Summertime = those full day to week long festivals, and while you might think they're purely music or food, there's so many more in Kent, so there’s no need for kids big and small to miss out on all the festival fun this season. While nearly all the big music festivals have kids entertainment these days, there are plenty of lively weekend festivities and celebrations that are perfect for families who want to chill, dance, and be merry together!
So if you want to give your little ones a taste of the festival life (without the killer hangover), take a look at our quick selection of some of the best family-friendly festivals happening in Kent this year.
Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2023
One of Kent's largest festivals is back for the 2023 season - Rochester Sweeps Festival. Descending on the Medway town is a celebration of folk music and dance, with the historic streets turned into beacon of colour and sound - from the likes of folk musicians, Morris dancers and plenty of fun. It's not only the high street that'll get transformed, but the towns pubs, parks and bars will also have a calendar full of live events across the three days.
Saturday 20th May 2023
Wandering around cars from the 1920's to modern days in the springtime sunshine, while enjoying some of the UK's best tribute bands from across the decades and stopping off for fresh food and drinks - a classic British day! Hosted at Betteshanger Country Park, this day out will feature cars from the likes of Ferrari's, Lamborghini's to more vintage models such as Ford Model T's and Jaguars. Don't forget to dive into some of Kent's history too while there with the Coal Museum and get active on two wheels instead with their outdoor cycle trails.
For those who don’t want to lose that festival vibe once the music ends, then look to sun-soaked Margate where a ‘festival in a day’ experience awaits you, all summer long. Dreamland Margate gets a special mention in our family-friendly round up, as the seaside vintage park has a huge programme of live music and entertainment planned this year, including the likes of some famous faces, while serving up classic British seaside summer escapades such as rides and merry go rounds.
Sunday 25th June 2023
Music on the Farm is calling your name this summer! Located on the Solley's Ice Cream family farm in Ripple, spend the day being entertained by a variety of outstanding local musicians, as well as plenty of events to keep the little ones amused. With onsite vendors and bars, you and your family won’t go hungry, or why not put on your own spread and bring a picnic! Oh, and without forgetting to mention Solley’s ice cream! By attending and getting involved, your proceeds with transform the lives of people with profound disabilities through the Martha Trust.
Saturday 1st July, 11am-5pm, Canterbury City Centre
Fanfares at the ready as we welcome a colourful parade featuring historical characters, knights on horseback, medieval royalty, warriors, pilgrims, musicians, giants and you might even spot a medieval chough - all at the Canterbury Medieval Pageant! Then it’s time to join the pilgrimage – grab your trail leaflet and head off on a special journey around medieval Canterbury. From 11am at Westgate Towers, the parade makes its way through the city centre, arriving at the Cathedral. Throughout the city there are 16 different locations offering a range of activities from medieval crafting to dragon hunting, in the likes of a Medieval Encampment to St Mildred's Church. When you visit each, have your trail leaflet stamped, which once you've collected at least 5 stamps you'll receive a FREE giant chocolate coin at the Cathedral Shop in the Buttermarket.
Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June 2023
While many of these events feature a throwback element, this one heads back to one of the most prominent historic periods of Britain - wartime. Head around the castle grounds and take in the sights and smells of the period surrounded by displays of military vehicles, stalls heaped with vintage wares to purchase and wartime food and drink. If you feel you've not quite gotten into the spirit, finish off your outfit with a 1940's hairstyle at the onsite salon.
Saturday 1st July 2023
Sevenoaks is getting ready to bring you a whole day of musical magic at Rhythm in Oaks this summer. As well as an awesome line up of musicians and live DJ sets, there will also be a host of other entertainments to enjoy – food stalls from local producers, drinks, lawn games, local sellers, right through to a graffiti wall where you can let your street art speak for itself. With dogs allowed too, this is one for you to enjoy with your two and four legged friends! Keep up to date with the line ups and more at their website here.
Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd July 2023
Switch on the games and immerse yourself into The Historic Dockyard Chatham to celebrate video games, gaming culture and creativity. This attention-grabbing weekender will draw in all those who have a passion for gaming, whether you play like a pro to novice, you and your little gamers will be able to watch, play and learn about games; meet special guests; join competitions; experience new and retro gaming; as well as enjoying fun, interactive exhibits such as Robot Wars and Cosplay masquerade.
Friday 7th, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July 2023
The Kent County Show is back again with another weekend of farming, agriculture, and food production in Kent. Running since 1923, the show gives people a look into how agriculture and farming in Kent has worked for many years. Run by the Kent County Agricultural Society, the three days are packed with plenty of animals, rafts of vintage vehicles and retail stands to get some countryside wares! Bring the family along for the weekend and see how farming works, with a particular focus on Kent's heritage.
Saturday 29th July 2023
There’s some major fun going down in Maidstone this July with a River Festival the whole family can get on board with, and we mean literally, get on board! Round up the family and enter your team in the raft race, oare (sorry), watch from the riverside and cheer your fellow crew members to victory. The fun doesn’t end there. As the evening approaches the boats begin to glow, lighting up the river, whilst the award-winning fireworks display lights up the sky.
Saturday 5th - Sunday 6th August 2023
Mote Park welcomes back Rock the Mote this August, for a festival everyone will be sure to love! Watch the next best thing to your favourite original artists, from a mixture of genres, including the likes of Metallica, Spice Girls and Michael Buble. For those of you who just can’t get enough of the fun, why not make it a truly memorable experience and purchase a camping ticket?! With fairground rides to keep your energetic little ones entertained, food and drink vendors, as well as the entertaining acts, there’s enough fun to last all weekend!
Sunday 6th August
There's no vehicle quite like the supercar, and where better to showcase the epitome of the automotive world than Hever Castle? On this summertime Sunday the castle gardens will host a stunning array of Lamborghini's to Ferrari's, as well as the promise of a hyper rare car! With an understanding of the environment, there'll be opportunities to discuss more environmentally friendly cars such as solar and electric powered vehicles. If you fancy yourself as a race driver seeing all the cars, step into one of the simulators for realistic driving experience at speed!
Friday 11th - Friday 18th August 2023
Broadstairs Folk Week is back for another year and we couldn't be more excited as this truly is a cornerstone of Kentish celebration! This festival is a great choice for families looking for a musical adventure with their little folkers, with a festival bar and food stalls in the park and a packed music calendar every day (even the Monday!). It wouldn't be a proper festival experience without the camping element - luckily for you, Broadstairs Folk Week is bringing you just that, with their Festival Campsite located just a 15 to 20 minute walk from the centre of Broadstairs, and handily a regular mini bus service is available to and from the main Festival venues.
Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th August 2023
One of Kent's favourite celebrations of performances bOing makes its return for 2023 - with a stacked calendar over the two days of indoor and outdoor activities and shows from artists from across the UK. Keep an eye on their website to see what you can get up to this year, but previously there's been the likes of liquid nitrogen demonstrations to virtual reality showcases. As always, it's totally free to enter to soak in the sunshine and get those brains engaged!
Sunday 27th August 2023
August bank holiday you’re all in for a treat! Kent Tribute Festival is back for another year at the grounds of Strode Park. It’s time for the whole family to prepare for a day full of entertainment with live tribute acts playing The Beatles to the Spice Girls and a host of activities including inflatable bouncy castles, lizard and reptile displays and some beautiful birds of prey from Whiteleaf Animals Farm! With tasty hot food stalls and bars serving beverages and refreshments, there’s no doubt in saying this Kent fest should be marked in your diary this summer.