2021 Events and Festivals

Sophie Hewitt

7th June 2021

Music festivals, food festivals, historic celebrations…we’ve missed them all! With so many events set to return this year, we’re gearing up to celebrate, reconnect with the people we’ve missed, and tuck into some sensational food and drink.

Yes, Kent's festival season has arrived, and with it comes a whole host of not-to-be-missed events and celebrations for your diary. Whether you're looking for foodie treats, a little music to your ears, or a chance to rejoice in Kent's glorious coast, our round up of the top festivals in the Garden of England will soon have you out celebrating in the sunshine. 

Please always check an event’s website before travelling as plans may be subject to change in line with events guidelines. Be sure to follow the latest government guidance regarding Covid-19, and take a look at our #RespectProtectEnjoy advice to help keep yourself and others safe.

Glitterbomb

On 25th June, Glitterbomb will be coming to Mote Park for an outdoor LGBT+ festival that promises plenty of glitter, music and more. There’ll be some very special guests fresh from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, including the hilarious Lawrence Chaney and sensational Baga Chipz, DJs, dancers and even some tribute artists. Trust us you don’t want to miss this!

England’s Creative Coast

This summer discover three of the seven brand new artworks created by international artists as part of England’s Creative Coast. Taking the locations' connection between coast and land as their inspiration, the artworks tell the story of each area. From Pilar Quinteros’ 'Janus Fortress Folkestone in Folkestone and Jasleen Kaur’s ‘The first thing I did was to kiss the ground’ for Gravesend, to Michael Rakowitz’ 'April is the cruellest month' resting in Margate near the iconic Turner Contemporary, each artwork offers a unique look at the questions and perspectives of their locations, offering the perfect place to sit and contemplate.

Hever Castle

It’s time to get in the mood and step back to wartime Britain at Hever Castle on 26th-27th June. Authentic 1940s cooking, US military vehicles, Home Guard Drills, a Spitfire and vintage stalls can all be found at the Hever’s Home Front event. And, because it just wouldn’t be a vintage festival without some victory rolls and a little red lipstick, they’ll even be period costumes and a 40s hair salon! On 21st – 25th June everything will be coming up roses as the castle blossoms for Hever in Bloom. More than 4,000 roses can be found in the gardens, along with borders of perennials, meadow flowers and even a floristry workshop. Ahhh, we can almost smell those floral scents.

Magical Woodland evenings at Wildwood Trust

Yes, you read that correctly, Wildwood Trust is opening up the gates to visitors in the evenings so you can get nose-to-nose with some incredible British wildlife in amongst the ancient woodland setting. Listen out for the stirring of nocturnal creatures, before enjoying alfresco dining and a cool drink accompanied by the dusk bird chorus. Now how about that for the perfect weekend date night?

Gusbourne

Lunches, local cheeses, wood-fired pizzas, picnics and evening tours, there are so many tantalisingly tempting treats going on at Gusbourne this summer, you’ll probably find us in the vineyard most weekends. Of course, all of these exciting experiences come perfectly paired with a taste of Gusbourne’s delectable wines and those rolling vineyard views, so whichever event you choose, we can guarantee you can expect a real taste of summer in the Kent countryside.

Summer Social at Dreamland Margate

Running all summer long, the Dreamland Summer Social is the ultimate open-air pub experience, with street food to be tasted, live DJs and variety of sport up on the large screen (who else is heading there to watch the Euros?). Sunshine, beers, friends, sport and mouth-watering street food – this promises to be a summer social not to be missed!

Dover Castle

On weekends throughout the summer, English Heritage will be bringing Dover Castle’s incredible 2000 year history to life with live interpretation in the open air. In June step back to World War II when Dover Castle was at the centre of Hellfire Corner and the British resistance, and from July travel to courtly world of the castle’s Medieval era, meeting some of Henry II’s most trusted courtiers!  

Betteshanger

From petrol heads to brand new puppy parents, Betteshanger is hosting events for all kinds of interests this summer. On 3rd July, the Deal Classic Motor Show rolls into town (or rather the beautiful surroundings of Betteshanger Park), bringing with it 800 classic vehicles, including Aston Martins, Rolls Royces, Porsches, and even more classics most of us can only dream of! Four-legged friends rejoice as in September Pawfest will em-bark (ahem) on its first ever event at Betteshanger. 8,000 pups are expected to attend, with family fun dog shows, dog trainers, canicross, live music and lake swimming all on the cards. We’ll just paws there…

Godinton House and Gardens

Set in acres of glorious rolling countryside, a visit to Godinton’s gardens is always a wonderful experience in summer, but with the promise of a programme of events, including outdoor theatre on 17th and 31st July, and Sculpture in the Gardens from 24th July – 15th August, this summer will be magnificent. Whether you choose to roll out the blanket for Pride and Prejudice, or stroll the 12 acres gardens for the annual contemporary art exhibition, you’re in for a treat.

Creative Folkestone Triennial: The Plot

We have been waiting sooo long for this one! The Folkestone Triennial returns from 22nd July - 2nd November, bringing with it a whole load of colourful cultural sites throughout the pretty coastal town. 20 newly commissioned artworks by internationally acclaimed artists can be discovered on this artistic trail, with plenty of tales of tell. With brilliant sea views along the way, not to mention everyone’s favourite summertime spot, the Folkestone Harbour Arm, this is a must-see this summer.

Leeds Castle Classical Concert

The Leeds Castle Classical Concert promises to be a highlight this festival season. On 10th July enjoy world-class music, captivating performers and fireworks, all set against the stunning backdrop of Leeds Castle - bring a picnic, bring the family, bring a candelabra! Be sure to book up as these tickets sell out fast! 

The HD Show Concert at Mount Vineyard

Are you ready to be the dancing queen? We’re excited to get into boogie wonderland again thanks to Mount Vineyard’s evening with The HD Show Band on Saturday 10th July. Get into the groove with hits from 70s classics to current chart toppers, all in the meadows of picture-perfect Shoreham. Add on their pre-made picnic hampers and a bottle of fizz, and we're set for the perfect summer's evening...

Maidstone FreeWheelin FEASTival

Yes, prepare for the return of the elasticated waistband (come on, we all had those trousers during lockdown) as FreeWheelin FEASTival comes back to Mote Park from 23rd-25th July. Tuck into street food, enjoy alfresco dining, bars of distinction, live music and even children’s entertainment in this foodie fest that celebrates local and international taste sensations in the heart of beautiful Mote Park.  

Rock the Mote

The ultimate rock and roll festival returns to Mote Park for another year this summer on 7th – 8th August, with a jam-packed line-up full of the country’s top tribute bands, including performances from Muse, Queen, Ed Sheeran and many more! 

The Isle of Thanet

Broadstairs Folk Week is back from 6th -13th August with more than fifty years of traditional folk music at its heart, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it stops there. With around 450 events, the week presents festival-goers the chance to discover new bands and dance along to a whole raft of music you would never expect to hear at a folk festival. Next up, Ramsgate Festival of Sound 2021 will present Stories from the Sea from 27th August – 5th September, honouring 200 years of the town’s Royal Harbour. Look out for the Sonic Trail, Busk at Dusk, live music and plenty of family fun.

British Kitesurfing Championships

On 21st -22nd August the shores of Ramsgate will be buzzing with adrenaline as the British Kitesurfing Championships kick off (or surfs off, we’re not really sure). Look out for Kitsurfing Freestyle Championships, the British Wingsurfing Freestyle Championships and the British Foiling Championship across the two day event, and be sure to try your hands (or feet) at some of the fantastic sports to be found on the Ramsgate coastline.

Whitstable Oyster Festival

Head to bohemian Whistable from 27th -30th August for a two-day celebration of the area’s famous oyster trade, featuring food, music and revelry aplenty! Every year, the beautiful seaside town hosts a series of colourful events, mixing traditional coastal celebrations with modern festivities including a huge parade, and the bustling Harbour Food Fair with dishes and drinks from around the globe. The festival also plays host to live music and comedy from top performers.

Let’s Rock Kent

With an undoubtably funky line up including the likes of 80s pop sensations Wet Wet Wet, Sister Sledge and ABC, you won’t want to miss out on Let’s Rock in Mote Park on 4th September. This fabulous festival will include an array of bands from the decade, a variety of catering choices and a bar inside the venue, so you can enjoy a tipple or two as you get into the groove.

Kent & East Sussex Railway

Lindy Hop straight into the wartime spirit at Kent & East Sussex Railway on 12th-13th September as they throw a 1940s celebration along the line. Experience the golden age of steam and silver service with lunch dining specials aboard the Wealden Pullman on weekends throughout the summer, and discover Kent’s hop picking heritage later in the season and learn about the journeys Londoners would have made to Kent and Sussex to harvest that all important ingredient for beer.

Salute to the 40s

“We’ll meet again” is ringing in our ears as we announce this one! Yes, Salute to the 40s is back at the Historic Dockyard Chatham from 18th - 19th September and they’re promising a party to end all parties! Get your vintage outfit ready, perfect those victory rolls, and prepare for that good old wartime spirit as the Dockyard will be sharing more details over the coming months. Fancy really making a day of it? Our friends at Jetstream are set to put on a special cruise from Southend Pier so you can arrive at the Dockyard in style, with plenty of wartime tales along the way to get you in the mood.

The Camping and Caravanning Club

We don't know about you, but a festival just isn't a festival if you can't head back to a campsite and rest your legs after a long day of dancing in the sunshine - luckily, The Camping and Caravanning Club have got you covered for festival season, with three campsites in Kent so wherever you are, you'll be able to sleep the night away close by. Choose from Canterbury, Folkestone or Oldbury Hill and get in to the great outdoors whilst those balmy summer nights last!

Travel with Southeastern

As our worlds begin to open up again, Southeastern Railway are looking forward to welcoming you back on board their trains. Whether you’re continuing to travel for work, starting to think about returning to the office, planning to meet friends and family or are looking forward to visiting one of the wonderful destinations in Kent, Southeastern are there to help and support you every step of the way. Travel looks a little different from before and Southeastern want to reassure you that they are doing everything they can to help make you feel more comfortable, such as cleaning trains more frequently with anti-viral products, regularly wiping high touch areas and supplying hand sanitiser points at busy stations. So whenever you are ready and when it feels right for you, whatever journey you are taking, Southeastern want you to feel you can travel safely and with confidence.

Travel with Arriva

As restrictions start to lift and the government’s plans to ease out of lockdown come into effect, Arriva are here to support our local communities. Plan your journey, track your bus in real-time, buy, store and activate tickets all in on one handy app. Search Arriva UK Bus app in your app store which is free to download or visit www.arrivabus.co.uk/app. You can also plan your journey, buy tickets and check out the latest news and offers online at www.arrivabus.co.uk. All Arriva buses are COVID-19 secure, to find out more please visit  www.arrivabus.co.uk/help/coronavirus