Diary of September events in Kent

Horse and hound at Chiddingstone Country Fair

Horse and hound at Chiddingstone Country Fair - Credit: Archant

September offers everything from music and drama to country fairs, floral displays and steam engines

Throughout September

Conan Doyle Month

Groombridge Place is be celebrating its connections with the famous writer and creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with a special programme of tours, talks and performances. These include The Homecoming Sherlock Holmes Murder Mystery and Dinner (19 Sep); Sherlock Holmes: The myth and the facts talk with Dr Antony Richards (19 Sep); and theatre event Oh yeah! I remember Sir Arthur… (25, 26 and 27 Sep). Advance booking for these events is essential.

Tickets: £2.50 to £40 (depending on event)

01892 861444

Groombridge Place, Tunbridge Wells

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Satnav: TN3 9QG

Trio of talent

Fiona Abrahams, lecturer at Hadlow College, will be teaching a new course to give you confidence in your garden, talented local artist Kaidy Lewis is back teaching a four-week painting course at Godinton and finally, Brenda Burgess, who used the gardens as inspiration to explore the qualities of clay sculpture earlier in the year, will return on 24 Sep with her new theme Shapes in the Garden Space.

Tickets: Contact venue

Fiona.abrahams1@btinternet.com (Fiona Abrahams); kaidy246lewis@btinternet.com (Kaidy Lewis); www.brendaburgessarts.co.uk (Brenda Burgess); 01233 643854 (Godinton House)

Godinton House & Gardens, Ashford

Satnav: TN23 3BP

3 Sep

The Beaux Stratagem

As part of the NT Live broadcast season, Simon Godwin (Man and Superman) directs George Farquhar’s comedy of love and cash.

Tickets: £14; £12 (concs). 01732 304241

EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge School

Satnav: TN9 1JP

4 Sep

Andy Fairweather Low

Andy Fairweather Low is the guitarist and vocalist of choice for a phenomenal cast list of musical luminaries, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Elton John and hundreds more. Seize the chance to see a musical legend in action with a supremely talented band.

Tickets: £22. 01304 370220. The Astor Theatre, Deal. Satnav: CT14 6AB

4 Sep

Abba Reunion Tribute

Starring the original Frida from the London West End cast of The Abba Reunion Tribute Show, the show gives fans of the Swedish pop group the chance to re-live the addictive Abba phenomena that swept the airwaves and dominated discos during the 70s and 80s. From Mamma Mia to Dancing Queen, all of the greatest hits are wheeled out.

Tickets: £19.50 to £23.90. 0844 871 3015

Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone. Satnav: CT20 2DZ

4 to 6 Sep

Talk of the Town

Celebrate the hidden histories of Westerham and Crockham Hill through a rich selection of music and theatrical interplay. Visitors will be able to interact with costumed characters, from Sir Winston Churchill’s chauffeur to the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. The event ends in a street procession.

Tickets: From free


Satnav: TN16

5 Sep

Chas & Dave

Due to the huge success of 2014’s On The Road UK tour, the legendary duo is back in Kent, promoting the critically acclaimed That’s What Happens album, which was recorded in Studio 2, Abbey Road (The Beatles room) with Grammy winning bluesman Joe Henry on production duties.

Tickets: £24.50 to £28.50. 01322 220000

The Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Satnav: DA1 1ED

8 to 12 Sep

Avenue Q

This charming musical tells the story of the loveable characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues. Hilarious, cheeky and entertaining, with a terrific batch of songs performed by a cast of hugely talented performers and puppets, Avenue Q is a musical like no other.

Tickets: From £15. 0844 871 7620

Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Satnav: BR1 1HA

9 Sep

Blooms at Belmont

A follow-up to last year’s event, but with a twiggy twist. The session will begin with a demo using ?owers freshly picked from the gardens and then move on.

Tickets: £50 (per person). 01795 890202

Belmont House, Faversham

Satnav: ME13 0HH

10 to 19 Sep; 24 Sep to 6 Oct

Magna Carta Rediscovered

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. Faversham’s valuable and rarely displayed copy of the Magna Carta will be the centrepiece of this exhibition, which has been on a tour of Kent this summer.

