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. 

We have some special events to mark the May Day bank holiday at the beginning of the month which is from Saturday 4 May to Monday 6 May 2019. 

Traditional May Day Celebrations

At Hever Castle, join in the traditional May Day Festival over the whole holiday weekend.

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.

Escape to Pashley Manor Gardens amongst the renowned glory of their Tulip Festival from the 22 April until 7 May 2019.

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 4-6 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!

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 15 April until 10 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 4 to 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 Joanne Harris, Oz Clarke, and Tracey Borman amongst many, many more. 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, a story competition and a celebration of Giraffes Can't Dance to name a mere handful. 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 Hever Festival celebrates theatre at its most fun and this year is expanded! It starts on Bank Holiday weekend on 4th May and goes on all Summer to the end of August. Have a picnic in the gorgeous gardens and watch a performance of your choice - kids comedy, adult comedy, musicals, opera, drama, live music, film, and speakers. This year you can receive a discounted ticket to the castle if you buy a ticket for the Hever Festival.

Over 35 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 acoss the area.

Drama is on at The Trinity Theatre. Three Tall Women is a multi-award winning play by Edward Albees on the Saturday afternoon and night.  On Sunday afternoon, a recorded transmission of the enthralling opera Faust will be broadcast from the Royal Opera House.

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 for perfect dining out options.

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