Family-Friendly Walks

in and around Tunbridge Wells

1. Ashdown Forest

'Forest' is a bit of a misnomer because it's predominantly heath land with a few wooded bits thrown in for good measure!  However, it is completely wonderful and offers a wealth of walks, views and picnic spots.  It covers an area of 6500 acres and has countless car parks with easy access to wildlife and fresh air.  I haven't yet found an area that would be good for buggies as generally there are no gravelled paths.  But for walking toddlers upwards there are so many options for exploration and fun!

Find out more here.

Untitled photo
Family walk at Broadwater Warren near Tunbridge Wells

2. Broadwater Warren

Looked after by the RSPB, and one of my favourite places to return to time and again, Broadwater Warren is a delightful hidden gem which offers both easily accessible toddler friendly walks, as well as longer trails suitable for older children. There are circular routes which take you from and to the FREE car park, or you can head off-path and explore!  In the winter is can get EXTREMELY muddy so be prepared for filthy children by the time you get back to your car!  But in the height of summer it's possible to walk the circular route in flipflops, and with an all-terrain buggy you can get round!

Visit the RSPB website for more information.

3. Tunbridge Wells Common

Located on the West side of Tunbridge Wells, Wellington Rocks on the edge of The Common is a wonderfully alternative town centre spot.  These are great for the kids to climb and explore and once they tire of that, you can meander towards The Pantiles down tree lined avenues to ponder a Sunday afternoon in one of the many eateries at the bottom of town.  Great for buggies as there are plenty of concrete paths leading to the common from the town.

Find out more here.

Untitled photo
Untitled photo

4. Harrisons Rocks

Popular with climbers, the rocks themselves are not my favourite part of this walk.  Instead, from the car park, head west away from the woodland.  The path comes out into open fields and turns left to follow the steam railway line of the Spa Valley Railway.  Keep walking for a couple of hundred meters and the trees give way to a big open field perfect for picnics.  At the right time of year, you can wave to the steam trains as they go chugging past!
If you do follow the main path from the car park to the rocks, there are plenty of exploring opportunities, but be warned with younger children the edges are sheer so it might be better to stick to the path.  In winter, it is VERY boggy so wellies are a must.

You can find directions and further information here.

5. Dunorlan Park

One of my all time favourite places to take the kids.  Almost in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, there are two free car parks, formal gardens, a boating lake, a buggy friendly circular walk, an adventure playground, wider grassland and if that wasn't enough, a cafe serving delicious hot chocolates in winter and sumptuous ice creams in summer!  There is a concrete path around the lake and from one side of the park to the other, but in winter, near the lake the path can still get water logged and need sturdy shoes to use it.  From October to March the wonderful adventure playground is a quagmire underfoot, so wellies are essential!  In the summer the ground dries out and is perfect for picnics either in the shade or out in the sunshine.

See the Visit Tunbridge Wells site for more information and directions.

Untitled photo
Untitled photo

6. Southborough Common

Not the most obvious destination for a wander, but really convenient for residents on the northern edge of Tunbridge Wells.  You can park in the Church car park, or on the side of the road on Victoria Road and if you delve further into and beyond the Common itself you can find various rights of way through the woods along Victoria Road and towards Southborough Cemetary (which is hidden a good distance behind St. Peter's Church).

You can find information and directions here.

7. Haysden Country Park

South west of Tonbridge, between Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells lies Haysden Country Park.  Around 160 acres of park and nature trails and very popular with dog walkers, there is a buggy friendly circular path around Barden lake which is great for little bikes and scooters too.  There are plenty of wooden jetties so feeding the ducks and swans is a must!  Next to the car park is a popular cafe with outdoor seating but the winner is the playground which is great for kids up to about 10 years old.  If you want to wander further, there are much longer walks West from the car park towards Haysden Water where there is a busy sailing club (I have not explored this!) and along the side of the River Medway.

There is a charge for the car park.

Find out more here.

