With the summer holiday looming, and as a mum of two (aged 4 and 6), I am always looking for things to do, without ending up bankrupt, or in some kind of asylum.
Since moving back to Deal three years ago, we have tried to make the most of what the local area has to offer on a small budget, and luckily there’s plenty to keep the little ones busy! Last summer we really made the most of the amazing weather we were treated to. Obviously, I am hoping for similar this year, but we are also not afraid to don the wellies and puddle suits and get stuck in when the weather isn’t as good.
In this post, I thought I would share some of our antics in the hope it gives you some inspiration!
A bit of a hidden gem, the woods can be accessed from Victoria Road in Kingsdown (a footpath runs parallel, keep your eyes peeled for the cut through along the edge of a field to the entrance).
Once there, there is plenty to keep the children entertained – from den building, to tree climbing, log clambering, rope swings, wildlife watching (keep your ears peeled for woodpeckers!) and exploring the undergrowth.
We have downloaded scavenger hunts (you can find many via Google) or collect leaves, sticks, and other natural materials to create some artwork once home.
We always take a snack and a drink and have a mini picnic in the den they have built too.
And then quite often, we wander down the hill through the pretty village of Kingsdown to…..
Rockpooling at Kingsdown Beach
Check the tide times, pack wellies/beach shoes, nets, towels, buckets and head down to Kingsdown beach to see what treasures you can find among the rock pools.
Shrimps, crabs and star fish are all fairly common and it’s not too tricky to find something, so the children won’t need a massive attention span!
You can also scale the steps for a beautiful clifftop walk (not suitable for very young ones but we managed a mile or so with ours) or pop to the Zetland Arms for lunch/a sneaky pint (depending on the time of day obviously!) whilst the children throw stones and run around.
For an occasional treat, we sometimes take the camping stove and a jar full of pre-made (in our own kitchen!) pancake mix for cooking breakfast on the beach, or sausages for sarnies!
There is nothing quite like it.
Walmer and Deal Castle
We’re really fortunate in Deal to have two castles on our doorstep (apologies to Sandown Castle, I’m only counting those that are intact!).
My two love to run around and play on the cannon, and enjoying the views at Deal Castle. It’s easy to spend an hour or so there exploring with the tunnels too.
You could then easily head to Walmer Castle with it’s beautiful gardens for a picnic lunch and an explore – there is a woodland walk, a picturesque pond and the moat which is long since drained, now a pleasant garden.
Again, a few lovely hours in the sunshine. It’s worth investing in English Heritage membership which gives you access to Dover Castle too.
A real local gem, which is growing and improving year on year. We love to take the bikes up and throw ourselves round the trails, or take part in the plethora of workshops on offer (there’s also a Forest School holiday club).
Again, pack a picnic – we are picnic addicts! – or head to their café. Look out for open air cinema events, wild workshops, cycling workshops and more.
You can hire bikes, and trailers for little ones, and happily spend a day enjoying the countryside and getting some exercise (i.e. wearing the kids out!).
Deal beach (and the library)
I can’t do a blog post like this without mentioning Deal beach itself.
A large chunk of our summer last year went as follows: pack a picnic (are you spotting a theme!?), walk or bike into town, pop to the library – they run a summer reading challenge which my eldest loved last year, with prizes for the number of books you read – grab some books, wander to the beach and read, throw stones, have a picnic and a paddle and maybe (always) and ice cream.
If you don’t fancy yet another picnic, chips are the other obvious choice for a day at the beach. We spent hours last year looking for flat pebbles to take home and paint too, which was handy on rainy days.
I hope this has given you some inspiration – there are many many more things to do in Deal that I haven’t mentioned – the paddling pool is also worth a visit, and check out the programme for Regatta week (beginning Sunday 23rd July) for events such as the lorry pull, party on the prom and fireworks, and of course the Carnival. It’s my favourite week of the year in Deal.
This post was written in collaboration with Discover Deal. No money exchanged hands, it was just for love!