50 Kentish reasons to love 2013

PUBLISHED: 08:09 21 December 2012 | UPDATED: 22:31 20 February 2013

50 Kentish reasons to love 2013

50 Kentish reasons to love 2013

We all need something to look forward to, especially after an Olympian 2012 – but never fear, 2013 looks like it's going to be a vintage year for Kent. Here are 50 dates to get you started

50 Kentish reasons to love 2013

We all need something to look forward to, especially after an Olympian 2012 but never fear, 2013 looks like its going to be a vintage year for Kent. Here are 50 dates to get you started


1 Upstairs, Downstairs at Hever

A permanent new exhibition launches this month interpreting life at the castle during the 20th century when the Astor family was in residence. It brings the fascinating Upstairs, Downstairs years vividly to life and includes the Astor familys rare archive collection of home movies. 01732 865224.

2 Time for a Pantomime

Sleeping Beauty at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (until 20 Jan), 01227 787787

Aladdin at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford (until 6 Jan), 01322 220000

Aladdin at the Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks (until 6 Jan), 01732 450175

Dick Whittington at Christ Church Hall, Ashford (until 26 Jan), 01233 620600

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone (2-12 Jan), 01303 228600.

3 12 Jan: water birds at Mote Park

With such a variety of wetland habitats, Mote Park attracts lots of water birds, some from as far away as eastern Europe. Dont forget your binoculars if you have any. Free activity, but booking essential: moteparkevents@maidstone.gov.uk


4 2 and 3 Feb: Snowdrops at Spring Platt

When the first snowdrops start to appear you know winter is finally coming to an end.

This lovely one-acre Open Garden for the NGS near Maidstone (ME17 3BY) has panoramic views of the Weald and more than 300 varieties of snowdrop grown in tiered display beds with spring flowers in borders.

5 22-24 Feb: Broadstairs Blues Bash

Free Blues music festival, now into its fifth year. In 2012 the organisers put 31 local, national and international Blues acts into 12 venues in the town and due to this success, 2013 promises to be even bigger and better with more venues and acts coming on board.


6 Kent Life Garden of the Year launches this month

Now in its fourth year, we are looking for keen amateur gardeners and primary schools with active gardening clubs to win the titles of Best amateur garden of the year and Best primary school garden of the year fabulous prizes to be won! In conjunction with Hadlow College, Hospice in the Weald and in support of Hospice in the Weald, email: editor@kent-life.co.uk for details

7 8 Mar: Produced in Kents Taste of Kent Awards, at the Mercure Great Danes, Maidstone, Heart of Kent Suite. For the first time, tickets will be available for the public to buy, more information at info@producedinkent.co.uk or 01732 853170

8 9-10 Mar: Lambing Weekend

Hadlow College heralds the arrival of spring with its hugely popular annual Lambing Weekend, plus Produced in Kent Farmers Market, enquiries@hadlow.ac.uk

9 23-24 Mar: My Kent Big Weekend

Visit Kent is once again organising a two-day celebration of the countys 4,000 tourism businesses when My Kent Big Weekend will be the grand finale for English Tourism Week celebrations across the county. The 2012 event broke all records when 80,207 Kent people applied for 16,500 free tickets to a wide range of destinations, ranging from traditional attractions to opportunities to take part in bushcraft and art courses, 01227 812900 or Julie.edwards@visitkent.co.uk

10 31 Mar: Medway Festival of Steam and Transport

Classic vehicles, steam trains and engines, animal petting zone, vintage bus rides, birds of prey, themed catering, traders, vehicle, steam train and steam engine displays, train rides, shire horse rides, all at Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, 01634 823800 or aalmond@chdt.org.uk

11 EASTER (29 Mar-1 Apr)

● Hadlow Tower re-opens

Walter Barton May, an industrialist from the late 1800s created Hadlow 'Castle' a late Victorian Gothic home, with a tower now known as Hadlow Tower or May's Folly. It is said that the 170ft tall tower was built to allow May to view the channel, despite the channel not being visible from here. The folly fell into disrepair and was saved from demolition in 1951 by the painter Bernard Hailstone. Its planned re-opening is over Easter.

