do a circular walk across the Reserve in around an hour, but kids might want to spend more time on their choice of trail.

Is it buggy friendly? There are a few hilly bits, but you can push a sturdy buggy round.

Is it dog friendly? No pooches allowed on site.

Is it bike/scooter friendly)? Leave your bikes and scooters in the car.

Are there toilets? Yes, there are easy access toilets in the main centre, as well as baby-changing facilities.  

What is the terrain like? You should be fine with trainers. There are a few steep slopes, but young kids and elderly folk should manage most of it. There are benches along the way, so you can take in pretty views over the quarry.

Is there parking? Yes, there is limited free parking at the front.

Any amenities? You'll find a simple cafe in the centre, serving tea and cakes, as well as a sweet second-hand bookshop, Children will be fascinated by the little museum with fossils and nature exhibits.

Margate South East England United Kingdom Kent England

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Written by Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman picture

Cheryl Freedman

Based in London, Cheryl has a love for culture, nature, and good food. As a mother of two young children, she regularly takes them on fun family trips to museums, art galleries, theaters, and city parks, all while nurturing their love for the arts and the outdoors.

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