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Family holidays are among the most memorable of our lives, with those summer breaks away from school seeming to last forever. Adventure and the chance to discover new and exciting destinations are a great experience to share with loved ones, and a break away from it all means the opportunity to escape the bustle of everyday life. And there can be few better areas to discover in the UK with the family than by heading to the ‘Garden of England’ when camping in Kent.

In Maidstone, the opportunity to discover the very best of the region is simple. Renowned as the Kent’s ‘Historic County Town’, Maidstone provides history, culture, some of the best shopping in Kent, and a thriving nightlife. Plus, with attractions suitable for children of all ages – many of which offer free entry – there is plenty of opportunity to build lasting memories on an enjoyable camping break.

So, where can you stay when camping in Maidstone? We take a look at some of those campsites that will prove perfect for taking in the delights of the region, and which will ensure your next family break is truly memorable.

Coldblow Farm

Just half-a-mile from the Pilgrim’s Way in the heart of the North Downs, Coldblow Farm providers travellers with a taste of traditional Kentish scenery complemented by peaceful seclusion. A host of accommodation options are available, with members of the Camping & Caravan Club able to enjoy use of a camping paddock suitable for tents and up to five caravans/motorhomes. Those searching for a little extra luxury, meanwhile, may prefer to book into one of the self-catering properties on-site; from small cottages to a large bunkhouse, there is something to suit everybody.

As expected from modern campsites, Coldblow Farm provides washing facilities for its guests, including two toilets, three showers, and a washing up room. In addition, electric hook-ups are available, water is supplied via tap, and laundry facilities can be arranged for an additional cost.

Tanner Farm Park

Peaceful and picturesque, Tanner Farm Park is an award-winning caravan and camping park perfectly positioned in the heart of Kent between the villages of Marden and Goudhurst. Booking a pitch at Tanner Farm Park presents the chance to experience life in a traditional Kentish setting, with its surroundings of woodland, apple orchards, and farmland offering plenty of space for family walks. Plus, with its proximity to nearby Maidstone and its array of attractions, the park’s location makes it the ideal choice for those in search of discovery.

Tanner Farm Park is also impressively equipped with quality facilities. Included among the many amenities on site are shower blocks, laundry and dishwashing facilities, a shop, children’s play area, and even WiFi (for an additional cost). Electrical hook-ups are provided for all pitches, while the park is fully animal friendly.

Hop Farm Family Park

As one of the region’s most popular attractions, the Hop Farm attracts visitors from across the UK and beyond with a selection of enjoyable events. But did you also know that it also provides a family campsite? Set within more than 500 acres of open field and scenic woodland landscapes, and with iconic oast houses presenting a flavour of Kentish tradition, the park offers 300 pitches for campers.

With electric hook-ups and water points, toilets, showers, and washrooms, the facilities available on-site will ensure your visit is as well-equipped as can be. Plus, with the Family Park offering a selection of facilities such as a 4D cinema, Combat Laser Quest, and an outdoor adventure play area, there is plenty to keep children active throughout your getaway.

Knight’s Glamping at Leeds Castle

When it comes to camping, the word luxury seldom accompanies it, with the opportunity to get closer to nature and away from life’s comforts part of the appeal. With the advent of glamping (literally a portmanteau of glamour and camping!), however, the opportunity to experience camping with a touch of finesse is now available.

Knight’s Glamping at Leeds Castle provides the opportunity to stay among the grounds of the renowned ‘Loveliest Castle in the World’, just a short distance from the plethora of facilities in Maidstone town centre. Standard facilities such as a shower and washing facilities are nearby, but it is the inclusion of a four-poster bed, wood-burning stove, WiFi, dressing table, luxury bedding, and a cast iron griddle over an open fire pit (not to mention no need to bring any camping equipment) that makes glamping at Leeds Castle such a truly unique experience.

Find out more about camping in Maidstone

For more details on camping in Maidstone, and to check prices for some of those locations identified above, visit the Visit Maidstone website today.

Maidstone is an excellent location for business meetings and events, with a host of venues offering great versatility and flexibility, all set within beautiful Kent countryside. Here are five more reasons you should choose Maidstone:

1. Maidstone is home to the largest conference facility in the county – the Kent Event Centre – with over 7,000m2 of indoor space, set within 200 acres of land.

2. Just 35 minutes by rail from London and 35 miles from the Channel Tunnel and ports, Maidstone is also served by two motorways (M2 and M20), so access is incredibly easy.

