Kent Life, An Award Winning Heritage Farm And Tourist Attraction

A Working Farm Preserving Local Rural Heritage

You've landed on the Yourcounty Kent Life feature, it's aim is to provide an introduction and review to this attraction and add a little value through our local knowledge and user feedback. The contributions of our audience are particularly important to the success of the website so we welcome your comments, our contact details are at the foot of the page. Visit our Discover Kent pages If you'd like to see more attractions in the Maidstone area and across Kent.

About Kent Life

Previously known as the Museum of Kent Life this attraction and heritage farm is based on the Sandling Farm which stood on the site for over 500 years, formerly being part of the Allington Estate or Cobtree Estate. Following the death of the estate's last owner Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake in 1966 the farm was left to the people of Maidstone. In 1983 Maidstone Borough Council and KCC created The Museum of Kent Life, the buildings were restored and the farm brought into working order. The public were first admitted in July 1985.

Since the opening of the heritage farm the 28 acre estate has seen a programme of continual development, not only as a working farm but also as a repository for Kent's rural heritage. Traditional Kentish farm building have been saved from demolition and moved to the site, often piece by piece. The Agricultural Store, Boxley Grange Granary, Cuxton Chapel, Lenham Cottages, Petts Farmhouse, Ulcombe Village Hall and the Vale Farm Barn are some of the structures safeguarded on the site.

Lorna Woodage from Kent Life has won gold at the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2012-13. The awarded is run by Tourism South East and it's given for dedication to providing visitors with an outstanding experience.

Kent Life is in Lock Lane, Maidstone, near the M20 junction 6. It is the county’s premier rural heritage experience, with 28 acres of fun from hands-on activities for children to age-old farming traditions.

The Farm

The centre piece of Kent Life is the farm, it does have it's own 'petting corner' but it's a real working concern and visitors can get a good look at farmyard occupants like: goats, pigs, sheep and ducks. To keep with the authenticity of the heritage concept many of the animals are the traditional local breeds (Saddleback pigs, Red Sussex cows). The farm also rehomes rescued animals from the UK and abroad including donkeys and goats. Visitors that have made friends with the animals or wish to support the work of Kent Life are able to 'Adopt an Animal' and contribute to the costs of food and all round welfare.

Buildings & Gardens

Whilst the heritage aspect of Kent Life is demonstrated in the farm, the buildings and gardens that have been created and relocated to Sandling are an important part of the rural history of Kent. We outline a few of the key exhibits here, for fuller details visit the website or better still the attraction itself.

  • Agricultural Store - The building was extended thanks to Lottery Funding, it contains a traditional Romany caravan, threshing machine and many tools/implements big and small.
  • Cuxton Chapel - Originally built at the end of the 19th century.
  • The Main Orchard - Over sixty types of cooking and eating apples harvested from August to October. Donkey rides in the small orchard in the summer months.
  • Old & Water Street Cottages - Relocated from the path of the high speed rail link at Lenham, first opened to the public in July 2001.
  • Petts Farmhouse - See how the Victorians lived in Kent.
  • Vale Barn - A traditional thatched barn from the Canterbury area hosting a coffee shop and play area.
  • Wildlife Discovery Trail - Following the trail typically takes 30 minutes and gives an insight into local wildlife and its habitats.
  • WWII Cottage - Walk back in time and see how people lived at the end of the 1930s.Activities At Kent Life

As well as the static exhibits Kent Life runs a very wide range of activities, many during school holidays, some are seasonal, you'll need to check in advance if you want to know if one is likely to take place during your visit. They include: Bottle Feeding Lambs, Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, Indoor Soft Play Area, Adventure Playground, Piglet Racing, Quad Bikes and Tractor Trailer Rides.

Events

  • Classic & Vintage Vehicle Show - Sunday 19 July 2015 will see a Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show.
  • Teddy's Bear Picnic Parties - A birthday party can be booked 10am and 1pm from November to March (winter party) and 10am, 1pm and 4pm April to October (summer party). A dedicated party host is on hand for two hours to manage the event and make sure it’s a huge success.
  • Cobtree Young Farmers Club annual agricultural show.
  • Apple Weekend
  • Paranormal themed activities - Haloween
  • A Wartime Christmas - Sights, sounds and tastes of life during WWII will be recreated for visitors. You'll also be able to see drill displays by the Home Guard, ration based cookery lessons and there will be a chance to experience wartime school lessons.

Opening Times

Kent Life is a year round attraction, open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
  • Saturday, Sunday, School Holidays & Bank Holidays - 10am to 6pm the last admissions is 5pm
  • Weekdays during school term time - 10am to 5pm the last admissions 4pm

Standard Admission Charges

Details correct at the time of writing but please see the website for the latest details. Seasonal variations and closures apply during December and January.

  • Adults - £8.95 
  • Concessions - £7.75
  • Children (up to 15 years old) - £6.50
  • Under 3 years old - Free 

Volunteers

Fancy looking after farmyard animals, putting your acting skills to the test as a costumed character, or maybe caring for a medieval herb garden? Kent Life Heritage Farm Park, near Maidstone, launches a new Volunteer Scheme this week, giving everyone the chance to enjoy their passion and help make a real difference at one of the county’s best-loved attractions. In return for giving just 30 hours of your time in a calendar year, you will be given a Volunteer Pass entitling you to free access to all of Kent Life’s fantastic events, which include the annual Hops ‘n’ Harvest Beer Festival, Christmas on the Home Front, and the hugely popular Bonfire and Fireworks Spectacular. The Volunteer Pass will also give you 20% off refreshments at Dotty’s Tearoom. More details from enquiries@kentlife.org.uk.

Location & Contact:

  • Kent Life, Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, ME14 3AU
  • 01622 763936
  • www.kentlife.org.uk

Kent Life Feedback & Reviews

If you'd like to send us your feedback or recommend Kent Life email us at content@yourcounty.co.uk. Where possible we'll publish comments below. Please refer to our disclaimer, Yourcounty does not have any responsibility for the content of external websites.

Your Comments

"The wartime Christmas was a big hit for all the family, I'd recommend it warmly although we are not sure if it's a regular event or just a one off. " Helen, Bruges.