Mad May! What to do in Kent this month
Fill your diary with fun this month – we've got summer festivals, world-class exhibitions, award-winning theatre, comedy and more. Kent has got it ALL going on.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival, The Amelia, until Mon 2 May
Cultural hot spot The Amelia’s opening kicks off with the first ever Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival running on Fri 29 April to Mon 2 May with a stellar line-up of authors – David Baddiel and Jo Brand to name a few! Fact or fiction, popular or niche plus plenty of fun things for the kids, there’s something for everyone here! The rest of the weekend will see talented debut author Melissa Fu, best-selling crime writer Robert Daws, much-lauded poet and UNHCR Ambassador JJ Bola, award-winning children’s author Manjeet Mann – to name a few! Read the full line-up here.
Weald of Kent Country Craft Show, Penshurst Place, until Mon 2 May
The perfect family day out! Weald of Kent Country Craft Show returns to Penshurst Place for a weekend of great shopping, delicious food and family fun. With over 150 independent stall holders, explore marquees and outdoor markets bursting with beautiful handmade jewellery, homewares, clothing and much more! Plus enjoy delicious gourmet street food and drinks whilst soaking up the stunning surroundings and atmosphere.
There’s also loads of enjoyable activities and entertainment for all the family. Classic children’s fairground rides, live musicians, interactive craft workshops, falconry displays, laser clay pigeon shooting and even axe throwing! Have we mentioned kids go FREE, there’s free parking and its dog-friendly?
Dawn Chorus Walk, Ightham Mote, 1 May
Get up for an early start to enjoy the estate of Ightham Mote before anyone else! Celebrate the Dawn Chorus and see Ightham Motet at a truly magical time of day with a guided walk with their Lead Ranger, followed by a cooked breakfast in the café – yum! The group will meet at Visitor Reception at 5am, £30 per ticket.
The Queen’s Joust, Leeds Castle, until 2 May
This Bank Holiday, Leeds Castle will be home of The Queen’s Joust once again. Enjoy exhilarating displays of combat and action, elegant and unusual equestrian, and medieval living and feasting. Gasp at the first crash of lances, cheer as your favourite knight gallops past, and watch as England and France not only battle for the coveted cup, but more importantly, for the honour and attention of the queen.
Scotney Castle Flower Festival, until Mon 2 May
Flower power! This flower festival is not to be missed, see the mansion house ablaze with beautiful flowers from Sat 12 April to Mon 2 May, 11am – 4pm. Walk around the sunshine or sit on a blanket and enjoy a picnic in some gorgeous surroundings.
Can’t make it? Don’t worry running every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 April to 26 May, you can see the castle framed by a sea of rhododendrons. Enjoy a guided tour to learn more about these beautiful flowers and the history of the castle.
Afternoon Tea at One Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells, Mon 2 May
Did you know that Mon 2 May is Afternoon Tea Day? Celebrate the bank holiday in style with One Warwick Park in Tunbridge Wells. Indulge in sweet and savoury treats from 1-3pm. Enjoy a choice of loose leaf tea of coffee served with sultana home-baked scones, clotted cream, strawberry preserve, a selection of freshly cut finger sandwiches and assorted homemade seasonal sweet treats. We’ll race you there!
Rochester Sweeps Festival, Fri 30 April – Mon 2 May
This international celebration of folk music and dance has become one of the largest May Day celebrations of its kind in the world. For three days historic Rochester will be filled with the best musicians and bands on the folk circuit with hundreds of Morris dancers clattering their clogs and clashing their sticks up and down the high street. Steeped in tradition, brilliantly unique and ever so quirky – you won’t want to miss this!
Summer Nights at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Tues 3 May
Summer evenings just got a lot more interesting! Traipse around award-winning Sissinghurst Castle Garden with a glass of something sparkling in hand before meeting head gardener Troy Scott Smith and House & Collections Manager Eleanor Black who will take you on a tour and talk of the garden and collection spaces. Then enjoy a delicious three course meal in their Granary Restaurant where you can ask Eleanor and Troy all the questions you may have about the garden, collection or history of Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
Can’t make the 3rd of May? Join their Evening Garden Tours running from 6-17 May where you’ll be able to enjoy a glass of sparkling and enjoy an informative tour with one of their dedicated team of volunteers then at the end, you’ll be left to explore the garden at your leisure.
Children’s Pottery Classes, The Ceramic Studio, from Thurs 5 May
Got a 5-11 year old who wants to try their hand at pottery? Well now they can! Thursday evenings from 4:30-5:30pm, The Ceramic Studio in Brenchley is holding a seven week term of Pottery Classes from Thurs 5 May for £105. In these classes your child will develop their dexterity and creativity through the medium of clay. They will explore many hand building and decorating techniques to produce a range of different and exciting outcomes. By taking inspiration from stories and the world around them the children will build, squish, roll, construct and paint, all work is then glazed and fired on site. Unleash their creativity!
Supper Club Tasting, The Red Lion, Stodmarsh, Fri 6 & Sat 7 May
It’s no secret that we LOVE The Red Lion’s supper clubs here at Muddy! They are now on supper club number 17, they just go from strength to strength and are great fun. So if you haven’t experienced one yet, enjoy their 7 Course Tasting Menu on Fri 6 and Sat 7 May for a wonderful opportunity to try ingredients from the wilds and farms of Kent – don’t expect the ordinary and be ready for an adventure! Call them on: 01227 721 339 to book and for more info.
Specialist Food Courses, Kent Cookery School, Sat 7 & Sun 22 May
Elevate your cooking with these specialist food courses from Kent Cookery School from knife skills to stock and sauces – these courses will teach you essential kitchen skills that you can reply on every time you cook! This May, enjoy the Authentic Turkish Home Cooking course on Sat 7 May (11am-4pm), join Ozlem as she takes you on a culinary journey to Turkey and teaches you how to make delicious, authentic dishes from her homeland. Plus there’s Stocks & Sauces on Sun 22 May (11am-4pm), you know that a great sauce can make or break a dish so learn the techniques for the perfect stocks and sauces and leave feeling confident to recreate them at home!
Balfour Dining Club, Staplehurst, Sat 7, Sat 14, Sat 21 & Sat 28 May
You won’t want to miss this! Set in their beautiful tasting room, The View, experience a four-course meal and a glass of Balfour Wine amongst family or friends. Arrive at 7:30pm for a welcome drink, before being seated to enjoy a delicious four course dinner at 8pm. Their Balfour Wines have been chosen to accompany the beautiful menu which highlights the delicious and locally sourced produce. There’s 4 dates in May: Sat 7, Sat 14, Sat 21 and Sat 28 May for £95pp. View the menu here and book now
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Trinity Theatre, Thurs 12 – Fri 13 May
This is musical comedy at its absolute finest, direct from the West End and now heading to Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells! This Olivier award-winning show has delighted audiences across the globe with its blend of comedy, musical theatre and spontaneity. This musical is created from scratch at each performance as audience suggestions are transformed on the spot into all-singing, all-dancing productions with hilarious results. So whether you fancy Hamilton in a hospital or Sondheim in the Sahara, you suggest it and The Showstoppers will sing it!
Outdoor Cinema, The Gulbenkian, Thurs 12, Thurs 19 & Thurs 26 May
It’s hotting up and outdoor cinema is back! Don’t miss these fantastic film showings at The Gulbenkian this month alfresco – plus they are free and non-ticketed so you can just turn up! Kicking off with the classic Back to the Future on Thurs 12 May, the eerie Get Out on Thurs 19 May and family favourite Ratatouille on Thurs 26 May.
Greek Cooking Demo with The Cooking Apple, Sevenoaks, Tues 17 May
Have you been to one of Pip’s Cooking Demos yet? Following a career as a senior food buyer for Sainsbury’s, an HR consultant specialising in training & development AND having trained at Cordon Bleu School, Pip Porter aka The Cooking Apple is brilliant and has a wealth of kitchen ideas to share.
Pip’s live events take place in central Sevenoaks (with free off-street parking!) and this May you could learn how to create some Greek-inspired food, perfect for summer. Spend the morning chatting about what dishes are brilliant for a group, have a taste of what Pip demos, sip delicious summer drinks and the event will end with a Fizz Prize Draw! Grab a friend or two and have a catch-up at this fun and relaxed event on Tues 17 May, 9:30am – 12 noon.
Blue Therapy, Paddle Cabin, Fri 20 May
Feel your stresses and challenges flow away as you step on board for some blue therapy on the River Medway. This evening retreat combines Yoga and Meditation on your paddleboard so you can connect with nature and your surroundings, followed by a campfire back at the cabin with a calming herbal tea and nourishing snacks. On Fri 20 May, 6-9pm for £50pp. Open to all abilities, no paddle boarding, yoga or meditation experience is required.
Tonbridge Comedy Nights, E M Forster Theatre, Fri 20 May
Start your weekend off right at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge, their sell-out comedy nights featuring some of the best comedians is back. Get your tickets now for Fri 20 May (£13) to see headline Otiz Cannelloni, Matt Rees and Ross Smith. Can’t make that? Add 17 June to your diary now!
