Diary of the top Kent events in July

James Blunt at the Hop Farm

James Blunt at the Hop Farm - Credit: Archant

From music festivals to outdoor theatres, your summer in Kent in one handy guide

1 to 6 Jul

Tonbridge Arts Festival

Concerts, art exhibitions, guided walks, quizzes, talks, sculpture and much more. The Tonbridge Arts Festival aims to bring the joy of the arts to the people of Tonbridge and far beyond, in a celebration of all art forms. See also town feature on page 58.

Tickets: Various www.tonbridgeartsfestival.co.uk Various, Tonbridge Satnav: TN9, TN10, TN11

3rd Jul

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As part of the Tonbridge Arts Festival (above), Jill Webster from the Jane Austen Society gives a talk on Mansfield Park, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.

Tickets: £2 01732 770929 Tonbridge Library, Tonbridge Satnav: TN9 1TG

3 Jul

Simon & Garfunkel

Direct from London’s West End, award-winning actor Dean Elliot, plus a full cast of performers, will be telling the story of the popular and enduring musical duo.

Tickets: £18 to £19.50 0844 871 7620 Churchill Theatre, Bromley Satnav: BR1 1HA

4 Jul

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes talks about his lifetime of record-breaking expeditions from the first hovercraft expedition up the Nile and the discovery of the Lost City of Ubar to his 52,000-mile circumnavigation of the world via both poles and his expedition to attempt the first trans-Antarctic winter crossing.

Tickets: £20 01892 530613 Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells Satnav: TN1 2LU

4 Jul

The Rat Pack Is Back

The Sultans of Swing are back (sort of). Popular actors David Alacey, who appeared in Lovejoy, EastEnders’ Des Coleman and Paul Drakeley (Inside Out) star as Frank, Sammy and Dean.

Tickets: £19 to £20 0844 871 7620 Churchill Theatre, Bromley Satnav: BR1 1HA

4 to 6 Jul

The Hop Farm Festival

Ray Davies, Grace Jones and Brian Wilson are headlining the Hop Farm Festival this year. Other artists on the weekend bill include Echo & The Bunnymen, Deacon Blue, James Blunt, Billy Ocean, Curtis Stigers and Courtney Pine and comedy stars such as Russel Kane, Jo Brand and Milton Jones.

Tickets: £10 to £165 0845 075 6101 The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood Satnav: TN12 6PY

4 to 13 Jul

Egerton Music Festival

Enjoy 10 days of music of all kinds, from classical to pop, as well as an exhibition by local artists and performances at a very small venue… the telephone box on Stonebridge Green. Performers include The Trad Lads, violinist Emmanuel Webb, pianist Jane Wisely, and Festival Artistic Director, Bryan Gipps. www.egertonmusicfestival.co.uk for more details and see page 20.

Tickets: Varies 01233 330316 (Ashford Tourist Information Centre) Satnav: TN27

5, 12 and 19 Jul

Open House

Take a look around some of Faversham’s finest buildings courtesy of The Faversham Society. A total of 32 properties can be explored, including Homeside, a Grade II-listed property in picturesque Oare.

Tickets: £8.50 (handbook) 01795 534542 Faversham Satnav: ME13

11 Jul

Blake – Live in Concert

Vocal trio Blake return with their ‘Live In Concert’ tour. Expect an evening of great music and entertainment from the singers whose harmonies and ‘Rat Pack banter’ are always a delight.

Tickets: 01322 220000 Orchard Theatre, Dartford Satnav: DA1 1ED

11 Jul

Big Dance

See dance performances from all parts of the community, from Bollywood to hip hop.

Tickets: £6 0844 871 7620 Churchill Theatre, Bromley Satnav: BR1 1HA

11 to 20 Jul

JAM on the Marsh

This festival built around Kent’s Romney Marsh and its famous medieval churches embraces a series of concerts and events, including music, photography, art, theatre and poetry. Highlights include Selwyn College, Cambridge singing Rachmaninoff’s Vespers; the Red Note Ensemble and Michal Rogalski, the Mousai Singers, Onyx Brass and John McCabe.

Tickets: Various www.jamconcert.org/jam- on-the-marsh Various venues Satnav: TN29

12 Jul

The History of Britain

Harold II and William the Conqueror don’t see eye to eye; Henry VIII decides five marriages just isn’t enough and Queen Victoria is definitely not amused.

Tickets: £5 to £15 01233 643 854 Godinton House, Ashford Satnav: TN23 3BP

12 Jul

Leeds Castle Concert

John Rigby conducts

the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme of classical favourites. There will also be a flypast of First World War aircraft to commemorate the century in 2014 and a plethora of special guests on this fantastic night of picnics and patriotic flag-waving, including the Military Wives Choir, soprano Hye-Youn Lee and The P&O Ferries Choir.

Tickets: £35 to £215 01622 765400 Leeds Castle, BNBNB Satnav: ME17 1PL

12 Jul

Pramtasia 2014

Pramtasia is an opportunity for all pram lovers and collectors to get together, push prams around the picturesque Historic Dockyard, admire each other’s prams and costumes and also purchase accessories from the specialist retailers who will be selling spares, blankets, dolls, pram sets and much more. The event will

also feature seminars and talks from knowledgeable ‘prammies’ on the history of prams.

Free to £47 www.pramtasia2014.com Historic Dockyard, Chatham Satnav: ME4 4TE

12 Jul

Roy Orbison & Friends

Barry Steele presents his all-live multi-media tribute to The Big O. Featuring classic Orbison hits from the 60s right through to the late 80s and using original and film footage from the era, Steele and his supremely talented backing band will bring the life and character of Roy Orbison back to centre stage, trademark dark-rimmed glasses and all.

