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21 things to do across Kent to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this bank holiday weekend


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Grab the bunting and dress up in your best regal finery, as we've got an incredible 21 things to do this bank holiday to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee...

Balfour Hush Heath Estate, near Maidstone

Start the four-day weekend with a delightful summer cocktail evening at this beautiful winery. Enjoy specially crafted cocktails, made with the best Balfour wines, sample a selection of tasty canapés, and take in stunning views of the estate from the outdoor balcony as you watch the sun set and raise a glass to Her Majesty.

When: Thursday, June 2 from 7pm. Tickets cost £45. Find out more here.

Children can send in their jubilee portraits to be shown at the exhibition in Bluewater shopping centre. Picture: Bluewater
Children can send in their jubilee portraits to be shown at the exhibition in Bluewater shopping centre. Picture: Bluewater

Bluewater Shopping Centre, near Dartford

To commemorate this historic weekend, primary children from all over Dartford have been creating their own portraits of Her Majesty the Queen. To mark the incredible 70-year reign, two of these special portraits will be part of a one-off exhibition in Bluewater’s Lower Rose Gallery for shoppers to admire throughout the jubilee celebrations.

When: Friday, May 27 to Friday, June 10 from 10am. This exhibition is free. Find out more here.

Tuck into delicious treats all weekend long at the Chatham Maritime Food and Drink Festival. Picture: Phil Lee
Tuck into delicious treats all weekend long at the Chatham Maritime Food and Drink Festival. Picture: Phil Lee

Dock Square, Chatham

Treat your taste buds to the best street food in the county at the Chatham Maritime Food and Drink Festival. Celebrate the jubilee weekend with a feast of foodie delights from a variety of independent traders, cheer on the dragon boat racing and endurance sailing, let your kids loose at the funfair and messy play area, and listen to a line-up of live music and DJs.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 11am to 5pm. This event is free. Find out more here.

Find out what is was like to be royal in the 12th century at Dover Castle. Picture: © English Heritage Trust / Nigel Wallace-Iles
Find out what is was like to be royal in the 12th century at Dover Castle. Picture: © English Heritage Trust / Nigel Wallace-Iles

Dover Castle

Kids rule the castle with a range of hands-on childrens’ activities and family fun. This bank holiday weekend, Dover Castle has gone back in time to the 12th century when King Henry II’s wife, Queen Eleanor, was in her Regency. Learn what it was like to be part of the royal family 900 years ago and meet the Queen as she greets you from the Great Tower.

When: Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 5pm. Adult tickets cost £26. Find out more here.

Fat Freddie and The Queens will be performing a tribute concert in Tunbridge Wells to kick off the bank holiday weekend. Picture: Facebook / Fat Freddie and The Queens
Fat Freddie and The Queens will be performing a tribute concert in Tunbridge Wells to kick off the bank holiday weekend. Picture: Facebook / Fat Freddie and The Queens

The Forum, Tunbridge Wells

Celebrate one Queen with another this bank holiday as tribute band Fat Freddie and the Queens perform a night of British rock anthems. The band will be performing a number of Freddie Mercury and the gang’s biggest hits, from Another One Bites the Dust to We Will Rock You, for a right royal night out.

When: Thursday, June 2 from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £16.50. Find out more here.

Meet the Queen of Hearts of Groombridge Place - if you dare! Picture: Groombridge Place
Meet the Queen of Hearts of Groombridge Place - if you dare! Picture: Groombridge Place

Groombridge Place, Tunbridge Wells

Visit this magnificent country estate and celebrate the royal reign with the Queen of Hearts herself. Kids who dig out their finest costumes and dress up as royalty will be rewarded by the Queen of Hearts with a special sweet treat - and you never know, she might even regale you with stories from her Wonderland home.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 5pm. Adult tickets cost £12. Find out more here.

Gun Wharf, Chatham

More than 100 boats will set sail along the River Medway and past some of the county’s most well-known sights as the Platinum Jubilee River Pageant marks this momentous occasion. The river will host vessels, such as the steam puffer VIC 96, traditional sailing fishing boats and a collection of 100-year-old Thames sailing barges, to celebrate British history. There will also be live music and a street party at the Sun Pier.

