Pan cooking over a campfire.

Outdoor Activities for the Whole Family

There are many beautiful wild spaces within Kent and Sussex to explore, with a wide variety of different ecosystems to observe. This article will discuss some of the ways you can take your hiking experiences to the next level and foster a love of the outdoors in your children. Protecting the natural world is becoming a hot topic, with many schools and councils organising nature walks and events for children to emphasise eco-friendly practices.

While taking the whole family out for a walk can be great fun on its own, creating games and extra experiences to make their time outdoors more exciting is a fantastic way to create new memories. Organising a class on sailing or fishing can also introduce your kids to a new hobby that can bring them joy for years to come.


Bewl water offers canoeing, sailing, and rowing boats for customers to hire and take out on the reservoir. If you are not already familiar with taking boats out, then you can often book in as part of a class to learn how. Going out on the water in a boat can be an incredible summer experience for you and your family and friends to enjoy.

Paddleboarding is also a fun experience, and requires a lot less expertise to enjoy. With a slower pace and sturdy in the water, paddleboarding is accessible for those of multiple ages and abilities to enjoy. While longer trips on a paddle board may be tricky for those with younger children, canoes with multiple seats can be a good way to make a trip with younger children who may not be able to keep up on their own.


Cycling can be a great way to bring your children out on longer hikes, such as the loop around Bewl water, when they have relatively little experience with extended walks. Here at Bewl we have wonderfully maintained paths that are fantastic for cycling, as well as a bicycle hire shop which will ensure that you and your children have what they need for the trip.

If they are probably not going to be able to go the whole route, there are towing seats you can use to bring them along in, as well as food for lunch. Setting up a picnic after a cycle ride can be a wonderful experience, especially with the gorgeous views surrounding the reservoir.

Nature walk

Taking a hike can be a fantastic way to get the whole family out of the house and enjoying the outdoors. Rather than going at a quick pace, taking the time to identify different plants and insects, such as the butterfly you pass by, can be an ongoing project. Give your children disposable cameras to take photos of the different animals they see along the walk, which can also be used later as references for drawings.

Collecting leaves from different species of trees to identify can also be a wonderful way to interact with the UK landscape. Bring a pair of binoculars and a magnifying glass to bird watch and look closely at any interesting insects for a true explorer’s experience. Bringing a journal with you can allow the children to write down their observations and create a nature record for them to show off in school.


Bringing a picnic basket filled with goodies to try while out for a walk by Bewl Water can be a fantastic way to enjoy the afternoon. Eating outdoors can be a calming and enjoyable experience, with children becoming very excited for lunch after a long walk and explore around the reservoir. If you have not brought your picnic lunch with you, the Waterside Café at Bewl Water produces gorgeous sandwiches and cakes for their customers to enjoy.

There are multiple play areas at Bewl for your children to enjoy, while you can sit back with some coffees from the Waterside Café and watch them play


If your children are a bit older, then fishing can be a great bonding experience for the whole family to take part in. Here at Bewl, we offer both supervised lessons for beginners as well as singular fishing permits for those with more previous experience. During the spring and summer, Bewl attracts numerous fishing aficionados to both the reservoir bank and boats to try and catch some fish.

More fish stocks are added to the reservoir each year, but even so, it is important to gain a fishing permit before heading out to give it a try. Our fishing hire shop has plenty of equipment for you to use and staff will be able to give you good advice on how to catch your preferred species of fish.

The classics

Taking the time to take a slow hike on a shorter route can be a lot easier on younger children, as they can spend time exploring and playing as you head along the trail. While there are plenty of new and exciting games to try, sometimes the classics can act as a great way to enjoy the day and are instantly recognisable by both children and adults alike.

Here are a few classic games to try while out on a family hike outdoors:

  • I spy with my little eye is a fantastic game to keep young children engaged in the world around them and can help them to recognise different bird and tree species they notice along the way.
  • Hide and seek is a classic for a reason; it is a great way to enjoy the natural surroundings and have fun as a family. If your kids have enough energy, running a little way ahead and leaping out at you as you pass can be great fun for them.
  • Following the leader is another classic where the ‘leader’ gets to read the map and use the compass to navigate. This of course should be supervised if they start heading the wrong way, but can be a good learning opportunity for your children to learn orienteering skills.
  • A simple game of catch can keep your kids entertained for hours as they chase around – which is a good way for them to burn off any energy left after the hike is completed, before you head home.

If you are interested in visiting Bewl Water and enjoying what our beautiful reservoir has to offer, then please contact us here or book here. Our staff will be happy to discuss any questions you may have about the group experiences and classes we offer.