The sun is finally shining and I’m hoping that it will continue! There are so many terrific things to do in Kent during May Half Term and Bank Holiday Weekend and here are the My Tunbridge Wells top 40 (plus three new additions)!
Please note, I have listed the events in date order and there are also some events in East Sussex here (not just Kent). I have covered the whole Half Term period including the May bank Holiday Weekend and Weekend of 3rd and 4th June!
Also I have tried to be as accurate as possible with the information but please do double check the organiser’s website before going on to an event. Have fun! Now which ones to choose?
#1 Alfresco Festival – Friday 26th to Sunday 28th May
Alfresco Festival is back at Colebrook Lakes, Tunbridge Wells with even more stages, more entertainment and activities plus a world class line up of the top underground electronic DJs and live acts. Children’s activities include a RocknRoller Roller Disco, Mini Sports days, Hula Hoop workshops, Jacob Cracker Story Teller and much much more! Day tickets and weekend tickets including camping are available. Find out more about Alfresco HERE.
#2 UNFEST – Saturday 26th to Monday 29th May
UNFEST 2017 is back for its 21st year featuring 100 plus acts over 10 stages around Tunbridge Wells. There will be outdoor areas for families to sit and listen to the acts at The Forum, Sussex Mew and The George (weather permitting). UNFEST features local and regional music, spoken word, food and drink, with an emphasis on involving local, independent businesses. Check out ‘The Big Record’ on 27th May at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery for an opportunity to record your very own ‘Sound of Kent’ in an event hosted by Paul Cheese Music.
#3 Your Tunbridge Wells – Saturday 27th May
‘Your Tunbridge Wells’ is a FREE Family Festival from 12-4pm at TN2 Community Centre. Suitable for all ages, find out more about your local history and heritage in an afternoon of themed workshops and performances created in partnership with local people. There’ll be face painting & art and craft workshops, Live DJ, refreshments, Street Dance taster sessions along with objects and photographs from the Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery collections.
#4 RENT The Musical (Now until Saturday 27th May) & Marty MacDonald’s Toy Machine (Monday 29th May)
The new 20th Anniversary production of RENT is on at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells from now until Saturday 27th May 2017. This is a super opportunity to see one of the greatest musicals ever! Marty MacDonald’s Toy Machine is taking place at 2.30pm on Monday 29th May – a family show particularly suitable for 2 – 7 year olds with a special cast meet and greet after the performance! To book tickets for either show, visit the Assembly Hall Theatre or call the Box Office on 01892 530613.
More things to do in Kent during May Half Term
#5 Potty about Plants Pot Painting – Saturday 27th May
Join the team at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park’s Hub in Tunbridge Wells between 10am and 12.30pm to paint your own terracotta plant pot and take home some seeds to plant out in it. The event which is suitable for all ages is FREE and booking isn’t required.
#6 Heathfield Agricultural Show – Saturday 27th May
Enjoy a day out in the countryside at Heathfield’s Agricultural Show on Little Tottingworth Farm, which promises to inform, interest and entertain. Taking place from 8am to 5.15pm, highlights include The Sheep Show, Monster Trucks, Country Ways (an artisan area with demos of traditional crafts), terrier racing, framers market, vintage tractors and much more! Entry is £14 for adults and kids go for free.
#7 Swashbuckling fun at Groombridge Place – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June
Visit Groombridge Place for some swashbuckling fun at the Pirates and Mermaid Event. Meet the naughty pirates and mystical mermaids of Groombridge lakes and join in the story-telling, a pirate sing a long, Mermaid crafts, bouncy castle and lots more to see and do. Taking place from 10am to 5.30pm, read our recent review HERE and find out more about the event HERE.
#8 Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival – Saturday 27th Sunday 28th May
Fire up your taste buds at this year’s fabulous Tonbridge Food & Drink Festival in the town’s beautiful castle grounds from 11am – 6pm. Try, taste and buy from more than 50 stallholders selling a delicious range of food and drink produced in and around Kent and look out for fun activities for the whole family cooking demonstrations as well as the Painting Wall and ‘Disgusting’ Food Challenge on the Children’s Stage!
