I am ALWAYS on the look out for fun days out for the kids that aren't too expensive, as well as not being too far a drive from Tunbridge Wells.  The British Wildlife Centre is just a 40 minute drive from my home and (at the time of writing) at just £38 for a family ticket, it is a steal!

Whilst Covid-19 restrictions are still in place, you MUST book in advance.  It opens at 10am and I definitely recommend you aim to arrive a few minutes early.  You'll be greeted by a GIANT hedgehog in the car park and I found entry was very simple; hand over your booking number at the entrance and in you go!


The centre focusses a great deal on education and so every half hour during your visit, there is a 10-15 minute talk by one of the keepers from inside an enclosure.  The highlight for us was right at the start of the day.  The British Wildlife Centre is home to a number of red squirrels in a 'walk-through' enclosure.  At 1030 the 15 minute talk by the keeper was hugely informative and a wonderful opportunity to see the secretive squirrels as they come out to feed.  And oh my goodness, if you didn't already LOVE red squirrels, you'll certainly be in love with them within seconds of seeing them!

2020 - Red Squirrel 010

I could have stayed in the squirrel enclosure all day!

The next talk at 11am was the foxes and that was great to see.  My kids are big fans of Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr Fox" so it was wonderful to get so close to them.  Straight after that at 11.30am is the Scottish Wildcat talk.  There is, of course, no requirement to attend all of the talks, or indeed any of them, but I found them very interesting and whilst my 5 year old wasn't that bothered, my 8 year old loved finding out facts about each species.  

The next highlight was the utterly wonderful otters at midday.  They were extremely playful and inquisitive and were out ages before the keeper turned up with their food for the talk!  They're real posers and they came really close to the edge of the enclosure so the kids got a really good look at them. 

There are plenty of spots around the site to stop for a picnic.  At the time of writing, due to the covid-19 restrictions the small playground near the picnic site is closed, but we were very happy to commandeer a bench by the wildcat enclosure to see if any of the kittens came out to play (they didn't!!).

There were further talks about red deer, hedgehogs, pine martins and polecats and if the kids legs and attention can hold out, there is an owl display at 4pm (sadly, and much to my disappointment, we didn't last that long!).

Across the site, there are little enclosures housing an amazing variety of British Wildlife.  We saw utterly adorable weasels and stoats.  There were house mice, yellow necked mice, harvest mice, brown rats, black rats, water voles, grey squirrels, an albino grey squirrel lots of owls and if you're lucky, you might see a badger out during the day time (we didn't!).  We found that our 5 year olds interest waned somewhat after lunch.  It might have been helped if the playground had been open, but we felt we had packed a huge amount of seeing and doing into 5 hours.  Personally I absolutely LOVED it and as I said, I would happily spend the entire day in the red squirrel enclosure!  It's a great day out and I can't recommend it more.

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