After what felt like a stormy, chilly to downright cold winter and spring we’re thankful that summer is truly here! We know we are incredibly lucky to benefit from everything that a British summer has to offer here in Kent – from the fruit bounty (such as tantalising cherries) to our miles of coastline that encompasses us on almost all sides. Yet if you want something a little more than just an evening in the garden, read on for our top ideas to get out and about and bask in the dusk…
There is something magical about a sunset or moonlight on water, particularly when the horizon offers a far-off glimpse of another country with the lights twinkling. The view from the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, on Kent’s famous white cliffs, stretches across to the coast of France. The clifftop site, open to visitors on foot via a pedestrian gate, is a tranquil place of reflection on a balmy summer’s evening, offering a chance to think back to the bravery and sacrifice of the men of the RAF who turned the tide of World War Two. Lighting after dusk illuminates the many features of the site.
Throughout the summer, Medway is playing host to a number of special evening theatre pieces, from Jane Austen to Shakespeare. While these also have daytime offerings, where applicable, opt for the evening ones to add a little bit of appropriate drama and intrigue to your setting! Starting the sessions off, from 17th to 24th July, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey will be calling the 16th century Eastgate House its home for a number of satirical and comedic performances. On the 16th August the wonderful Rochester Cathedral plays host to the equally as prominent Shakespeare play Othello, and we’d also recommend for the children who love their performances a little lighter - The Three Musketeers at Upnor Castle!
While it might be a centre of maritime history, it certainly doesn’t mean we have to stick to one method of transport! Coming to the Historic Dockyard Chatham on the 26th and 27th August is an open air production of The Railway Children, which still draws people in with its emotional tale to this day. Keep an eye out for the special historic locomotives and wagons which will be showcased on the evening too!
We all know that the area is home to some beautiful seaside, but does anything beat the Turner sunset while taking a proper siesta and eating that summertime favourite of fish and chips? Unlikely! Once you’ve eaten all of the goods, consider a walk along the coast to breathe in the sea air – either east or west on the Viking Coastal Trail or simply to the end of the Margate Harbour Arm, with the glimmering sea ahead of you – bliss!
While not strictly a summer evening, Sunday afternoons need to finish a little earlier than when the darkness sets in for many, so the lazy Sunday music at Walmer Castle is certainly the way to while away and alleviate those stresses. On Sunday the 17th, 24th and 31st of July, sit back on the lawn with the stunning backdrop of the castle and its gardens set to some light classical music.
When you think of sweet dreams, what could settle you to sleep easier than being around some micro animals such as pigs, sheep, alpacas and donkeys just before bedtime? For those who adore animals and want to see how they live their lives into the evenings, take this private after-hours opportunity at Huckleberry Woods to get hands on and assist with their feeding, cleaning and bring the micro animals to their bed for the night. This one-hour experience is at dusk and is perfect for anyone aged 9+.
As we’ve mentioned, our south coast has some lovely views across almost uninterrupted sea, and on a summer day there’s little better than enjoying a drink and fresh food outside the Hythe Imperial. With two options, the Buzz Bar (open on Saturday and Sunday from 25th June to end of September, weather permitting) and the Martello Bar Beer Garden your day at the coast will be sorted for some alfresco dining!
Facing north means that the coastline from Margate to Faversham benefits from some incredible sunset views, with many towns and villages along the coast having star status for sunsets! If these are your type of thing, head along to the Oare Marshes, which is a wetland reserve with trails and spots for catching the rarest of bird species. If you’re looking to make a special evening, Kent Wildlife Trust is holding Wilder Kent sunset safaris with sparkling wine picnics on the Marshes, Friday 27th August, 6-9pm.
Dreaming of watching the sun go down over a vast beautiful African-style savannah, gazing at the stunning wildlife whilst enjoying a glass of something cold? An overnight stay at Port Lympne will transport you from Kent to Kenya, as you soak up the safari atmosphere on an unforgettable glamping getaway. Spend your evening with views over the Reserve’s 600 acres and good food at The Garden Room Restaurant & Bar. If you are here for a day, take an afternoon aboard one of Port Lympne’s iconic safaris before heading to dinner as twilight slowly settles – don’t forget, bookings at The Garden Room include access to the park.
Making sure we get home safely and soundly is the most important thing, so if you’ve not got a designated driver in your group or you simply don’t want to walk, take advantage of Arriva’s Twilight Tickets.