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Maypole Dancing in Tunbridge Wells

Maypole Dancing in Tunbridge Wells

David Hodgkinson

May Day

Looking for what’s on in May in Tunbridge Wells during your stay?

May Day is the ancient Roman festival dedicated to Flora, the goddess of flowers and fruit. The celebrations marked the coming of summer after the long dark winter months.

Traditionally, it would have included the crowning of the May queen. Girls would make May garlands of spring flowers, houses were decorated with flowers and spring greenery gathered in the early morning before sunrise, and there would be dancing around the village maypole!

The month of May is a lovely time of year with two bank holidays and an abundance of new life and blooms springing forth.

We have some special events to mark the May Day bank holiday at the beginning of the month.

Traditional May Day Celebrations

At Hever Castle, join in the traditional May Day Festival from 29 April to 1 May.

Dance around the maypole, see a Maypole Dance demonstration, meet the fabled Jack-in-the-Green and follow the Green Man in a May Day pageant through the gardens. Children can learn more about this character by following the Green Man trail and taking part in the fun activities. 

And why not celebrate the unofficial start of summer with a family picnic in one of the designated picnic areas?

In the Garden of England, there are some simply stunning gardens to visit.

Pashley Manor Gardens has its renowned Tulip Festival from the 1 May until 6 May.

Thousands of tulips in every colour imaginable, and others you may not have thought of, are on display to astound your senses.  Visitors come from all round the globe to see these incredibly colourful blooms. See their blog for the inside story.

Escape to the Wild in the glorious grounds of Penshurst Place & Gardens from 30 April to 1 May. If your survival instincts are distinctly lacking, come and learn some vital bushcraft skills!

An evening Moth Talk is being given by the Ian Beavis of Tunbridge Wells Museum in Grosvenor and Hilbert Park Hub on 12 May.  There is also a follow up in the morning, a chance to get up close to some wild moths.

The Spa Valley Railway has its annual Kids For A Quid event to celebrate May Day from 29 April – 1 May.

Tales from a Castle

During the 30 April – 2 May there is a large Literary Festival in the magnificent house and grounds of Chiddingstone Castle. This is an unmissable event for story-lovers of all ages.

Playwrights, poets and authors will be appearing at the festival to share their exploits and imaginative tales. Just a few of these include Adam Sisman, Terry Waite, Artemis Cooper, Imogen Lycett Green, Julia Samuel, Nicholas Crane and Conn Iggulden.

For children, there are Piers Torday, A F Harrold and local author, Christopher Lloyd to name a mere handful. Do check the website for the full list of who is appearing and further programme details including storytelling shows and how to enter the children’s story competition.

Over 40 May events in and around Tunbridge Wells

There are 2 Farmers’ Markets on outside the Town Hall this ‘merrie’ month and 8 Guided Walking Tours starting from The Pantiles. 

In case of poor weather there are plenty of exciting undercover events.

Buy a unique vintage find at the Antiques and Collectibles Fair and The Record Fair, on in May at the King Charles Church Hall in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Explore the historically fascinating aspects of the church whilst you’re there.

The Museum and Art Gallery have a photographic exhibition by Sean Hawkey – Capturing on Collodian – until 20 May.

Woods Restaurant is hosting a Spring Exhibition of artwork by three talented local artists.  Flowers, birds, landscapes and seascapes are depicted in oils, acrylic and watercolour. This is on until 5 June.

Check our what’s on page for all the details of the above events in Tunbridge Wells and more throughout the spring and summer months.

External links

Friends of Grosvenor & Hilbert Park 

What's On Highlights

Teddy Bears' Weekend on the Spa Valley Railway

Teddy Bears' Weekend on the Spa Valley Railway

All accompanied children who bring a teddy travel for £1, and teddy goes free!

Paddington and Family Fun on the Spa Valley Railway

Paddington™, a favourite with all the family will be on hand to see his fans...

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