PUBLISHED: 14:11 03 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:17 20 February 2013



Your guide to all the best events and activities in Kent this month


Unique events

1940s Weekend

14 to15 May

Tickets: 8.50 to 37.00

Tel: 01580 765155

Kent & Sussex Railway

Travel back in time to the 1940s with the help of the Kent & Sussex Railway. Steam trains, period vehicles re-enactors and characters all combine to breathe life to a long-past decade. The Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers will be on hand to help put a spring in your step, as well as famous Forties singer Fiona Harrison, who will be promising to meet us all again.

Scarecrow Trail

14 to 15 May

Tickets: Free

Tel: 01732 358784


The theme of this years Scarecrow Trail, which is organised by the Rotary Club of Tonbridge, is nursery rhyme characters. The scarecrows appearing will be displayed by a number of shops in town, so expect to be greeted by the likes of Humpty Dumpty or Little Bo Peep when you pop out for your groceries. Visitors to the town will be able to enter a competition by following the trail and answering questions about the scarecrows. Proceeds from the trail will be donated to the Young Carers of Tonbridge, who are helped by the CarersFirst Youth Project.

Pam Ayres

6 May

Tickets: 19.50

Tel: 01892 530613/01892 532072

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Poet, story teller, TV personality, theres not much Pam Ayres hasnt doneover the years. A regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 4s Just A Minute, Quote Unquote and Loose ends, as well as three of her own series of Ayres On The Air, Pam Ayres is once more bringing her unique approach to life to the stage. Featuring material from her best-selling books Surgically Enhanced, With These Hands and The Works, this will be a splendidly entertaining night out.


Soloists from the Royal College of Music Baroque Orchestra

8 May

Tickets: 12, 15

Tel: 01304 620404 (Sandwich Bookshop), 01304 611600 (Smoke on the Water), 01304 381134 (The Sound House)

St Marys Arts Centre, Sandwich

Following the sell-out success of the first concert earlier this year, Ashley Solomon makes a return with an ensemble of soloists. They will be performing outstanding works from across Europe, all played on period instruments. Bachs Harpsichord Concerto in A Major and Vivaldis Concerto for Solo Recorder are just two pieces on the evenings agenda.

Great Comp Music Festival and study day

Throughout the summer

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01732 453240 (Fiona Pragnell)

Great Comp Garden, nr Sevenoaks

A well-kept secret of our wonderful county, the Great Comp Music Festival has been going for 40-odd years. Long the home of Roderick and Joy Cameron, they use the buildings that surround the 17th-century manor house for the festival venues. A classical feel to proceedings, the setting is idyllic, especially on a warm sunny day or evening. In addition to the music on offer, there will also be a study day. Contact the venue for a full programme of events and information.

Julian Smith

27 May

Tickets: 16.50

Tel: 01892 530613/ 01892 532072

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Julian Smith and his soprano saxophone have been heard all over the world, thanks to Sonys Classic Chill Out Series. He was known by his previous stage name of Joolz Gianni. Having gained great plaudits by grabbing the second runner-up placement on the 2009 Britains Got Talent show, Julian is now taking his sound to the provinces.



1 May

Tickets: 9.00 to 18.00

Tel: 01634 338338

Central Theatre, Chatham

European Ballet presents this world-favourite ballet, set to the irresistible score of Delibes. The company of first-class international dancers, directed by principal dancer of The Bolshoi Ballet Stanislav Tchassov, has earned its reputation for superb classical ballet performances and high standard of dancing.


Jekyll & Hyde

30 May to 4 June

Tickets: 19.50 to 30.50

Tel: 01892 53061/01892 532072

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Former pop pretty boy and now renowned West End actor, Marti Pellow unleashes his darker side as he takes on the title role in this musical adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson Gothic horror tale. It is a tale of love, redemption and the seductive and brutal power of evil, all backed by a collection of roof-raising songs.

Half-term fun

Fantastic Mr Fox

28 to 30 May

Tickets: 12.00 to 49.00

Tel: 01732 866114

Hever Castle

A family favourite returns to our county, courtesy of Illyria, the first UK open-air touring company to be granted permission to perform Roald Dahls work. Our hero, the titular Fantastic Fox is the star of the show, as he pits his wits against three hapless farmers, who want nothing more than to kill this pesky critter! And what better setting than the fabulous backdrop of Hever Castle to see this production.

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway


From 28 May

Tickets: TBA

Tel: 01795 424899

Sittingbourne Viaduct Station, Kemsley Down Station, Milton Regis Halt

Having been forced to close in 2008, trains will now run from 28 May, then every Sunday and Bank Holiday until the end of September. For more information on fares timetables or special events, check out the Kent Life website and follow the link.

Half-term activity week

28 May to 5 June

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01732 868381

Quebec House

Find out how the garden that surrounds this picturesque house helped feed the people who lived there. Fun and informative and designed to keep your little uns amused.

Egyptian Festival

29 May

Tickets: 4 to 19.50

Tel: 01892 870347

Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddingstone

For all you intrepid explorers and adventurers looking for excitement on your half-term holidays, how would you like to uncover he mysteries of ancient Egypt? Throughout the day, there will be special event stages designed to throw light on all aspects of ancient Egypt, including the art of mummification. Special belly dancing workshops will be held, as will arts and craft activities, and you can even join in on an interactive experience with the castles very own Pharoah.


