Maypole Dancing in Tunbridge Wells

Maypole Dancing in Tunbridge Wells

David Hodgkinson

May Day

Stay in Kent during May and you can enjoy overnight spa breaks for couples in luxurious hotels if you choose Tunbridge Wells.

Come and celebrate the year of a Royal Wedding in a region fit for royals - Royal Tunbridge Wells, town and country at its best!

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 which is from Saturday 5 May to Monday 7 May 2018. 

Traditional May Day Celebrations

At Hever Castle, join in the traditional May Day Festival from 5-7 May 2018.

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 24 April until 8 May 2018.

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 6-7 May. If your survival instincts are distinctly lacking, come and learn some vital bushcraft skills!

The Spa Valley Railway has a steam sensation going on for all 3 days of the May holiday weekend.  All their steam locomotives, passenger and freight will operate. Tickets are available in advance from their website.

The belle of them all though in early May has to be the bluebells.  An absolute must is to visit Hole Park for the undeniable best display in Britain, the Bluebell Festival.  Starting from 20 April until 3 May, quite near to Cranbrook, stay and revel in the mesmorising glory of the countryside at this time of year.  Read our page on all the brilliant places to go for bluebell walks in Kent.

Tales from a Castle

During the 6 and 7 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, performers and authors will be appearing at the festival to share their exploits and imaginative tales. Just a few of these include Imogen Lycett Green, Ian Rankin, Erwin James, Leanda de Lisle and Daljit Nagra. Eddie Armer, artist, will also be holding workshops to teach you how to draw the human form.

For children (or the child within), there are Aardman Animations workshops, drawing techniques with David Melling and Hugless Douglas, and author Lauren Child 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 dramatic performances.

Over 35 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.

The Mayfield Festival of Music and Arts runs from 28 April - 13 May.  Classical music will be performed in Mayfield school and in St Dunstan's church.

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.

One Warwick Park hosts the Support Local pop-up market inside the hotel.  This is held on Sunday 6 May and free to enter, but don't forget your wallet! The temptation to buy beautiful, homemade, artisan goodies will be irresistable.

The Museum and Art Gallery have an exhibition on Fegans, the children's charity until 2 June which is free to enter.

In the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells, The George Pub's listed stables are occupied by around 30 artists. Unique selection of ceramics, home accessories, woodcraft, kitchen items, decorative items, clothing, purses, upholstery, jewellery antique furniture, paintings and much more, many made in the local area are available to be admired and purchased. The George Pub remains open for dining and drinking. 

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.

Long weekend break

Take advantage of the long weekend and book yourselves in for a romantic retreat in a spa town with the joy of the countryside but a step away.  Luxurious and boutique hotels or private cottages are situated across the region of the Tunbridge Wells Weald with sumptuous accommodation and scrumptious local produce to produce perfect dining out options.

What's On Highlights

Sunday Pop Up Shopping Events at One Warwick Park Hotel

Sunday Pop Up Shopping Events at One Warwick Park Hotel

Free entry shopping events supporting local businesses at One Warwick Park Hotel...

Pantiles Market

Pantiles Market

The Pantiles Market is held on the first and third weekend of each month - combining...

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

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

All aboard for a Day Out With Thomas! Meet Thomas the Tank Engine™ and his friends,...

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