Days out with the kids:
The British Wildlife Centre
Are you always on the look out for fun days out with the kids? Days out that don’t break the bank? Days that aren’t boring for you as a parent? And that are not too far a drive from Tunbridge Wells?
I can highly recommend the British Wildlife Centre which is just a 40 minute drive from Tunbridge Wells. At £38 for a family ticket, I think it is a steal (£38 refers to tickets purchased online up to 9am on the day of your visit)!
You are not required to book in advance, however, you will get the best prices and it is recommended.
The centre 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! 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 around wildlife. 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 talk by a 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!
I could have stayed in the squirrel enclosure all day!
Lots to see and do
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. However, whilst my 8 year old loved finding out facts about each species, unfortunately, my 5 year old wasn’t that bothered!
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.
Plenty of Options for Picnics
There is a cafe on site, but there are plenty of spots around the site to stop for a picnic. A useful addition is the small playground near the designated picnic site which will amuse younger kids for a while.
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!).
An Amazing Day Out For The Kids
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, 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!
As far as day outs out with the kids go, I found it fantastic (despite the tantrum on the way out!) and I can’t recommend it more.