We’ve got the bank holiday licked with our spread on where to head for a happy holiday, including an ice cream festival.
You may not be able to bank on the holiday weather, but you can count on there being a bumper load of events across Kent to make the most of the three-day weekend. By Angela Cole
KENT LIFE, MAIDSTONE
Cool off at the Maidstone heritage farm park this Bank Holiday Monday with the return of the Ice Cream Festival.
With plenty of tasty treats to tuck into and sample, ice cream vendors, chocolatiers and sweet stalls galore, the indulgent festival will see a visit from Kent’s Simply Ice Cream, and Kelly’s of Cornwall, known for their clotted cream range. There will also be a 40s flavour with music from the Boogie Woogie Gals and the chance to visit all the usual treats, including Cuddle Corner, Paint-a-pot studio, outdoor and indoor play areas, and the Vintage Village. Entry, between 10am and 5pm, is £9.95 and £7.95 for children between three and 15. For details call 01622 763936 or visit kentlife. org.uk.
LULLINGSTONE CASTLE & THE WORLD GARDEN
Set within 120 acres of Kent countryside, the historic family estate stages its Plant Hunters’ Weekend between Saturday, August 26 to Bank Holiday Monday. The castle is home to the World Garden of Plants, which contains some 8,000 plant species, cultivars and hybrids planted in their respective countries of origin by modern-day plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke. Celebrating the lives of some of Britain’s most intrepid plant hunters, Tom and friends in Victorian dress lead a guided tour of the garden between 1.30pm and 3.30pm, providing a glimpse into the past. The event, between 11am and 5pm each day, also includes a visit from Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) with animals and reptile guests. Special events admission is £10 and children under
15 are free. Find the castle and garden at Eynsford. To book call 01322 862114 or visit lullingstonecastle.co.uk
Lego Friends are joining the summer line-up at the shopping centre. They will be visiting from Friday, August 25 to Bank Holiday Monday, with a host of free experiences for the family to enjoy. Children up to the age of 12 and their parents are invited to get hands-on and make their own Lego creations and they can get their groove on with a silent disco, complete with a disco ball, pop classics, disco props and dance floor.
Visit Bluewater.co.uk for details.
THE MILK HOUSE, SISSINGHURST
The four-day Full Fat Festival over the bank holiday weekend kicks off on Friday, August 25 and runs through to Bank Holiday Monday.
The feel-good feast of fun for the whole family includes music from top local talent and food and drink from cocktails to hot dogs, face painting to juggling. The Full Fat Festival Top will be back on tap at a cheap and beerful £3.50 a pint. Bring a rug, make yourself comfortable, and tuck into some fine festival fodder and enjoy the tunes. Local artists Sandy Dooley and Amy Devlin will also be inviting visitors to make their mark on a collaborative canvas on the Sunday. The weekend will also be raising money for village organisations, including Sissinghurst’s Trinity Church. For details go to themilkhouse. co.uk
It has 1,143 cubic metres of air inside it and stands at almost 13 metres.
The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, which comes to the recently revamped park this summer as it opens every day throughout the summer holidays, with circus acts and new rides you might not have tried before, is at the Margate venue until Saturday, August 26. It is open from 11.30am every day, and a 10-minute bounce costs £3.50. Some 100 people – both children and adults – can bounce together at the same time.
For details go to dreamland. co.uk
Doc.yard is back at the Chatham dockyard for a fourth year with mathematical and science fun and games, when there will be a one-hourlong interactive experience with Doc and his assistant Bunsen, through to
3. Doc and Bunsen will, with the help of the audience, be exploring how curves in ships and waves in air work. There will be three shows a week and two at the weekends, which are included in your annual ticket. For details go to
Summertime activities run through to Saturday, September 2. Until Friday, August 25, visitors can follow the clues to uncover some interactive family fun on a Mystery Quest, which leads you around the estate from the Woodland Walk to the castle, through the gardens, the maze and beyond. For details of what’s on go to
There’s a bumper bank holiday at the house and gardens with different activities planned for each day of the three-day break. Included free in the cost of standard garden admission ticket, there will be Bushcraft skills on the Woodland Walk, aerial and static falconry displays on the South Lawn and a demonstration of a working replica of the first printing press. On Bank Holiday Monday, you can have a go at using a printing press to create your own story and illustrations while on Sunday, August 27, visitors will be treated to aerial falconry displays from the Hawking Centre and the chance to see the birds up close. Learn fire-lighting, shelter-building and survival skills from the experts at Camp Wilderness who will be showing visitors how to survive the great outdoors on Sunday, August 27 and Bank Holiday Monday. While at the site, head to the Maize Maze, which is open into September. For details visit penshurstplace.com
PORT LYMPNE & HOWLETTS
Children go free in August until Thursday, August 31 at the Hythe and Canterbury animal attractions, after the same deal proved popular in July. Family-friendly activities run throughout the holidays with animal talks, feeds, activities and crafts. A child goes free with every paying adult. Throughout the holidays, visitors can also join education presenters for animal talks, feeds, activities and crafts. To book, and for more details, visit aspinallfoundation.org
ROYAL VICTORIA PLACE
Dino Live with its gang of prehistoric prowlers has its last weekend at the Tunbridge Wells shopping centre, taking visitors through a unique journey spanning more than 250 million years. Visitors can see the dinosaurs, including a Tyrannosaurus rex, Ceratosaurus, Iguanodon and the lesser-known Kentrosaurus move, roar and even breathe. Young visitors can have their picture taken with a baby T-rex and there will be craft workshops. The displays are open until Bank Holiday Monday, between 9am and 6pm, or 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sundays, and entry is free.
Dino Draw workshops are also being held on Saturdays between 10am and 5pm and Sundays between 11am and 4pm. Children need to be accompanied by an adult.
SPA VALLEY RAILWAY
The railway is in line for 20th anniversary celebrations from Saturday, August 26 to Bank Holiday Monday. There will be locomotive action including the BR Standard 4MT No. 80078, a steam locomotive owned by Stewart Robinson. The railway opened the line to Groombridge in August 1997. The railway is home to a fleet of steam & heritage diesel locomotives, including an 1876-built steam engine known as Terrier ‘Sutton’ and the train which closed the line in 1985, Thumper 1317. For details and to buy tickets visit spavalleyrailway.co.uk
Summertime events at Leeds Castle, Maidstone
Youngsters can learn bushcraft skills at Penshurst Place
The Spa Valley Railway
The world’s biggest bouncy castle at Dreamland
Full Fat Festival at the Milk House in Sissinghurst; animal magic at Port Lympne and Howletts