To provide you with the best experience on this website, cookies are used. By using the site it's assumed that you're happy with our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. More info on cookies.
Allow cookies
Join in the annual Jazz Festival at The Pantiles

Join in the annual Jazz Festival at The Pantiles

by David Hodgkinson

Live Music & 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 Hever in Bloom to your Itinerary

    Hever in Bloom

    Edenbridge

    Hever Castle’s annual garden event showcases the glorious award winning gardens at the height of their summer beauty. Enjoy one of the finest displays of more than 4,000 roses in Kent, the Garden of England.

    Explore the gardens in a free guided tour daily (approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour) led by...

    Type

    Show / Display

    Dates

    From:
    26 Jun 2017 To 2 Jul 2017
  2. Summer Maize Maze Penshurst Place and Gardens

    Add Summer Maize Maze Penshurst Place and Gardens to your Itinerary

    Summer Maize Maze Penshurst Place and Gardens

    Tonbridge

    The Penshurst Maize Maze is back from 15th July-3rd September!

    Type

    Competition / Game

    Dates

    From:
    15 Jul 2017 To 3 Sep 2017
  3. Add The Moscow State Circus at Dunorlan Park to your Itinerary

    The Moscow State Circus at Dunorlan Park

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Moscow State Circus present their new production - ' GOSTINITSA'

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    31 Aug 2017 To 3 Sep 2017

    Venue

    Dunorlan Park, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  4. 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
  5. Add Tunbridge Wells Jazz Club: live jazz concert, (parking, bar, snacks and raffle). to your Itinerary

    Tunbridge Wells Jazz Club: live jazz concert, (parking, bar, snacks and raffle).

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live jazz concert with The Man Overboard Quintet,- a talented swing group

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    1 Sep 2017 To 1 Sep 2017
  6. Add Frant Music Festival 2017: Remi Harris Trio at Frant Church to your Itinerary

    Frant Music Festival 2017: Remi Harris Trio at Frant Church

    Frant

    Concert goers can expect a night of virtuoso guitar based Gypsy Swing, infused with influences from Jazz, Blues, Rock'n'Roll, Funk and World Music.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    1 Jul 2017 To 1 Jul 2017
  7. Add 20th Birthday Summer Garden Party at Hotel Du Vin to your Itinerary

    20th Birthday Summer Garden Party at Hotel Du Vin

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Join Hotel Du Vin as they celebrate 20 years of Hotel du Vin in Royal Tunbridge Wells with a glorious Summer Garden Party

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    8 Jul 2017 To 8 Jul 2017
  8. Add Teddy Restoration and Advice at Woods Restaurant to your Itinerary

    Teddy Restoration and Advice at Woods Restaurant

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Bring your teddy bear along for free advice on identification, age or 'clinical' needs.

    Type

    Demonstration

    Dates

    From:
    1 Jul 2017 To 1 Jul 2017
  9. Add Antique Fair on the Pantiles to your Itinerary

    Antique Fair on the Pantiles

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Antique Fair on The Pantiles

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

    From:
    23 Sep 2017 To 24 Sep 2017
  10. Add A Comedy of Errors at Burrswood Gardens to your Itinerary

    A Comedy of Errors at Burrswood Gardens

    Tunbridge Wells

    Bring your picnic and a rug or chair, and enjoy an outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s comic play, ‘A Comedy of Errors’, performed by the renowned Illyria Theatre Company, in the beautiful surroundings of Burrswood’s garden.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    29 Jul 2017 To 29 Jul 2017
  11. Vintage Fair on the Pantiles

    Add Vintage Fair on the Pantiles to your Itinerary

    Vintage Fair on the Pantiles

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The popular Vintage Fair returns to The Pantiles.

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

    From:
    29 Jul 2017 To 30 Jul 2017
  12. 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:
    8 Jul 2017 To 8 Jul 2017
  13. 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:
    3 Aug 2017 To 3 Aug 2017
  14. 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:
    5 Aug 2017 To 5 Aug 2017
  15. 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:
    10 Aug 2017 To 10 Aug 2017
  16. 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:
    12 Aug 2017 To 12 Aug 2017
  17. 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:
    17 Aug 2017 To 17 Aug 2017
  18. 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:
    19 Aug 2017 To 19 Aug 2017
  19. 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:
    26 Aug 2017 To 26 Aug 2017
  20. 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:
    24 Aug 2017 To 24 Aug 2017

Search Accommodation

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search Things to Do

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search What's On

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)
Date

Search Food & Drink

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search Shopping

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search What's On

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)
Date

Now featuring traveller reviews from TripAdvisor.