The wonderful parks of Kent through the eyes of a Family Photographer - Stephanie Chapman Photography
As a Kent family photographer I am very lucky to get to photograph families in some of the wonderful parks around the county.
We really are lucky to have such beautiful open spaces on our doorstep so I thought I’d list a few of my favourites below and if you haven’t been already, they might inspire you to visit.
The closest park to me, and the one is visit the most is Manor Park in West Malling. A lovely park and wood and the perfect location to see and feed the ducks and swans.
In the last year they have also paved a walkway from the entrance right down to the lake which means it is both buggy and wheelchair friendly.
There are ample picnic tables and seating and benches dotted around the park. There is also a lovely playground with swings a slide and lots of wooden climbing frames.
Worth a visit if you are in the area.
For those of us living in Kings Hill, Warren Woods is just wonderful. It has so many hidden nooks and crannies and offers wide open spaces and closed woodland. It has pathways running through it and is also dotted with picnic spots. There is also a main walk way though (just behind Discovery School) that happens to lead to the North Pole pub! Perfect for a Sunday stroll to the pub for a big roast, and then a wander home. The pub also has a lovely garden and playground.
Just down the road from West Malling are Leybourne Lakes. This park was actually created from old sand and gravel pits that’s were flooded and planted to create a park. It’s now full of wildlife and is the perfect location for fishing and water sports.
There are lots of walks both paved and grass and also a small playground.
Leybourne lakes is also home to a ‘Dummy Tree’ where little ones can take their dummies to hang on the tree when they are finish with them.
Towards Maidstone you have the beautiful Mote Park. Mote Park covers a huge area and is great for walking and cycling with lots of paths and trails to follow throughout the park.
In addition to the beautiful walks there are also two children’s play areas. One is quite large and locates near the main car park.
Also close to Maidstone is Cobtree Manor Park. This used to be the old Maidstone Zoo and have a fantastic playground where the elephant enclosure used to be.
There are lots of walks through the park and woods and pathways make them accessible for everyone.
Leeds Castle is the first castle I visited when I moved to Kent. It is stunning. A beautiful castle in stunning grounds and even surrounded by a moat!
When we go we tend to get the train from the car park and then the boat across the lake to the wonderful playground.
Peacocks roam the grounds and lots of ducks and swans to see and feed. Their half term activities also include jousting and even making your own knights shield!
Sevenoaks is home to the beautiful Knole Park. Over 1,000 acres and also home to a herd of over 500 wild deer!
Lots of things to discover and beautiful walks through the grounds.
The main house is generally closed in the Winter but once open the courtyard and house are well worth a visit and the perfect place to sit and read a book surrounded by hundreds of years of history.
I discovered Emmetts Gardens last year when I wanted to find a location to photograph my daughter in the bluebells. A truly beautiful place with lots of different gardens and walk ways. The path through the bluebells is stunning. A carpet of blue among the tress and the odd fallen tree or bench to sit and take it all in.
It was quite busy the day I was there so I recommend getting there early to beat the crowds.
Groombridge in Tunbridge Wells is one of my firm favourites. The gardens are beautiful and the large chess pieces are always a hit with the little ones. During half term they always have activities running to keep little ones occupied. As well as the beautiful gardens there is an enchanted forest and a little canal boat that runs along between the two.
The woodland playground is fantastic! A huge hit with my daughter.
There is lots to do and see to easily fill a whole day.
Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells is a hidden treasure. Nestled in the heart of the town the park has beautiful gardens and open parkland to enjoy.
During the run up to Christmas they also have a large ice rink and seasonal bar (which serves a delicious mulled wine!) and the main man himself is also there in one of the log cabins.
So just a few of my favourite locations for family photography around Kent. Looking forward to discovering some more with your family this year!