Herne Bay - Children's Play Area
The children’s activity area on the seafront in Herne Bay. New Year’s Eve, 2014.

A beach is a playground in its own right, but if you are looking for slides, swings and plenty of smiles, head towards the clocktower.

At the foot of the historic structure is Herne Bay’s newest park, designed by the town’s children, for children.

Youngsters at Herne Bay Junior School, Herne Bay Infant School, preschoolers and parents worked with Canterbury City Council and architects on the design for the play area when it was refurbished in 2013.

Council leader John Gilbey at the official opening of the children's play area on Herne Bay seafront
Canterbury City Council leader John Gilbey proves his official duties are child’s play, with youngsters at the official opening of the children’s play area

The upgrade cost more than £100,000 and added more equipment for children of different ages, with a fun pirate and seaside theme.

Part of the seafront gardens was also removed to make the play area bigger, and the gardens were redesigned as part of the improvements to the area, including upgrading the sea defences.

There is plenty to keep even the most picky pirate happy, with a special toddler play village with houses to explore, a land-based boat with two slides, and a larger frame with slides, as well as a rocking dinghy, swings and a roundabout.

Little Dan the pirate at the top of the slide at the clocktower play area
A young pirate prepares to tackle the slide at the clocktower play area

Landlubbers can perfect their balance on climbing boulders and a net, providing hours of imaginative play and if they have a head for heights, send them up the crow’s nest to survey the seafront and see what they can see…the sea?

But don’t think this means parents or grandparents are left out – nearby on the beach is a trim trail designed for adults.

The specially built outdoor fitness equipment includes a treadmill, wall bars, arm rests and other pieces to work most parts of your body.

If that all sounds too much like hard work, fear not, there are benches within the play area and on the prom, and it’s a short stroll to one of the seafront cafes for a warming hot chocolate or cooling ice cream. Just watch out for the seagulls…