Art and Culture
Cutting-edge galleries, arty enclaves and cracking cultural connections
In Kent, arts and culture are an essential part of the county's rhythm. Here you can find contemporary art galleries, world-class theatres, unique museums, thrilling festivals and true freedom of artistic spirit.
This is where JMW Turner, Charles Dickens and Tracey Emin found inspiration - just explore Margate's Turner Contemporary to see how the old meets new with a staggering programme of exhibitions from renowned artists along side celebrations of the artist who inspired it all. Contemporary culture is also breathing new life into Folkestone's Creative Quarter, with funky shops and cafes springing up among artists' workshops and galleries, and the Folkestone Artworks trail leading visitors around a vast network of public art. Several of these artworks are located on the regenerated Folkestone Harbour Arm which is the perfect place to stop and sample some local delicacies while enjoying some live music or cultural entertainment.
The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury is fast becoming the south east's top stage. As well as putting on big touring shows, it showcases innovative contemporary works in its studio. Kent also rejoices in state-of the-art galleries such as The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury and No 1 Smithery at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, while the light-filled exhibition spaces at the Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery excite the interest of curious minds.
In Kent, you can also get inspired by top-class events. Each October, the Canterbury Festival draws 60,000 people to 200 free and ticketed events, ranging from music, theatre and dance, to exhibitions, walks and comedy. Literature lovers love the Folkestone Book Festival. This 10-day feast of words transforms the town each November. In August, Broadstairs Folk Week sees a vast range of performances at the resort's concert venues, pubs, beaches and streets. While, each October, the Tenterden Folk Festival brings a four day extravaganza of music, song and dance to this ancient Wealden town.
There are superb museums and themed attractions, as well as countless creative activities; many will see you working with locals in distinctive venues along Kent’s Creative Coast.
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