The Muddy Guide: Thurs 28 – Weds 4 May

Ready to trip the light fantastic – or maybe, you know, go out once or twice this week? Alrighty then, let’s do this!

Literary Festival, Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddingstone, Sun 1 – Tue 3 May

books

You know *sniff* Muddy isn’t all about long lunches and pina coladas – I can do books too. Which is why I’m excited by this new event for story lovers of all ages. Adults, teens and children are all catered for and alongside TV stars from Downton Abbey and Blue Peter there’s famous authors, children’s theatre, music, performance poetry and an assortment of refreshments (including, ahem, cocktails as it happens).

10am-8:30pm, Ticket prices vary depending on event, Hill Hoath Road, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7AD, Tel: 01892 970347, chiddingstonecastle.org.uk

Tulip Festival, Pashley Manor, Wadhurst, Fri 22 Apr – Sat 7 May

Pashley%20Manor%20(4)

In late Spring Pashley Manor’s gardens are decorated with over 30,000 tulips covering each flowerbed, pot and border in the most gorgeous display of colour. Over 100 varieties of Tulips will be in bloom for visitors (for the fact fans) including parrot, fringed and viridiflora tulips (check me out). 64 time Chelsea Gold Medal winners (yup, 64!) Bloms Bulbs will also be on site to advice and to take orders for bulb deliveries during the autumn.

11am-5pm, £10.50 pp. Ticehurst, Near Wadhurst, East Sussex, TN5 7HE, Tel: 01580 200888, pashleymanorgardens.com

May Day Festival, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Sat 30 Apr – Mon 2 May

Maypole-MayDay

Handkerchiefs and bells at the ready – it’s time to wheel out the countryside’s favourite traditional dance. Should you find yourself in the beautiful grounds of Hever Castle this weekend you’ll be able to throw some shapes around the Maypole (well I think it’s aimed at the kids, but when has that ever stopped you?). You can also meet Jack-In-The-Green who’s on hand to navigate visitors throughout the gardens to awaken the plants for summer. 

10:30am-5pm, Tickets: £8.30-£15.50 pp. Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7NG, Tel: 01732 865224, hevercastle.co.uk

Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show, Penshurst Place, Tonbridge, Sat 30 Apr – Mon 2 May

This popular craft show is returning to Penshurst Place with over 200 UK craftspeople selling an array of goods including jewellery, gifts, home and garden pieces. And if you needed another reason to tempt you along, children under 16 go free so you can save your pennies for the crafty delights inside the fair.

10am-5pm, Tickets: Adult £10, Senior £9 pp. Penshurst Place, Penshurst, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 8DG, Tel: 01892 870307, thecraftshows.co.uk

The Soundcasters & Family Fun May Day, Goudhurst Inn, Goudhurst, Fri 29 Apr & Sun 1 May

Soundcasters - GI May Day

What better way to kick off the bank holiday weekend than masquerading as a hip young thing and taking in a local indie band? (I’ll be the one at the back who fainted because her skinny jeans were too tight). Catch The Soundcasters, fab, local-boys-done-good, at the Goudhurst Inn on Friday night. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy you may prefer the Family Fun Day on the Sunday, with a bouncy castle, face painting and all-you-can-eat ‘fill your boots’ BBQ (elasticated-waistband jeans required).

Soundcasters are performing 9 – 11pm Friday night. Family Fun Day, 12 – 5pm, Sunday. Goudhurst Inn, Cranbrook Rd, Goudhurst, Cranbrook TN17 1DX, 01580 211451, thegoudhurstinn.com

Flower Power Cards, Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks, Fri 30 Apr – Mon 2 May

dried-flowers-on-white_bmqeuh

Flower Power Cards is a lovely workshop for the family to get involved with. Explore the stunning grounds of Riverhill Gardens and find petals along the way to create unique greeting cards.

11am-4pm, Normal admission fee applies, Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Riverhill, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0RR, Tel: 01732 459777, riverhillgardens.co.uk

Sean Lock: Keep It Light, The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, Mon 2 May – Tue 3 May

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8 Out of 10 Cat’s team captain and regular on almost every comedy TV gig Sean Lock is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most popular comedians. If you want to snaffle a ticket you’ll have to move fast as there’s only a few left.

7:30pm, Tickets: £23 (plus booking fees), The Marlowe Theatre, The Friars, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2AS, Box Office: 01303760750, marlowetheatre.com

A Lesson In Printing For Children, This Art of Mine, Maidstone, Sun 1 May

blockprint

Have you got a budding artist in the family? This Art of Mine is a friendly art studio in the Kent countryside that offers adult and children art courses for those who are passionate about everything creative. This children’s print workshop will teach children how fabric blocks are used to make their own patterns and create designs on their own t-shirt using sublimation ink (a kind of design, printing technique – yes, I had to look that up…)

10am-2pm, Class costs £30, Little Budds Farm, Coldblow Lane, Thurnham, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3LR, Tel: 01622 735312, thisartofmine.co.uk 

Henry Forrest Family Fun Fair, Mote Park, Maidstone, Thu 29 Apr – Mon 2 May

Fun fair

If you’re all Morris danced out you may want to seek your thrills at this family fun fair, which promises all the traditional rides and games – big wheels, things that repeatedly swirl you in circles etc – you know the drill!

12pm-9pm, Mote Ave, Maidstone ME15 7RN, Tel: 01622 602169

BOOK IT NOW

I’ve only just discovered that an actual, proper theatre is located within the grounds of Cranbrook School where you can catch (admittedly smaller scale) professional touring shows and concerts. Here’s what you can book tickets to in May…

The Bohemians “Queen Greatest Hits Tour”, Thurs 19 May

One of the most successful Queen tribute bands flings open the back catalogue of this iconic rock act. A high energy performance that will probably have you on your feet, dancing and belting out Don’t Stop Me Now when really you should.

and…

A Night of Dirty Dancing, Wed 22 June

Set in the summer of ’63, join in the fun as the this tribute show transforms the theatre into Kellermans end of season Ball. Arguably the greatest movie soundtrack of all time so could be a great night of nostalgia, song and dance, and sighing at the memory of Patrick Swayze. Why not grab the girls for a bit of Dirty Dancing fun?  Just remember: no one puts Muddy in the corner.

Both shows start at 7.45pm, All shows can be booked either via the Box Office on 01580 711856 or by visiting the website www.queenshalltheatre.co.uk.  There is free parking on site and we run a bar for pre-show and interval drinks.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent