Billy Childish show, Lilford Gallery, Canterbury, Sat 28 April to Sun 13 May
Gulbenkian is hosting a series of exhibitions, performances, events, films and talks all throughout May! It’s aim to represent and raise awareness to the talent and the passion that exists for the arts from all those outside of the mainstream. Therefore creating a much-needed platform for previously unheard voices, voices that deserve to be respected and listened to.
The May bank holiday has been a time to paint sooty faces and make merry in the streets of Medway for hundreds of years. The Sweeps Festival fun will roll all weekend kicking off with pre-festival music on Friday. The festival celebrates the traditional holiday that the chimney sweeps enjoyed on 1 May each year which used to be marked locally by staging a procession through the streets of Rochester. Culminating with the Jack-in-the-Green, (an 8ft walking bush since you asked), leading a parade of dancers and performers along the High Street on Bank Holiday Monday. Family fun for everyone!
Celebrate May Day at Hever Castle & Gardens! Join the Lord and Lady of the May on the Castle Forecourt to watch the crowning of the May Queen, dance around the Maypole with brightly coloured ribbons, there’s also face painting and a chance to meet the mysterious and mythical Jack-in-the-Green as he guides you through the castle gardens on a traditional May Day procession.
Best of Betteshanger, Betteshanger Park, Sat 5 – Mon 7 May
For a super outdoorsy and active day for both kids and adults, head to the great outdoors of Betteshanger Park and try everything from archery and TAG archery, shelter building, orienteering and off-road cycling.
Fancy trying somewhere new this bank holiday weekend? This historic garden is opening its doors this bank hol weekend after months of renovation work have finally completed. Reuthe’s are the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks, an acclaimed plant nursery founded in 1902 by a German plant hunter, set in 11 acres of ancient woodland, part of the horticultural miracle that is the Green Sand Ridge in the Weald of Kent. The historic site has been bought by local plantsman Oliver Schneider who is restoring the gardens, including a new café, to its former glory. Reuthe’s will welcome back visitors to explore the woodland, jungle-like pathways and walks up through the Hidden Valley. The family friendly site is fantastic to go exploring with children and well-behaved dogs. Better still refreshments can be found at Reuthe’s café, called Base Camp, powered by the award-winning local eaterie Birch. There will be a daily changing menu of grilled and chilled sandwiches, warm baked sausage rolls, fresh sourdough crumpets, seasonal soups, salads, cakes and bakes and for little ones an Explorer Pack lunch.
The Inking Woman, Maidstone Museums, Sat 5 May – Sun 24 June
The largest exhibition of its kind, so far, demonstrates that women have always had a uniquely perceptive view of the world and a wicked sense of humour to accompany it. This exhibition proudly presents the work of over one hundred British Cartoon and Comic Artists, to celebrate a rich plethora of women’s wit and insight, across some 250 years. Prints from the 18th century, caricatures, jokes, editorial and strip cartoons, postcards, comics, graphic novels and digital comics will all be on display, so go, have a chuckle and come away feeling empowered.
Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival, Chiddingstone Castle, Sun 6 – Tues 8 May
The brilliant Chiddingstone Literary Festival is back for its third year and positively brimming with talks, workshops and performances for all the family. Among the stars appearing in May will be BBC news presenter Evan Davis, talking about fake news, Rebus author and UK bestselling crime writer Ian Rankin and creator of the Charlie and Lolaseries, the children’s Laureate, Lauren Child. This festival, set in the beautiful, pastoral grounds of Chiddingstone Castle is certainly not one to miss.
Feast Over Fire Supper Club, Gooseberry Field Campsite, Wed May 9
Feast Over Fire supper club have teamed up with The Salt Box at the Gooseberry Field Campsite, for an authentic and delicious farm-to-table, four course feast. The menu uses an abundance of fresh local produce, cooked over an open-fire. So grab your pals and enjoy a unique dining experience in the beautiful Kent countryside.
Oh What a Luverly Place To Be, The Curious Eatery, Thurs 10 May
The Curious Eatery presents an audience with Graham Clarke, an artist, author, illustrator and humourist, is one of Britain’s most popular and best-selling printmakers. So join The Curious Eatery for an evening of fun, laughter and a divine three course meal, all in aid of two very worthy causes: Dandelion Time and teenage mental health charity, Project Walk to Talk.
Motors by the Moat, Leeds Castle, Sat 12 & Sun 13 May
One for car enthusiasts and day-trippers alike, Motors on the Moat is the perfect excuse to get up close to a grand selection of classic cars and high-performance cars from all around the world. The display will take place on the castle lawns, with the most glorious and fitting background of the castle and moat behind. I just hope all the hand breaks work!
Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, Queens Hall Theatre Cranbrook, Sat 12 May
Mugenkyo are the most successful touring Taiko drum group on this continent and create a contemporary look and sound, captivating audiences everywhere. Experience the power of thundering rhythms on huge taiko drums, mysterious masked choreography, synchronisation timed to perfection, post-apocalyptic martial imagery and infectious humour, all in a spellbinding display of sheer energy.
The Campfire Tales, The Canterbury Tales, 17 May – 30 Aug 2018
Popular visitor attraction The Canterbury Tales has just launched a new weekly programme of twilight storytelling events. The Campfire Tales will embrace the city’s ancient storytelling traditions; gather around a crackling campfire and listen to a storyteller recount the tales. Taking place every Thursday evening from May to August, in the Medieval Story Garden behind the attraction, stories will begin at 7pm. Don’t forget to bring your own cup! Free refills of tea, coffee and hot chocolate available – let’s get cosy.
Manouchedrome Trio feat. Alex Stenakis, The Pound Bar & Kitchen, Friday 18 May 2018
Live jazz in the Guard Chamber of Canterbury’s iconic Westgate Towers – there are limited spaces so make sure you book your tickets quick! The Manouchedrome Trio were created in June 2014 in Greece and this will be their first European Tour kicking off in May 2018. The Pound’s Tower Bar will be serving draught beer, gin and all of your favourites throughout the performance so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the music.
Faversham Artisan Crafts Vintage & Gift Fair, The Alexander Centre, Sat 19 May
Taking place in a beautiful townhouse in the historic town of Faversham, stalls will be filled with vintage items, gifts and handicrafts. The pop-up tea-room will also be open.
Wedding Open Day, Mount Ephraim Gardens, Sun 20 May
As the nation gets ready for the wedding of the year, Mount Ephraim Gardens are organising their very first Wedding Open Day. From 11am until 3pm newly engaged couples can come and view Mount Ephraim, meet their wedding team and some of our favourite suppliers, and find out how we can help create their dream wedding. All registrants before 13 May are also in with a chance to win a night’s stay in our Guest Rooms which opened in 2017. These luxurious guest rooms are available to book for wedding days and all of their wedding packages include a free night’s stay for the wedding couple in our fabulous Sir Edwyn Suite. To win a night’s stay, couples need to register in advance online before 13 May. Terms and conditions apply – see website for details.
Shakespeare’s Globe, Chilham Castle, Canterbury, Fri 25 – Sun 27 May
Shakespeare’s Globe returns to Chilham Castle for a triple-bill of outdoor performances this May. ‘The Merchant of Venice’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and ‘Twelfth Night’ will be performed across the weekend in the dreamy grounds of the stunning castle. If you feel like treating yourself, the events premium seats include a glass of champagne and an invitation to the canapé reception inside the Castle’s Grand Hall.
The Big Brocante, The Hop Farm, Fri 25 – Sun 27 May
A hand-picked selection of brilliant quality traders, decorative home-wares, vintage & antiques, artisan food and swing jazz! Opening from Friday 25th of May at 8am until Sunday 27th of May 4pm! Make sure you arrive early for the pick of the crop.
Hygee, The Dreys, Fri May 25
Dress in woodland chic and smart casual to celebrate the end of cold wintery nights and the beginning of summer. An exciting collaboration between The Curious Eatery and The Dreys venue to bring you Hygge, a fashionable Danish philosophy, (pronounced hue-guh) which teaches us to appreciate and embrace the simple things in life! The evening includes a Chapel Down welcome drink, a three course meal and an unforgettable experience of fantastic food, great company and beautiful surroundings.
Animals & Us, Turner Contemporary, Fri 25 May – Sun 30 Sep
Animals & Us is a major exhibition exploring artists’ reflections on the relationship between humans and other animals. Installed across all Turner Contemporary’s first floor galleries, it encompasses a wide range of media from painting, sculpture to video and installation. Focusing on contemporary and 20th-century artists, including historical artworks and artifacts, Animals & Us, explores our lives and encounters with animals and how these have been reflected in art.
