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How to spend your Early May Bank Holiday

Josh Carter
29th April 2019

It may not feel like it but the the May Bank Holiday is quickly approaching, so it's the perfect chance to spend some time with all the family for a day or two out in Kent.

Being slap bang in the middle of Spring, there are plenty of fairs to head to, a family friendly rave or even the more traditional route of dancing around the maypole!

May Day traditions in Kent

With the first May bank holiday comes the tradition of Morris and Maypole dancing. Over in Medway, the annual three day Sweeps Festival brings 60 Morris sides and entertainers celebrating all over the streets of Rochester. Expect plenty of dancing and music thrown in there too! Kent Life near Maidstone is brought even more alive during May Day, with a fun packed day of Morris Dancing alongside Dancing Workshops, the annual parade and ceremony of this years’ Royal Court. In West Kent, Hever Castle is holding a weekend long festival celebrating May Day, with Maypole dancing to 16th Century music, but if this is not your cup of tea then we are sure their beautiful spring gardens will be a spectacle! 

Chiddingstone Literary Festival

For something slightly more under the radar, Chiddingstone Castle  is opening to their very own Literary Festival over the bank holiday. Expect Playwrights, poets, performers and author talks for the adults, and for children there are animation workshops, a story competition through to learning new drawing skills. Listening, reading and engaging at Chiddingstone

Springtime flower fair

If you are looking for something to plant in your garden ready for the early summer, and perhaps would like to model your own patch after the beautiful Belmont House, then their spring fair is the place to head. There are a range of plants, herbs and other garden themed items for sale alongside typical countryside exhibition goods such as textiles, jewellery and other craft effects - the perfect chance to spring clean your garden. Belmont’s springtime bazaar

The Weald of Kent Country Craft Show at Penshurst Place

Not only is Penshurst Place a remarkable sight all year round, but over the first May bank holiday its grounds are completely transformed for the Country Craft Show. With a true festival vibe, this family friendly day is packed with over 150 exhibitors who have grafted on everything from clothing to garden wares. No festival would be complete without some live entertainment and the Craft Show is no different as there’ll be a petting zoo for the little ones and live performances from The Voice’s Steph Willis and Adam Isaac. Peruse, jive and appreciate at Penshurst Place

Explore the Dockyard’s role in Call the Midwife

Amongst a whole host of other productions, The Historic Dockyard Chatham is home to Call the Midwife, ITV’s hit that documents the life of midwifery in the 1960s. This Early May Bank Holiday Monday, the Dockyard is running their tours directed by your very own ‘midwife’ around the sites used in the series, the props, and wardrobe items worn. After your 90 minute walking tour finishes, be sure to upgrade your ticket to explore the Dockyard too, for even more discovery. Explore the drama at the dockyard

Sunset Session and family rave at Dreamland

As it’s the start of May, it’s absolutely fine to be getting excited by warm sunsets on the beach, and that is what Dreamlands’ ‘Sunset Sessions’ are all about. The one on the 4th May is all about May the Fourth (Star Wars to the general public!) and performances include DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Yoda, Huey Morgan and Boogie Storm. On the 6th May, there’s a family rave - two words that might not typically go together, but Dreamland is here to change your perception. Big Fish Little Fish are a family friendly events company and mixing with the acid house to today’s hits, the dance floor will be complete with bubbles, balloons, confetti cannons and a snow machine. Sunset family raves at Dreamland

Canterbury's City Sound Project in the Park

Continuing the family-friendly-usually-reserved-for-adults theme, is Canterbury's premier festival - City Sound Project. Over the bank holiday weekend (4th & 5th), Dane John will be converted into a true festival ground. With family friendly musicians and bands, kids workshops through to live comedy and spoken word performers, there's something for all ages. To top it all off, taste some of the best local food at the bars and restaurants! CSP in the Park

Antony Gormley. Photo: Thierry Bal.

Art on the shores of Folkestone

With May (fingers crossed) potentially offering some weather on the nicer side of the spectrum, Folkestone’s coastline is the place to be. Open 24 hours a day seven days a week, Folkestone Artworks is the UK biggest art exhibition, with 70 pieces placed throughout the town and along the coastline. You’ll not doubt bump into some Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, even Yoko Ono and more. Cultural coastal jaunts

Getting around the May Day events in Kent

With all that’s going on across Kent, ticking all of these events off and travelling with your little ones can be an expensive thing. However, did you know that Southeastern offer £1 rail travel, for up to four children off peak when you travel with them? It’s not just available on the bank holiday either, it’s all year round! £1 off peak tickets

A place to recover once you’ve been out all day

After all the exploring you’ve just done, it’s time to put your feet up and enjoy a quick drink and a tempting meal. With pubs and restaurants dotted throughout Kent, whether it be a simple country pub or city centre hideout, Shepherd Neame has somewhere for everyone. Many of the pubs even have beautiful hotel rooms too, so there's even a chance to make it a long weekend! Eat, drink and put your feet up

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