The summer holidays might be coming to an end, but that’s no reason for the fun to stop.
The August bank holiday weekend is just around the corner and we’ve got some of the top events from across the county, from food and drink festivals to family outdoor theatre, for you to enjoy…
‘ALESFORD’ BEER FESTIVAL, near Maidstone
This small village beer festival began at a local boozer and is now entering its third year as a bumper three-day celebration of real ale, beers and cider. Thirsty visitors can cool off from the August sun with a selection of more than 30 real ales, all from the Kent and Sussex area, in the beautiful beer garden of The Hengist at Aylesford, near Maidstone. This modern riverside restaurant and bar will also have a range of cider available, as well as a gin bar, family entertainment, live music and fresh food, so you can raise a glass to the bank holiday all weekend long.
When: Saturday, August 27 to Monday, August 29 at The Hengist in Aylesford. No booking required.
BOING! INTERNATIONAL FAMILY FESTIVAL, Canterbury
This family-friendly festival is making its grand return this year with a packed programme of performances, arts, culture and entertainment. The festival, which began in Canterbury in 2014 with just 2,500 visitors and now draws crowds of 13,000, showcases an incredible array of performances from all sorts of enthralling genres. Expect dance from the Jasmin Vardimon Company, theatre from Le Gateau Chocolat, sensory sound experiences from Frozen Light and music and puppetry from Half A String, to name just a few. With a mix of indoor and outdoor stages, there’s plenty to keep everyone, from grandparents to infants, happy.
When: Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28 at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre and the University of Kent campus in Canterbury. The festival is free to enter, but some individual events are ticketed. Book online here.
BROGDALE CIDER TRAIL, Faversham
Whether you like a crisp apple cider or a sweet fruity tipple, you can take your pick from a huge number of artisan producers at this Faversham orchard. With more than 50 ciders, including Kent producers such as Biddenden’s, Turners, Kentish Pip and Kent Cider Company, and sampling sessions available all day, you might just find your new favourite drink. There are also three outdoor stages pumping out live music from the likes of Hullabaloo and The Chillbillies, as well as food stalls, orchard tours, miniature railway rides, campfire cooking and family games.
When: Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28 at Brogdale Collections in Faversham. Tickets can be purchased on the day or online here.
Dover's LGBTQ+ community will be flying the rainbow flag for its annual Pride celebrations. The highlight of the day is a colourful parade through the town centre. The march starts at Maison Dieu Gardens at the Riverside Centre and ends at the Roman Lawn next to the Roman Painted House on New Street. Drag queen hosts of the day include Miss Di Vour and drag SOS stars Miss Lilli Berlin and Poppy Love. Live entertainment from noon to 4pm, takes place on the Roman Lawn and at the La Salle Verte Café (aka the Pride Cafe) in Cannon Street. If you’d like to get involved or volunteer, email the organisers on email@example.com
When: Saturday, August 27. This is a free advance registration for the Pride Parade which starts at 11am.
EMERGENCY SERVICES SHOW, Ashford
Learn everything there is to know about our amazing key workers and emergency services with this educational three-day show in Ashford. Discover the history of the emergency services, dating back to Victorian times, and get an invaluable insight into the lives and work today’s of paramedics, police, firefighters and coastguards. Meet the volunteers who help keep the services running, watch thrilling fire demonstrations with ‘live fire’, stroll through the emergency vehicle display and hop on a tank or tractor for a ride around the show. The show is set to be both fascinating and fun for visitors from across the country.
When: Saturday, August 27 to Monday, August 29 at the Headcorn Aerodrome near Ashford. Book tickets online here.
KNIGHTS’ TOURNAMENT, Dover Castle
Visitors to Dover Castle this bank holiday will find themselves suddenly enthralled in a thrilling tournament of strength and skill from the castle’s medieval knights. The Knights’ Tournament sees rival knights compete against each other to prove their bravery with traditional battles, spectacular sword fights and a dramatic finale. The sporting contest is all set in a medieval encampment, which will give you the chance to meet villagers from the Middle Ages, discover the secrets of village life, watch weapon repairs, learn about camp cooking and get involved in hands-on crafts.
When: Saturday, August 27 to Monday, August 29 at Dover Castle. Book tickets online here.
SPA VALLEY RAILWAY 25TH ANNIVERSARY GALA, Tunbridge Wells
Over the last 25 years, the Spa Valley Railway has seen a fleet of steam and heritage diesel trains travel to and from its Groombridge station. The railway is now celebrating its rich history with a 25th anniversary gala with a four-day event, where a stacked timetable offers visitors the chance to hop on and off a range of locomotives. Train enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that the British Railways Standard 4MT No. 75069 locomotive, which was built in 1955 and has been put to work at locations such as Dover Marine, Eastleigh and Bournemouth, is making a special stop at the station during the weekend.
When: Friday, August 26 to Monday, August 29 at the Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells. Book tickets online here.
SKIFFIE FESTIVAL, Faversham
The Faversham Skiffie Festival is set to be quite a spectacle over the bank holiday weekend. The race of five-man boats on Faversham Creek will start with practices on Saturday from 1pm, followed by time trial heats on Sunday from 1.30pm, with the finals at 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday. The start and finish line will be at the Town Quay, with the 500m course running to Crab Island and back. It costs £20 a team (or £100 for a corporate team) and there are a range of categories, including ages 12 and up. All proceeds go to the Faversham Community Boat Build.
When: Saturday, August 26 to Monday, August 29 at Faversham Creek. No booking required.
THE STAG TOWN TAKE OVER, Sevenoaks
This bank holiday weekend, the Stag Theatre will be bursting out its building to bring free entertainment to Sevenoaks. On Saturday there will be live musicians playing across the town centre from 2pm, before Vanessa Haynes, lead singer of jazz funk band Incognito, takes to the bandstand in the Vine Gardens at 6pm. On the Sunday, Stag panto legend Silly Billy will be hosting a family party in the Vine Gardens from 4pm. Finally, on Monday, the sounds of the West End come to Sevenoaks. Alice Fearn (Come From Away, Wicked), Melissa Jacques (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Mamma Mia) and Rachel Rawlinson (Six, Heathers) will all be performing in the Vine Gardens between 2pm and 5pm.
When: Saturday, August 26 to Monday, August 29 across Sevenoaks. All free events, no booking required.
THE RAILWAY CHILDREN, Chatham
If you want to keep your kids off the screens for a few hours over the bank holiday weekend, then perhaps some outdoor theatre is in order. Sussex theatre company This Is My Theatre will be bringing their reimagining of classic children’s novel the Railway Children to the Historic Dockyard Chatham at the end of the month. This heart-warming tale is a great way to introduce your children to theatre in an open-air environment and is suitable for all ages. To make this event even more enjoyable, the Dockyard’s railway volunteers will be showing visitors around their historic locomotives and wagons throughout the evening.
When: Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27 at the Historic Dockyard Chatham. Book tickets online here.
TRINITY THEATRE 40TH ANNIVERSARY, Tunbridge Wells
From a variety show extravaganza of dance, music, magic and drama to a delightful summer fete, the Trinity Theatre is celebrating its 40th birthday in style. The Tunbridge Wells Theatre opened its doors in 1982 and is still welcoming both local talent and internationally renowned acts four decades later. Over the bank holiday weekend there will be fantastic stage shows, community gatherings and a summer fete, which is free to attend and will be full of fun activities, traditional dancing, food and drink, and a party atmosphere to make this anniversary one to remember.
When: Friday, August 26 to Sunday, August 28 at the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. The summer fete is free but some individual events are ticketed. Find out more here.
WE LOVE HYTHE LIFE FOOD FESTIVAL, Hythe
If you’re looking for something tasty to spice up your bank holiday, look no further than the We Love Hythe Life Food Festival. With more than 70 stalls, the three-day festival aims to showcase the best of the local community, in particular its food, drink and fresh produce. There will be expert chefs on hand to give you top cooking tips and tricks, as well as serving up their signature dishes, along with a varied selection of food and drink stands catering for all tastes and diets. The festival features live music throughout the weekend, so you’ll have something to listen to while you tuck into your treats.
When: Saturday, August 27 to Monday, August 29 at Hythe Green in Hythe. The festival is free, no booking required.
WHITE CLIFFS WALKING FESTIVAL, Dover
Stretch your legs and capture some great views as you stroll atop the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. This six-day walking festival gives those with energy to burn a chance to get out in the fresh air with a choice of different routes, lengths and terrains each day. Whether you only have time for a short walk or are looking to while away the hours out and about, there will be something to suit everyone. The festival also includes guided visits to nearby landmarks, advice from expert volunteers and a great chance to take in the history and natural beauty of this striking landscape.
When: Thursday, August 25 to Tuesday, August 30 in and around Dover. The walks are free to join. Find out more information here.