3. Maidstone has a range of venues to suit any size of event (and budget). Whether you need a small space for a team meeting or conference facilities for thousands, you will find it here.

4. There is an eclectic mix of venues to choose from in Maidstone, including stunning historic castles, country house hotels, international brand hotels, and even traditional Kentish oast houses and converted farm buildings.

5. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and right next to the River Medway, Maidstone offers great opportunities for team building events. It’s amazing what a difference a change of scene can make to motivating and inspiring your teams.

Discover more reasons to hold your next business meeting or event in Maidstone at Conference Maidstone and, when you’re ready to book, try our free venue-finding service to help you find your perfect meeting place in Maidstone.

With Christmas over and the festive cheer ebbing away, New Year celebrations provide one last chance to get together with those closest to you for a big party. Welcoming in the New Year, and bidding farewell to the old, always brings out the best party atmosphere, uniting people from all backgrounds in a celebration of fresh hopes for the coming year. Whether it’s joining a rousing rendition of Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne, revelling in magnificent fireworks displays, or simply raising a toast to the striking of the clock at midnight, New Year’s Eve is a great night out for everyone.

New Year in Maidstone provides a host of events and activities to enjoy, with many venues across the borough providing you with a chance to bid goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017 with a bang. From pubs and clubs to restaurants and fireworks displays, you can pick your form of celebration for December 31, and join the crowds for a magnificent night of celebration and entertainment.

See in the New Year at Leeds Castle

New Year’s Eve events

We’re delighted to provide you with details of just a few New Year’s Eve events happening throughout Maidstone. Regardless of age and interest, you’re almost certain to find something to suit you this New Year in Maidstone. And, even if you’re not one for heading out on the town, there’s always the option of staying home with loved ones, curling up in front of the television, and watching events unfold from the comfort of home. Failing that, you can always have an early night!

Leeds Castle

Where to begin with New Year celebrations than Leeds Castle? Starting with Champagne in the castle library followed by a tour of the castle, a magnificent four-course meal followed by live music and fireworks, what better way to see in the New Year than by heading to one of the region’s most compelling and popular attractions.

Auld Lang Syne lyrics

For those with a sense of tradition, we thought it would be helpful to provide lyrics to the seasonal classic, Auld Lang Syne. Written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788, and featuring passages from poems and songs from years earlier, it has become standard for English speakers everywhere to join in a rendition as soon as the clock strikes midnight and shepherds in the New Year.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


What are your plans for New Year's Eve in Maidstone this year? Do you have traditions you always follow, or perhaps you're trying something new for 2016? Let us know what you have planned to say farewell to the past 12 months.

About the author

Michael is a member of the marketing team at Visit Maidstone and is an experienced writer. He has a passion for history and cinema, and likes nothing more than combining the two. View more by Michael.

It's very nearly the time of year when diets go out the window, novelty jumpers make an appearance throughout workplaces, and clumsy parents cover gifts in so much sellotape it takes less effort to break into Fort Knox. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner... which also means it's panto season!

Maidstone's Hazlitt Theatre has a fantastic reputation for hosting high-quality shows all-year round, ranging from comedy and drama to live music performances. But it's the annual Christmas pantomime that often sees locals flock to the stalls, eager to enjoy family fun featuring stars from the screen. For 2016, the opportunity for such enjoyment returns, with a magnificent new production of Sleeping Beauty featuring BBC EastEnders starlet Louisa Lytton taking to the stage.

The production - which runs from December 2 to January 2, 2017, also features Bethany Black, Adam Borzone, and Craig Anderson, and promises to offer a show that offers great entertainment for all ages.

Watch the preview today

To support the promotion of this year's pantomime, some of the stars of the show paid a visit to Maidstone Museum in order to film a short trailer. Take a look today and get in the festive spirit!

Win a family ticket

Fancy the chance to win a family ticket (for up to five) to see this exciting new production over the festive period? For your chance to win and see Louisa Lytton and the team, simply head over to the Visit Maidstone competition page today and sign up. Closing date for entries is Friday, November 25, so make sure you enter now to avoid missing out.

For more details on Sleeping Beauty, or to order your tickets online, head over to the Hazlitt Theatre's pantomime page today. Tickets start at just £12 per person.

Mote Park, Maidstone

Maidstone’s ever-popular Mote Park has once more been selected among the UK’s most popular parks and open spaces, being named in the ten most-loved spaces at the Green Flag People’s Choice Awards. More than 30,000 votes were cast over the last month for a diverse array of public parks throughout the UK, with Mote Park’s popularity among residents and visitors ensuring its position among this auspicious selection.

