GET YOUR SKATES ON AT DREAMLAND'S ROLLER DISCO

Nearest station: Margate 

Special Offer

Southeastern offers Kids for £1, meaning a family day out can be even more affordable. One adult travelling on a full-price ticket can travel with up to four kids for £1 each. Full T&Cs apply. For more information visit southeasternrailway.co.uk

What to do: Step back in time and give the retro rides at Britain's oldest-surviving amusement park a whirl. Dreamland has been going strong since 1870 and like a fine wine, the park has only improved with age (and a lot of cash). From roller coasters to dodgems and even the mirror maze, there's plenty of things to keep you and the kids occupied throughout the day, but one particular highlight includes the roller disco. Time to kick off your shoes, strap on your skates and race around the rink.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Victoria, London Bridge and St Pancras International and take from 1hr30. From there, it's a five-minute walk from the station.

For more info: dreamland.co.uk

BRAVE THE DARK AT KENT'S CHISLEHURST CAVES

Nearest station: Chislehurst

What to do: Test your mettle at Chislehurst Caves, where you'll meander around pitch-black labyrinthine passages dating back to the 13th century. Visitors have reported seeing strange things while wandering around in the darkness, so you might need to be brave for this one – but you'll be in safe hands with your guide. You'll learn all about the Caves' uses over the years, from being an air raid shelter during World War II to hosting concerts with the likes of David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge and take from 19 minutes. From there, it's a five-minute walk from the station.

For more info: chislehurst-caves.co.uk

LEARN HOW TO HANDLE BIRDS AT KENT OWL ACADEMY

Nearest station: Maidstone Barracks 

What to do: Learning can be fun, too, and never more so than at Kent Owl Academy, where kids and grown ups alike can learn all about bird handling. There's a range of experiences on offer, from photographic workshops to the junior keeper's experience, where younger visitors can fly an owl, meet meerkats, cuddle a skunk and more.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Victoria and St Pancras International and take from 56 minutes. From there, it's a 20-minute bus.

For more info: kentowlacademy.com

Escapism's Pick

Dig deep at Diggerland theme park

Nearest station: Strood

What to do: You've been thinking about adding a conservatory out back for a while now, but builders are pretty expensive these days – so what do you do? Jump on a train and take the kids to the Diggerland theme park in Strood where they can learn how to dig your foundations on a real JCB, obviously. Just kidding. That would be, for want of a better word, wrong. Plus, the kids will be having way too much fun on all of Diggerland's hands-on rides to listen to your pleas of "a little to the left, kiddo", anyway. Nah, not worth your time. Just hire a real builder and enjoy an afternoon well-spent with your family at this unusual adventure park in Kent instead.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge and St Pancras International and take from 32 minutes. From there, it’s a 12-minute bus.

For more info: diggerland.com

ESCAPE KENT, CANTERBURY

Nearest station: Canterbury West

What to do: Ever wondered what you'd do faced with an alien invasion? Well, you're about to find out. At Escape Kent, you'll be thrust into situations that range from being kidnapped by a serial killer to getting away from some hostile green guys, and you'll have an hour to escape. The fully immersive experiences are so realistic that you feel like you're playing a starring role in a Hollywood movie and the challenges are, well, challenging. One to test the family bonds.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge, London Victoria and St Pancras International and take from 56 minutes. From there, it's a five-minute walk from the station.

For more info: escapekent.com

GO STRAWBERRY PICKING AT MAYNARDS FARM, STONEGATE

Nearest station: Stonegate

What to do: We don't know about you, but going strawberry picking on a sun-drenched summer afternoon brings back some serious nostalgia: bellies full of sweet fruit, stained-red fingers, and punnets proudly packed with ruby-red berries. The reality, of course, involved drizzle and temper tantrums, but let's not dwell on that. At Maynard's, you can pick everything from blueberries to rhubarb, and reap the rewards with fresher-than-fresh fruit for breakfast for the rest of the week.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge and take from one hour. From there, it's a 25-minute taxi.

For more info: maynardsfruit.co.uk

RIDE THE RIVER ON ONE OF CANTERBURY'S RIVERBOAT TOURS

Nearest station: Canterbury West

What to do: Row, row, row, your boat, gently down the, erm, River Stour on one of Canterbury's award-winning historic riverboat tours. You'll be pleased to hear that you don't even have to row either, as you'll have a boat master/tour guide/rowing minion to show you all the sights of this Unesco-listed city, so you can just sit back and relax.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge, London Victoria and St Pancras International and take from 56 minutes. From there, it's a seven-minute walk through the city.

