We spent the day at Betteshanger Park to try out some of their activities, we’ve been hearing a lot about them recently with loads of events taking place over the summer and with over 18,500 visitors during April alone, it's no surprise this has been their most successful year yet.
Only ten minutes away from deal by car, the parking at the Betteshanger is ample and well priced, with anything over 3 hours at £3. Its free to bring your own bikes and use the track, you can also cycle from Deal as there's a bike path leading up to the entrance, and the second entrance can be entered by following Southwall Road in Deal. If you're bringing your own bikes, remember to bring a helmet too as they must be worn at all times within the park.
If you dont have a bike, you can hire bikes and helmets from the kiosk at the park. The bikes we took out were standard mountain bikes, so we had the option of venturing onto the 10km of more rugged dirt trails if we wanted. However, not being of an athletic persuasion we stuck to the 3km tarmac track. At first we were cycling along with our knees up to our ears, but we quickly realised you can easily raise the seats to your height without the need for an alan key. The track was big enough to feel as if we had the place to ourselves on a weekday afternoon. There's a fast lane for overtaking, which we made use of when we raced each other around the track. With pleasant scenery and elevated views of the surrounding area, it was nice to amble along without the worry of traffic or pedestrians getting in the way. It's a fun and safe way of getting some exercise for all skill levels, we saw people training in full cycling gear, riding past children with stabilisers.
We stopped off in the tipi at the top of the hill to have lunch. There’s hay bales and benches dotted around for you to sit and take a breather. Although we were only there for the day it felt like we were camping. Its peaceful and its large size offers areas of seclusion. It was nice to dedicate an entire day to being outside and being active.
We also took a look at the progress made at the Kent Mining Museum, with the structure of the building taking shape, it’s clear the museum will be large with modern features. It promises to offer visitors an insight into Kent’s mining heritage, something of which we know little but are looking forward to learning about.
Betteshanger set us up for geocaching around the park. This is a great activity to do with kids as a lot of the clues on the route we were given were geared towards a younger age group. You’ll be given a code sheet where you can decipher the clues, and a handheld GPS that will point you in the right direction. Geocaching was a fun way to get to grips with the geography and scale of the park. We’d been to Betteshanger a few times before, but this time discovered wooded areas and a lake we’d never seen before. In the woods we came across a mini campsite, with a sheltered area and a swing. The park offers den building as one of their many activities, and we saw a couple of stick dens in the woods. We’d tried out Geocaching previously, using an app which at times is a little difficult as the treasure is well concealed and the clues were so cryptic they were basically redundant. Geocaching at Betteshanger we found a lot easier as there are a number of trails you can follow that are aimed at different skill levels.
We also went along to Betteshanger’s Open Air Cinema showing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We brought along camping chairs, food and blankets. Some families had set up buffets on tables and laid out spreads on picnic blankets. It had to get dark before the film could start, and we had a great view of the setting sun from the hillside. The tipi was transformed into a bar and sweet stand for the night, and we bought some nachos from the food truck that was on hand. It was a great experience to be watching a film outside surrounded by so many other people, made even more special by looking up at the stars above. Tickets are still available for the next open air cinema, we’d definitely recommend checking it out. Remember to bring lots of blankets and a coat because it gets quiet chilly as the evening goes on.
Check out Betteshanger’s events page for information on upcoming activities and days out https://www.betteshanger-park.co.uk/events.html