● Dreaming of Dreamland

Pre-opening events at Dreamland in Margate, including the unveiling of the new visitor and exhibition centre, sideshows and visiting attractions.

● 29 Mar: Tonbridge Passion Play 2013

Taking place for the first time in front of the ancient Gateway of Tonbridge Castle on Good Friday, this free one-hour community event starts at 10.20am with a procession from the parish church of St Peter and St Paul and continues at the Castle with the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, His death and resurrection


12 1 Apr-26 May: Blossom Festival at Brogdale

For the first time Brogdale will be opening its Old Cherry Orchards to take part in the Japanese celebration of Hanami where people enjoy drinks and a picnic or a meal together as they sit under and around the blossom-covered trees. Brogdale has around 100 beautiful blossoming trees in the Old Cherry Orchard that are no longer used as part of the collection so are the perfect spot to bring a picnic and enjoy sitting under 01795 536250 or enquiries@brogdalecollections.co.uk

13 6 Apr: Wheels around the Weald

Wheels around the Weald takes participants on a stunning cycle through the Weald, including picturesque villages, castles, lakes and forests. The sponsored cycle ride in aid of Hospice in the Weald starts at Hilbert Park, Tunbridge Wells and includes an off-road childrens treasure hunt cycle ride, 15 per cyclist. There are three routes to choose from, 81, 40 or 15 miles. Contact Philippa Jenkins on 01892 820527.

14 25 Apr: Kent 2020 Vision LIVE

Described as the largest business-to-business exhibition in the south east, bringing together more than 300 exhibitors and around 2,500 visitors each year. The event has become a key date in the Kent business calendar, and provides free seminars, workshops and networking opportunities. Kent Event Centre, Kent Showground, Detling ME14 3JF, 01622 630975


15 1-31 May: Discover Gravesham Festival

A month-long celebration of culture, art and history that showcases and exhibits the Gravesham area through guided walks, historical talks, childrens workshops, tours of some of the boroughs most treasured buildings and more

16 4-6 May: Penshurst Craft Fair

A hugely popular marquee-based craft show for all the family with up to 250 artist craftsmen selling everything from hand-made jewellery and ceramics to wood, glass, textiles, stoneware and much more. There are also beautiful show gardens, cookery theatre demonstrations, birds of prey displays, live music and play areas. You can visit the house and gardens as well as the craft show. Also held 6-8 September at the same venue

17 4-6 May: Rochester Sweeps Festival

An annual festival in Medway for more than 30 years, celebrating the traditional holiday for chimney sweeps with Morris dancing, live music and family activities 01634 843666 or visitor.centre@medway.gov.uk

18 17-19 May: Chilham Castle is playing host to a weekend re-enacting history, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Castle and culminating in the Dudley Digges memorial Chase, last run more than 150 years ago info@chilhamchase.com

19 25-26 May: Open Gardens Weekend at Canterbury Cathedral

A rare chance to see private gardens in the cathedral precincts that are not usually open to the public.

20 25-27 May: WWII Weekend at Dover Castle

Experience the atmosphere of the castle at war as soldiers set up camp and re-enact an explosive Second World War battle. Discover the austerity of the war years from the Ministry of Food and enjoy the sounds of the 1940s. Dont miss the famous Enigma machine, watch skirmishes and have a go at the obstacle course

21 May-2 Jun 2013: Rochester Dickens Summer Festival

Medway is proud of its association with Charles Dickens and the Dickens Festival has celebrated these lasting connections every year since 1978. The Rochester area was the inspiration for many of Dickens' greatest works and Restoration House in Rochester was Satis House in Great Expectations, where Miss Havisham lived. The annual event includes parades, where people dress in Victorian costumes, competitions, street entertainment, displays and readings.