Tickets: From £20.50 0844 871 3015 Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone Satnav: CT20 2DZ

12 and 13 Jul

Wallace and Gromit

Enjoy a steam train journey and meet popular characters Wallace & Gromit. Appearing alongside the pair will be a vintage motorcycle and side car. The event wouldn’t be complete without a cheese-maker, so don’t miss award-winning The Cheesemakers of Canterbury.

Tickets: £11 to £45 01580 765155 Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden Satnav: TN30 6HE

13 and 19 Jul

Open Gardens

The owners of Woodside in Aylesford invite you to visit their garden on 13 July. This beautiful cottage garden offers paths and walkways surrounded by mixed borders, rhododendrons and wisteria. Blooming Green, at Loddington Farm, will be open on 19 July. Proceeds from both go to the Heart of Kent Hospice.

Tickets: donations welcome Satnav: ME20 7QJ (13 Jul); ME17 4AG (19 Jul)

15 to 19 Jul

Annie Get Your Gun

A major new production of the Tony Award-winning version of Irving Berlin’s classic musical, starring Emma Williams as Annie Oakley. It’s packed with timeless classics such as There’s No Business Like Show Business and Anything You Can Do.

Tickets: £20 to £35.50 0844 871 7620 Churchill Theatre, Bromley Satnav: BR1 1HA

16 to 20 Jul

War and Peace Revival

The five-day military and vintage festival will be packed full of education and entertainment and will almost certainly bring the Dunkirk Spirit to Kent. Visitors will see action-packed battle re-enactments and countless military vehicles. There will be trade stalls offering militaria, antiquities, vehicle parts, books, memorabilia, clothing and uniforms - literally from a shirt button to a tank! For more information, visit: www.thewarandpeacerevival.co.uk.

Tickets: £15.75 to £65 01304 813337 RAF Westenhanger, Folkestone Racecourse, Hythe Satnav: CT21 4HX

17, 18, 23 Jul

The Tempest

The Pantaloons put their own unique and hilarious twist on Shakespeare’s romantic tale of shipwrecks, sorcerers and silly servants. Expect music, magic and mayhem in one of the Bard’s best-loved plays, performed al fresco.

Tickets: £17 (adults); £12 (child) (Leeds Castle) (17 and 18 Jul Tickets: £8 to £12 (Hall Place & Gardens) (23 Jul) 01622 765 400 (Leeds Castle); 01322 621 238 (Hall Place & Gardens) Leeds Castle, Maidstone; Hall Place & Gardens, Bexley Satnav: ME17 1PL (Leeds Castle); DA5 1PQ (Hall Place)

18 Jul

Once Upon a Time

Dance the night away with music from the 1950s through to the present day. Enjoy a disco, cabaret, buffet and free parking. Have fun while also raising money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Tickets: £20 www.eventbrite.co.uk Hilton Hotel, Maidstone Satnav: ME14 5AA

19 Jul

Mari Wilson

Join ‘The Neasden Queen of Soul’ for an evening of hits old and new. Mari Wilson will perform tracks from her latest album Cover Stories, including her renditions of Don’t Get Me Wrong and Be My Baby.

Tickets: £16 01304 370220 Astor Theatre, Deal Satnav: CT14 6AB

19 Jul

Wild West Walk

The Heart of Kent Hospice’s twilight walk around Maidstone has a new circular 10-mile route that starts and finishes at Aylesford Rugby Club. Fancy dress is encouraged and this year’s theme is ‘Cowboys and Cowgirls’ (your registration fee includes a free cowboy hat).

Tickets: £17.50 (adults); £5 (children under 16, must be accompanied by an adult) 01622 790195 Aylesford Rugby Club Satnav: ME20 7DS

19 to 20, 26 to 27 Jul

Summer at Hever

Hever Castle‘s summer season kicks off when the brave Knights of Royal England return to battle it out in the grounds of the historic building. Each tournament will begin with a procession from the Castle forecourt. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn will lead visitors across the grounds to the Jousting Arena. Spectators will be treated to thrilling displays of action, stunts, falls and fights as the brave knights compete for points to find this season’s champion knight. On 26 and 27 July, young visitors can try on a suit of armour and dress up as a knight or princess. See also p13 and 25.

Tickets: £8.70 to £39.70 01732 865224 Hever Castle, nr Edenbridge Satnav: TN8 7NG

21 to 26 Jul

Fame – The Musical

Based on the Oscar-winning musical film and TV series; Fame is back and it’s ‘gonna live forever.’ Brought up to date by Bill Kenwright, this production will take the audience on a frenetic ride through the dizzying heights and crashing lows that typify the pursuit of ‘Fame’.

Tickets: £10 to £27.50 0844 871 7620 Churchill Theatre, Bromley Satnav: BR1 1HA

23 Jul to 15 Aug

The Get Happy Show

Comedian Paul James tops the bill, along with his singing partner Gary O’Connor and father and son comedy duo Simmons and Simmons.

Tickets: £12, £11, under 12 free 01843 292795 Margate Winter Gardens, Margate Satnav: CT9 1HX

27 Jul

Captain Howey Day and 1940s Guided Tour

The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway founder, Captain J.E.P Howey was a serving officer in the First World War and as we commemorate the centenary of the Great War, the RHDR will remember him through a photographic exhibition and presentation. There will be a 1940’s guided tour on the day. See also p39.

Tickets: Contact venue 01797 362353 Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, New Romney Satnav: TN28 8PL

30 Jul to 3 Aug

Poetry and Poppies

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens is joining the Real Poppy Campaign by planting a stunning display of Flanders Poppies. There will be a vast display of poppies on the hillside at the viewpoint. Poetry from the First World War will also be exhibited around the gardens.

Tickets: £5.25 to £22.50 01732 459777 Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks Satnav: TN15 0RR