#9 Splash around at The Mercure – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June
The Mercure Tunbridge Wells is offering My Tunbridge Wells readers a discounted rate for the use of their leisure centre during the Easter Holidays. Pay just £10 for an adult and child session (normally £12) and a family pass (2 adults + 2 children) is £18 (saving you £6). The kids are bound to love the indoor heated pool with a smaller children’s play pool. If you go with another adult, take turns to use the steam room and sauna too. Just use the code MYTUNBRIDGEHT when paying for entry (at the hotel reception), which will give you the discount mentioned.
#10 Burrswood Boot Camp One Day Revive Course – Saturday 27th May
One for the grown ups! Spend the day within 100 acres of beautiful surroundings at Burrswood in Groombridge for their one day holisitic Revive Course and experience a super selection of classes and activities. Spaces are limited to 6 guests and there’s a discount for My Tunbridge Wells readers for the 27th May event with the course costing £99 instead of the usual £145. Find out more HERE.
#11 Mr Mulligan’s Dino Golf – Open Daily
If you haven’t had a chance to visit Mr Mulligan’s Dino Golf in Tonbridge yet, then May Half Term is the perfect time to try it. Kids (and adults) will love this 18-hole miniature golf adventure through the Jurassic, riddled with terrifying dinosaurs and perilous obstacles along the way. It’s suitable for ALL ages and abilities allowing the whole family to have fun together whilst ‘subtly’ competing against one another. Open Monday to Friday from 11am to 7pm and from 9.30am to 7pm on weekends, there’s no need to book ahead – just turn up and have a rip-roaringly good time. Check out Number 28 below to find out more about the Launch Party too!
So many things to do in Kent during May Half Term!
#12 Edwardian Life at Hever Castle – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June
Go back in time to the early 20th Century at Hever Castle and enjoy a fascinating glimpse of the Edwardian era. Children can take part in an Edwardian school though they will need to mind their p’s and q’s to avoid upsetting the teacher! Learn about the study and collection of butterflies and moths from the colourful resident lepidopterist and meet costumed characters from the era. Remember to try your hand at traditional games of the period including a coconut shy, tin-can alley, and bean bag race, or enjoy a leisurely game of croquet on the lawn too.
#13 Family Quiz Challenge & Stick Mania at at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens – Saturday 27th to Sunday 4th June
Enjoy a Family Quiz Challenge along with NGS 90th Birthday Celebrations at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens from Saturday 27th May to Monday 29th May. Open from 10.30am to 4pm, there’s bound to be lots of excitement as families hunt for the answers to the 2017 quiz. Then there’s Stick Mania taking place from Wednesday 31st May to Sunday 4th June – your chance to make anything from sticks! Check out the lovely cafe while there or have a picnic in the gardens. The kids will love wandering around the woods, getting lost in the maze, visiting the adventure playground and trying to spot the elusive yeti!
#14 Snap Happy Spring Holiday at Penshurst Place – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June and Mini Beasts Roadshow Sunday 28th – Monday 29th May
Penshurst Place is hosting a new activity designed for snap happy visitors this May Half Term. Armed with a trail sheet brimming with pictures of Penshurst Place, step through the walled gardens to see if you can match the location of where the photos were taken, make a note of the letter left at each spot and uncover the hidden word at the end. Younger visitors can head over to the Old Coach House to enjoy crafting activities from 12 noon too.
Within the Snappy Spring Holiday is also the fantastic Mini-Beasts Roadshow provided by The Hawking Centre, popular for their Summer falconry held in the gardens. On Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday, The Hawking Centre will be showcasing an array of fascinating animals, including hissing cockroaches, slithery snakes and a very cuddly Skunk. Don’t forget to check out the amazing playground while there too! Find out more HERE.