For more info: canterburyrivertours.co.uk

GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH GHOSTS AT FORT AMHERST

Nearest station: Chatham

What to do: Turns out things that go bump in the night also go bump in the day at Fort Amherst. And no wonder, as this place has been around since the Napoleonic times. That's 300 years of military history right there, which leaves plenty of time for strange things to occur and unwanted supernatural guests to 'move in'. During the extensive ghost tour you'll hear all about the terrifying tales that have haunted Britain's largest Napoleonic Fortress – reportedly Kent's scariest spot. Good luck.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge, London Victoria and St Pancras International and take from 40 minutes. From there, it's a 13-minute walk from the station.

For more info: fortamherst.com

BE ENCHANTED BY THE GARDENS AT GROOMBRIDGE PLACE

Nearest station: Tunbridge Wells 

What to do: From the tree-top walkways and the pirate's playhouse of the Enchanted Forest to the perfectly pruned formal gardens, Groombridge Place and its 17th-century moated manor house and grounds are packed full of wonders and hidden gems for all the family. Designed almost entirely by Sir Christopher Wren, the estate was once a favourite of Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge, London Charing Cross and St Pancras International and take from 44-minutes. From there, it's a 12-minute taxi from the station.

For more info: groombridgeplace.com

HOP ON BOARD TENTERDEN'S STEAM TRAIN

Nearest station: Headcorn 

What to do: It's all steam ahead on the Tenterden steam train. Hop on board, sit back and take in the scenery as the vintage train trundles through the picturesque Kentish countryside on a line that boasts more than 100 years' worth of travel. Tip: if you book yourself into the Wealden Pullman dining train, you can tuck into a delicious meal as the dining carriages pass through rather lovely Rother Valley.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge and St Pancras International and take from 55-minutes. From there, it's an 18-minute taxi or a 30-minute bus.

For more info: kesr.org.uk

GO GEOCACHING AT BETTESHANGER PARK IN DEAL

Nearest station: Deal

What to do: Not heard of geocaching? It's essentially a treasure hunt, but instead of a battered ancient map you'll be using swanky modern handheld GPS receivers to navigate. We'll admit that roaming around Betteshanger Sustainable Parks in Deal isn't quite the same as sailing the seven seas, but, hey, you (probably) won't get as wet. Pirate hats, eye patches and parrots optional.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge and St Pancras International and take from 1h22. From there, it's an eight-minute taxi or a 30-minute bus from the station.

For more info: betteshanger-park.co.uk

TRAVERSE THE RAMSGATE TUNNELS

Nearest station: Ramsgate

What to do: It turns out that abandoned Victorian railway lines can be extremely useful. At Ramsgate Tunnels, a former Victorian railway turned air-raid shelter, you'll need to grab your hard hat, switch on your lights and descend deep underground, where you'll learn all about the subterranean city that once housed more than 300 families at the height of World War II. Oh, and at ground level, there's a tearoom. Obviously.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge and St Pancras International and take from 1hr18. From there, it's a 25-minute walk.

For more info: ramsgatetunnels.org

SOLVE A MYSTERY AT THE TRUE CRIME MUSEUM, HASTINGS

Nearest station: Hastings

What to do: If you or your kids have a penchant for all things grisly you're in for treat at Hastings' True Crime Museum. Because why wouldn't you want to see a genuine lethal injection death bed, read love letters from a serial killer or listen to murderers confess their crimes? Jokes aside, the museum isn't designed to be terrifying, and at the less gruesome end of the scale are forensics fingerprinting games and more, so this is a good one for budding detectives.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge, London Victoria, St Pancras International and Waterloo East and take from 1h23. From there, it's a nine-minute walk.

For more info: truecrimemuseum.co.uk

ENJOY AN AFTERNOON AT THE GREAT COMP GARDENS

Nearest station: Kemsing 

What to do: Grand Comp and its botanical gardens are the perfect place to escape the city. They're steeped in history and even comes with its own tearoom, where you can scoff cake surrounded by beautiful blooms.

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Victoria and take from 40 minutes. From there, it's a 13-minute taxi from the station.

For more info: greatcompgarden.co.uk

BURN SOME RUBBER AT BUCKMORE PARK KART CIRCUIT

Nearest station: Chatham 

What to do: Resist the urge to thrash your kids at on the track at Buckmore. We know they deserve it, but, really, it just isn't fair to pit an adult in a kart capable of going 80mph against an eight year old. Is it?

How to get there: Southeastern Off-Peak trains run from London Bridge, London Victoria and St Pancras International and take from 40 minutes. From there, it's an 11-minute taxi or a 42-minute bus.

For more info: buckmore.co.uk