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Join in the annual Jazz Festival at The Pantiles

Join in the annual Jazz Festival at The Pantiles

by David Hodgkinson

Festivals in Tunbridge Wells

If you’re looking for a Glastonbury-style feel good festival, come to Tunbridge Wells for a cheaper, cleaner, fun-filled, friendlier experience.

Annual festivals in this area are numerous, lively and varied with more popping up each year..

Tunbridge Wells is in the middle of rural Kent with acres of beautiful meadows to host such events away from city life.

The town of Royal Tunbridge Wells is the main hub for the area. It is on the main railway line between Hastings and London stations, only 55 minutes by train from London and 45 minutes from Hastings.

Many festivals are free, including the music festival Local & Live, Jazz on the Pantiles, UnFest and the Mela, which are all in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Live outdoor music

Jazz on the Pantiles is a popular and well loved festival having been going for more than 20 years in the town’s remaining bandstand. This event starts in May, goes on till September and enlivens the tender English summer evenings out on the pedestrianised Pantiles terraces.

The Pantiles Jazz Festival by David Hodgkinson

Every Thursday night from 7.30pm, soak up the warmth of the atmosphere, enjoy the cool beats and sip on a local wine, juice or ale from one of the many classy bars, cafés, or restaurants. It does get busy so book into a joint for a relaxed view otherwise you can dance your socks off!

Unfest is an annual local music and arts fringe festival for Tunbridge Wells and the South East region organised by the Forum music venue. It is held every Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.

This will appeal to indie music and art lovers. The festival centres around The Forum (a highly acclaimed music venue) on Fonthill in Royal Tunbridge Wells town, and pubs on the Pantiles and the High Street.

Last year for the first time, the Art Gallery & Museum hosted performers too! There were spoken word, poetry and readings from award winning writers.

It usually all kicks off at 6pm on Friday of the Spring Bank Holiday and goes on until late on Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Come and experience something creative, inspiring and Tunbridge Wellian!

Don't forget the art pop up installations too. The list of performances across the town was a mile long so do check their website for full details.

Alfresco is a new addition to the festival schedule in and around Tunbridge Wells. Three days of family friendly music and activities will be held during the Spring Bank Holiday in late May.

This event has spent the last few years in Blackpool but has now fallen in love with Colebrook Lakes near the A21 in Tunbridge Wells.

There will be overnight camping, 4 stages of music (you should see the length of the list!) as well as cool activities for children: roller disco, magic shows, balloon modelling, graffitti - oh this list is too long as well!!

Bedgebury Forest Live, next to Goudhurst village, is famously anticipated every year in June.  The Forest has welcomed Tom Jones, Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Debbie Harry, Erasure, and Keane to name- drop a few greats! Bring your own chairs and picnic.

On 7-9th July is the Live Expressions Festival at Colebrook Lakes again. Glamping, camping, rocking, funking and more, a summer feel good family festival in the sticks!

Book your camping on site for a 3 day weekend. Suitable for ages 5 and up. You could splash out and book a luxury bell tent with furnishings!

A mere 50 mins or so from the centre of London the nearest train station is High Brooms, the station between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

This late night extravaganza will be on during the second weekend of July but hurry up, it’s selling fast.

A family festival, Dunorlan Park, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Local & Live is a lively town–centric music festival held in August to make the most of the long bank holiday weekend (and possibly some nice weather!). People and bands arrive from far and wide to enjoy and partake in the music making.

This eclectic fringe music festival pours out across the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells to the pubs and cafés.

The railway station is in the heart of the festival happenings and being only half an hour from London, makes it an ideal weekend break for couples and friends.

The main man, Paul Dunton, organsies this event with the help of other local businesses and venues, as well as numerous other music events throughout the year. He is a passionate local musician who likes to keep the music 'Local & Live'!

And Roger Daltry, no less, has recognised the success of this annual event so why would you miss out?

Local Celebrities and Celebrating Local

The Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor Gardens is the highlight of any gardeners’ calendar.  You have to see it to believe it – such a stunning vivid mass and range of colours from only one type of bulb!

For all day family fun, the Mela celebrates the diversity of the local community through music, visual arts, food and dance. Join this lively event in July, taste the delights of India, Bangladesh, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America in Calverley Grounds.

The Cricket Festival, held at the end of May over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, is four day’s worth of cricket and tasting local food and drink.

The Nevill Cricket Ground in Tunbridge Wells was named as one of the best outgrounds in the country by The Independent Newspaper in April 2015.

For something totally different go to the Summer Steam Festival on during the first weekend of July at the Spa Valley Railway. Lots of different experiences to try, come and find out more.

At the latter end of July, the War and Peace Revival returns to the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood after a 2 year break. This is now a five day show and up to 2015 had been going continuously for 25 years.

This is a week of celebrating the lifestyle of the first half of the 20th century and military might from all over the globe.

Day tickets or camping on site is available. The nearest train station is Paddock Wood and only 8 miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells by road. There is plenty of parking.

