Spotlight on: Tenterden
PUBLISHED: 08:43 26 September 2013 | UPDATED: 08:43 26 September 2013
History, lovely scenery, a wide, tree-lined High Street with lots of places to shop and eat, plus a Folk Festival this month - Tenterden is perfect for an autumnal break
Tenterden is a very relaxing place to visit, packed with fine restaurants, welcoming cafés and beautiful old buildings – and it’s surrounded by the High Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Early October is the time for Tenterden’s Folk festival when, for four days, the town becomes a mini Glastonbury, packed with musicians and dancers. It is deservedly known as the Jewel in the Weald.
3-6 October: this annual event, now in its 21st year, sees the High Street briefly closed to traffic on the Saturday for a procession of Morris dancers. Many venues around town, including pubs and a large marquee, are used for concerts and performances, plus there are dance demonstrations, craft stalls and a barn dance.
Thursday evening’s fundraiser includes performances by Martyn Wyndam-Read and No Man’s Band, Greg Harper, Chris Davis and Gary Holder, Steve O’Kane and Fiona McBain. Guests over the weekend are Pete Coe, The Claque, Dick Miles, Pete Morton, plus many more and there’ll be dancers from Slovakia and Appalachia.
Tickets are available by post, online, or from Tenterden Gateway (0300 333 5658).
Alan Castle, festival director
“The festival is a big boost to the local economy, and it’s entirely run by volunteers and the dancers take no fees.
“If you’re coming here for the folk weekend, do book accommodation early, as the central hotels and pubs get booked up quickly, although there are many more places a bit further out, and there’ll be camping facilities too.
“What I particularly like is the buzz you get from seeing so many people enjoying traditional English folk songs, music and dance. There’s definitely a resurgence in the public’s appreciation of folk music, helped by the inclusion of younger performers such as Heather Knights and bands like Green Diesel.
“As far as Tenterden itself goes, the Museum is amazing, and I also like the back alleys and the ‘hidden’ buildings. The town is most famous for the heritage steam railway, the fine tower of St Mildred’s church, the vineyards and the wide High Street. And there are so many great pubs, cafés and restaurants to choose from.”