Organised by the Green Flag Award scheme, the People’s Choice category recognises those green spaces in the UK that are foremost in the popularity of public users. Parks throughout the UK were subsequently provided with a voting page for visitors to show their appreciation of the cleanliness, facilities, events, and overall appeal of the park. In years past, Mote Park has enjoyed the prestige of being named among the UK’s top three; however, in 2016, accolades were awarded – in no particular order – for the ten most popular venues.

“Mote Park truly represents one of the finest and most popular attractions in the borough of Maidstone,” said Councillor David Pickett of Maidstone Borough Council. “Thanks in no small part to the range of events and activities hosted throughout the year, plus the magnificent maintenance work and the efforts of volunteers at the park, we’re exceptionally proud that Mote Park has been named among the UK’s ten most popular public spaces.

“It can be easy to take for granted just how important Mote Park is to Maidstone. Whether it’s for those looking to experience nature and wide-open spaces, to picnic with the family or enjoy the water sports, or even to welcome internationally acclaimed events and concerts, Mote Park represents all that is great about the borough.”

Mote Park, Maidstone wins prestigious award

Full list of winners

Park NameManaging Organisation
Alexandra Palace ParkAlexandra Palace Charitable Trust
Arlington Square GardensArlington Association
Clifton ParkRotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Elsecar Park and Local Reservoir Nature ReserveBarnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Margam ParkNeath Port Talbot County Borough Council
Millennium Country ParkForest of Marston Vale Trust
Mote ParkMaidstone Borough Council
Strathaven ParkSouth Lanarkshire Council
Victoria Park (Tower Hamlets)London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Warley WoodsWarley Woods Community Trust

International Green Flag Award Manager Paul Todd said: “We would like to congratulate Mote Park on being voted one of the UK’s ten favourite parks – it is quite an achievement.

“The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by an army of more than 800 volunteer judges, but the People’s Choice is the public’s opportunity to vote for their favourite parks and it is wonderful that more than 30,000 people have done just that this year as the scheme celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

“Winning a Green Flag Award is testament to the hard work of local authorities and the managers of public green space up and down the country along with hundreds of thousands of volunteers. More than 1,700 parks this year are flying the Green Flag Award and the People’s Choice Award shows them just how much that hard work is appreciated by the public.

“The People’s Choice Award also shows that communities value all their green space, not just traditional parks.”

In addition to offering an environment in which to unwind among stunning natural scenery, Mote Park also provides a host of activities and entertainment for all ages. From an all-weather play area to water sports facilities, and annual events such as charity fun runs, music festivals, nature trails and more, the extent of offerings from Mote Park guarantees that its place among Maidstone’s most popular attractions is assured.

Planning your Christmas party

If you are (un)lucky enough to be tasked with organising your office Christmas party, first of all don’t panic. It can be scary, with time constraints – you still have your day job to do after all – and the pressure to organise something amazing that everyone will enjoy!

If it’s going to take a lot of planning, start early.

1. Set the date

Christmas is a busy time for everyone, so select a few potential dates and get people to choose their preferred option. This will also give you a rough idea of likely numbers.

2. Know your budget

Your budget will affect everything from the choice of venue to the food and entertainment, so it’s important to know your limit. There’s no point planning a grand affair if your budget will only stretch to a few drinks and nibbles. Think about whether spouses and partners will be included too as this will impact your overall spend. It’s also a good idea to keep a bit in reserve to cover the unexpected.

3. Choose your party style

Your choice will depend on many factors such as budget, number of guests, location, etc. It will also depend on how much time you have to organise everything, but there are three main options:

  • Dinner & Drinks: the simplest option is to book a table at your favourite restaurant and follow it up with a tour of your favourite pubs/clubs
  • Packaged party: lots of venues now host themed party nights. If your group is large enough it is often possible to book exclusive use; but you can just book a table or two and share the event with others
  • Bespoke party: YOU do all the hard work, from finding a suitable venue to organising catering, decorations, entertainment etc.

4. Choose the venue

Dinner and Drinks

Make sure your favourite restaurant can accommodate your group and find out if they are doing a special Christmas menu. If you love a particular menu but it’s not available in December, you may need to rethink your choice.

Packaged Party

What theme is the packaged party offering? Traditional, vintage, specific decade, fire and ice, movie theme, etc. How many people do you need for exclusive use? Are you happy to share?

Bespoke Party

Is the venue big enough and are they happy for you to decorate it? Do they have in-house caterers or is there a preferred list you’re obliged to use?