The nearest mainline railway station is Paddock Wood which is a short taxi ride away. The number 6 Arriva bus transports you right to the venue entrance from Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Maidstone directions.

The Full Fat Milk Fest is held on August bank holiday weekend at The Milkhouse Pub in Sissinghurst in conjunction with Produced in Kent – it’s all about local delicacies as well as a weekend of fun for all the family!

Arts, Classical and Theatre Festivals

In May, the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival is now a 3 day event thanks to its continuing success. Listen to Terry Waite, Adam Sisman or 19 other literary speakers give fascinating talks on their tales.

Workshops are available too.

Hever Theatre Festival provides dramatic entertainment in the open air in July for adults and families to enjoy. 

From comedy to cinema, musicals to drama you cannot fail to enjoy this outdoor event in such an opulent backdrop as Hever Castle, a veritable fairy tale. 

Look out for the programme in our What’s On schedule.

A new festival to the scene is the two day Cranbrook Literature Festival. Cosy up with like-minded people every 2 years at the end of September and hear great authors’ talks. 

In 2016 Alex Preston, Vanessa Nicolson, Dave McKean, Julian Clary and Giles Brandreth were some of the celebrities who shared their experiences with audiences.  The next is in 2018.

The Wadhurst Arts Festival, started in 1996, is held every September in the heart of the Wealden countryside.  Pay a visit to this ancient historic English village dating from the 7th or 8th century to view local artists’ work.

You can also take in Scotney Castle in nearby Lamberhurst village, another ancient and historic settlement, or a pub lunch near Lamberhurst vineyard. 

Classical musical festival - violin player

The Frant Music Festival is a year long festival of some of the greatest names in opera, jazz and classical music in the world. Held in the local church in the Wealden countryside only a couple of miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells, St Albans has "unsurpassed accoustics".

The RTW International Music Festival takes place from mid September to mid October.

Showcasing renowned international talent in the fields of classical and jazz music, the 2015 programme included a performance by soprano Dame Felicity Lott. 2016 saw the return of star soloists Michael Collins, Michael McHale and Jeni Bern.

Various venues across the borough host the performances giving you a chance to experience the country scenery and authentic history of the area.

The Lamberhurst Music Festival is a classical annual music festival held in the local church and village hall.  Delivered with style and passion, this has been going for at least 15 years now and continues to be eagerly anticipated.

October 2017 sees the return of the Puppetry Festival to various venues across Tunbridge Wells. Keep an eye on the What’s On entry for further details to come.

Beer and cider festivals still remain popular in this hop and apple growing part of the world. In particular we must mention the Spa Valley Railway CAMRA festival Real Ale and Diesel Gala in Autumn.  This is now the second largest hop festival in the South East.

Many of the villages across the borough have their own village festivals which pop up exclusively for one or two years only such as the Hawkhurst Beer and Music Festival, the Cranbrook Apple Regatta and the Cranbrook Music Festival and not just during summer months.  

Basket of local apples, cider and juice

Check the Autumn page for more events going on in September to December as well as bookmarking the What’s On listings. Keep an eye on it for once in a lifetime opportunities and memories. 

These numerous imaginative events are testament to the sense of fun, cultural appreciation and beauty the Weald has to offer.   

Where do I stay? how do I get there?

Book your accommodation early to allow yourself to be fully immersed in the festival vibes and soak up the rural flavours.

There are plenty of taxis that can ferry you back and forth, your accommodation provider can help with this or contact the Tourist Information Office.

If you stay a little longer in the Garden of England, you can experience so many wonderful country pubs and restaurants in the area. It’s the Tunbridge Wells sensation!

Browse the site for plenty more events and exhibitions; more detail can be found in the What’s On listings nearer the times of the occasions themselves.

External Link

Unfest

Number of items:

Number of items: 135

, currently showing 1 to 20.

  1. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm throughout the summer in 2017.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    11 May 2017 To 11 May 2017
  2. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm throughout the summer in 2017.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    18 May 2017 To 18 May 2017
  3. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm throughout the summer in 2017.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    25 May 2017 To 25 May 2017
  4. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm throughout the summer in 2017.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    1 Jun 2017 To 1 Jun 2017
  5. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles starts 4 May, continuing every Thursday throughout the summer.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    4 May 2017 To 4 May 2017
  6. Add Extreme Festival at Groombridge Place to your Itinerary

    Extreme Festival at Groombridge Place

    Tunbridge Wells

    Extreme Festival is coming to Kent, the garden of England, along with The Beast, live music, great food and of course beer. Who is ready for the biggest garden party of the year!

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    29 Apr 2017 To 30 Apr 2017
  7. Add Guided Walking Tour of Royal Tunbridge Wells to your Itinerary

    Guided Walking Tour of Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Pantiles, Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Every Saturday and Thursday from April to December.