Spring Yoga Workshop, Green Farm, Sun 22 May
Breathe in the fresh air and welcome the spirit of spring with Alex Hanly’s Spring Yoga Workshop at the stunning Green Farm – these yoga workshops usually sell out so act quick! Stretch upwards for the sun with a 3 hour yoga workshop of gentle movement, breath work and meditation. Also enjoy a mint tea reception and a nutritious Green Farm Spa lunch using fresh farm produce. Running from 9:45am – 1:30pm on Sun 22 May.
Why not make a full day of it? Book in for an ESPA treatment – massage anyone? Then enjoy free use of the outdoor hot tub, sauna and natural pond for the rest of the afternoon. You’ll never want to leave!
Luke Gerram’s Gaia, Rochester Cathedral, 24 May – 12 June
Did you love Museum of the Moon? Well Luke Jerram’s Gaia installation will be arriving at Rochester Cathedral in May 2022 and set to be just as popular. Gaia is detailed imagery of the Earth’s surface from NASA, providing the opportunity to see our planet in enormous scale, floating in three-dimensions. Specially made surround-sound composition by BAFTA award-winning composter, Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture. So immerse yourself in some beautiful culture and gaze upon Earth in some beautiful surroundings.
Billionaire Boy, Assembly Hall Theatre, Thurs 26 – Sun 29 May
From the award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny and Horrible Histories comes this amazing new production of David Walliams’ best-selling story presented by The Birmingham Stage Co from London at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. The story goes: Joe Spud is twelve years old and the richest boy in the country! He has his own sports car, two crocodiles as pets and £100,000 a week pocket money! But what Joe doesn’t have is a friend. So he decides to leave his posh school and start at the local comp. But things don’t go as planned for Joe and life becomes a rollercoaster as he tries to find what money can’t buy!
Singles SUP Adventure, Paddle Cabin, Fri 27 May
Meet and connect with like-minded people with a shared love for paddle life. Paddle together down the River Medway, explore the water and sit around the campfire (marshmallows provided!) where you can all share stories and chat – no awkwardness! Join their Singles Adventure on Fri 27 May, 6-9pm for £20pp plus £15 board hire. All abilities welcome.
Hever Festival Theatre, Sat 28 May – Tues 30 Aug
For your guaranteed summer of fun, you’ll want to know about The Festival Theatre, this is an open air venue set in the gardens of Hever Castle. They plan music acts, operas, films, plays and family shows every year all summer long and this year will be no different! They have a whole calendar of exciting events featuring The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, Horrible Histories, Three Inch Fools, performing Twelfth Night (pictured above), internationally acclaimed Stacey Kent and even sing-along cinema favourites – see the full line-up here. Book your tickets asap!
Gin & Jazz Festival, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Sat 28 – Sun 29 May
The Pantiles’ ever-popular annual Gin & Jazz Festival returns for the fourth year this May. Last year they welcomed over 6,000 people to the sun-soaked festival and this year it’s expected to be bigger and better! There will be over 40 producers of some of the world’s best gins, mouth-watering food stalls and toe-tapping jazz tunes on the bandstand each day. Kicking off from 11am – 6pm over Sat 28 – Sun 29 May.
Baking with Eat & Mess, Macknade, Faversham, Sat 28 May
Love to bake but not so confident on your decorating skills? It’s time to learn from the best! Kate founder of Eat & Mess will be experly detailing how to crumb coat and cover layer cakes. Create a professional naked cake and learn how to use a palette knife and piping bag to create different effects and build seasonal, floral or fruity decorations – all working on pre-baked cakes just choose between vanilla or chocolate! The workshop is limited to 20 people so there’ll be plenty of opportunity to ask questions, take pictures and enjoy a glass of fizz!
Baa-rilliant Half Term & Sheep Show, Kent Life, Sat 28 May – Weds 1 June
Visit Kent Life this May Half Term and join the farm’s entertainers in various animal shows and activities. Watch the annual sheep shearing show and even get crafty with sheep wool – there’s plenty of games for the whole family including owl demonstrations! Tickets are £12.
Wine Garden of England Summer Festival, Squerryes Court, Sun 29 May
Calling all wine lovers! Meet the top seven wine producers from Kent alongside carefully selected local food at the iconic Squerryes Court in Westerham this May. The Wine Garden of England is a collaboration of the eight finest wine producers in Kent and for the first time, they are throwing a huge party to celebrate their award-winning wines and you’re invited! Sample 21 off the finest still and sparkling wines from these top wineries, listen to live music, brush up on your local wine knowledge by booking into one of their workshops, taste delicious food and stroll around the historic garden of Squerryes Court.
Princess & The Pea, The Malthouse Theatre, Mon 30 May
London-based theatre company Let’s All Dance returns with another fabulous family production, Princess & The Pea, to The Malthouse Theatre in Canterbury. This gorgeous production includes a great message, fantastic dancing, beautiful costumes and lovely music to enthral children and families. Suitable for all especially 2-14 year olds.