WWII Weekend, Dover Castle, Sat 26 – Mon 28 May
The castle’s renowned wartime event returns for another year, this time with more fantastic action than any year before. Explosive battles will unfold, there will be military encampments, displays, talks and even live music. So go and immerse yourself in the wartime spirit of Britain in the 40s.
Edwardian Life, Hever Castle, Sat 26 May – Sun 3 June
Step back an era or two, for a day of Edwardian fun at Hever Castle, meet costumed characters and try your hand at traditional, Edwardian carnival games like the coconut shy, tin-can alley and a bean bag race, or just enjoy a leisurely game of croquet on the castle lawn. Punch and Judy will be there too, with an exciting Tudor twist. There is also a chance to explore the rooms of the castle and learn about Edwardian history, and a fascinating collection of beautiful butterflies, thanks to the castle’s resident Llepidopterist. Listen to interviews with former ‘below stairs’ staff on old-fashioned telephones and radios and watch rare archive home movies from the Astor’s collection. All very Downton Abbey.
The Beast, Betteshanger Park, Sat 26 – Mon 28 May
The Beast is back! The formidable inflatable obstacle course returns to Betteshanger Park and they’ve promised it’s going to be bigger and bouncier than ever before. It’s going to be a world-first, whopping 384m long course – that’s over 100 more metres of bouncy obstacles than in 2017 and a length that has never before been attempted, are you up for a challenge? Open all over the Bank Holiday weekend, 10am – 9pm, make sure you book now.
Grand Medieval, Joust Leeds Castle, Sat 26 – Mon 28 May
All ages will enjoy hearing the clash and bang of armour echoing around Leeds Castle grounds as Medieval Jousting and valiant steeds return to Leeds Castle. Watch Squires arm the knights in full plate armour, before witnessing four knightly warriors demonstrate Mounted Skill-at-Arms ahead of a traditional jousting competition. Gather around the Combat Arena for exciting entertainment with combat, archery and firepower displays throughout the day and a chance to witness the mighty medieval trebuchet shooting into the moat.
Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival, Chatham Maritime, Sat 26 May – Mon 28 May
The Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival has become a firm texture in the annual calendar and in 2018 takes place from Saturday 26th to Monday 28 May. This is a great event for the whole family with some great activities and a wide range of food and drink.
Tonbridge Food & Drink Festival, Tonbridge Castle, Sat 26 – Sun 27 May
Fire up your taste buds at this year’s fabulous Tonbridge Food & Drink Festival! Located in the town’s beautiful castle grounds, try, taste and buy from more than 70 stallholders selling a delicious range of food and drink produced in and around Kent. This year’s foodie spectacular is being organised by the team behind Tonbridge Farmers Market, proud winners of the prestigious 2017 Taste of Kent Award for being Kent Farmers’ Market of the Year. There is going to be lots of fun activities planned to entertain the whole family including cooking demonstrations from popular local chefs and a Children’s stage with eating challenges going on. Rest and relax at this popular event this month.
Little Words Festival, The Marlowe, Mon 28 May – Sun 3 June
The Marlowe has announced new children’s festival – Little Words! Enjoy a week of fun events celebrating the power and excitement of stories and the storytellers who create them. Aimed at those aged from 2-11, they’ll be something for every child including a ballet version of Alice In Wonderland, a performance by renowned poet John Hegley, and a heart-warming sing-along show for all the family. There will be shows, events and workshops at The Marlowe Theatre, The Marlowe Studio, The Marlowe Kit (in Stour Street), and in the city’s streets. Don’t miss this festival this Half Term!
Great Tower at Night, Dover Castle, Tues 29 May
The Great Tower at Dover Castle will be lit up magnificently as it stays open into the evening and after dark, for a rare opportunity to explore the castle’s atmospheric interior after dark and experience glistening views from the tower’s rooftop.
Friends For All at The Marlowe, Canterbury, Tues 29 May
Friends For All is an interactive spoken word performance for families, with rapping, dancing and far-out video projections. It is a story about having the confidence to be yourself and stand up for what you believe in. Simon Mole will be performing his humorous and moving piece at The Marlowe, Canterbury on Tuesday 29 May 2018 at 3pm as part of his 2018 Spring Tour. Recommend for 5-11 years.