#15 Superhero Half Term Fun at The Hop Farm – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June
There’s a super selection of children’s attractions open from 10am to 5pm at The Hop Farm with lots of ‘Superhero’ themed entertainment. Entry is just £1 per person and under 1’s go for free! As well as the usual Hop Farm attractions including soft play, animal farm, zorbing, Hovermania and Giant Pillows, expect a fun-filled amazing Magic Show, Krypton Disco with DJ and a Superhero training camp – check out the daily timetable HERE.
#16 Jump In Tonbridge – Open Daily
The kids are guaranteed to burn some energy while having great fun at Jump In Trampoline Park in Tonbridge. There’s a brand new soft play frame for the Under 5’s too and along with bouncing away to their heart’s content, ‘jumpers’ can enjoy dodgeball, tumble track, a giant air bag, battle beam and foam pit too! Finish off with some refreshments in the spacious cafe including some yummy cakes, tea, coffees and slushies as well as some great value pizza for the kids!
More things to do in Kent during May Half Term…
#17 Pirates at Chatham Dockyard – 27th May to 4th June
Join the Pirates at Chatham Dockyard this May Half Term in what promises to be lots of swashbuckling pirate fun on-board the Dockyard’s very own Pirate ship Gannet! With a variety of activities including a treasure trail, children are bound to enjoy the story telling, knot tying, have a go hammock too. Come along dressed as a pirate and have a go at walking the plank and try out other activities including colour in the pirate, badge making, and design your own pirate flag. Visit the Chatham Dockyard website to find out more.
#18 A May to remember at Port Lympne – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June
With a new South American Experience at Port Lympne, along with the opening of a mixed enclosure with rhino and cheetah and a celebration of the terrific tapirs, it’s time to get outside and experience the wonders the reserve has to offer. Read our recent review HERE and find out more about meeting kids TV Presenter Andy Day and his Dinsoaur Raps on Monday 29th May below – it’s number 31!
#19 WW2 Weekend Dover castle – 27th May to 29th May
Visit Dover Castle over the May Bank Holiday Weekend for a full-on forties experience. Check out the military encampments and get up close to a full size replica Spitfire before stepping into the heart of action with the explosive battle. Meet the Land Girls, visit the 1940s beauty parlour for a victory roll hairdo, then revive that wartime spirit with a lovely brew from the original NAAFI wagon. Step inside Mr Smith’s bombed out shop and discover the austerity of the war years from the Ministry of Food and experience the German field hospital plus more!
#20 a-MAY-zing activities at Howletts – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June
Get back to nature this May Half with Howletts and celebrate not only the wonderful rare and endangered species that call Howletts home, but also the incredible native wildlife too. Throughout the month, Howletts will be a hub of activity offering everything from; nature trails and treetop challenges to decorating your own bird house, face painting and animal talks. Read our recent review HERE and visit the Howletts website HERE for further information.
#21 Wild Wood Fest at Wakehurst – 27th May to 29th May
Immerse yourself in Wakehurst’s wonderful woodlands with adventurous and fun activities for all the family during the May Bank Holiday Weekend. Activities include woodland crafts, sculpture, stories, performances and play as well as an aerial runway. Check out the wonderful woodland café and campside BBQ and discover the vibrant lifecycle of the woods with a new living trail. There’s a Wild Wood photography workshop on Saturday and Sunday too as well as Tree Climbing sessions. Check out the website to find out more about booking in advance.
My top things to do in Kent during May Half Term…
#22 National Trust Events – 27th May to 4th June
There’s a raft of activities for all the family taking place during the May Bank Holiday and Half Term at National Trust venues local to Tunbridge Wells – including a peasant’s revolt at Bodiam Castle, make a kite sessions at Smallhythe Place, Angelina Ballerina and her cousin Henry’s trail at Ightham Mote, and den building at Scotney Castle. Check out the National Trust website to find out exact dates and details for each event.