Tickets: Free

Maison Dieu, Dover (10 to 19 Sep); Jury Room, Guildhall, Sandwich (24 Sep to 6 Oct)

0370 333 1181 (Maison Dieu); 01304 617197 (Jury Room, Guildhall)

Satnav: ME13 8NS (Maison Dieu); CT13 9AH (Jury Room, Guildhall)

11 to 13 Sep

Hand-made, Home-grown

Celebrate all things hand-made and home-grown in the heart of the Kent countryside. Watch demonstrations from skilled craftsmen and meet makers, artisans and local artists.

Tickets: £9 to £42.50. 01732 865224

Hever Castle, Edenbridge

Satnav: TN8 7NG

11 to 13 Sep

The Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show

Returning to the fine grounds of Penshurst Place, the show will have something for all lovers of handcrafted pieces for the home and garden, as well as workshops, cookery demonstrations and children’s activities.

Tickets: £5 to £8. Penshurst Place, Tonbridge

Satnav: TN11 8DG

11 to 13 Sep

Wheels & Fins Festival

The festival spans three days and will showcase music, extreme sports (surfing, skating, SUP, soapbox racing, parkour) and all kinds of family friendly beach activities.

Tickets: Free. 01842 282508

Joss Bay, Broadstairs. Satnav: CT10 3PG

12 Sep

Ride & Stride

A popular annual event, the premise is simple: cycle, walk or run around Kent churches and you can help raise money to be divided equally between the Friends of Kent Churches and the church or chapel of your choice.

Tickets: Contact venue


12 and 13 Sep

Hops ‘n’ Harvest Beer Festival

T.Rextasy, one of the world’s only official live tribute bands dedicated to iconic glam rockers Marc Bolan and T.Rex, will be headlining a packed programme of music at this year’s festival. The line-up also consists of some great local bands and musicians. And, of course, festivalgoers can also sample a selection of up to 60 local ales.

Tickets: £8 to £12 (each day).

01622 763936

Kent Life, Maidstone.

Satnav: ME14 3AU

13 Sep

Chiddingdstone Fair

A packed programme of exciting activities will take place at Chiddingstone Castle, from the Dog & Runner Duck Show, a display from the horses and hounds of the local Old Surrey Burstow & West Kent Hunt; carriage driving; working dogs and Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting.

Tickets: £4 (adults); £1 (children aged five to 13); Free (children under five). 01892 870347

Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddingstone

Satnav: TN8 7AD

13 Sep

The Country Fair

The Country Fair is a perfect family day for everyone interested in country life. Displays include The Galloping Acrobatics, Xtreme falconry display, ferret and terrier racing.

Tickets: £7 (per person); free (children under 12)

01795 890202. Belmont House, Faversham

Satnav: ME13 0HH

13 Sep

Plant, Craft & Wildlife

Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden is holding a Plant, Craft & Wildlife Fair to showcase a host of local crafts, including jewellery, fresh produce, cakes and floral delights from local growers and specialist nurseries.

Tickets: Contact venue. 01322 862114

Lullingstone Castle, Eynsford

Satnav: DA4 0JA

13 Sep

A Unique A-Fayre

With the permission of Sir Robert and Lady Worcester, the A Unique A-Fayre, in support of the Heart of Kent Hospice, will be held in privately owned Allington Castle, which is rarely open to the public. Combining bespoke interiors, homewares and lifestyle products with the dedication and craftsmanship of many local businesses, the event will showcase the products of over 30 handpicked exhibitors.

Tickets: £15. 01622 790195

Allington Castle, Allington

Satnav: ME16 0NB

14 Sep

Pocket Merchant

Enjoy a condensed version of The Propeller’s acclaimed 2009 production, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and then get involved with a Q&A session with the actors.

Tickets: £8. 01732 304241

EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge School, Tonbridge

Satnav: TN9 1JP

15 Sep

Puttin’ On The Ritz

Travel back in time to Hollywood’s golden age with award-winning singers and dancers. Special guests include Robin Windsor and Anya Garnis from Strictly Come Dancing, and star of stage and screen Ray Quinn

Tickets: From £17.50. 0844 871 7620

Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Satnav: BR1 1HA

17 Sep

Think Floyd

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Wish You Were Here, this extraordinary show (and band), dubbed The Definitive Pink Floyd Experience, is renowned for its stunning authenticity. The band faithfully recreate all the atmosphere, visual magnitude and musical excellence of Pink Floyd live on stage.

