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Kent: Things to do over the August bank holiday weekend summer 2017

By Angela Cole

You may not be able to bank on the holiday weather, but you can count on there being a bumper load of events happening across Kent to make the most of it. Here's our guide to the three-day weekend.


Cool off at the Maidstone heritage farm park this Bank Holiday Monday with the return of the Ice Cream Festival. With plenty of tasty treats to tuck into and sample, ice cream vendors, chocolatiers and sweet stalls galore, the indulgent festival will see a visit from Kent’s Simply Ice Cream, and Kelly’s of Cornwall, known for their clotted cream range. There will also be a 40s flavour with music from the Boogie Woogie Gals and the chance to visit all the usual treats, including Cuddle Corner, Paint-a-Pot studio, outdoor and indoor play areas, and the Vintage Village. Entry, between 10am and 5pm, is £9.95 and £7.95 for children between three and 15. For details call 01622 763936 or visit kentlife.org.uk.


Lego Friends are joining the summer line-up at the shopping centre. They will be visiting from Friday, August 25 to Bank Holiday Monday, with a host of free experiences for the family to enjoy. Children up to the age of 12 and their parents are invited to get hands-on and make their own Lego creations and they can get their groove on with a silent disco, complete with a disco ball, pop classics, disco props and dance floor. Visit Bluewater.co.uk for details.


The creative, international family festival bOing! returns to the Gulbenkian in Canterbury on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27. Free to enter, with some indoor shows ticketed at £6, it features storytelling, performance, art and some mind boggling experiences, including the Pentalum Luminarium, a maze of colourful paths and soaring domes, visited by thousands last year. For details of what’s on and to book advance tickets, visit boingfestival.com or call the information line on 01227 769075.

The bOing! festival is bouncing back in Canterbury

The bOing! festival is bouncing back in Canterbury


The four-day Full Fat Festival over the bank holiday weekend kicks off on Friday, August 25 and runs through to Bank Holiday Monday. The feel-good feast of fun for the whole family includes music from top local talent and food and drink from cocktails to hot dogs, face painting to juggling. The Full Fat Festival Top will be back on tap at a cheap and beerful £3.50 a pint. Bring a rug, make yourself comfortable, and tuck into some fine festival fodder and enjoy the tunes. Local artists Sandy Dooley and Amy Devlin will also be inviting visitors to make their mark on a collaborative canvas on the Sunday. The weekend will also be raising money for village organisations, including Sissinghurst’s Trinity Church. For details go to themilkhouse.co.uk

The Milk House's Milk Fest at Sissinghurst is for all the family.Picture Andy Jones

The Milk House's Milk Fest at Sissinghurst is for all the family. Picture: Andy Jones

For more summer holiday ideas across Kent click here.


It has 1,143 cubic metres of air inside it and stands at almost 13 metres. The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, which comes to the recently revamped park this summer as it opens every day throughout the summer holidays, with circus acts and new rides you might not have tried before, is at the Margate venue until Saturday, August 26. It is open from 11.30am every day, and a 10-minute bounce costs £3.50. Some 100 people – both children and adults – can bounce together at the same time. For details go to dreamland.co.uk

Free open air cinema at Dreamland this weekend.

The World's Biggest Bouncy Castle has its final weekend at Dreamland in Margate Picture Alan Langley

The World's Biggest Bouncy Castle has its final weekend at Dreamland in Margate Picture: Alan Langley


Doc.Yard is back at the Chatham dockyard for a fourth year with mathematical and science fun and games, when there will be a one-hour-long interactive experience with Doc and his assistant Bunsen, through to Sunday, September 3. Doc and Bunsen will, with the help of the audience, be exploring how curves in ships and waves in air work. There will be three shows a week and two at the weekends, which are included in your annual ticket. For details go to thedockyard.co.uk


Summertime activities run through to Saturday, September 2. Until Friday, August 25, visitors can follow the clues to uncover some interactive family fun on a Mystery Quest, which leads you around the estate from the Woodland Walk to the castle, through the gardens, the maze and beyond. For details of what’s on go to leeds-castle.com


Set within 120 acres of Kent countryside, the historic family estate stages its Plant Hunters’ Weekend between Saturday, August 26 to Bank Holiday Monday. The castle is home to the World Garden of Plants, which contains some 8,000 plant species, cultivars and hybrids planted in their respective countries of origin by modern-day plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke.

Celebrating the lives of some of Britain’s most intrepid plant hunters, Tom and friends in Victorian dress lead a guided tour of the garden between 1.30pm and 3.30pm, providing a glimpse into the past. The event, between 11am and 5pm each day, also includes a visit from Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) with animals and reptile guests. Special events admission is £10 and children under 15 are free. Find the castle and garden at Eynsford. To book call 01322 862114 or visit lullingstonecastle.co.uk

Tom Hart Dyke will lead visitors to Lullingstone Castle around the World Garden


There’s a bumper bank holiday at the house and gardens with different activities planned for each day of the three-day break. Included free in the cost of standard garden admission ticket, there will be Bushcraft skills on the Woodland Walk, aerial and static falconry displays on the South Lawn and a demonstration of a working replica of the first printing press. On Bank Holiday Monday, you can have a go at using a printing press to create your own story and illustrations while on Sunday, August 27, visitors will be treated to aerial falconry displays from the Hawking Centre and the chance to see the birds up close. Learn fire-lighting, shelter-building and survival skills from the experts at Camp Wilderness who will be showing visitors how to survive the great outdoors on Sunday, August 27 and Bank Holiday Monday. While at the site, head to the Maize Maze, which is open into September. For details visit penshurstplace.com

Learn bushcraft skills at Penshurst Place

Learn bushcraft skills at Penshurst Place


Children go free in August until Thursday, August 31 at the Hythe and Canterbury animal attractions, after the same deal proved popular in July. Family-friendly activities run throughout the holidays with animal talks, feeds, activities and crafts. A child goes free with every paying adult. Throughout the holidays, visitors can also join education presenters for animal talks, feeds, activities and crafts. To book, and for more details, visit aspinallfoundation.org

Head to Howletts this bank holiday weekend for your last summer holiday hurrah

Head to Howletts this bank holiday weekend for your last summer holiday hurrah


Dino Live with its gang of prehistoric prowlers has its last weekend at the Tunbridge Wells shopping centre, taking visitors through a unique journey spanning more than 250 million years. Visitors can see the dinosaurs, including a Tyrannosaurus rex, Ceratosaurus, Iguanodon and the lesser-known Kentrosaurus move, roar and even breathe. Young visitors can have their picture taken with a baby T-rex and there will be craft workshops. The displays are open until Bank Holiday Monday, between 9am and 6pm, or 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sundays, and entry is free. Dino Draw workshops are also being held on Saturdays between 10am and 5pm and Sundays between 11am and 4pm. Children need to be accompanied by an adult.

The prehistoric prowlers are at the Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells until Bank Holiday Monday Picture Andy Payton

The prehistoric prowlers are at the Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells until Bank Holiday Monday Picture: Andy Payton


The railway is in line for 20th anniversary celebrations from Saturday, August 26 to Bank Holiday Monday. There will be locomotive action including the BR Standard 4MT No. 80078, a steam locomotive owned by Stewart Robinson. The railway opened the line to Groombridge in August 1997. The railway is home to a fleet of steam & heritage diesel locomotives, including an 1876-built steam engine known as Terrier ‘Sutton’ and the train which closed the line in 1985, Thumper 1317. For details and to buy tickets visit spavalleyrailway.co.uk



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