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Jubilee Celebrations in Kent

Alex Valentine
8th May 2022

Hang the bunting and pop that Pimms on ice, it’s only the Jubilee weekend! In celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s amazing 70 years on the throne, we’re enjoying a right royal knees up with an extra bank holiday! And after the testing times of the past couple of years, we’re also celebrating Thank Your Day on Sunday 5th June, to celebrate the people and communities that have helped us all. From garden picnics and street parties, to days at the castle and afternoon tea in the English countryside, the four-day weekend lies ahead and we’ve got plenty of ways you can spend your extra time off in Kent…

The good old garden party

There’s no way more fitting to celebrate this extremely British event than a garden party, right? Head to Reuthe’s, the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks as they turn into Kent’s biggest beer garden for the historic event! Complete with an open mic night, this family-orientated event will have little ones searching for the Queen’s jewels across their gardens while adults enjoy a Pimms and a BBQ. And did we mention that they will be attempting to create Kent’s longest picnic blanket at their Picnic in the Gardens on 5th June! Intrigued? We certainly are!

You can also join the party at Medway’s Platinum Jubilee picnic site in Rochester Castle Gardens. Watch while stars from film, television and stage tell the story of some of the most significant cultural moments from the Queen's reign on the special large screen and stream the festivities live from the capital.

Alternatively, make it your own party in the Garden of England with Balfour Winery's elegant cocktail evening. Experience the breathtaking views of the Estate from their balcony whilst sipping a selection of cocktails as the sunsets in the countryside - bliss!

Mind your manners at afternoon tea

Maybe the only more fitting to celebrate our Queen than a garden party is an afternoon tea! Enjoy a lavish afternoon tea with a twist (we’re talking Eton Mess Choux Buns!) in the historic mansion and 14 acres of tranquil landscaped gardens at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve – and don’t miss the opportunity to see animals from all over the commonwealth, included in your afternoon tea booking. 

At Gusbourne Vineyard, enjoy your afternoon tea in the vines  under a canopy overlooking their vineyard, with a bottle of sparking Rosé for two and a carefully curated afternoon tea selection to pair perfectly with your tipple – and make sure to check out their apple and pear trees planted in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee.

Foodies will want to head to Chapel Down Winery for their Jubilee tour among the vineyards followed by a tutored tasting of 6 delectable wines, and then move to the Bib Gourmand winning menus at The Swan restaurant for a glass of sparkling wine and delicious afternoon tea.

Finally, enjoy your afternoon tea with a scenic view of English countryside on the Spa Valley Railway as you travel on this heritage railway – a very British afternoon indeed!

Street party like it's 1952

Celebrate locally with a traditional street party wherever you are in Kent this bank holiday. In Tunbridge Wells, the town centre becomes the site of a Jubilee carnival all the way to Dunorlan Park, filled with family entertainment and traditional street parties. In Ashford, music at the bandstand and a musical performance by local primary schools is the perfect way to celebrate in the town centre, Make sure to join the Ashford Tree Trail on your visit, which will see 70 decorated trees across the town – everything from Corgi Trees to Postage Stamp Trees! -  for an artistic celebration of the Queen’s 70 years.

Down in Folkestone, The Dulcettes, Romney Marsh Morris and an Elvis Presley impersonator are among those ready to entertain in amongst the arts and food stalls, as well as a Punch & Judy Show, and a royal themed fancy dress competition with Platinum Jubilee coins as prizes. On 5th June, enjoy a celebration of 70 years of music with tribute acts like Queen, Bon Jovi, George Michael and Tina Turner.

For the little princes and princesses

Kids Rule down at Dover Castle this jubilee weekend, so take the chance to learn about a lesser known queen, Queen Eleanor, in her regency while King Henry II was at Dover Castle. Discover about the daily life of the queen, and make sure to practice your bows and curtesys – someone may emerge from the Great Tower during the day! Continue the kid-orientated celebrations and head to the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks for their Children’s Jubilee Party on the 4th June, where they’ll be lighting their own beacon and partying into the evening, perfect for making family memories on this momentous day.

The castle is calling

As our royal links run strong in Kent, we couldn’t not recommend a trip to one of our historic castles! Enjoy your bank holiday weekend at the home of two former queens of England, as Hever Castle was not only the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII but also his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Their special event, The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon Trail, is a specially designed augmented reality activity where players visit 7 characters that have ‘come to life’ from Buckingham Palace. Players, guided by Sir Barnaby Beacon, visit each character, learning about a different decade in Her Majesty’s 70 year reign. Finally, the Castle of Queens Juiblee Weekend at Leeds Castle celebrates the powerful, strong and cultured queens of history – a fast, story led show tells the story of the six queens to live at Leeds Castle. It’s a musical, magic event including crusaders, romantics, rebels and custard tarts!

Celebrate riverside

The River Medway will play host to a spectacular Platinum Jubilee Medway River Pageant and river-side street party in Chatham on Saturday 4th June. Throughout the afternoon, a procession of historic, commercial and leisure sea vessels will sail up-river to Sun Pier, Chatham, to join a synchronised spectacle of sights and sounds from ship to shore.  'The Great Cacophony' will be the coming together of the boats’ horns, cheering crowds, coastal attractions and church bells, further amplified by the whistles, bells and more from The Historic Dockyard Chatham and a 21-gun royal salute at Fort Amherst. Finally, relax with the family and enjoy the live music and food stalls that will be around Sun Pier in the afternoon. 

A trip back in time

Take a ride on Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway for a trip back to the 40s for their WWII-themed event! Come dressed in your best attire, whether it be a serviceman or rocking a tea dress and gladrags. Authentic re-enactments bring this immersive experience to life and takes you back over 70 years! Want to learn what life was really like for a young Elizabeth at this time? Book your ticket to hear the fascinating, ‘From Princess to Queen’ lecture at Canterbury Cathedral to discover how those childhood experiences of Elizabeth influenced her role as Queen, wife and mother once she was crowned.

Finally, immerse yourself into the parties of the rich, famous and royal in the 1950s at Leeds Castle’s Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend. Owner Lady Olive Baille was the hostess with the mostess at the time, with her lavish parties hosting stars of the silver screen, dignitaries and influential personalities at the elegant 1930s-styled castle. Kick back in your 1950s best with a Tom Collins, three-course fine dining and a live Swing band – and make a night of it with a stay in the castle bedrooms for the real royal treatment.

A musical tribute

Kick off your Jubilee festivities with a celebration of Royal Music in honour of The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral’s First Friend on the Roll, Her Majesty The Queen. Their music will be led by The Central Band of the Royal British Legion, who are performing at the Cathedral for the first time since 2010. Expect patriotic favourites, including Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, and Jerusalem, as well as a selection of modern classics! Of course, handheld flags are very much encouraged...

A slice of real history

Rose Street Cottage in Swale will exhibit coronation and Jubilee collectables so you can feast your eyes on a real slice of royal history across the Jubilee weekend. At historic Penshurst Place, look back (literally!) at the coronation as they have the real chairs sat on at the coronation! Whilst there, children can enjoy bunting workshops and Tudor Legacies which will retell the stories of the Queens of Henry VIII. Finally, in Medway, step back in time as we honour one of Kent's finest with a weekend of Dickensian discovery with a Jubilee twist. Immerse yourself in a cultural celebration of literature and entertainment and take in character parades from bygone years, eclectic live music performances, prose and poetry readings and comedy skits as you stroll the high street!

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