Tickets: £21.50. 01892 530613

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Satnav: TN1 2LU

19 Sep

Murder Mystery

Amateur sleuths can test their deductive skills and try to beat Sherlock Holmes to the solution when a thrilling murder mystery evening unfolds. Guests are invited to join the Irregular Special Players for a drinks reception and delicious three-course meal, during which they should expect the unexpected.

Tickets: £40.

01892 861444

Groombridge Place, nr Tunbridge Wells

Satnav: TN3 9QG

19 Sep

Thank You For Your Music

The world’s favourite Abba and Bee Gees tribute bands return with their all-new, sequin-spangled spectacular. Entertaining the nation for longer than Abba in their prime, the international smash-hit show’s all-star cast will be joined by one of the UK’s leading Bee Gees revues. Enjoy a night of non-stop hits such as Mamma Mia, Stayin’ Alive, Dancing Queen, Night Fever, How Deep Is Your Love, Super Trouper, and Bee Gees-penned smashes Islands In The Stream, Grease and If I Can’t Have You and more.

Tickets: £22.50.

01892 530613

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Satnav: TN1 2LU

19 to 20 Sep

Salute to the 40s

The Kent Spitfire, TA805 Spirit of Kent, will be taking part in an exhilarating air display as part of the Salute to the ‘40s. Visitors can also enjoy 1940s entertainers, see military trucks, jeeps, re-enactors, encampments and anti-aircraft guns. See also page xx.

Tickets: £15 to £47. 01634 823826

Historic Dockyard, Chatham

Satnav: ME4 4TE

24 Sep


The National Theatre Live’s 2013 broadcast of the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Coriolanus stars Tom Hiddleston.

Tickets: £14; £12 (concs). 01732 304241

EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge School, Tonbridge

Satnav: TN9 1JP

25 Sep

The Carpenters Story

Producer Phil Aldridge has updated The Carpenters Story, which is widely regarded as one of the best tribute shows ever. This version brings the show bang up to date with lavish arrangements, stunning vocal harmonies and Claire Furley’s uncanny representation of Karen Carpenter.

Tickets: £19 to £25.90. 0844 871 3015

Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone

Satnav: CT20 2DZ

26 and 27 Sep

A Perfect Day Out

Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends will be pulling into Tenterden Station. It’s 70 years since the birth of The Railway Series by the Rev. W Awdry and the release of its first book, The Three Railway Engines. Come and celebrate by meeting the Fat Controller and taking a ride in Annie and Clarabel behind Thomas at Tenterden Station.

Tickets: £13 to £51.50. 01580 765155

Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden

Satnav: TN30 6HE

Reader competition

The Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers 22-27 September

Leeds Castle is hosting an Art Deco-themed Festival of Flowers this month, a floral celebration exploring the art of the 1930s. Award-winning floral designers will team up with Leeds’ floristry team to transform the Castle rooms through floral works of art, on display 22-27 September.

Garden designer Diarmuid Gavin will open the Festival on 22 September at 2pm and give an illustrated talk on the history of garden design in the Festival Marquee on Pavilion Lawn.

Kent Life has teamed up with Leeds Castle to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to an exclusive event preview evening on 22 September, 7-9pm. Tickets are worth £40 and include a welcome drink.

You will meet the designers and award-winning florists who created each display, including Laura Leong, RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year, and hear a talk on Lady Baillie’s love of flowers. Just answer this question:

How many acres of beautiful grounds and gardens is Leeds Castle set in?

A) 300 acres

B) 400 acres

C) 500 acres

Then write your answer on a postcard and send it to: Festival of Flowers Competition, Kent Life, Archant Kent, 81 Station Road, Ashford TN23 1PP. Don’t forget to include your name, address and daytime tel. no. Or email your answer: editor@kent-life.co.uk, with Festival of Flowers Competition in the subject line, including your name, address and daytime tel. no.

Closing date: 15 September 2015

The prize is two non-transferable evening tickets for the preview event on 22 September 2015. The winner will be notified via post, telephone or email. The editor’s decision is final. Any entries received after the closing date will not be eligible for entry. Usual Archant competition rules apply.

The ticket must not be re-sold or exchanged and has no monetary value. Employees of Leeds Castle and Archant are not permitted to enter.

30 Sep

Paul Chowdhry

Following a successful UK tour and a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014, Paul Chowdhry is back on the road in 2015 and will be hitting Dartford. PC may be his initials, but the world he lives in definitely isn’t.

Tickets: £16.

01322 220000

The Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Satnav: DA1 1ED