Down on the farm: Have a family fun day out with the kids at Kent Life

Need to blow the cobwebs off? Grab your wellies and take the kids for a family fun day out at Kent Life.

Let the kids explore 28 acres of fun from hands-on activities for kids to age-old farming traditions that bring back memories from way back when.

With animals to cuddle, tractors to ride, play areas to go wild in, fascinating historic buildings to explore and cafés to relax in, there's something for everyone. Kent Life is situated in Sandling, Maidstone in Kent.

Along with my daughter Amber, 9, my son Jacob, 2, my mum and dad, Elaine and Shaun, we set off to the farmyard first.

Amber feeding the sheep

Amber feeding the sheep

We had bought some food for the animals from reception and Amber couldn't wait to feed them, until we got to the sheep who were fussing around her because they knew she had food. She wasn't sure if she dared to feed them, but her Nonna (my mum Elaine), showed her how to hold her hand flat, so she decided to try it. With her confidence growing she decided she would feed the goats too.

Cuddle corner is in the farmyard, where the children can sit and hold some of the smaller animals. Both Amber and Jacob stroked the cute guinea pig, then the girl who was caring for the animals brought out a chicken. Jacob cried, he didn't like it! Amber thought it was great.

Kent Life houses and breeds traditional farm animals. Their free-range livestock includes sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, donkeys, goats, poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, ducks, geese, and most recently, Alpacas; All housed in historic outhouse barns. Experience a real working farm and farmyard.

With so much to see and do, we let Amber decide where she would like to go next, with the map in her hand, she decided to go and have a look at Sandling Farmhouse.

A historical survey dates Sandling Farmhouse to the 16th century. Today, vintage chic is displayed in the 1950s homestead. An exhibition in the attic details the history of the house and its various owners and a snapshot of life in the 1950s.


It was fascinating reading about the resident farmer of 53 years, George Brundle until his retirement in 1978.

I loved looking round this farmhouse. The exhibition is done really well, I felt like the people who lived there had just popped out to the garden and I had gone back in time and was part of their lives.

It was great to have three generations of my family visit Kent Life, we talked about different aspects of how we used to live.

We couldn't walk past the big outdoor play area without having a climb. Amber and Jacob enjoyed swinging together.


We walked up the slight hill towards the top and half way up there is Dotty's Tea Room. A lovely little café where you can have a well earned cup of tea and a slice of cake.

At the top you will find the Grade II listed Lenham Cottages. They originally started out as Old & Water Street Cottages and they lay virtually in the path of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link until they were re-located to the Kent Life site. It took fourteen months to demolish and re-build these lovely cottages which were opened to the public in 2001.

The Cottage displays the typical home of a wartime house wife. Furniture and fittings were in short supply and rationed, so the average wartime house was decorated in a 1930's style. This WWII home shows sticky tape on the windows to reduce shatter, a basic kitchen equipped with a sink, cooker, mangle and bath tub showing the water-ration line, greenhouse and front rooms, and bedrooms displaying artefacts from an era past. Outside you will also find an Anderson Shelter.

Great for telling your children how lucky they are now with all the gadgets they have to play with!

Next to the cottages is a Chapel. The Chapel was originally built in 1897 in Cuxton, Kent and began its life as a mission hall, later becoming a congregational chapel. Like many other buildings at Kent Life the chapel was re-homed to the place it stands at now. During demolition, builders found several hidden objects under the doorway, including a child's boot! Spooky!

Speaking of spooky, Kent Life is said to be one of the most haunted museum's in the County, dating back to 1555.


Our next stop was Petts Farmhouse. Originally located just four miles away, just south of Burham Village. It was last occupied in 1981 and after two years of careful repair and reconstruction to the now derelict building, Petts Farmhouse was restored to its Victorian splendour at Kent Life in September 1997.

As we read the sign outside it told the story of how a clay pipe, a bone handled knife, a shoe and a wooden doll were found in the walls and floors of the farmhouse during dismantling. The doll appeared suddenly on the floor. Limbless, with shorn hair and a scarf circling her neck, her mutilated body is believed to have been hidden in the plaster near the front door. The shoe is over 150 years old and was found hidden under the floorboards. A superstition dating back to Victorian times says that hiding a shoe protects the house from evil spirits. To maintain protection, the shoe has been replaced, along with a modern time capsule.

Trying not to act scared we entered the house. I did look over my shoulder on one occasion but it was my dad trying (and succeeding) to make me jump. Amber found it hilarious!

The house layout is known as a double fronted lobby entrance and consists of many rooms including an authentic Dairy Maids Scullery, front room and bedrooms filled with memories from bygone years and a display of tradition Victorian attire.

There are many other parts to Kent Life that you can explore from the Wildlife Discovery Trail and Gardens to the Oast House and Village Hall.

We had a lovely family day out at Kent Life and can't wait to go back again.

Expect to spend a good 4-5 hours there.

Current off peak prices (valid until 8th March 2013): Adults: £5, Concession: £4, Children (3-15 years): £3, Under 3's: FREE. Membership passes are available.

See for more details.