Monday 31 October 2011

Tenterden Playground - A Lucky Mistake

I forget the date, but it was the day before Thomas the tank Engine was due to arrive at the Tenterden Steam railway this summer.  We did not know this fact at the time, but we planned to take my two children on the train that Friday because it was a beautiful day and both my parents were free to go.  As we arrived at the car park we noticed that it was very quiet but assumed that people were at school or in bed at almost 10 o'clock in the morning.  We jumped out of the car, got the kids out, moved a tonne of junk from the car to the bottom of the buggy and walked up to the station.  On looking at the calendar we then realised that there were no trains running on that day (the only Friday of the season that they would be closed). 

As you can imagine my 3.5yr old son was very upset at not being able to ride the train, and a worker/volunteer took pity on us and let us onto the platform to see the trains.  It was then that we discovered that Thomas was going to be there the following day which only made matters worse with William.  We've seen Thomase before, one year earlier at the B&O Railway Museum in Baltimore.  It had consisted of a ten minute ride on the regular train pulled by Thomas, a photo opportunity that cost an additioanl $20, and the being pushed into a tent stacked high with Thomas toys surrounded by screaming children whose parents could not afford the inflated prices.  In the US, you can easily get at least 40% off Thomas wooden train sets at local hobby shops.

So, we got to walk along the platform telling my son numerous times that the train was broken and all the men there were trying to fix it.  They already had some of the equipment there for the following day so we did get this photograph.

Sir Topham Hat/ The Fat Controller

A bit of a wash out, but we were determined to have some fun.  Funnily enough as we had driven onto Tenterden high street we had passed a playground on the left hand side and William had shouted "Can we go to the playground PLEEEEEEASE!".  So my son got his wish and we went back to the playground for the day.

I wish that I had taken more photographs because I dont know when we'll go back, it's a bit of a drive for a trip to the playground.  There were lots of areas to play in.  A smaller kids area, a wooden train, bigger equipment for the big kids and an exercise equipment area which William LOVED.

Exercise Equipment at the Park

I don't know when this happened, but it now seems the norm to put actual exercise equipment in local playgrounds.  Isn't the whole point of going to the playground to have fun and exercise without even knowing it.  A few years ago I was shopping in Neiman Marcus in Washington DC and happened through the baby department where they had miniature exercise bikes and treadmills for those of us who can't get to a park?  The mind boggles.

We had a picnic while William played with the other kids he met there.  He absolutely loved the huge slide they have there on the side of a small hill, although most of the kids were actually sliding down the hill next to the slide and thought it was a lot more fun.

There was something for everyone.  Even Ellie got to ride on the egg cup shaped ride thing that spins around (as also found at Kemsing Recreation Ground).

William looking cool with his collar up

 William and his adoring sister Ellie

Ellie wondering whether to puke or not

As you can possibly tell, this was my Mums favourite ride, and we spent a lot of time pushing Ellie and William around.
When Ellie wasn't on the egg cup ride, she laid out on the grass and made friends with the lady bugs.

Ellie and her new friend

Tenterden playground has some really nice facilities including a large green space, tennis courts, exercise equipment, plentiful playground equipment, and it's right in the middle of town.  We did have to pay to park, but locals may know of free alternatives.  There was a Waitrose nearby that could possibly provide parking if you are shopping there as it does in Sevenoaks (let's not go there!).

It's a park you could spend the day at and never really get bored.

If you want to add more photos which give a better picture of what's on offer at this playground don't hesitate to let me know.  My contact details can be found at or here.

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