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 visit a region fit for royals, 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. 

In 2020, the national commemoration of VE Day means that the traditional May Day bank holiday normally on a Monday at the beginning of the month, is this year on Friday 8 May 2020. 

Traditional May Day Celebrations

Traditional festivals and celebrations will still be taking place as well as VE Day 2020 Celebrations.

At Hever Castle, join in the annual May Day Festival on 2- 3 May 2020.

Dance around the maypole, see a Maypole Dance demonstration, watch the time honoured and expert Morris dancers and then join in a Morris side and have a go yourself! 

And why not celebrate the unofficial start of summer with a family picnic in one of the designated picnic areas whilst admiring the stunning display of wisteria and colour filled bedding plants?

On 8 May 2020, there will be some cheery celebrations to salute VE Day in style. 1940s style dancing, partying, games, food and much more to honour the end of World War 2.

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

Escape to Pashley Manor Gardens amongst the renowned glory of their Tulip Festival from the 22 April until 6 May 2020.

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.

Visit the glorious grounds of Penshurst Place & Gardens from 1-3 May to admire some handmade collectable art at the Weald of Kent Country Craft Show. Bring the family to enjoy the live music and sample the food as well as try your hand at some traditional crafts like weaving and glass blowing! Dogs welcome too!

Dogs will also be happy to join in the Woodland Wanderers Trail on 8 – 10 May and find the little treasures nature provides for a fun forage.

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 13 April until 8 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 7 - 10 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 Michael Morpurgo, Joanna Trollope and Maggie O'Farrell.

For children (or the child within), Aardman Animations’ workshops are back by popular demand, along with sessions on drawing techniques, creative writing, author talks and a celebration of The Tiger Who Came to Tea – VE Party to name a mere handful of events. Do check the website for the full list of who is appearing and further programme details including storytelling shows, topical discussions and dramatic performances.

The Best May events in and around Tunbridge Wells

There are several Farmers’ Markets on across the region this ‘merrie’ month and you can book a Group Guided Walking Tours by contacting the Tourist Information Centre

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

Explore the many historically fascinating aspects of the region's churches many of which house beautiful art works. St Dunstan's Church - the Cathedral of the Weald in Cranbrook, the Parish Church of King Charles the Martyr, and All Saints Church in Tudeley amongst others. We even have a leaflet describing a self guided tour 'On The Wealden Church Trail'. 

Art exhibitions are on display in the galleries and artist studios across the area.

Drama is on at The Trinity Theatre. The Real Thing is a “multi-award winning modern classic” play by Tom Stoppard on from 28 April – 2 May. 

The Assembly Hall Theatre has great entertainment from Tim Vine as Plastic Elvis, the RTW Symphony Orchestra playing Mozart and Bruckner and the Voice of Neil Diamond from Brooklyn Creed and The Salvation Band.

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.

A long weekend break in the country

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 for perfect dining out options.

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