When: Saturday, June 4 from 12pm. This event is free. Find out more here.

Where better to celebrate the royals than at the home of two former queens? Picture: Hever Castle and Gardens
Where better to celebrate the royals than at the home of two former queens? Picture: Hever Castle and Gardens

Hever Castle, Edenbridge

Spend the jubilee weekend at the home of two former queens of England. Hever Castle was once home to Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves, and, over the weekend, will be home to a host of regal activities. Find the Queen's Corgis, hunt for the crown jewels in the castle and follow the Buckingham Palace beacon trail. You can also get in the spirit of things with the Guildhall Strings at the (First Night) of the Hever Festival Proms.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Adult tickets cost £19.80. Find out more here.

The lighting of the beacon at Hole Park is part of the official Buckingham Palace jubilee celebrations. Picture: Hole Park Estate
The lighting of the beacon at Hole Park is part of the official Buckingham Palace jubilee celebrations. Picture: Hole Park Estate

Hole Park Estate, Cranbrook

The picturesque gardens of this country estate will be home to one of the many beacons being lit around the country and the Commonwealth. The beacon, which is part of the official Buckingham Palace programme of jubilee events, will welcome the local community to watch this significant moment at Hole Park, followed by a firework finale.

When: Thursday, June 2 from 6.30pm. This event is free. Find out more here.

Take a trip to the farm and get stuck in with plenty of jubilee activities. Picture: Kent Life
Take a trip to the farm and get stuck in with plenty of jubilee activities. Picture: Kent Life

Kent Life, Maidstone

Step back in time and party like it’s 1952 with this retro street party. The ‘50s theme will feature a traditional village fete, live music and a replica of the famous kitchen set from the Darling Buds of May TV series, which was set in 1950s Kent - and, of course, plenty of bunting and Union Jack flags!

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 5pm. Tickets cost £12. Find out more here.

The Leas Bandstand, Folkestone

Spend a day by the coast and enjoy live music, family competitions, classic car shows and arts and crafts stalls, all in the name of the jubilee. Rock up to the bandstand and sing along to the traditional music and live bands, while your children can compete in a royal fancy dress competition and watch the historic lighting of the beacon.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am. This event is free. Find out more here.

Discover the history of the six queens who lived at Leeds Castle as we celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Picture: Leeds Castle
Discover the history of the six queens who lived at Leeds Castle as we celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Picture: Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, Maidstone

Look back at the powerful queens throughout British history who led us to this once-in-a-lifetime weekend. Journey through the Middle Ages and discover stories of the six most famous queens who lived at Leeds Castle, watch live performers act out their reigns and take part in the Medieval Jubilee Quest.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 6pm. Adult tickets cost £32. Find out more here.

The Poetry Slam at Margate Bookie festival is one of the weekend's best-loved events. Picture: Benjamin Film Photography / Margate Bookie
The Poetry Slam at Margate Bookie festival is one of the weekend's best-loved events. Picture: Benjamin Film Photography / Margate Bookie

Margate Bookie

The friendly book festival by the sea returns, this year for the special jubilee weekend. You can celebrate the work of some great British authors, attend workshops and talks from professional writers and speakers, and watch the beloved Bookie Poetry Slam, all at various venues across the town. Authors set to appear include Daisy Buchanan, Maggie Gee and Zoe Gilbert, among many others.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 11am to 7pm. This event is free, but talks and workshops have an admission cost. Find out more here.

This is My Theatre tour the country with their summer productions, such as their previous adaptation of the Wind in the Willows. Picture: This is My Theatre
This is My Theatre tour the country with their summer productions, such as their previous adaptation of the Wind in the Willows. Picture: This is My Theatre

Mount Ephraim, Faversham

This is My Theatre company will visit the spectacular Mount Ephraim Gardens for an open-air production of family favourite, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Each summer, the company tours historic locations with adaptations of classic tales and, this year, their take on Lewis Caroll’s story is an exciting show packed with merriment, music and misadventure.

