Family Fun in Medway
By Helen Steel
From big attractions to natural adventures, here are just a few ideas to help you have fun and make memories in Medway.
One for the big kids as well as the little ones! An action packed, adrenaline-fuelled adventure awaits at the themed adventure park in Strood. Enjoy 20 different rides and drives and get to grips with JCBs, excavators, go karts and dodgems.
Medway Valley Leisure Park, Roman Way, Strood, ME2 2NU.
Who doesn't love a castle? Especially one with such a dramatic history as Rochester Castle. Experience almost 900 years of history, discover more about the famous brutal siege in 1215, learn how flaming pigs were used to attack the castle's walls, and experience the breathtaking views from the top of the keep.
Rochester Castle, Castle Hill, ME1 1SW. See website
Fenn Bell Inn Conservation Project Zoo
This is a little gem of a zoo, loved by locals. The zoo offers a safe haven to rescue animals. You can get up close and personal with animals including lemurs, monkeys, meerkats, otters, parrots and owls. There are also children's play areas and a refreshment kiosk.
Fenn Street, St Mary Hoo, Rochester, ME3 8RF. See website
The ideal solution if, like me, you have kids with energy to burn or the weather's not looking so hot. Take your pick from Medway's two indoor centres - Soar and Flip Out. Each offers all the thrills and spills you'd expect from a trampoline park, with areas and activities suitable for little ones through to teenagers and beyond. Pre-booking essential. Soar has also launched an indoor e-karting attraction next door so double the fun!
Soar Trampoline Park, Units 5 and 6, Medway Distribution Centre, Courteney Road, Gillingham, ME8 0RT.
Flip Out Trampoline Park, Pier 5, Chatham Dockside Outlet, ME4 4ZJ
Riverside Country Park
Sit back with a cuppa and let the children wear themselves out in the play area before exploring the network of paths along the River Medway estuary and the wildlife it is home to. The play area includes climbing unit, slide, swings, a trampoline, play houses, climbing and a balance trail and will keep little ones happy for ages. Or why not take your bikes and explore more of the estuary on two wheels, with marked off-road cycle routes along the river.
Find out more about exploring natural Medway
333 Lower Rainham Road, Rainham, ME7 2XH. See website
Historic Dockyard Chatham
One of Kent's most popular attractions. Explore three historic warships - including a submarine - walk the decks, look through periscopes, ring ship's bells and let their imagination run wild. There's loads of other interactive tours, talks and exhibitions - my kids really loved the RNLI Lifeboat collection, plus there are two play areas and a soft play. Tickets are annual passes, so you'll want to be sure you can make good use of them through the year.
The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, ME4 4TZ. See website
Chatham Snowsports Centre
This might seem a strange suggestion for summer, but you don't need snow to have fun on the UK's longest toboggan track. Check out the videos on the centre's website to see what fun it is! (Minimum age 4, under 8s must ride with an adult). The tubing on the training slope also looks great fun. Pre-booking essential.
Once you're done, why not explore the rest of Capstone Farm Country Park, with its play areas and walking/running and cycling trails.
Capstone Road, Gillingham, ME7 3JH. See website
The Strand Open Air Pool
What better way to cool off on a hot summer's day than with a dip in Medway's open-air pool?
The iconic Strand pool will be open for the summer once again, and in 2021 celebrates its 125th birthday. With the famous elephant slide given a rainbow makeover and a new booking system to avoid queues and disappointment, it is set to be a hit with families yet again.
The Strand, Pier Road, Gillingham, ME7 1TT. See website.
Buckmore Park Karting Track
Follow in the steps of Lewis Hamilton, who honed his racing skills on the circuit. Karting sessions are available for ages 4+ through to teenagers, and the sessions are really safely marshalled. Look out for the family sessions.
Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9QG See website