Untitled photo
Untitled photo

8. Knole Park

One of the areas great National Trust properties, Knole Park in Sevenoaks boasts over 1000 acres of park land.  It offers fabulous picnic-ing opportunities and lovely walks.  Knole is well known for its' wild deer and you'd be unlucky not to have a close encounter with a bambi or two!  * Be careful in rutting season and keep your distance *.  If you don't have National Trust membership there is a small car park fee, but you can park outside the site and walk in via one of the many public pedestrian entrances located around the perimeter of the park.  There are plenty of buggy friendly walks and many more 'off-road' opportunities too.   In the summer there are beautiful pink foxgloves littered across the park adding to the gorgeous scenery.

For everything you'd ever need to know about Knole click here.

9. Bedgbury Pinetum

My family and I have spent many, many a long winter and summer afternoon at Bedgbury.  We LOVE it!  Parking is £12 per car (no matter how many people you bring - or you can purchase annual membership which is very good value in my opinion!) and on offer you have bike trails, Go Ape, formal garden nature trails (often themed around a children's story book) and the piece de resistance, a 2km PLAY TRAIL suitable for pretty much all ages.  There is a visitor centre with toilets and restaurant near the car park, and up towards the play trail there is a stall selling teas, coffees and snacks.  If it rains there is plenty of tree cover, and during those (fleeting) boiling hot summer days, cool can be sought in the shade of the trees the Pinetum is famous for.  An absolute must!

Directions and information is here.

Untitled photo
Untitled photo

10. Cinder Hills

Just on the edge of Matfield, this little known walk is a great find.  With plenty of trees to climb and the odd wooden sculpture, it's quiet and - especially in autumn - really beautiful.  It has a much shorter circular walk than some of the other places I've suggested here which is good for really little legs!  Muddy in winter and with some smaller paths, it's not really suitable for buggies, but great for toddlers with lots to explore.

For directions and to find out more, click here.

11. Hargate Forest

Managed by the Woodland Trust, Hargate is a lovely hidden gem on the very edge of Tunbridge Wells.  With plenty of free, on-street parking on Broadwater Down there are two entrances leading into a mixture of pine forest walks along well designated paths, and more open grassland paths with stunning views towards the South Downs.  Relatively buggy friendly in summer, you might prefer an off-roading buggy during winter, but for walking kids of all ages, there are trees to climb, dens to explore and lots of lovely picnic spots.

Find more info here.

2020 - Adam-Smiths at Hargate Forest 027
Untitled photo

12. Tudeley Woods

Tudeley Woods is managed by the RSPB and a designated bird reserve.  It's not suitable for buggies, but walking children and adults alike will love the circular walk from the car park through woodlands where you could spot a woodpecker or a mouse, and into meadowland where you might  just spy a grass snake or darting dragonflies.  In the spring there is a wonderful carpet of bluebells too!  The car park is generally closed (in my experience), but there is room on the road for a few cars.  Busier at weekends with dog walkers, a weekday trip is ideal.

Find out more here.

13. Millhole Wood

This is a little gem that a client introduced me to.  Not far from Mark Cross there isn't a much of a car park, but a pull in space that can hold 3 - 4 cars.  The wood is privately owned but there is public right of way and in the spring, you can meander through the bluebells down to the stream at the bottom of the hill, passing fields of curious cows munching on buttercups!  

Find out more here.

2019 - Family Brown 001
2020 - Jemima in the playground 003

14. Grosvenor & Hilbert Park

This is a very popular park with the locals and boasts a number of great features for a town centre area; a wonderful playground (refurbished extensively in 2018) with a cycle track for young cyclists and scooter-ists, skate park, basketball/tarmac play area, pond, Table 8 Cafe (serving excellent coffee and snacks), a woodland trail, football pitches, and orchard and plenty of benches for sitting and watching kids play.  To walk around the entire park with kids is just about long enough to make you feel like you've had some exercise without the kids starting to moan.  In the summer, exploring the stream in the woodland can fill up a good couple of hours in my experience!!!

There is no specific car park, but there is free parking on the residential streets which surround the park on Dorking Road and Auckland Road.

Find out more here.

15.  Eridge Rocks

Details coming soon....

Untitled photo
Untitled photo

16.  Saxonbury Tower

Details coming soon...

If you'd like to get inspired to head to the beach this summer, take a look at my top 5 beaches under an hour from Tunbridge Wells.

Where else do you like to walk with your family in and around the Tunbridge Wells area and the South East in general?

  • No Comments
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In