Top May days out in Kent

Weald of Kent Craft and Design Show: win a family ticket

Weald of Kent Craft and Design Show: win a family ticket - Credit: Archant

From Snow White on Ice to the Bakers, Makers and Brewrs Fair and the chance to win a family ticket to the Weald of Kent Craft and Design Show, Kent Life has the most comprehensive round up of days and nights out in the county

Until 2 May

Anything goes

Daniel Evans (Oliver!, My Fair Lady) directs this production of Cole Porter’s masterpiece

of song, dance and romance. Leading the cast of 26 will be Debbie Kurup as Reno Sweeney.

Tickets: £26 to £36 01322 220000 Orchard Theatre, Dartford Satnav: DA1 1ED

1 and 3 May

Most Read

La Traviata

The tragic true story of searing passion and memorable music telling of the life and love of the passionate but consumptive Violetta and her doomed romance with the aristocratic Alfredo.

Tickets: £24 to £35 (Assembly Hall); £20 to £33.50 (Orchard Theatre) 01892 530613 (Assembly Hall); 01322 220000 (Orchard Theatre)Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells (1 May); Orchard Theatre, Dartford (3 May)Satnav: TN1 2LU (Assembly Hall); DA1 1ED (Orchard Theatre)

2 May

Madama Butterfly

Puccini’s popular opera, used as the basis for West End musical Miss Saigon, is a heartbreaking true story of a beautiful Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval lieutenant, with dire consequences.

Tickets: £24 to £35 01892 530613 Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells Satnav: TN1 2LU

2 to 4 May

May Day Festival

Join the Lord and Lady of the May on the Castle forecourt and see the crowning of the May Queen, dance around the Maypole, meet the mythical Jack-in-the-Green and follow the Green Man from folklore in a customary May Day procession through the gardens

Tickets: £9 to £42.50 01732 865224 Hever Castle, Hever Satnav: TN8 7NG

2 May

NSPCC plant fair

The NSPCC is once again giving people in Kent the chance to visit historic Saltwood Castle, the home of writer and historian the late Rt. Hon. Alan Clark MP, for its 13th annual open garden and plant fair. The castle grounds are not usually open to the public.

Tickets: £6 Saltwood Castle, Hythe Satnav: CT21 4QU

2 to 4 May

Weald of Kent Craft and Design Show

Returning to the glorious grounds of Penshurst Place & Gardens, the Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show will have something for everyone. In addition to the three days of activities, the event will also showcase the work of some of Britain’s leading craftspeople to the backdrop of live music and the beautiful Kent countryside. So if you fancy a few workshops, a family friendly atmosphere and some delicious food, this is a must-visit.

Tickets: free to £8 (show); additional Penshurst admission charges may apply

01425 277988

Penshurst House & Gardens, nr Tonbridge

Satnav: TN11 8DH


Win a family ticket to the Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show and a season ticket to Penshurst Place and Gardens

Kent Life has teamed up with the organisers of the Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show, which takes place on 2 to 4 May, to offer one lucky reader a family ticket to this fabulous show, plus a season ticket to Penshurst Place and Gardens. Five runners-up will receive a family day ticket to the show, as well as complimentary entry to the house and the grounds.

To enter, just answer this simple question:

What is the name of the area at the Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show that is dedicated to ‘foodies’?

a) Good Food Live

b) Marvellous Munch Maison

c) Grub’s Up

Write your answer on a postcard and send it to: Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show Competition, Kent Life, Archant Kent, 81 Station Road, Ashford TN23 1PP. Don’t forget to include your name, address and a daytime telephone number on your entry.

Alternatively, you can send your answer in by email. Please send it to, with Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show Competition in the subject line, including your name, address and a daytime telephone number.

Closing date: 1 May 2015

The editor’s decision is final. Any entries received after the closing date will not be eligible for entry. Travel to and from the venue, plus any other expenses incurred are not included in the prize. Usual Archant competition rules apply.

2 to 4 May

The Fabulous Forties

Turn back the clock and experience wartime Britain and the vital role the railways played during that era. Throughout the holiday weekend there will be re-enactments, music, fashion and dancing from the time, as well as steam train rides.