Once you’ve decided on a venue and confirmed the date, get to know the events team personally. It will make life much easier later on!

Choose the right menu for your Christmas party

5. The food

If you’ve opted for a packaged party, there will undoubtedly be a set menu to choose from. Send out the menu options to all your guests as soon as possible and ask them to make their selection (give them a deadline or you’ll still be chasing on the day of the party). Make a spreadsheet to record everyone’s orders so you can send a copy to the venue and print a copy for yourself to take on the day. You may also want to do place settings for everyone with their selections on the back - this will save you answering a hundred ‘what did I order again?’ questions on the night!

For bespoke parties, don’t be restricted to turkey (unless you’re going for a traditional theme of course!). Be creative with the catering and make your event truly memorable. Perhaps a Wild West theme with a hog roast or a Caribbean theme with a bbq. In-house caterers will be cheaper and easier if they’re available at your chosen venue, but you may prefer to use an external supplier if you want something a little more left-field.

6. Entertainment

Again, this will all be taken care of on a packaged party, but if you’re organising your own then use your party theme as a guide. There are lots of event companies that can help with ideas, whether you want a casino or magicians, comedians or acrobats. You could even host a ‘murder mystery’ that guests have to solve before dessert! When it comes to the music, consider a live band instead of a DJ - depending on your budget.

7. The invite

Once you’ve settled on a venue and confirmed the date, it’s time to send the official invitations. Include the obvious: date; venue address; start/finish time; menu options (if applicable); and rsvp deadline.

Then include the less obvious: dress code; accommodation options; phone numbers for local taxi firms; and any venue-specific details (e.g. parking arrangements, accessibility etc.).

8. Before the big day

There isn’t much more to do for a packaged party, other than making sure your menu choices have been submitted and you’ve confirmed final numbers for your group.

Bespoke parties need a little more work. The best thing to do is create a full itinerary of the evening including who, what, when and where. This can then be circulated to everyone involved in organising and running the event, from the venue team to any external suppliers and contractors. You will also need to confirm final numbers with your caterers to ensure sufficient food.

9. Party time!

Arrive early. Meet up with the events team and go through all the details one more time. For bespoke events, make sure you’re happy with the room layout and decorations and meet with all suppliers to ensure everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and when.

10. Enjoy the party

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the organising that you forget to have a good time yourself. Once you’re happy everything is running as planned, don’t be afraid to sit back and enjoy the party.

For more details on finding the perfect Christmas party venue, please contact Conference Maidstone today. We can even help you find exclusive Christmas special offers to ensure your end-of-year celebrations are great value for money.

Booking the office Christmas party

The summer sun may be shining, but it's never too early to think about booking the office Christmas party in Maidstone, particularly with the need to book early to avoid missing out on key dates essential. When it comes to organising the office Christmas party, however, there are lots of options to choose from. But how do you know what sort is right for you?

Packaged or bespoke - what’s best?

If you’re planning an event for a small group, you may find that a local restaurant or bar will be able to accommodate you. But, if you want something a little different or you’re a larger group, then you’ll need to choose from a packaged party or a bespoke event.

Packaged Parties

These are generally organised by specialist event management companies and, increasingly, by venues themselves. Typically they will have a specific theme (fire and ice, winter wonderland, 70s or 80s, movie themed, etc.), which will be carried through the whole event. There is usually a set menu (three courses with a few options for each) and themed entertainment (e.g. bucking broncos for a Wild West theme, or a casino for a ‘James Bond’ theme).


  • • All the organising is done for you
  • • No restriction on group size - you can book a single table or exclusive use
  • • Themed decorations
  • • High-quality entertainment
  • • Fixed cost (price per head may vary depending on the night of the week, but once you’ve chosen a date, there are no ‘hidden extras’)


  • • Restricted to venue’s chosen theme - may not appeal to everyone
  • • Limited menu
  • • If your group isn’t large enough for exclusive use, you’ll be sharing the party with other people which means you won’t be able to make any company announcements/awards presentations etc.
  • • No flexibility on start/finish times
Booking the office Christmas party

Bespoke Parties

Unless you can afford to employ a specialist event management company, the chances are you will end up doing all the organising for a bespoke party yourself. You will have to find a suitable venue, organise catering and entertainment and make sure the whole place looks fabulous with decorations and any extra touches. It’s a lot of work, but can be very rewarding.