#23 Napoleonic Re-enactment at Hole Park – Sunday 28th & Monday 29th May
One of the biggest and best Napoleonic re-enactment events in Kent will again be held in the impressive grounds of Hole Park Estate in Rolvenden, Kent this weekend. The event aims to transport visitors back in history to a time when Europe was in the grip of French dictator Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. There’ll be thrilling and skilfully re-enacted battles, a period tented camp, horses, guides and even recruitment and training sessions for children. Stalls and activities, including a Hog Roast and Real Ale tent, in keeping with the historic period (1793-1815), will add to the two-day event’s authentic atmosphere.
#24 Odeon Kids – Sing / Peppa Pig ‘My First Cinema’ – Saturday 27th May to Thursday 1st June
Peppa Pig’s ‘My First Cinema’ is being screened as part of Odeon Kids at 10am each morning from Saturday 27th May to Thursday 1st June. The much loved ‘Sing,’ following a down-on-his-luck koala trying to save his theatre is taking place at 10.30am on the same days too, and all for just £2.50 per ticket. Even for the adults!
#25 Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May Street Festival – Sunday 28th to Monday 29th May
Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May is a Street Festival with a twist, taking place on Sunday and Monday from 10am to 4pm. Enjoy music & dancing, food & drink street stalls, nurseries and demos too. This year the festival is part of the Chelsea Fringe with an emphasis on gardens, plants and growing. There’ll be a huge hoarding that will be painted live over the two days with SPRAY PAINTING WORKSHOPS. Look out for demos and talks at the Windmill and Museum too as well as craft workshops for the kids including pebble painting, paper pots and make a mini garden.
#26 Half Term Holiday Fun at The Observatory Science Centre – Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June
Open from 10am daily, visitors to The Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux can take in Tours of the Telescopes and Science Shows alongside the hands-on exhibits for all the family to see. There are also some exciting pre-bookable workshops too (£11.25 per child), including a half day ‘Juggling is Catching’ session on Tuesday 30th May from 10.30am to 1pm (age 6-8) and 2 to 4.30pm (age 9 – 11) as well as ‘Car of the Future’ on Wednesday 31st May and ‘Forensic Investigation’ on Thursday 1st June – exact timings / age ranges can be found HERE. The popular ‘Jaguars on the Lawn’ will be taking place on Sunday 4th June from 11am to 4pm, with a super selection of beautiful cars on display from the East Sussex Jaguar Enthusiasts Club.
More things to do in Kent during May Half Term…
#27 Medieval Magic at Lullingstone Castle – Sunday 28th & Monday 29 May
Enjoy fun for all the family at Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden with a Medieval Weekend held this Sunday and May Bank Holiday Monday from 11am to 5pm. Lullingstone will be transformed into a magical medieval village – step back in time to experience the authentic sights and sounds with ‘living history’ displays, character dress, campfires, tents and medieval weapons. Everyone can get involved with the archery sessions running throughout the day and pop into the café marquee for a light lunch, homemade cake plus hot and cold drinks. Picnics also welcome too! Children under 15 go for FREE and entry for adults is £10.
#28 Beauty & The Beast / Zip & Zap And The Marble Gang at Trinity Theatre – Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June
There are several different screenings of Beauty and the Beast taking place at Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells this May Half Term – on Monday 29th May, Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd June. Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang will be screened on Thursday 1st June and Friday 2nd June. Find out more HERE.
#29 Gravesend Cyclopark Family Fun Day – Monday 29th May
Cyclopark in Gravesend is celebrating its fifth birthday by throwing open its doors to everyone for a FREE day of fun! It’s a fantastic opportunity to try out activities for free – bring a bike or scooter and ride the circuit, test your skills on the MTB trails or take the plunge on the world class BMX track. As well as free ride sessions there will be coaching available throughout the day on the BMX and MTB circuits ‘learn to ride’ sessions for toddlers to get them started on two wheels. There’ll also be fun fair rides, inflatables, charity stalls, competitions and challenges. Parking fees of £3 per car apply on the day – register online HERE.
