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The Hop Farm

Oast Houses are one of Kent's iconic images and the Hop Farm at the Kentish Oast Village has the largest collection of them in the world, along with play areas, an animal farm and the TreeJumpers Sky Park.

The site offers activities for children including a Happy Hoppers play area for the under 11s, a crazy golf course and a farm. But the park is most famous as the home of the county's Hop Story Museum.

Hops are used to brew beer and Kent's fertile land was used to power its thriving brewing industry. The award-winning museum brings Kent's rural heritage to life. It is housed in a traditional Kentish house with five oast cowls (the traditional wonky towers which protrude from houses across the country and were used to dry the hops).

For over 150 years the Hop Farm was a working farm, influential in bringing the cultivation of hops to Britain and offering a working holiday for south Londoners keen to escape the smog of the 19th-century city. Every September, when the hops were picked, over 40,000 pickers descended on Kent to work and have some fun!

The Shire Horse Centre at Hop Farm reminds visitors of the important role played by shire horses in the brewing industry. The animals worked the fields, transported the hops to the brewery and pulled the finished ale to pubs across the county. A collection of shires are still stabled at the Hop Farm and can be seen pulling dray-fulls of visitors around the country park. The horses are kept company by numerous other barnyard animals, including an exotic visitor from Peru - the llama.

Finally there's the Treejumpers Sky Park, a kind of aerial assault course aimed at older children and adults. It features a tiered aerial trek, zip wires, a climbing wall, h-bars, Jacobs Ladder and the dauntingly titled Leap of Faith.

The Hop Farm, Tonbridge. Courtesy of The Hop Farm

The Hop Farm Information

When: Daily

Where: Paddock Wood

Cost: £9-£12; children & seniors £8-£11 (depending on season)
Family tickets available
Tickets are cheaper if booked in advance

Opening Hours: 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm)

Address: Beltring, Paddock Wood, TN12 6PY

Hotels near The Hop Farm

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