Food, festivals and fun in the sun – What’s coming up in Kent?

Summer has arrived in Kent – making it the perfect time to get outside and celebrate all that the Garden of England has to offer

Whether you want to pay tribute to famous authors, rejoice in the landing of the oysters or just soak up some sunshine on the glorious Kent coast, get ready to jump into summer.

You can reach Kent and some of its most beautiful attractions in less than an hour from London with Southeastern Railway, making Kent the perfect place to enjoy food, festivals and fun in the sun this season.

Take a look at some of our top food and event highlights, and get planning now…


Kent was the home and inspiration of the great Charles Dickens for nearly twenty years, and Kent’s connections to the famous author will be celebrated with two Dickens festivals this summer. Make sure you head straight into festival season this weekend (9th to 11th June) with the Rochester Dickens Festival, including costumed parades and street acts. Celebrations continue from 17th to 23rd June with the 80th Broadstairs Dickens Festival which includes plenty of marvellous music and a Dickensian fayre.


The popular Whitstable Oyster Festival is back from 22nd to 24th July with a fresh new location on Tankerton Slopes. Visit this colourful coastal festival and celebrate the historic Landing of the Oysters, watch the Seafront Procession and, if you really love them, take the plunge with the Oyster Eating Competition. Festivities on the Kent coast continue with the nine-day Ramsgate Festival from 22nd to 30th July. The arts festival will kick off with opera on the beach and the festival market, followed by workshops, live shows and plenty of music.


Further along the coast, music lovers can check out the Dover Music Festival from 26th to 27th August, with live performances from Los Pacaminos featuring Paul Young, The Mods and Rudy Warman and the Heavy Weather. If you’re looking for a more relaxed musical evening, enjoy Jazz on the Pantiles, a chance to listen to live performances every Thursday evening throughout the summer in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells.


Celebrate the Garden of England’s rich farming heritage at the Kent County Show from 7th to 9th July. The three day event showcases rural life in Kent, with plenty of fun and excitement for the whole family. Raise a toast to Kent’s hopping heritage at the CAMRA and Kent and East Sussex Railway Real Ale and Cider Festival from 16th to 17th June, a chance to sample a range of local beer and cider on the platform of one of Kent’s renowned heritage railways.


At the newly reopened Dreamland Margate visitors can treat themselves to a range of cuisine at the all-new Friendliest Food Court Ever. This isn’t your average food court! Where else could you enjoy delicious street food from trendy vintage trucks as you soak up a festival feel in front of a live music stage? There’s a huge range to choose from, including traditional fish and chips, Mexican tacos, wood-fired pizza, and much more. All this, plus the backdrop of Margate beach – Dreamland’s new dishes make for a perfect food-filled summer!


If you need any more of an excuse to celebrate Kent’s fantastic food, National Picnic Week starts on 16th June, a chance to pack a lunch of the finest Kentish Produce from Macknade Fine Foods, the South East’s leading food hall. As for the perfect spot to pull up a picnic blanket, choices are endless with the magnificent sloping lawns of National Trust properties like Chartwell or Knole, or the striking sea views of the Lower Leas Coastal Park and natural beauty of Barton’s Point Coastal Park or Shorne Woods Country Park.

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