It's official . . . summer's here!

The sun’s here, school’s out and now it’s time to play! There’s certainly a huge choice of events in Sevenoaks and the surrounding district to suit every taste, and everyone in the family! So here are some choices to help you plan your summer break. Enjoy!

Hever Festival Theatre - to 30 August

Don’t forget to book a performance at this fabulous local summer outdoor theatre.  Music, drama, comedy, family shows and talks are all on offer, plus reduced entrance to Hever Castle Gardens. Box Office 01732 866114

 

Great Comp Music Festival - 7 – 29 September

A feast of the innovative and the conventional, all within the intimate confines of Great Comp’s Barn Theatre. To book: www.greatcompmusic.org

 

Summer events at Rochester Cathedral

Cathedral Adventure Golf – until 1 September

Play a round of Adventure bridge-themed nine hole golf in Rochester Cathedral’s Nave. The course has been designed to encourage young people to learn more about the engineering behind bridges. Each hole will be accompanied by a model of a different type of bridge.

 

The Secret Garden, Chapter House Theatre – 20 August, 7.30 pm

The enchanting story in Rochester Cathedral’s very own secret garden

 

Kent Downs AONB 70th anniversary

Be part of the National Parks and AONB designation’s 70th Anniversary! Kent Downs hope to create a heart-shape - with as many people as possible - on September 21st, and use aerial photography to capture and share the moment. The location details are to be confirmed, but to register your interest in taking part, email nicki.batchelor@kentdowns.org.uk.

 

Penshurst Place (To 1 September)

Maize Maze (11 am to 6 pm) - free entry with standard Garden Ticket

Summer Sundays offering varied family events including Falconry and garden panto shows.

 

Hever Castle

Summer Jousting (select dates) - the Knights of Royal England return to battle

Knights and Princesses School - with hands on children’s activities

Castle Canines August 3 & 4 - a weekend dedicated to our canine friends

Photographic Course August 21 - £100 one day course to cover both technical and artistic areas of photography

 

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens

7 August – 1 September (11 am - 4 pm): Weekly themed children’s activities including Magical Face Painting and Nail Art, Wizard Wands, Sticky Seed Owl Art and Spell books.

Sunday 8 September - Family Dog Show and BBQ with fun classes for all the family!

 

Knole House

Family Mondays - 5, 2, 19 August (11 am – 3 pm) with nature themed arts and crafts (5 – 12 years)

Bat Walks – Friday/Saturday 30/31 August (7.30 – 915 pm). A dusk walk with detectors to find Knole’s resident bats (5+ years)

£10 pp for both events.  Book: 0344 249 1895

Outdoor Cinema - Friday/Saturday 13/14 September (6.30 – 10 pm). Family friendly al fresco cinema. £12 adult; £7.50 child.  Book: 0344 249 1895

 

Quebec House

Mrs Wolfe’s recipes (Saturday/Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 1 – 4 pm). Try some of Mrs Wolfe’s 18th century recipes.

 

Chartwell

Family Ant Trail: to 1 September (£1).  Follow the trail looking for Amet the Ant and his colony of amazing friends.

Open air Theatre:

Midsummer Night’s Dream: Thursday 15 August 7.30 pm with picnics from 6.30 pm.  £15 adult; £8 child; from 8 years)

Alice in Wonderland: Thursday 29 August 3.30 pm. £12 adult; £7 child; from £26 family

Ightham Mote

Summer bat walks to learn all about the Mote’s resident species. Thursday 8 August and other dates. £10 per person. To book 01732 810378 x 100.

 

Lullingstone Castle and World Garden

Plant Hunters’ Weekend: 24 – 26 August (11 am – 5 pm). Celebrate the lives of Britain’s most intrepid plant hunters with a costume guided tour (1.30 – 3.30 pm). SCAR (2nd chance rescue) will visit with animal and reptile guests.

£10 adult; children under 15 free

Mexican Celebration Weekend: 21/2 September (11 am – 5 pm: CactusWorld LIVE – a succulent adventure.

Picture Perfect Treat at Hever Festival Theatre

If you’re looking for a romantic summer’s evening outing, look no further as this is the solution!

Hever Festival Theatre offers one of Sevenoaks’ district’s biggest summer treats with a programme ranging from comedy, musical theatre, classic, jazz, opera and family to speakers and film. The popular annual open-air summer Festival takes place in the spectacular award-winning gardens of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of Kent’s top tourist attractions. The world class live entertainment (including evening performances and matinees) is presented in a covered theatre situated on the Two Sisters Lawn, so audiences are happy come rain or shine!

