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Tunbridge Wells In Bloom

Tunbridge Wells In Bloom

Family workshop

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

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 30 minutes by train from London and 45 minutes from Hastings.

Many festivals are free, including the Food Festival in the Pantiles, 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.

For this year, and for the first time, the Art Gallery & Museum will be hosting performers too! There will be spoken word, poetry and readings from award winning writers, particularly relevant this year in commemoration of our great Bard, William Shakespeare's death.

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

It all kicks off at 6pm on Friday 27 May and goes on until 11pm on Monday 30 May. Come and experience something creative, inspiring and Tunbridge Wellian!

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.

The Chilled in a Field Festival is also new at the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood for 2016.  A highly successful and award winning family festival which outgrew its original location in Hawkhurst, it promises to be bigger and better.

"This not-for-profit social enterprise makes good clean fun for families."
Top 25 Summer Festivals, The Guardian

A long weekend of dancing awaits you with camping on site. The nearest train station is Paddock Wood and only 8 miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells by road.

In its seventh year, this music festival will be on during the last weekend of July in 2016.

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

Since 2008, the Pantiles has been host to the Spring Food Festival in May, yum yum!

Local well known chefs and cooks demonstrate their skills and repartee to the crowds, infusing them with aroma and laughter.

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 in mid July, is a week’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.

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!

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!

Something totally different is 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.

Arts, Classical and Theatre Festivals

The International Art Fair is on at the end June from 24th - 26th.  See a glorious variety of media, genres and subjects at the Assembly Hall Theatre.

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.

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 as well as clarinettist Michael Collins who has played here in the past too.

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 14 years now and continues to be eagerly looked forward to.

Beer and cider festivals still remain popular in this hop and apple growing part of the world.

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 Literature Festival, the 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. 

A new festival to the scene is a 2 day Cranbrook Literature Festival, cosy up with like minded people at the end of September!

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

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  1. Add Riddles & Rhymes for Easter at Penshurst Place to your Itinerary

    Riddles & Rhymes for Easter at Penshurst Place

    Penshurst

    In a celebration of riddles and poetry, help track down a very important missing rabbit at Penshurst Place and embark on a fun and entertaining trail to decode the Easter Bunny's clues in time for Easter.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    1 Apr 2017 To 16 Apr 2017
  2. 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:
    4 Mar 2017 To 5 Mar 2017
  3. Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival at venues around Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Add Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival at venues around Royal Tunbridge Wells  to your Itinerary

    Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival at venues around Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival returns for 2017! Full details of this very special event to follow soon.

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    13 Oct 2017 To 15 Oct 2017
  4. 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
  5. Meet the Artists - Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant

    Add Meet the Artists - Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant to your Itinerary

    Meet the Artists - Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Meet the artists at the Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant - Erica Adams, Emily Mei and Carol Ann Slater.

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    19 Mar 2017 To 19 Mar 2017
  6. Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant

    Add Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant to your Itinerary

    Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Spring Exhibition at Woods Restaurant, featuring artists Erica Adams, Emily Mei and Carol Ann Slater.

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    7 Mar 2017 To 5 Jun 2017
  7. Paddington and Family Fun on the Spa Valley Railway

    Paddington and Family Fun on the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Paddington™, a favourite with all the family will be on hand to see his fans arriving on trains from Tunbridge Wells West.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    9 Sep 2017 To 9 Sep 2017
  8. Add A Day out with Thomas and Friends on the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    A Day out with Thomas and Friends on the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    All aboard for a Day Out With Thomas!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    30 Sep 2017 To 1 Oct 2017
    From:
    7 Oct 2017 To 8 Oct 2017
  9. Add Spa Valley Railway's 20th Birthday! to your Itinerary

    Spa Valley Railway's 20th Birthday!

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Come along and join us this August Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate our achievements on the Spa Valley Railway over the past twenty years!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    26 Aug 2017 To 28 Aug 2017
  10. Add Teddy Bears' Weekend on the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    Teddy Bears' Weekend on the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

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

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    12 Aug 2017 To 13 Aug 2017
  11. Add 15th Annual Summer Diesel Gala at the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    15th Annual Summer Diesel Gala at the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Our annual and well known four-day Summer Diesel extravaganza, which is a major part of our 20th anniversary year.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    3 Aug 2017 To 6 Aug 2017
  12. Add Postman Pat and his Cat Jess at the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    Postman Pat and his Cat Jess at the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Children's TV favourite Postman Pat® and Jess will be on hand to see their fans arriving on trains from Tunbridge Wells West.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    17 Jun 2017 To 17 Jun 2017
  13. Add 2nd Annual Summer Steam Festival at the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    2nd Annual Summer Steam Festival at the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Join us for a weekend of intensive steam action with steam locomotives plus an array of road engines, stationary engines and of course a selection of real ales & ciders!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    1 Jul 2017 To 2 Jul 2017
  14. Add A Day Out With Thomas and Friends on the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    A Day Out With Thomas and Friends on the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    All aboard for a Day Out With Thomas! Meet Thomas the Tank Engine™ and his friends, who are waiting to meet you at Spa Valley Railway.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    13 May 2017 To 14 May 2017
    From:
    20 May 2017 To 21 May 2017
  15. Kids for a quid on the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Take your kids for a ride on a heritage train for just £1.00.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    29 Apr 2017 To 1 May 2017
  16. Add Spring Steam Weekend on the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    Spring Steam Weekend on the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    As part of the Spa Valley Railway's 20th Anniversary celebrations during 2017, we welcome back our Spring Steam event, with two of our home fleet locomotives!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    22 Apr 2017 To 23 Apr 2017
  17. 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:
    1 Apr 2017 To 2 Apr 2017
  18. 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:
    15 Apr 2017 To 16 Apr 2017
  19. 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
  20. 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:
    20 May 2017 To 21 May 2017

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