Things to do in Sittingbourne
Sittingbourne may not be the first town that comes to mind when you think of tourist destinations in Kent, which is why it has hidden gem status. Sittingbourne is a small but attractive town near the Kent coast that is now an upcoming tourist destination.
The modern market town has a proud maritime and industrial heritage, and you might just be surprised by some of the unique things to do in Sittingbourne. As it can be reached with a twenty-minute drive from our Kent Coast Holiday Park on the Hoo Peninsula, it’s well worth setting aside a few hours to explore Sittingbourne. If you have plans to visit us in Kent and are unsure if Sittingbourne should be included in your itinerary, then keep reading. We’ve collected the best places to go and things to do below so you can decide for yourself.
Take a rail journey back in time on the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway
Enjoy a family trip down memory lane on one of the two heritage railways in the local area. The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway, which was built in 1905, travels into the country park just outside of Sittingbourne. There’s an interesting history dating back to the late 1800s that associates the steam engines with the paper mill, which you can discover on the ride. The Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway on the other hand, is not quite as old (dating back to the 1970s), but it’s home to over 10 different locomotives, both diesel and steam, which you can take a ride across their idyllic site. Both railways are very reasonably priced compared to other steam experiences in the South East and have excellent tea rooms, making for a great day of family fun.
Old Forge Wartime House
Built in the 1700s as a home, this building has a long and storied history, having become a working forge by the 1900s. Now a 1940s living Museum, a visit to the Old Forge Wartime House is a real step back in time, which is sure to enlighten history buffs keen to know more about war-time Britain. The re-enactors will convince you that you have jumped back 80 years while the timed slots allow your group to become immersed in the era without crowds ruining the atmosphere.
The 1930s tearoom serves delicious lunches, both hot and cold, as well as a fantastic selection of home-made cakes. We recommend the savoury high tea, which is a far cry from the meagre rations of wartime Britain! The museum and tearoom are open most Saturdays of the year, so take your choice of weekends to visit.
Get to grips with the local history at the 15th-century Milton Regis Court Hall Museum
Milton Regis Court Hall stands in the north of Sittingbourne as a rare example of medieval architecture in the town. Once a courthouse and administrative centre, it’s now an excellent museum of local history that’s opened each Saturday from the start of April until the end of September. There’s an array of artefacts to look over including writeups, books, photographs, and exhibits. A huge amount of history is on display within the surprisingly spacious hall and knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer questions. Entry is free and the charity that runs the museum relies on voluntary donations.
Enjoy a walk in the beautiful nature surrounding Sittingbourne
Sittingbourne is bound by attractive orchards and farmland, and beautiful villages home to quaint churches. There’s no shortage of countryside to explore, but if you’re looking for somewhere closer to the town centre then we recommend Milton Creek Country Park. This fantastic green space is made up of 128 acres of former landfill site that now offers a large natural play area, a community events space, as well as an extensive network of paths in an oasis of wildlife. There are clearly marked hard paths so it’s a great place to walk the dog and get some exercise yourself, either on foot or on a cycle.
Sittingbourne Heritage Museum
The lesser-known Sittingbourne Heritage Museum has been around since 1999 yet there are still many people who don’t know about it! The museum is split over two levels with several rooms housing many objects from Sittingbourne and the surrounding villages which have been donated or loaned by residents and other local museums complete with descriptions from experts and researchers. These displays change regularly and form an accompaniment to the permanent features such as ‘The Plough‘: a cabinet of late medieval items rescued from the now-demolished public house, which once stood opposite the museum.
Paint at Little Potters Pottery Painting Cafe
Little Potters is a friendly, family run pottery painting studio for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or budding artist, grandchild or grandparent, this is a safe zone to unwind and express your artistic side. There’s a massive selection of really cute and amazing pottery for you to paint in a variety of different ways including mugs, plates, cups, figurines and clocks. The cafe has a small soft play area too, so you can sit back and create colourful ceramics for yourselves or for someone else, it's up to you!
Jenny Wren pub
Perhaps the most popular pub in Sittingbourne, Jenny Wren is a lovely venue for classic pub grub with family and friends. The grill menu is mouth-watering, full of flavour and smattered with show stopping items and this is only strengthened by the addition of a pizza oven which sends out perfectly cooked pizzas. For those that like to try a little of everything, there are varied sharers, while the extensive dessert menu could make the experience all the sweeter. Be sure to check out the new daily deals to get extra bang for your buck. Kids will love the outdoor play area where they can climb into a big wooden train while you relax with a well-earned drink on the patio.
Sentado Lounge is an informal, neighbourhood food led cafe/bar combo. The decor features artwork and portraits on the wall, adding a touch of class to the venue in the heart of Sittingbourne. There’s a large, varied menu to choose from with plenty of food and drinks catering to every diner, with everything from tapas to barista coffee. Sentado Lounge also keeps a selection of board games for big and small guests, toys for the little ones, and even goodies for canine guests.
Kent Kings Speedway Sittingbourne
Right next door to Little Potters Pottery Painting Cafe is another of the best things to do in Kent, but this one takes things up a gear. The Kent Kings Speedway Sittingbourne off-road racetrack at Central Park Stadium plays host to a thrill-a-minute speedway races that can be seen every Monday. It’s a pure adrenalin rush as speedway riders race against each other on 500cc bikes which can accelerate faster than an F1 car. What’s even crazier is that the drivers do this with no brakes fitted! This is surely the fastest and most furious family entertainment Kent has to offer.
How to get to Sittingbourne from Kent Coast Holiday Park
Just a 38-minute drive via the A2 from our Kent Coast Holiday Park, getting to Sittingbourne by car shouldn’t cause you too much bother. We recommend the following route:
Heading west out of Kent Coast Holiday Park, take 2 right turns to get onto the Radcliffe Highway
Drive along Ratcliffe Highway for 3.8 miles
Follow the A228, A289 for 9.2 miles
Turn left onto the A2 at the Will Adams Roundabout
Follow the A2 for 7.6 miles to reach the centre of Sittingbourne