    Type

    Guided Walk

    Dates

    From:
    27 Apr 2017 To 27 Apr 2017
  8. Add Guided Walking Tour of Royal Tunbridge Wells to your Itinerary

    Guided Walking Tour of Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Pantiles, Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Every Saturday and Thursday from April to December. Today's walking tour sets off at 11.30am (usually 11am).

    Type

    Guided Walk

    Dates

    From:
    11 May 2017 To 11 May 2017
  9. Add Capturing on Collodian - Exhibition at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery to your Itinerary

    Capturing on Collodian - Exhibition at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Sean Hawkey's new photographic portraits of people from Tunbridge Wells, captured using the Collodian Process.

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    27 Jan 2017 To 27 May 2017
  10. Annie Get Your Gun at The Assembly Hall Theatre

    Add Annie Get Your Gun at The Assembly Hall Theatre to your Itinerary

    Annie Get Your Gun at The Assembly Hall Theatre

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    TWODS presents Annie Get Your Gun, a superb family musical with wonderful music by Irving Berlin.

    Type

    Theatre/Drama

    Dates

    From:
    25 Apr 2017 To 29 Apr 2017
  11. Add Escape to the Wild at Penshurst Place & Gardens to your Itinerary

    Escape to the Wild at Penshurst Place & Gardens

    Penshurst

    Learn outdoor survival skills and bushcraft at a fun-packed demonstration on the Woodland Trail at Penshurst Place and Gardens over the Bank Holiday weekend.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    30 Apr 2017 To 1 May 2017
  12. Add Pantiles Market  to your Itinerary

    Pantiles Market

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Pantiles Market is held on the first and third weekend of each month - combining hot food and seasonal local produce with a broad selection of crafts, gifts, clothing and accessories.

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

    From:
    6 May 2017 To 7 May 2017
  13. Add Ruth Rendell: A Judgement in Stone at the Assembly Hall Theatre to your Itinerary

    Ruth Rendell: A Judgement in Stone at the Assembly Hall Theatre

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Ruth Rendell’s brilliant plot unravels a lifetime of deceit, despair and cover-ups which, when revealed, brings a shocking revelation almost as grizzly as murder itself. A star cast with many TV and stage favourites.

    Type

    Theatre/Drama

    Dates

    From:
    15 May 2017 To 20 May 2017
  14. Add Rent at the Assembly Hall Theatre to your Itinerary

    Rent at the Assembly Hall Theatre

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Thrilling story of impoverished young artists struggling to survive in New York City's East Village in the days of Bohemian excess. Do not miss this multi-award-winning, ground-breaking rock musical as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

    Type

    Theatre/Drama

    Dates

    From:
    23 May 2017 To 27 May 2017
  15. Add Wild West Adventures at Groombridge Place to your Itinerary

    Wild West Adventures at Groombridge Place

    Tunbridge Wells

    Visit Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells over the Bank Holiday Weekend for a Wild West adventure. Enjoy a fun filled day of crafts, fireside songs, story-telling and much more!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    29 Apr 2017 To 1 May 2017
  16. Add Beasts Roadshow at Penshurst Place & Gardens to your Itinerary

    Beasts Roadshow at Penshurst Place & Gardens

    Penshurst

    Have you ever swaddled a skunk? Or cradled a cockroach? Join The Hawking Centre as they bring back their creepy crawlies and cuddly creatures in a fantastic interactive workshop where you can learn all about their peculiar animals!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    28 May 2017 To 29 May 2017
  17. Add Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival 2017 at The Nevill Ground to your Itinerary

    Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival 2017 at The Nevill Ground

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The 2017 Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival at the Nevill Ground in Royal Tunbridge Wells - LV County Championship Kent versus Sussex.

    Type

    Sporting Event

    Dates

    From:
    26 May 2017 To 29 May 2017
  18. Add 7th CAMRA Real Ale and Diesel Gala at the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    7th CAMRA Real Ale and Diesel Gala at the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Our major Real Ale and Cider event is back for its 7th year!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    20 Oct 2017 To 22 Oct 2017
  19. Add Christmas Gift Shopping at Pashley Manor Gardens to your Itinerary

    Christmas Gift Shopping at Pashley Manor Gardens

    Ticehurst, near Wadhurst

    Pashley's Shop will be open for 11 days in winter for Christmas shopping.
    As usual the shop will be packed with a wide selection of high quality gifts and cards, as well as special Christmas stock for the festive season.

    Type

    Sale

    Dates

    From:
    23 Nov 2017 To 3 Dec 2017
  20. Add Dahlia Days at Pashley Manor Gardens to your Itinerary

    Dahlia Days at Pashley Manor Gardens

    Ticehurst, near Wadhurst

    As summer turns to autumn the gardens at Pashley, on the border of Sussex and Kent, are ablaze with colour, provided by hundreds of dazzling dahlias, during the Dahlia Days event.

    Type

    Show / Display

    Dates

    From:
    5 Sep 2017 To 10 Sep 2017

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