Tickets: £11.50 to £49.50 01580 765155 Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden Satnav: TN30 6HE

3 May

Al Murray Pub Landlord

Twenty years ago, Britain’s favourite publican embarked on his one-man mission as the ‘King Cnut of Common Sense,’ holding back a tide of bottled beer and ‘ninny state nonsense.’ Now Al Murray - The Pub Landlord is standing in this month’s general election for the hotly contested Kent constituency of South Thanet as part of the Free United Kingdom Party. Join this icon for special fundraising evening for The Pilgrims Hospice in Thanet.

Tickets: £25.50

01843 292795

Theatre Royal, Margate

Satnav: CT9 1PW

3 May

An Evening With Texas

Sharleen Spiteri and her band celebrate 25 years at the top of the pop tree this year. The group will perform some of their very best hits, as well as tell some stories behind those songs.

Tickets: £28.50 to £48.50 01843 292795 Margate Winter Gardens Satnav: CT9 1HX

3 and 4 May

Plant and Craft Fair

Grab the chance to get some expert advice on how to get your garden looking wonderful, ready for the height of summer. There will also be a variety of local arts and craft stalls, and entertainment for all ages.

Tickets: £2; free (children under 12) 01795 890202 Belmont House, Faversham Satnav: ME13 0HH

4 May

Tudor dressing up

Try on Tudor costumes and imagine life in Tudor times in the Great Hall . Bring the whole family (and a camera), and don’t miss the chance to have your portrait taken standing in Knole’s giant picture frame.

Tickets: Normal admission charges apply 01732 462100 Knole House, Sevenoaks Satnav: TN15 0RP

5 May

Balletboyz: The Talent

Under the direction of former Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, The Talent has become one of the hottest dance tickets around, boasting rave reviews and sell-out performances around the world. This show features two new commissions from leading British choreographers, Performed by the incredible all-male cast of 10 dancers, the audience is in for a dance treat.

Tickets £15 to £24.50 01322 220000 The Orchard Theatre, Dartford Satnav: DA1 1ED

5 and 15 May

Paul Merton

Following the publication of his autobiography, Only When I Laugh, and more than a decade of sell-out seasons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Paul Merton hits the road again in 2015, along with his ‘Impro Chums’. They will take suggestions from the audience and spin them into comedy gold.

Tickets: £21 (Marlowe Theatre); £19; £21 (Assembly Hall) 01227 787787 (Marlowe Theatre); 01892 532072 (Assembly Hall) Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (5 May); Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells (15 May) Satnav: CT1 2AS (Marlowe Theatre); TN1 2LU (Assembly)

8 May

Ballet Central Tour

The evening’s agenda boasts

a dazzling selection of ballet, neo-classical, contemporary and narrative dance. The company’s young and dynamic dancers will demonstrate their talent with a diverse performance of newly commissioned works and celebrated revivals.

Tickets: £10 to £14.50 01843 292795 Theatre Royal, Margate Satnav: CT9 1PW

9 May

Plant Support

Viv Hunt, head gardener at Godinton, will demonstrate various methods of plant support in the gardens; then you can make your own willow obelisk or frame with craftsman Alan Sage.

Tickets: Contact venue 01233 643854 Godinton House and Gardens, Ashford Satnav: TN23 3BP

9 and 10 May

Bakers, Makers and Brewers Fair

White Mill will be open to visitors as part of National Mills Weekend. To coincide with this year’s theme of Mills in Art and Real Bread Maker Week, together with their participation in Codename: Joined Up, a First World War commemorative project between museums and artists, the fair celebrates artists who use traditional crafts.

Tickets: £1 to £8 01304 239544 or 01304 619268 White Mill, Sandwich Satnav: CT13 9JB

16 May

The Gathering

A festival of faith held every two years. All are welcome to come along and enjoy a day of stimulating talks, creative and interactive activities, and entertainment, affirming worship and Bible study.