When: Friday, June 3 from 5pm. Adult tickets cost £15. Find out more here.

The Royal Tunbridge Wells Cake Off will see local business compete to win the best royal-themed cake. Picture: RTW Together Business Improvement District
The Royal Tunbridge Wells Cake Off will see local business compete to win the best royal-themed cake. Picture: RTW Together Business Improvement District

The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells

Is there anything more British than an old fashioned bake-off? The Royal Tunbridge Wells Cake Off will welcome members of the public to sample a selection of royal-themed cakes from some of the town’s best bakeries, restaurants and shops and vote for their favourite. The winner will be announced in the afternoon and, while you wait for the results, you can listen to live music from vintage jazz band Miss Kiddy and the Cads.

When: Saturday, June 4 from 11am to 3pm. This event is free. Find out more here.

The exhibition at Penshurst Place displays the personal collection of 1st Viscount De L’Isle and includes memorabilia from the Queen's 1952 coronation. Picture: Penshurst Place
The exhibition at Penshurst Place displays the personal collection of 1st Viscount De L’Isle and includes memorabilia from the Queen's 1952 coronation. Picture: Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place, Tonbridge

Get in the spirit of things with a jam-packed programme fit for a queen. Penshurst Place are running a number of activities for the whole family to enjoy across the whole weekend, from bunting workshops to traditional garden games. Make sure to stop at the special coronation exhibition and see the personal collection of 1st Viscount De L’Isle, who was present when the Queen took the throne in 1952.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 5pm. Adult tickets cost £13.50. Find out more here.

Get up close and personal to the animals before taking a jubilee-themed afternoon tea. Picture: Port Lympne Reserve
Get up close and personal to the animals before taking a jubilee-themed afternoon tea. Picture: Port Lympne Reserve

Port Lympne Reserve, Hythe

Take a break with a royal afternoon tea, served in one of the county’s most breathtaking outdoor attractions. Explore Port Lympne’s vast Kentish savannah where animals such as giraffes, zebras and rhinos roam, before you dine on a special lunchtime menu, created by the reserve’s pastry chefs just for this occasion.

When: Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 from 12pm to 4pm. Prices start at £40 per person and include zoo admission. Find out more here.

Reuthes Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks

Put your glad rags on, dress up as your favourite prince or princess and dance the night away at one of Reuthes' much-loved children’s parties. The Platinum Jubilee party will see Reuthes’ resident DJ playing dancefloor anthems and hosting children’s games throughout the evening, while grown ups can toast the Queen in the garden beer tent.

When: Saturday, June 4 from 5pm to 9pm. Tickets start from £2. Find out more here.

Dickens Festival is an annual celebration of Charles Dickens, hosted in the heart of Rochester. Picture: Tony Jones
Dickens Festival is an annual celebration of Charles Dickens, hosted in the heart of Rochester. Picture: Tony Jones

Rochester Town Centre

One of the county’s busiest festivals is back and, this year, it’s paying homage to the jubilee weekend. Dickens Festival will take over Rochester, with character parades, live music, poetry, literature and comedy performances which celebrate the British novelist taking place all over town. At the same time, the events of the Platinum Jubilee will be streamed, live from London, on the big screen in the castle gardens.

When: Saturday, June 4 to Sunday, June 5 from 11am to 3.30pm. This event is free. Find out more here.

Watch entertaining outdoor theatre in the beautiful grounds of Westenhanger Castle. Picture: FHDC
Watch entertaining outdoor theatre in the beautiful grounds of Westenhanger Castle. Picture: FHDC

Westenhanger Castle, Hythe

Kent-based theatre company Up the Road Theatre will be visiting this charming medieval manor house for a series of free open-air shows over the jubilee weekend. Tales Through Time: A Right Royal Gallop is a lively celebration of the Queen’s reign and is a fun whistle-top tour of the last 70 years.

When: Friday, June 3 and Sunday, June 5. This event is free. Find out more here.

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