As a 400-year-old dock yard, Chatham Dockyard might not be your first thought when looking for a day out with children
But I had heard great things about it from friends so when Chatham Dockyard invited us to go for the day I jumped at the chance.
It is a fairly easy journey from here in Sevenoaks and is well signposted (although I used my satnav). Once there we got a bit confused by the parking but then I am easily confused. We just parked in the overflow car park – there is plenty of parking available.
We headed to the main building and waited at the desk to collect our complimentary tickets
As it was nearly lunchtime we headed straight to the Railway Workshop where there is a soft play area and a cafe. We had taken a picnic and a friend told us that there was no problem with us eating it there. There were highchairs for little ones and plenty of room for pushchairs. I can imagine it would fill up quickly on busy days though so be prepared!
At the Railway Workshop there is plenty on offer, tea, coffee soft drinks, crisps and cakes etc.
The soft play area wasn’t staffed but parents were keeping a good eye on their children and all the children present were really well behaved – which makes a change for most soft plays I have been to! Not that that is a necessarily reflection on the establishment, but it was a pleasant surprise.
Once we had managed to drag the children away we headed to the ships that are mostly dry-docked
I went on the HMS Cavalier with Big L
He was fascinated by the sleeping quarters and the toilet!
The ships and submarines are really well looked after, and obviously treasured by the people that work there. You really get a great sense of history throughout Chatham Dockyard. The boats are suitable for most ages but there are obviously parts that are inaccessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
For a 400-year-old dockyard Chatham Dockyard is incredibly modern
However they have kept and utilised very well many of the original structures. You can find out about the history of Chatham Dockyard in the No. 1 Smithery, even seven-year-old Big L was fascinated.
All the members of staff that we encountered were lovely to chat to and very knowledgeable.
As it was school holidays they were putting on a pirate show, but our two were fidgety so we left.
At the time we went there was also a Lego display which was really impressive, I think that has gone now but they have something special on each school holiday so check their website for up to date information.
All in all it was a very enjoyable day out. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep children amused whatever the weather. Including a rather impressive outdoor playground by the entrance. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to families for a great day out. A family ticket bought online is currently £58 and well worth it!
*We were given free entrance but all opinions are our own
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