Tickets: £5 01227 459401 Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury Satnav: CT1 2EH

16 May

Sponsored Walk

Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK) is calling on all Labrador owners in Kent to help make its sponsored dog walk the biggest official gathering of Labradors in Kent. LRK is asking for people to come and walk their dogs around the course (13 miles). Register on the LRK website ( to get a sponsorship form.

Tickets: £20 (minimum sponsorship total); £2 (entrance fee) 01580 720408 Bewl Water, Lamberhurst Satnav: TN3 8JH

17 May

Fascination with Plants

Discover the life-changing influence of plants at an international open day. From feeding the world to algae in your pond, visitors are invited to learn about plants during a day of science activities at the University of Greenwich’s Medway Campus.

Tickets: Free 01634 880088 University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham Satnav: ME4 4TB

From 18 May

The Ancestors

Canterbury Cathedral is exhibiting some of its earliest and most important surviving stained glass. The collection of medieval stained glass is crowned by a series of life-size figures representing the Ancestors of Christ, which date to the late 12th and early 13th centuries.

Tickets: free, but precinct charges will apply 01227 865222 Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury Satnav: CT1 2EH

20 May

Spitfire Solo

June 2000: for 80-year-old Peter Walker, ex-Battle of Britain pilot, an unexpected new challenge is about to begin. As he relives past glories, losses, wartime experiences, family memories and the heady days of blue skies and battles, he searches for the answer to the biggest question so far.

Tickets: £8 to £12

01843 292795

Theatre Royal, Margate Satnav: CT9 1PW

21 May

Jasper Carrott

Jasper Carrott is back to his very best, mic in hand, regaling the audience with his inimitable stand-up routines, before introducing his musical compatriots that have been ‘rockin’ audiences all over the world. Bev Bevan, as well as being Jasper’s friend, has more rock star credentials that most dream of.

Tickets: £26 01322 220000 The Orchard Theatre, Dartford Satnav: DA1 1ED

21 to 22 May


Displacement, disability and sex addiction: three interwoven stories from characters on the margins of society are explored. With the Welfare State at the forefront of the political agenda at the moment, this new play explores the lives of three ‘job-seekers’ and the pressures their status puts on them and those around them.

Tickets: contact venue 01227 769075 Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury Satnav: CT2 7NB

21 to 24 May

Snow White on Ice

The world-famous Russian Ice Stars will take you on a magical journey to the heart of one of the most beloved of fairy tales, Snow White in a lavish and spectacular show for the whole family. Vee Deplidge, of Deplidge UK Productions, pioneered the concept of theatre on ice in 1991. By creating ballet on ice productions, designed to fit theatre stages throughout the world, audiences gain unparalleled views of stunning skating in the comfort of theatres.

But just how does a popular Kent theatre transform itself into a gigantic ice rink? Kent Life went behind the scenes to find out.


A strict timetable needs to be followed in order to get the ice rink ready in time for rehearsal skating at 4.30pm on opening night. The work starts the previous day at 9am when technicians arrive at the venue with two 45ft trucks.

Eight venue technicians unload the set and costume truck, known as the dry truck, and start rigging lights, set and flying equipment. At 2pm, the wet truck containing the floor system and surround is unloaded and the task of building the ice rink begins.

Two 15m x 15m industrial pool liners are laid on the stage and side supports from wood are built to create a large but shallow swimming pool. Inside the pool 15km of a special flexible rubber pipe is laid and connected to a header system which is connected to two chiller units on the back of the wet truck. Two are used so that in the unlikely event of a total break down of one unit, the second will maintain the rink and prevent flooding of the stage and the potential loss of a performance.

The floor system is filled with anti-freeze and the pressure is checked. It looks just like a giant radiator lying flat on the stage, but is in effect a simple flow and return pipe system. The anti-freeze is chilled to –15ºC and circulated through the floor pipes. At this point the rubber pipes begin to frost over. Four tons of crushed ice is then spread over the floor pipes, providing a head start in the freezing process. From this point, the rink is sprayed with water every 20-30 minutes until it reaches 7-8cm thick. This process takes approximately 14-18 hours.