22 14 Jun: Moonlight Catwalk, Tunbridge Wells

The popular Hospice in the Weald Moonlight Catwalk is a fun-filled sponsored eight-mile walk around Tunbridge Wells with treats along the way, starting at 10pm. Whether you are walking to remember a loved one or looking for a challenge, join other groups and friends who have come to have fun, 15 per walker and raise money for Kent Lifes Charity of the Year, more details from Emma Whittington on 01892 820508

23 15-16 Jun: The Dutch are coming

Relive the Dutch raid on Upnor castle with re-enactments, activities and demonstrations 01634 718742

24 15-21 Jun: Broadstairs Dickens Festival

Charles Dickens visited Broadstairs regularly from 1837 until 1859 and immortalised the town as Our English Watering Place. In 1937, to commemorate the centenary of the author's first visit, Gladys Waterer, the then resident of Dickens House, conceived the idea of putting on a production of David Copperfield and of having people about the town in Victorian dress to publicise it. Thus the festival was born and, with the exception of the years of the Second World War, has been held annually in the third week of June ever since. 01843 861827 or BroadstairsDickens@hotmail.com

25 21-22 Jun: Blondie at Bedgebury

Pop legend Blondie is performing at Bedgebury on 22 June as part of the Forestry Commission's Forest Live tour, supported by special guest act The Lightning Seeds. Tickets 36 on sale now from the Forestry Commission box office 03000 680400 or buy online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music

26 21-23 Jun: FISHFEST, new event along the lines of the Whitstable Oyster Festival, centred on the Stade and being put together by a local group of businesses and community groups, with a blessing of the waters ceremony, seafood cookery demos, live bands, historic walks and poets corner sue@fantasticfolkestone.co.uk

27 23 Jun: Tonbridge Town Day

Linking in with National Market Day, this new event will have a market theme, with street performers, sporting exhibitions, local crafts and produce

28 29-30 Jun: An Edwardian Weekend at Kent & East Sussex Railway

Celebrate a period of timeless style and experience the country at war with The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History. Enjoy a ride in one of the beautifully restored vintage carriages from Tenterden to Bodiam by steam train.

Adults 15, seniors 14, child 10, family 42, platform ticket 5 redeemable against train travel 01580 762943

29 7-23 Jun: South East Open Studios

A wide range of work will be on show from traditional oil and watercolours to ceramics, textiles and fine metalwork. The event is free to the public and a full colour guide will be published in May that includes a description of each artist's work with contact details, travel directions and maps. If you would like to participate this year or want to know more, email info@seos-art.org


30 20-26 Jul: Whitstable Oyster Festival

The oyster was a staple of the Whitstable economy and the focus of the festivities is the harbour area. As well as week-long exhibitions and displays, there are musical and other events including appearances by local side Dead Horse Morris, fireworks and building of grotters from oyster shells. The festival begins with the Landing of the Oysters, the first catch of the season, at Long Beach followed by the Oyster Parade through town accompanied by local worthies, giants, music and fancy dress. On Sunday there is the Sea Sunday Parade and service celebrating all things maritime at St Alpheges Church in the High Street from 9.30am and at 3pm there is an Oyster Eating Competition at the harbour its for over 18s only and the person to eat six oysters in the fastest time wins!

31 12-14 Jul: The Kent County Show at Detling

A showcase event for farming, countryside and rural life, this three-day event brings together the very best of Kent with animals, food, demonstrations and a real sense of what The Garden of England has to offer. Organisers The Kent County Agricultural Society is already praying for a sunny three days after last years rain and mud caused havoc.


32 4-9 Aug: Amateur Open Week at Princes Golf Club

Handicap limits: men 24, ladies 36. Daily tickets or special price for whole week 190pp 01304 611118 or office@princesgolfclub.co.uk

33 10-11 Aug: Faversham Charity Car and Bike Show

In aid of Help For Heroes, the Farming World Show Ground in Faversham is the new home for this show, now in its fifth year, that has more than 500 future classics, vintage, fun cars, bikes and military vehicles on show, plus craft, antique and trade stands, a Big Top circus, fun fair, petting zoo, falconry display, food courts, etc.

34 17-25 Aug (tbc): Herne Bay Festival

Staged since 1993, with many family oriented events such as open-air musical concerts, fireworks displays, carnival, talent competitions, childrens workshops plus a funfair in the town park.