And this year for the first time, a discounted theatre and castle gardens joint ticket is available to buy online. Pre-theatre dinner or afternoon tea after a matinee at the Guthrie Pavilion can be booked online when booking tickets for the Festival Theatre at www.heverfestival.co.uk.

The Festival’s second part, their high summer programme, will start soon on 24 July until 30 August.

Festival Theatre Director, Ailsa Molyneux said of this year’s Festival:

“The 2019 Festival is brimming with events. This year’s extended selection will appeal to both our existing patrons and those who will be new to the truly magical experience of visiting our theatre in the award winning Hever Castle Gardens.”

Gates for evening performances open at 6.30pm, performances start at 8pm. Gates for matinee performances open 30 minutes before start time.

Tickets are bookable online www.heverfestival.co.uk or the Box Office is open for telephone bookings Monday-Friday 9.30am-5pm on 01732 866114.

Hop along to Easter Excitements in Sevenoaks

It’s all “hopping” and happening in Sevenoaks this Easter holiday season! Take the family out for an egg-citing trail or hunt to catch those elusive bunnies or carrots. Or for a change, hunt for mythical sea beasts in the gardens at Penshurst. Every location has a tempting cafe, so if you just want to watch the rest of the family at work, you’ve the perfect excuse to relax and enjoy your latte and home-made bake.

The list of choices is long, so why not enjoy more than one Easter outing?

Great Comp Garden, Platt, near Sevenoaks

Easter Egg Hunt: Friday 19 - Monday 22 April

Hunt for bunnies in this delightful 7 acre garden.

Hever Castle, Hever

Easter Family fun: 6 - 22 April

Find the golden carrot for a chance to win a golden hamper! Search for the hidden bunnies and enjoy the daily Easter Bonnet making craft activity.

Lullingstone World Garden, Eynsford

Easter family trail and quiz: Easter weekend, 20 - 22 April

Scour the World Garden for clues!

Penshurst Place, Penshurst

What Lurks beneath the Inky Sea: 6 - 22 April

Find mythical sea beasts in the gardens; make a sea beast in the craft workshops in the Old Coach House and enjoy story telling on 21 April.

Riverhill Himalayan Garden, Sevenoaks

Easter Bunny Hunt: 17 - 22 April

Hunt the bunnies in this glorious rhododendron garden!

Please check individual websites for opening hours and prices.

Blooming Marvellous at Hever!

Hever Castle’s tulips are impatient to be seen and admired. To help you see the very best of their fabulous displays, a dedicated page has been established so that visitors can see where the best of the blooms are on display.

The formal tulip festival, with garden tours (11.30 am each day with the head gardener) and associated activities, runs from 24 - 30 April. The castle will also be adorned with majestic floral displays by the in-house florist Pamela Brise.

But why not get a sneak tulip preview now and feel inspired by these gloriously colourful and surprisingly exotic bulbs?

Hever Festival Theatre 2019 is brimming with events . . .

Festival Theatre Director, Ailsa Molyneux said of this year’s Festival:

“The 2019 Festival is brimming with events. This year’s extended selection will appeal to both our existing patrons and those who will be new to the truly magical experience of visiting our theatre in the award winning Hever Castle Gardens.”

Hever Festival Theatre, the open air theatre set in the stunning grounds of Hever Castle, is back for 2019…and it’s bigger, better and longer than ever (4 May to 30 August) with highlights that include Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley aka Lost Voice Guy, national treasure, broadcaster and journalist Jeremy Vine, and icons of jazz Mica Paris, Courtney Pine (with special guest Omar) and Miloš Karadaglić performing as part of the Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival.

The Festival offers one of Sevenoaks’ districts best summer experiences. So book now!

Blow away the Christmas Day cobwebs at Hever Castle!

Blow away the Christmas Day cobwebs with a bracing walk at Hever Castle! Open daily, 1030 am - 4.30 pm (last entry 3.30 pm), 27 December to 1 January. During this period, you’ll only pay for Garden entry with complimentary entry to the Castle included, so it’s a great value family treat!

So wrap up, put on your wellies and get out and about amongst the topiary, the flaming dogwood stems, winter berries or have an energetic burst by walking round the lake. Then revel in the blazing castle fires while you admire the Christmas decorations one final time this year.

Tempted? Book online or purchase tickets at the gate.

Medieval England comes to Hever!

The Knights of Royal England return to battle it out at the annual Hever Castle Jousting Tournament. Spectators will be treated to a thrilling show as the brave knights compete for points to find this season’s champion. Witness spectacular displays of action, stunts, falls and fights in an authentic arena complete with Royal Box.

A fantastically exciting spectacle so do book now

Step back in time at Hever!

Celebrate half term week by stepping back into the Edwardian era at Hever Castle!  