#30 Mr Mulligan’s Dino Golf Launch Party – Monday 29th May
The amazing Mr Mulligan’s in Tonbridge is hosting a launch party on Monday 29th May and would like to invite you, your friends and family to visit this rip-roaringly fantastic 18-hole adventure golf course which is now open. Mr Mulligan himself will be arriving in Tonbridge with his dinosaur friends and some expert entertainers including a specialist dinosaur balloon artist, a wonderful set of face painters and a couple of surprise guests. There’s FREE SLUSH FOR KIDS and all activities are completely FREE. The adventure golf will still be charged as per the normal rate which you can find out more about HERE.
#31 Bing & Flop at the Spa Valley Railway – Monday 29th May
Popular children’s characters Bing and Flop will be making personal appearances at one of the Spa Valley Railway stations on Monday 29th May, ready to see lots of ‘Bingsters’ arriving on trains from Tunbridge Wells West. They will appear at intervals throughout the day, so don’t forget to bring your camera! Train fares include travelling on either a steam or diesel train. More information HERE.
#32 Millbrook Garden Centre Mini-Beast Week – Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June
Join Millbrook Garden Centre in Crowborough for a week of Mini-Beast fun from Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June, to introduce little ones to the exciting world of creepy crawly creatures which can be found living in your garden. There’s lots of enjoyable mini-beast activities to take part in over the week including Get up close to real life creepy crawlies (29th May), Make a Mini-beast House Workshop (30th May), Decorate a Bug Catcher Workshop (31st May), Paint and Plant a Ceramic Butterfly Pot Workshop (1st June) and a story time and music session with Kent based Children’s author Joseph Hopkins on 2nd June. Places need to be booked in advance for some of the activities HERE.
#33 Andy’s Dino Raps at Port Lympne – Monday 29th May
Get ready to sink your teeth into a brilliant day out at Port Lympne Reserve – featuring kids TV presenter Andy Day, and his Dinosaur Raps on Monday 29th May! The Dinosaur Forest will be playing host to a live performance by Andy himself and even a chance to meet him! There’ll also be loads of arts, crafts and activities to enjoy – including dinosaur mask making, fossil digging, guided tours with the Dinosaur Rangers and a Dinosaur Forest Challenge Check out the Port Lympne website HERE for exact timings, ticket prices and a 10% discount when booking online.
#34 Chimera Climbing Half-Term Clubs – Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June
Chimera Climbing in High Brooms is hosting morning and afternoon holiday clubs across the May Half Term. Little Monkeys for 5-7 year olds, Rock Ninjas for 8-11 year olds and the Academy for 12-16 year olds. Each session is £12.50 for one hour of instructed climbing. Find out more about Chimera Climbing HERE.
#35 Half Term Holiday Clubs with Tiger Gymnastics – 30th & 31st May plus 1st & 2nd June
Tiger Gymnastics in Tonbridge is hosting two May Half Term Holiday Clubs – the first is on Tuesday 30th & Wednesday 31st May and the second is on Thursday 1st & Friday 2nd June. Drop off is from 8.30 to 8.55am for a 9am start and the sessions run until 3pm. These super clubs include a selection of gymnastics sessions, fun warm ups and games as well as arts & crafts, a movie during lunch and one hour of trampolining at Jump In! The sessions are £25 per day or £85 for the week (making a saving of £15). There are also some shorter standalone sessions taking place too including Handstand, Vault and Backflip/Somersault Workshops for £7 each. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.
#36 Temper Temper Chocolate Workshops – Tuesday 30th May
The terrific Temper Temper Chocolate in Southbrough is hosting two Chocolate Making Workshops this Half Term on Tuesday 30th May from 10am to 12 noon and 1 to 3pm. Sessions are £20 per child and spaces are limited and must be booked in advance by calling Alison on 07999058820 or emailing email@example.com.
