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Holly Loftus
7th June 2024

Stunning historical buildings, beautiful outdoor landscapes and thriving summer events - all the things you can expect to find when stepping out in Tonbridge. Whether you’re looking to discover the hidden gems right on your door step or bring the family together for an unforgettable summer experience, Tonbridge has got you covered, after all it’s in this beautiful destination’s nature…

Summer Events

Tonbridge Music Weekend

We're getting excited for a summer in Tonbridge as Tonbridge Music Weekend is back from 5th – 6th July at Deacon's Field, just a stone's throw from the castle! This two-day event has something for everyone, from Whitney Queen of the Night, Coldplace and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute act, Walk Like a Man, making this another unmissable event for the family.

Planning on catching the train? Then it’ll be good to know that Tonbridge Castle is just a 10 minute walk from the station, with easy transport links to and from the rest of the county and London. Or if you’re the designated driver, there is easy parking available too – so let’s just say the only thing you’ll have to worry about is which amazing night you want to see! Did we forget to mention that you most-definitely won’t go hungry, as there will be refreshment stands and a bar, or you can bring your own picnic.

(c) Studio 23 Photography

Open Air Theatre

Grab a blanket, bring along the popcorn and prepare for a little theatrical magic under the stars with Tonbridge Castle as your backdrop. From 18th July – 8th September Tonbridge Castle will be welcoming theatre companies to the lawns with performances ranging from The Railway Children (18th July) and Wuthering Heights (27th July) to Romeo and Juliet (22nd August) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (8th September). Whether you choose to take in matinee performances in the sunshine, or evening shows under the stars, we recommend booking up your tickets and packing up the picnic.

Live music

From 19th July – 23rd August Tonbridge’s riverside will come alive every Friday with free River Walk Music, evenings of live music and street food and drink. Tap your feet to everything from jazz and blues to pop and funk and prepare to dance the night away as musicians grace the stage and celebrate summer in a beautiful riverside setting.

But that’s not the only live music of the summer as the lawns of Tonbridge Castle will host free summer band concerts on Sunday afternoons and early evening from 23rd June to 25th August. Enjoy big band music and concerts from a whole host of local musicians and artists.

Artisan Markets

From July the last Sunday of the month will play host to Artisan Markets in the grounds of Tonbridge Castle. Find and shop handcrafted arts and crafts, sweet treats, foodie finds and even beauty products at this market held by passionate local artisans.

Tonbridge Pride

Tonbridge Pride will take place on 3rd August in the town, so get ready for an afternoon and evening of fabulous fun as you march your way through the high street over to Tonbridge Castle where the festivities are set to take place. From DJs to choirs, singers, bands, dance troupes and a drag show, this event is bringing all you need for an amazing day celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. There will also be a range of stalls placed around the event including food, drink, arts, crafts, glitter makeup, kids’ activities, LGBTQIA+ merchandise, education, and charity information.

Action Arena

Thrill-seekers, Action Arena, a giant inflatable obstacle course. is coming to Tonbridge Racecourse Sportsground from 24th – 26th August! With a 600 feet unforgettable course to tackle, adventurers will have the chance to take on the labrynth of obstacles in a full hour-long session that will test out their skills. What’s more, little adventurers will get to try out the Mini Action Arena, perfect for those aged two to seven years with a love for thrills and excitement.

Tonbridge's Big Summer Weekend

Tonbridge's Big Summer Weekend is packed with events and excitement on 31st August - 1st September. The free Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival will be kicking things off at Tonbridge Racecourse Sportsground for the weekend of 31st August – 1st September! Organised by Tonbridge Farmers Market, this festival is welcoming visitors to try, taste and buy from more than 70 stall holders selling delicious range of food, plus more than 30 local brews at the Beer & Cider Festival. Better yet, on 1st September the river will be awash with excitement as the annual Dragon Boat Tournament races through the town. 

From stepping into summer, stepping back in history and stepping out in nature – it’s all covered here in Tonbridge and its surrounding villages and countryside. But just in case you wanted to find out more, be sure to check out some more amazing events taking place right here. From Artisan Markets, Live Music and Open Air Theatre – you’re always in for an unforgettable time here in Tonbridge.

Walks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Haysden Country Park

We’re slowing down the pace now and stepping into the landscape and exploring the wildlife… because that’s another thing in Tonbridge's nature. On the outskirts of Tonbridge lies the Green Flag awarded park, Haysden Country Park which is home to a range of natural habitats such as river, grassland, freshwater lakes, marshland and woodland, covering an area of 65 hectares. A wander around this Natural England accredited park on a summer's day, with the birds chirping might sound like music to your ears. Why not bring the little ones to play in the adventure play area or add a little excitement to your day and check out the fishing and watersports facilities?

You can also step into Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, like the Kent Downs and High Weald AONB. Exploring the stunning areas of natual beauty is just another part of Tonbridge's nature that needs to be discovered.

Historic Houses and Castles

Tonbridge Castle

So, we spoke about some of the amazing festivals taking place at the glorious Tonbridge Castle, but let’s not forget, visiting the castle to learn about its history and walk its stunning grounds is an experience in itself…

Dating back 950 years, Tonbridge Castle is a proud landmark for the market town of Tonbridge and overlooks breath-taking views across the town. There’s so much history to be discovered right on your doorstep, so let’s transport you to a medieval world, where you can uncover some of the stories of kings, archbishops and tyrants. If that sounds like it’s right up your street, then an Audio Tour of the castle might be just the thing you and your family are seeking. This hour-long tour is included in your ticket price and brings the sounds of the sights you see to life on this interactive journey through time. After soaking in all the history, why not stay a little longer and explore the grounds further with a riverside walk or, if you feel it’s time to relax, then stop for a picnic on the Bailey Lawn amongst the surroundings of the picturesque castle.

Explore the surrounding areas...

First stop, the 14th-century moated manor house, gardens and estate, Ightham Mote. Enjoy a family day out here and you’ll find yourself surrounded by 700 years of history, architecture and stories. Explore the magical 24 acre gardens bordered by water features, lakes and woodland, with over 500 acres of landscape in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to explore. Your little ones can be entertained by their natural play area, splash in the natural stream, and play with the chimes, balance beams and stepping stones. 

Next stop, the 14th century stately home and gardens, Penshurst Place. Let’s explore the house… In 1341, the medieval Baron’s Hall was completed and used as a country retreat for the Lord Mayor of London. The home has since been passed down through generations and has been looked after by the Sidney family since 1552. Did you know, the home and gardens were visited by King Henry VIII as he used it as a hunting lodge? Now, the house is a beautiful representation of Penshurst’s history and has even been showcased in popular TV and film productions. Don’t forget, there’s also 48 acres of Grounds, including the 11 acre formal Grade I listed Gardens to discover, and we have just the thing to help you and the family explore – an interactive map!