Enjoy a traditional Punch and Judy show with a Tudor twist (look out for Henry VIII and his six wives!); learn about the study and collection of butterflies and moths from our resident lepidopterist; try your hand at traditional games including a coconut shy, tin-can alley, bean bag race, or croquet.

Meet Hever's very own suffragette who will be on hand to help children colour in a sash in a free craft workshop.

Scour the dressing up box to arrive in Edwardian dress with prizes for the best dressed boy and girl!

Book online to save.  

 


 

Living with Nature at Hever Castle - Half-term family fun

Discover more about conservation and local wildlife as part of Hever Castle’s February half-term event, Living with Nature.
 
Following on from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch  and the Big School’s Birdwatch families and individuals are invited to visit the historic castle in Kent between 10 – 18 February to enjoy ‘Living with Nature’ aimed at school aged children.
 
Find out how to create habitats and encourage wildlife into your garden and join the RSPB workshop.
 
Join RSPB volunteers on a stroll around the grounds to learn about natural and manmade habitats or take a self-guided ‘Wildlife Detective’ walk to investigate animal footprints and tracks. Learn about nature throughout history from how fur was used to keep warm to which birds belong to the Queen.
 
Encourage creepy crawlies into your garden by building a bug house* (*additional charge) or buy a bag of bird food (50p per bag) and feed the birds and ducks.
 
For further information please visit the Castle's website or T: 01732 865224.
 

Traditional Christmas Carols at Hever Castle

Christmas will really sparkle at Hever this year as visitors can experience an interactive Twelve Days of Christmas trail, which winds through the stunning castle grounds.  Don't miss your chance to walk through the Five Gold Rings tunnel or write messages of love for the Two Turtle Doves trellis!

The castle decorations this year follow the theme of The History of Christmas Carols, through floral displays and musical accompaniment. 

Christmas at the Castle at Hever Castle takes place Wednesdays to Sundays from 25 November and daily from 11 to 24 December.  Christmas prices: adult: £16.90; children (5-15): £9.75; under 5s free.

 

Hever Castle helps the homeless this Christmas

Hever Castle is helping local homeless this Christmas when young visitors enjoy festive crafts. Create a mini angel in return for a donation to a local homeless charity.  Porchlight  works across Kent and the South East helping vulnerable and isolated people get support with their mental health, housing, education and employment.

The Hever theme this year is the history of Christmas carols. Visit Wednesday - Sunday from 25 November - 10 December and daily from 11 - 24 December for Christmas at the Castle.

Half term treats!

You can trick and treat to your heart's content this week in Sevenoaks!

Visit Ightham Mote tomorrow, Thursday 26 October to be wound up in their spider's web special! Be spooked at Lullingstone Castle with their Halloween highlights on Sunday 29 October (noon to 8 pm), with ghostly house tours and garden explorations, pumpkin carving and more!  Or be brave and visit Knole House on Saturday 28 October for some torchlight tours (5 pm - 8 pm)!

Find fresh air and eerie treats at Emmetts Garden; hunt the broomstick in the gardens at Penshurst Place and enjoy spine-tingling half-term fun at Hever Castle where you might win a prize for fancy dress!

So scramble into that pumpkin outfit and be off and out to find the fun! Happy hunting and don't forget to say boo if you find any friendly ghosts!

Tulips from . . .

. . . Hever Castle & gardens  - now hosting its first ever Tulip Celebration.  The gardening team are proud to present its inauguaral Tulip Celebration with  7,000 tulips, in 60 varieties planted along the Pergola Walk, Pompeiian Wall, Tudor Garden and Italian Garden. 

Due to the exceptionally warm weather, many of the tulips are in full bloom so now's the time to visit and admire.  Free garden tours are on offer with Head Gardener Neil Miller from 24-28 April and 2-7 May (excluding Bank Holiday weekend).  A daily talk, 2 pm, on the history of the tulip will tell you more about this stunning bulb. The castle interior will also be dressed with tulips.

In fact, if you visit Hever over the next few weeks, it'll be hard to miss a tulip!  Tulips are intriguing bulbs, and have a fascinating history so this is definitely a visit to make this Spring.

 

National Gardening Week 10 - 16 April

What better title for a week in Spring than RHS National Gardening Week? After months of green-fingered frustration the starting gun has been fired for all gardening enthusiasts to be released into their horticultural playgrounds!

In celebration Hever Castle is calling all adults and children to visit and be inspired by the stunning Hever gardens, and the talented and informed Castle gardening team. 

Visitors can design (for small additional charge) and take home a miniature garden, which once established and blooming can be photographed for entry into the June Hever in Bloom competition.

Start planning your garden now!  Who knows, this might be the start of a talented gardener's Chelsea career.