#37 Holiday Happenings: Puzzling Puzzles at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery – Tuesday 30th May to Thursday 1st June
Get your brains working for a puzzling Holiday Happenings this May Half Term at Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery from. Enjoy free arts and crafts for all the family and impress use the materials given to embrace creativity and genius and conquer some of the puzzling puzzles in the museum and the library to win a prize. These drop in family activities are completely FREE and are taking place from 10.30am to 12.30pm & 2 to 4pm. No need to book ahead.
#38 Creatables ‘Circus Performance’ Workshops – Tuesday 30th May to Friday 2nd June
Creatables workshops are back again this Half Term with a ‘Circus Performance’ theme this time. There’s a Circus Taster taking place on Tuesday 30th May at St Mark’s Church Hall, Tunbridge Wells and the Circus Performance workshops are on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st May at Hildenborough Village Hall as well as on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd June at The Drive Methodist Church Hall in Sevenoaks. There promises to be a magical mix of fun drama games, creative crafts, song, dance, plus a huge dollop of fun! Call 07738863871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place.
#39 Buggs Club & Wild Art with Kent High Weald Partnership – Wednesday 31st May & Thursday 1st June
Help Kent High Weald Partnership spruce up the wildlife beds and sow a pot of herbs to take home at Number 1 Community Centre,Tunbridge Wells (TN2 5PX) from 10.30am to 1.30pm on Wednesday 31st May. On Thursday 1st June from 10.30am to 1.30pm, children are also invited to take part in Wild Art! Explore the woods for natural materials to make woodland craft in another FREE event, this time at Sherwood Lake, TN2 3LZ (meet at the entrance to the woods in the Car park). Please dress to be in the woods, you may get a little grubby! For more information please call 01580 212972.
#40 The Emperors New Clothes at Hever Festival Theatre – Wednesday 31st May & Thursday 1 June
Looking for something fun, unique and highly entertaining this half term? Hans Christian Andersen’s much loved tale The Emperor’s New Clothes has been imaginatively adapted and will be performed at the Festival Theatre in the gorgeous grounds of Hever Castle (which you can explore after the show) at 2.30pm on Wednesday 31st May & Thursday 1 June. The Emperor is a lovely man, but he is surrounded by idiots! When two swindlers offer him the ability to identify fools by making him clothes only the wise can see, will he end up losing his crown jewels?! All will be revealed in this cheeky show, tickets of which can be booked HERE.
#41 The Right Tuition Company Revision Day for 11+ – Thursday 1st June
The Right Tuition Company is hosting an 11+ Revisision Day from 10am to 4pm this Thursday. The day starts off with Study Skills from 10am to 12 noon, followed by Maths from 12-1pm and lunch until 2pm. There’s the Kent Test English from 2-3pm and the day ends with Verbal Reasoning from 3-4pm. Sessions are £24 per hour or £120 for the day. Places can be booked by emailing email@example.com or calling 01892 800492.
#42 Plant your own Summer Fairy or Elf Garden at Sussex Country Gardener – Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th June
Children are invited to plant their own Fairy or Elf Garden at Sussex Country Gardener this May Half Term. There’ll be lots of ideas and inspiration for the summer and the workshops include refreshments and a tool set for every child.
Taking place daily from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th June, sessions are from 10.30am to 12.30pm and cost £15 per child. Advanced booking is essential by calling 01892 852 828. Find out more about Sussex Country Gardener HERE.
#43 Crowborough Summer Fun Day – Saturday 3rd June
Crowborough & District Chamber of Commerce is hosting the tenth Summer Fun Day on Saturday 3rd June from 9am to 5pm in Crowborough Town Centre. Always a popular event, there’ll be an Italia in Piazza guest market this year as well as street entertainers, a professional face painter, climbing wall, bouncy castle, music, food stalls and much more!
Hopefully these 43 things to do in Kent during May Half Term will keep you busy, but if you are looking for ideas, have a look at my ’50 things to do for FREE in Kent & East Sussex’ blog post for even more inspiration: