2021 Events and Festivals
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.
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.
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?
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.
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. Sunshine, beers, friends, sport and mouth-watering street food – this promises to be a summer social not to be missed!
The gates to Lullingstone Castle & Gardens will be opening to present a brand-new, original production of The Secret Garden on 28th July. This is the first professional dance adaptation in the UK, based on the bestselling novel, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, re-telling the story through classical music and dance. Join Mary on her journey to discovering The Secret Garden in this family friendly production at Lullingstone Castle & World Garden, guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages.
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 July travel to courtly world of the castle’s Medieval era, meeting some of Henry II’s most trusted courtiers!
From petrol heads to brand new puppy parents, Betteshanger is hosting events for all kinds of interests this summer. On 16-18 October, endurance event Survival is back at Betteshanger Park - will you take on the challenge? 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…
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.
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 with its foodie finds and outdoor screen showing some unmissable sport , this is a must-see this summer.
Chiddingstone Caste and its fascinating collections of Japanese, Stuart and Jacobite, Ancient Egyptian, and Buddhist art and artefacts are open and we cannot wait to explore them more. Plus with a calendar packed with summer events, including the Summer Vintage Fair, Stevie Wonder Celebration and the Literary Fringe Festival in July, August and September this summer is the perfect time to visit!
Summer at The Dockyard is set to be sensational. Whether you're in search of Doc. Yard's summer show through the holidays to get the kids excited about science, or want to celebrate the age of steam on one of the attraction's Railway Days throughout the season, you'll be in for an adventure this summer. Plus, with this year’s brand new exhibition dedicated to the women who have lived and worked here throughout the age of sail, now is the perfect time to take a visit.
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.
On 13th August, 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!
The grounds of Penshurst Place are taking on a Tudor twist this summer! Look out for Tudor Legacies on Sundays throughout summer and autumn as the Queens of Henry VIII wander the gardens and relive their tales. While on 15th August some of the Bard's very best work will be brought to life as Twelfth Night is performed live in the gardens. Arrive early to explore the beautiful gardens at dusk, indulge in delicious food, before settling in to see Shakespeare's iconic comedy.
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.
Electric Medway 2021 is coming 21-30 August! Presenting an ambitious digital arts programme that will exist in different spaces, tell new stories and nurture digital creativity, this will be one fascinating festival. Visit and you'll be able to experience the festival’s programme at a number of venues across Medway, as well as virtually online. Expect an exciting array of free works and activities including virtual reality, streamed performances, animation, projection and sound.
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.
The Leeds Castle Classical Concert promises to be a highlight this festival season. On 4th September 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!
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.
“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.
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!
Canterbury Festival is a two-week extravaganza of the arts with an exciting array of performers, acts and activities – expect opera, folk, swing, classical, jazz, comedy, circus, theatre, science, cabaret, talks, family shows, visual arts and more. Taking place every October, Canterbury Festival celebrates the joy of live performance, the heritage of our historic City and brings the people of Kent together.
As an independent Charity the Festival works year-round to bring the very best in performance to the City - working with partners across Canterbury to present unique and inspiring experiences, and develop emerging talent.
For more information on this year’s programme and our year-round events and opportunities visit canterburyfestival.co.uk
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
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.