35 21 Aug: the bi-annual Hythe Venetian Fte returns to the Royal Military Canal. There are two processions of up to 40 floats, first in daylight, and then again after dark illuminated. At dusk between the two parades there is a grand firework display. Historically the Hythe Venetian Fete was originally a feature of Hythe Cricket Week and has been held intermittently since 1860

36 24-26 Aug: A Summer Squall

A three-day festival run by Ramsgate Arts offering street entertainment, craft activities, music workshops and open-air theatre performances. Members of the Ramsgate Arts Group also open their studios to offer visitors the chance to see and buy their work.

37 24-25 Aug: Sandgate Sea and Food Festival

Starts with a firework display, barbecue and live music on the beach. On Sunday, stalls, dancers and entertainment fill Granville Parade. The Ship Inn also hosts a weekend beer festival and the event raised circa 4000 in 2012 for the RNLI and the Chichester Memorial Hall (Sandgate's community hall), with SAGA donating a cruise


38 31 Aug-1 Sep: Faversham Hop Festival

Free traditional celebration of when thousands of people travelled every year to the hop gardens of Faversham to work their day would begin with songs and stories before the working day began then an evening of music, drinks and games. The festival today is a wonderful reminder of those times.


39 12-15 Sep: Heritage Open Days

A chance to see wonderful properties in Kent not usually open to the public, all for free, 0844 3351884 or info@heritageopendays.org.uk

40 15 Sep: Hospice in the Weald 10K run

Its time to dust off those running shoes and start training for this annual run, one of the most popular 10K events in the area, attracting hundreds of runners every year and raising thousands of pounds for Hospice in the Weald. Contact Philippa Jenkins on 01892 820527

41 21-22 Sep: Euro Militaire 2013, Folkestone

Now in its 28th year, this is the biggest modelling show in Europe where competitors from all over the world come to compete in the coveted Best in Show competition last year attracted 838 entries. Held at the Leas Cliff hall in Folkestone, visitors can also enjoy demonstrations by some of the finest modellers in the world and visit trade stands

42 27-29 Sep: Canterbury Food and Drink Festival

A wealth of fine food and drink in Dane John Gardens. Follow food trails through the city, taking in some of the gastronomic delights on offer throughout the whole year in Canterbury. Look out for city centre restaurants and retailers joining in with special festival events. Admission free.


43 4-6 Oct: Broadstairs Food Festival

Run and managed as a community interest company by a board of local people to support the tourism economy in Broadstairs and to create interest in the wealth of excellent food available locally and throughout Kent info@broadstairsfoodfestival.org.uk

44 19-20 Oct: Apple Festival at Brogdale

A great weekend for the family, taste some of the many apples and pears from the home of the National Fruit Collection and take part in activities ranging from childrens storytelling and play area to live music, orchard tours, tractor trailer tours and walks 01795 536250 or enquiries@brogdalecollections.co.uk

45 19 Oct -2 Nov: International Arts Festival at Canterbury

Kents largest international multi-arts festival, held annually in Canterbury and featuring film screenings, theatrical performances, musical concerts, comedy and more. A parade launches the festival.


46 1-9 Nov: Folkestone Book Festival

A Creative Foundation Project celebrating all forms of writing, from fiction to fantasy via fact with biography, history, politics and economics, 01303 858 500.

47 2 Nov (tbc): Bonfire and Fireworks at Edenbridge

Every year, the Edenbridge Bonfire Society chooses a different celebrity villain to take the place of Guy Fawkes in 2012 an effigy of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong went up in flames: who will it be this year?

48 Nov-1 Dec: Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival

Held annually since 1988, fitting as Medway held such a special place in Charles Dickens life and work. The writer spent five of his childhood years in Medway from 1817 to 1822. He returned for the last few years of his life, dying at Gads Hill in 1870 01634 338141.


49 7 Dec: St Nicholas Festival, Canterbury

An annual fundraising event that starts with a parade through Canterbury, culminating in the arrival of St Nicholas at the Cathedral. The Parade is followed by a short informal service.

50 7-24 Dec: Leeds Castle Christmas Fair

Set within the castle grounds, this is a new event for 2013 and pre-booked admission will be via a special grounds-only entrance ticket, enquiries@leeds-castle.co.uk.

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