Let it never be said that Kent doesn’t deliver the unexpected - and what better season than festival season to represent the county's passions, embracing your inner nerd and celebrating those quirky obsessions and curious hobbies that put a smile on your face. Whether you’re a dog devotee or want to discover a new passion, check out our round up of some of Kent’s niche festivals below.
MDC Comic Con, aka the Marvel and DC Comic Con is a celebration of sci-fi, comics, TV, film and everything that comes with it. On this weekend day in May you can step into a world of imagination where you can embrace your favourite cosplay, meet some stars of the small and big screen (including Tom Wlaschiha of Stranger Things and Chris Barrie of Red Dwarf) and shop stalls full of merch.
3rd - 4th June
Zest Fest is all about creativity, wellbeing and celebrating the human body by showcasing all the wonderful things it can do! Taking place over one weekend of excitement near Hythe, it will be packed with captivating performances, fun workshops and activities for all the family that will leave festival goers feeling happy, healthy and inspired!
10th - 11th June
A celebration of LGBTQ+ identity that this year will be a full two days, starting with a parade through Canterbury city centre the weekend will be packed with those summer festival vibes - think live DJ sets, RuPaul drag race winners, Liberty X performing to street dance. If you've ever needed an excuse to feel good and celebrate diversity and equality - this is it!
7th - 16th July
There’s something irresistible about the combination of summer, the seaside and wonderful music in the air. The Deal Festival is a unique celebration of all three across no less than 10 days – great classical and contemporary music from some of the world’s finest music-makers, as well as theatre, opera, cinema and dance – in the beautiful and historic surroundings of Deal and Dover on England’s south coast.
7th – 9th July
The Kent County Show is a staple of Kent (it's been running since 1923) and it's back once more this July for a weekend of farming, agriculture, and food production education in Kent. Run by the Kent County Agricultural Society, these three days are packed with animals, vintage vehicles, retail stands and plenty of Kentish food and drink. Bring the family along for the weekend and see how farming really works!
26th - 28th August
Immerse yourself in Medieval life as you watch rival knights go head-to-head in the ultimate sword battles, who are armed with nothing but their clubs and shields. You and the family can travel back in time to the 11th century as you meet people from the Middle Ages and see how they lived from open fire cooking to medieval camps – all while in the magnificently historic Dover Castle setting. With group and family tickets available, this is one historical weekend you don’t want to miss out on!
9th - 10th September
Head to the Dockyard's 1940s family vintage festival this September and be transported back in time for a weekend of vintage delights! Claimed as one of the UK's best vintage festivals,, visitors can see vehicle parades, live music and entertainment, hundreds of re-enactment actors, live displays, air raid experiences to a range of open galleries and exhibitions, so there’s plenty to do for all the family. After all that exploring, you’re sure to be hungry and thirsty but fear not, there’s no rations at The Dockyard. Dig into some traditional Fish and Chips at The Mess Deck for dinner before testing your swing moves on the dance floor and dancing the evening away!
16th & 17th September
This next festival is sure to really get those tails wagging! That’s right, Britain’s favourite dog show returns to the Garden of England this September, bringing with it plenty of treats for you and your fur-riends. With plenty of games and activities to sniff out – from agility to water sports, you can even enter your pooch into competitions such as heelwork to music and agility - you and your four-legged pals will be simply spoilt for choice. What’s more, this festival brings superb shopping and even dog-friendly camping to The Kent Showground in Detling. The paw-fect day or weekend out indeed!
26th September - 4th November
Canterbury Festival is a five-week (you read that right!) 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 autumn, this 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.
With the abundance of quirky events happening all throughout the year, you may be stuck in a rut of how to get around the county and attend them all. No car? No problem. Southeastern railway, Kent's reliable train service, will take you to and from the festivals without trouble. There are a number of stations planted nearby most of the events, so you can travel around the county with ease.