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Published: 08 June 2010

Haguelands Village has unveiled its biggest ever summer programme of events to underline its reputation as one of the fastest-growing rural visitor attractions in Kent. The centre, near Burmarsh, has announced details of its summer activities, with the focus firmly fixed on families with young children.

And while cute baby Alpacas and giant bunnies, tractor trailer rides and a huge Fun Yard are sure to be popular, it’s Kent’s largest Maize Maze which is once again at the heart of the centre and a guaranteed thrill for the thousands of people expected to flock to Haguelands this summer.

The Maize Maze covers a six acre site and has more than three miles of pathways and has helped to establish Haguelands as the biggest single rural tourism attraction on Romney Marsh, as General Manager Kevin Saunders explains.

“This year’s summer schedule starts on 3 July with a fun-filled open day and on the 10 July we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain by unveiling our wartime- themed Maize Maze. Last year more than 9,000 people visited Haguelands and this year we are aiming to top that,” he said.

The centre’s owner, Toby Clifton-Holt, has ambitious plans for Haguelands, and a programme of investment and upgrades are scheduled to boost future visitor numbers. One goal, as part of the collaboration with the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, is to add a Haguelands stop to the line giving passengers easy access to additional attraction. The nearest station to Haguelands is currently Burmarsh Road Halt.

“We have an excellent working relationship with RH&DR and already do much to promote each other’s business. Once our visitor numbers reach a certain level, we hope it will then become feasible to move the station here,” added Toby.

Another obvious sign of the centre’s determination to expand is the fast-expanding herd of Alpacas – the highly intelligent and gentle animals now number more than two dozen, with a handful of new births due this summer.

A native of the South American Andes, Alpacas are bred for their luxurious fleece and Alpaca duvets are on sale in the Haguelands farm shop, where visitors will also find a fish market and a range of locally-grown and supplied produce.

With an eye firmly fixed on attracting families with young children, Haguelands has expanded its Fun Yard this summer to offer a bouncy castle, football games, hoopla, skittles, giant Jenga, up and down maze, giant snakes and ladders, ball bullseye, large sandpit and metal detector pit and an enlarged giant bunny house.

When hunger pangs strike there’s an award-winning bistro plus extensive picnic areas and refreshments available on site. Other improvements in the pipeline include a farmyard-themed mini golf course, as the centre seeks to create a unique rural experience for visitors.

This growing reputation for providing a warm welcome for visitors was recently recognised when Haguelands won a Pride in Shepway Award, organised by Visit Kent, Shepway District Council and Discover Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh.

“We are very proud to win the award and we see it as further evidence that Haguelands Village is on the right path to becoming one of the most welcoming and exciting family visitor attractions in Kent,” added Kevin.

Getting to Haguelands is easy – the public can travel in style aboard the RH&DR and there is also free parking for up to 200 cars. For details of the exciting activities planned at Haguelands Village, opening times and prices, call 01303 875640 or visit www.haguelandsvillage.co.uk

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