• 14 tons of ice is used on stage, equal to the weight of two double-decker buses

• 14,000 litres of water are used to build the rink - enough to make more than 56,000 cups of tea

• 2,500 litres of anti-freeze used in the pipe system is enough to fill 100 Rolls Royce radiators

• 15km of pipe work is used to create the ice floor. Laid end to end, a similar distance would take Dame Kelly Holmes an hour and 15 minutes to run

• The anti-freeze in the ice machines reaches temperatures of -15 degrees, that’s three times colder than a home freezer

• ‘Cat flaps’ need to be cut into the walls of most venues to accommodate the pipe work that runs from the chiller units outside to the stage

• It takes 140 man hours to build the rink and 30 hours to dismantle it.

Tickets: £19.50 to £65

01892 530613

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Satnav: TN1 2LU

22 May

Charity Golf Day

Take part in an 18-hole contest, listen to a guest speaker, enjoy a spa and much more. Nizels Golf and Country Club is staging this event in aid of Headway, the Tunbridge Wells-based charity that supports adults, their families and carers living with the effects of brain injuries (

Tickets: from £20 01892 619001 Nizels Golf and Country Club, Hildenborough Satnav: TN11 8NU

22 May

From The Jam

From The Jam, featuring former The Jam bassist Bruce Foxton, the legendary vocalist and guitarist Russell Hastings and drummer Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard, bring The Public Gets What The Public Wants Tour to Kent, in advance of the release of a new album called Smash The Clock.

Tickets: from £25 01304 370220 The Astor Theatre, Deal Satnav: CT14 6AB

23 to 31 May

Den building

Take your whole family on an adventure this half term. Follow the woodland paths, collect your materials and then choose your perfect location to create your den of delight in the grounds of this romantic castle looked after by the National Trust.

Tickets: Normal admission charges apply 01892 893820 Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst Satnav: TN3 8JN

23, 24 and 25 May

Southern Steam Sunset

Come and celebrate how heritage railways have successfully reopened train lines following the Beeching Report of 1963, which led to steam services in the south ending in 1967. Five decades on, the Kent & East Sussex Railway will recreate scenes reminiscent of the final years of branch line steam, featuring a variety of steam trains and locomotives.

Tickets: £11.50 to £49.50 01580 765155 Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden Satnav: TN30 6HE

26 to 30 May

Witches Of Eastwick

Margate Operatic Society’s latest production, the musical comedy The Witches of Eastwick, is based around three ladies living in a small town in America who fall foul of their desires to be free of their mundane lives through their association with the charismatic but dangerous stranger Darryl Van Horne.

Tickets: £12 to £16 01843 292795 Winter Gardens, Margate Satnav: CT9 1HX

27 May

Life Through Dance

Pasha Kovalev and his dancers will transport you into the world of ballroom and Latin dance with a non-stop action and sequin-dominated journey through life and love, expressed by dance.

Tickets: £23 01892 530613 Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells Satnav: TN1 2LU

29 May

Joan Armatrading

Despite more than 40 years touring, Joan Armatrading has never done a solo world tour. So, for her last major tour, she has decided this is the perfect chance to do just that. Her performances will include songs that span her entire career, including Love and Affection, Willow, Drop The Pilot and Me, Myself I and many more.

Tickets: £28; £29.50 01634 338338 The Central Theatre, Chatham Satnav: ME4 4AS

31 May

Secret Sunday Brunch

Fancy something different to do on a Sunday? Then why not try a live music event organised for the local community by volunteers, hosted at unusual venues and free to attend? The voluntary organisers tease that the ‘secret brunching’ Kent venue will always keep changing, but for the moment they have nested in the window of Dame Kelly Holmes’ new Café 1809 in Hildenborough, with the final one of six Sunday Brunch taking place on the last Sunday of May and featuring London indie-folk duo Worry Dolls.

Tickets: free

01732 667500,

[Twitter symbol] @Cafe1809

Café 1809, 152-154, Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough

Satnav: TN11 9HW