Barry Manilows Copacobana

27 to 30 April

Tickets: 16.00

Tel: 01732 450175

The Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks

Produced by Petts Wood Operatic Society, the story focuses on aspiring song writer Stephen, who dreams of New Yorks famous Copacobana Club, while showgirl Lola embarks on her pathway to stardom with the help of bartender Tony. Escapist entertainment with some great (and highly memorable) songs.

Car shows

European Kit & Sports Car Show

21 to 22 May

Tickets: 6 to 11

Tel: 01233 713878

Kent County Showground, Detling

Celebrating its 21st birthday this year, the show offers a fun-filled programme for all the family. Keep the kids amused with quad bike rides and the fun fair while you can check out some of the most beautiful kit cars around.

Out and About

Celebration of Spring

2 May

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01233 643854

Godinton House and Gardens

From midday, there will be a decorated maypole with Morris dancers, as well as local craftsman Alan Sage, who will give basketry demonstration. Children are invited to dress up as either a May Queen or a Jack of the Green, and there will be prizes awarded for the best dressed.

Birdwatching at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

7 May

Tickets: Free

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

RSPB volunteers will be on hand to guide visitors around the reserve and introduce them to the huge variety of birds on and around the lakes on the reserve. There are many hides around the site, allowing people to watch the birds without disturbing them. Volunteers will have telescopes and binoculars and will guide visitors to the best spots.

Rat Race Trailblazers Run

14 May

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01580 879842

Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst

Imagine a 10km run in a beautiful and picturesque forest setting, where the tweeting of the birds combines with the sound of many runners, and, at the finish you find yourself back in the hustle and bustle of a superb event village. Sound like your cup of tea? Got your trainers? Then head to Bedgebury Pinetum and take part in the Rat Race Trailblazers Run.

Spring Spectacular

Until 31 May

Tickets: 1.00 to 6.00

Tel: 01580 241344/01580 241386

Hole Park Gardens, Rolvenden

Hole Park Gardens is welcoming spring by allowing visitors to revel in a lush and vibrant carpet of bluebells as far as the eye can see. The bluebell flowers are the indicators of a new cycle of colour and change happening within the gardens and the wider natural world. A beautiful sight, and one not to be missed.

Plant and flower events

National Trust Plant Fair

7 to 8 May

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01304 202756

White Cliffs of Dover, Dover

Looking for some new additions for your garden? Well, look no further than the National Trust Plant Fair. Everything on offer has been grown specially by a dedicated team of volunteer growers. The event is designed to promote gardening and raise awareness of water conservation. All proceeds will do to help support conservation work being conducted at the White Cliffs site.

West Kent Garden & Leisure Show 2011

21 to 22 May

Tickets: 3 (adults), 2 (OAPs)

Tonbridge Angels Football Club, Longmead Stadium, Tonbridge

Stalls, displays and exhibitions are on the agenda at what is hoped will turn into an annual green-fingered garden show. Kids will be catered for as well, with a large childrens play area promised. Crafts and the leisure industry are also being promoted, local traders and craftsmen will be peddling their wares and offering advice on a number of specialist fields.

Plot to plate lunch

13 May

Tickets: 25

Tel: 01732 868381

Chartwell, nr Westerham

Hear a talk from Chartwells kitchen gardener, followed by the chance to plant some seeds in the Chartwell kitchen garden before heading to the Mulberry Room for a fine two-course lunch, which will include plenty of home-grown produce. Booking essential.

London Life

The Real Food Festival

5 to 8 May

Tickets: 5 to 100

Tel: 0871 231 0827

Earls Court

Designed to showcase all that is good and nutritious from the UKs smaller food producers, and to champion sustainable and ethical production methods. Grab the chance to stock up on all things delicious, as well as watch chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Jason Atherton, Valentine Warner and Henry Harris weave their culinary magic and take part in workshops that will give you all the information you need to start growing your own real food.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

24 to 28 May

Tickets: varies

Tel: 0844 338 7505

Royal Hospital, Chelsea

Famous the world over, the Chelsea Flower Show has been going since 1913. Once again green-fingered garden gurus will toil away to create a horticultural heaven that is guaranteed to attract the great and the good from the stage and screen, as well as a few royal visitors as well. Celeb spotting is a must, while you wander around the floral wonderland, or just stop for a quick Pimms.

One Man, Two Guvnors

17 May to 26 June

Tickets: varies

Tel: 020 7452 3000

National Theatre, Lyttelton Theatre

Based on Goldonis The Servant of Two Masters, Francis Henshall turns minder to East End criminal Roscoe Crabbe, but Roscoe is really his sister, Rachel, and her brother was killed by Stanley, her boyfriend. Confused yet? All will become clear if you go along to see this comedy drama from Richard Bean, which stars the hilarious and talented James Corden.

If you do five things this month.

1 Jekyll & Hyde,

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

2 Fantastic Mr Fox

Hever Castle

3 European Kit & Sports Car Show

Kent County Showground, Detling

4 1940s Weekend

Kent & Sussex Railway

5 Birdwatching at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Kent Life recommends

European Kit & Sports Car Show

Kent County Showground, Detling

If you would like to see your event featured in Kent Life, email your special ticket offers and reader competitions to: and visit for all supporting web links and to catch up with hundreds of new events in your area being added every week.

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