A grumpy day out with kids to Bedgebury Pinetums, Kent
We decided to make the most of the hot weather again today, and headed to Kent for a family day out at Bedgebury Pinetums. We could have gone to the local park instead but I’d heard there were severe roadworks on our route and I was curious to see exactly how much sweat and whining we could produce as a family in one hour*.
We were looking forward to going on the play trail that we had heard about from our friends at Visit Kent, and stopped at the entrance of Bedgebury for a map. There was one map on a large board, which I am fairly certain was drawn by our middle daughter when we weren’t looking- I recognised the same frantic squiggles and meaningless jumbled letters. Next to the board was a sign which was apologising for the lack of signage around the park. It was a thoughtful touch but I would gently suggest that the space on that sign could have been better used for, say, an actual sign or a map that didn’t look like toddler abstract art.
I was already grumpy because of the long hot drive, and because the baby was leeching any spare hydration through my boobs, and because I was conscious and sober with three kids under 5. Mapgate didn’t help; a woodland play trail with no maps is actually just a bunch of trees that you wander around hoping you’ll stumble across a climbing frame.
The kids had a great time however; we did manage to find several very cool and unique climbing structures which were also perfect for older kids. Middle child trapped herself at the top of one of them, forcing me to climb 30 feet up a wooden pyramid in a dress and flashing my underwear, the sort of behaviour I generally reserve for raucous nights out after sambuca shots with my oppressed mum friends**.
Anyway, the kids loved the trail, even if I was being Moody As (write this down: digging out chewed bark from your baby’s mouth is also not fun). The playground was also pretty great, with sand and a boardwalk amongst reeds, and lots of wooden equipment to play on. The ice cream van made a timely appearance, although I made the grave error of choosing a bubblegum Calipo right after I’d chewed bubblegum. That’s a head screw I’ll never get over.
We wandered down to the pretty lake, where the cafe and little gift shop were. We played a fun game called Please Don’t Eat the Algae, followed by another called Leave The Ducks Alone. (In case you aren’t familiar, it’s the same as Leave Those Pigeons Alone, but with the added tension of a large expanse of water).
All in all, it was a great day out, when I exclude my emotions and/or any physical needs from the equation. Seriously though, it is one of those places where you could spend the whole day out with kids and still not get around everything. There’s even a Go Ape for extra treetop fun, as well as a Stick Man activity trail and Gruffalo orienteering course. At the end of a hot day, ice creams in the cafe are a treat for adults and kids;the cafe is light and airy with educational posters as decor. Win win!
*Not really, but it happened anyway and the answer to both is A Lot.
** Actual lols, obvs. I don’t really flash my underwear. Or drink. Or, actually, go out. Sob.
Travel journalists, home educating our lovely brood of 3 girls. Planning a year-long RTW trip late Summer 2017.