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May bank holiday family events across Kent

By Angela Cole

Family attraction Kent Life will doff its cap to village life over the bank holiday weekend. The May Day celebrations at the heritage park just off the M20, near Maidstone, will take you straight back to the county’s rural roots and there will be an annual parade and crowning ceremony for the May Queen.

You can also join in with the tug-of-war or try some maypole dancing, whatever your age. Plus there's all the usual attractions, including cuddle corner and donkey rides.

Kent Life is open from 10am to 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

For details and entrance fees, visit kentlife.org.uk or call 01622 763936

May Day fun at Kent Life

May Day fun at Kent Life

 

See the May Queen crowned and watch some traditional dancing to Tudor music at Hever Castle this weekend. The historic setting holds its May Day festival from Saturday, April 30, through to Bank Holiday Monday and there’s a host of customs and activities for all the family to get involved with.

Brightly-coloured ribbons will be intertwined during the age-old May Day maypole dancing and mythical Jack-in-the-Green will lead a customary procession through the gardens as he wakes up the plants for summer, with the help of children and their magic bells.

There will also be a May Day trail through the castle, plus visitors can explore the water maze or the adventure playground.

As usual, there will be boats for hire from the Edwardian boathouse and the African Queen steam boat will be doing trips around the lake. The gardens are open from 10.30am each day and the castle from noon.

For entry fees and further details, visit hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224

The Jack in the Green will visit Hever Castle as part of the May Day celebrations

The Jack in the Green will visit Hever Castle as part of the May Day celebrations

 

Picturesque Offham, near West Malling, holds its annual May Fair this weekend. With dancing, tea and cake, a funfair, morris men and real ale at the King’s Arms on the side of the village green, the day is a wonderful celebration of English life.

The May Queen parade takes place at 1pm, with the Offham Dash at 2pm. Then it’s the dog show at 2.45pm, followed by the tug of war at 4.15pm.

More details at offhammayday.co.uk

The Offham Dash - part of the fun at the quaint village, near West Malling this weekend

The Offham Dash - part of the fun at the quaint village, near West Malling this weekend

 

Looking for a great family day? Look no further than the Spa Valley Railway. On May Day and Bank Holiday Monday, the railway will be operate a regular service between Tunbridge Wells and Eridge.

Events through May include the chance to see Paddington Bear on Sunday, May 8, and Peppa Pig on Sunday, May 15.

Then it’s the return of the Kids for a Quid offer on the next bank holiday – and Sunday, May 29, and Monday, May 30 – when children can travel for just £1 when accompanied by an adult, who travels for £9.

If you want to make up your own timetable, you can stop at High Rocks, visit the rocks themselves and get a bite to eat, or you can get off at Groombridge and take the 15-minute stroll to Groombridge Place.

Visit spavalleyrailway.co.uk or call 01892 537715

Station manager Brian Halford checks the time of the next train to arrive at the Spa Valley Railway at Tunbridge Wells

Station manager Brian Halford checks the time of the next train to arrive at the Spa Valley Railway at Tunbridge Wells

 

MORE EVENTS ACROSS KENT THIS WEEKEND

Be beside the seaside with some old-fashioned family fun on the prom this weekend. Broadstairs May Fair, overlooking Viking Bay, will run from Saturday, April 30, to Bank Holiday Monday in Victoria Gardens and promenade, with stalls, a fun fair, live music on the bandstand and local Sea Cadets and the RNLI. The activities will also be helping to raise money for the Broadstairs Water Gala. The fair starts at 10am daily.
 
All the fun of the fair from dodgems to candy floss will be on offer at a funfair at Barton’s Point Coastal Park over the bank holiday weekend. From Friday, April 29, to Bank Holiday Monday you can find the fun at Marine Parade, Sheerness.
 
A May Day procession heads from Whitstable Library in the High Street at 11am to the grand surroundings of Whitstable Castle at 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday. The event is organised by Whitstable & Herne Bay Lions Club.
 
Whitstable Castle

Whitstable Castle

 
 
Dancing, singing and cake are part of traditional May Day activities – so what’s not to like? World Tree Music will be celebrating the occasion at the Great Tree pub, Ramsgate on the eve of the festival, Saturday, April 30, with all three from 8pm. It also marks the launch of the folk-rock duo’s latest album Dancing On The Wheel of Life.
  
Fourteen gleaming examples from the Kent Ferrari Club will be revving up for a May bank holiday weekend extravaganza at the Milk House, Sissinghurst on Saturday, April 30, followed by the Weald of Kent Morris performing on May Day afternoon. The events herald the launch of the pub’s new outdoor pizza oven, which will be running until September. For details, visit themilkhouse.co.uk
 
Browse vintage jewellery and fashion to antique textiles and furniture at a fair on Saturday, April 30, at St Mary’s Hall, Oxford Street in Whitstable at Mainwaring’s Seaside Brocante between 10am and 4pm. For details call 01227 773037.

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