  • • You have total control of your party
  • • You choose the theme, so you can make sure it’s completely right for your group
  • • When it comes to food, you’re not restricted to a set menu so consider external catering for something really different - hog roast anyone?
  • • You can choose your entertainment so why not opt for a live band instead of a DJ (if your budget will stretch to it). You can also mix and match so if you want a bouncy castle with a casino then go for it!
  • • Freedom to start early and/or finish later (subject to local restrictions)


  • • It’s a lot of hard work! It takes time to source the perfect venue, find a caterer that meets your requirements and sort out all the entertainment.
  • • Costs can quickly escalate making it harder to achieve the party you want within your budget.
  • • Some venues may insist you use ‘preferred suppliers’ if you decide not to use their in-house facilities. This can limit your options.
  • • Sourcing suitable decorations may be quite tricky, depending on your theme. Check with the venue whether they will be putting up any decorations themselves - this may or may not assist with your plans!
  • • There are likely to be a number of different suppliers/contractors involved, which will require greater coordination and planning.

Whatever type of party you’re planning, Conference Maidstone can help you find the perfect venue. Check out our ‘Christmas Party’ venues and the ‘Special Offers’ page for details of bespoke and packaged party options.

One of Maidstone’s most popular annual events is returning to Whatman Park this May, with the Proms the Park 2016 concert providing residents and visitors to the area the opportunity to join in the celebrations of the Queen’s 90th birthday on a glorious spring evening.

Scheduled for Saturday, May 28, 2016, the Proms in the Park event offers an entire day of free entertainment that is perfect for families and fans of live music. From community events to local suppliers of food and refreshments, performances by the Hazlitt Youth Theatre to a programme of renowned classical and big band works by Maidstone Wind Symphony, the event promises to showcase the very best of Maidstone during a relaxed and enjoyable May evening.

Arranged in conjunction with Maidstone Borough Council and the Hazlitt Theatre, Proms in the Park 2016 has been scheduled to feature an earlier finishing time in comparison to previous years, thereby enabling visitors with young families to enjoy the performances without the need for late evenings in colder temperatures. As such, while there will be no fireworks display, the earlier finish provides the perfect opportunity to head into the heart of Maidstone and discover the nightlife of the area, or simply head home as the evening chills set in.

“We’re delighted to be able to return to Proms in the Park for 2016,” said Maidstone Wind Symphony music director Jonathan Crowhurst. “Following the success of last year’s performance, we hope to be able to offer a magnificent show for visitors to Whatman Park this May. In celebration of the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, we can’t wait to perform music from each decade of her life, alongside traditional Proms numbers.”

“The schedule for Proms in the Park 2016 promises to offer something for everyone,” added Natalie Moor, General Manager at Hazlitt Theatre. “We’re proud to be working alongside Maidstone Borough Council and Maidstone Wind Symphony to put on this free event for all ages. With the Hazlitt Youth Theatre also set to take to the stage, we’re certain that those in attendance will be able to enjoy a great day’s entertainment and magnificent community spirit.”


Maidstone Wind Symphony

Widely regarded as one of the United Kingdom's finest wind orchestras, Maidstone Wind Symphony was founded by Brendon Le Page in 1998, and has had musical directors including Jeremy Cooper and current director Jonathan Crowhurst.

Under the baton of Jonathan, the orchestra has greatly expanded its repertoire and championed new music for wind orchestras. Resident at All Saints Church in Maidstone, where it gives around six concerts each season. In summer 2014, the orchestra was invited to take part in the inaugural National Concert Band Symposium in Canterbury, a new organisation devoted to the promotion and development of the wind orchestra. It is also the current National Concert Band Champions having won the NCBS in 2015.

Hazlitt Youth Theatre

The Hazlitt Youth Theatre started in September 1997 as a weekly workshop for 11-18 year olds. Since then, HYT has expanded dramatically and now consists of nearly 200 members, aged 6-18 years. Each week, members attend a workshop dedicated to the learning of different aspects of the theatrical world, including acting, performing arts, improvisation, devising, text work, theatre styles, film, stage combat, mime, and a whole lot more. In recent times, members have devised and produced their own work and learnt the basics of lighting and sound design.

Maidstone Singers

The Maidstone Singers, founded in 1998, is a group of 20 accomplished singers who perform a cappella choral works dating from the 16th century to the present day. Based in Maidstone, concerts take place locally and also internationally. In recent years, performances have been given in Croatia, Slovenia, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Malta, France, Portugal, and Spain. In 2014, the Maidstone Singers even appeared in an episode of the popular BBC series ‘Call the Midwife’.


We're delighted to announce that Helen Bailey will be joining Maidstone Wind Symphony for the finale of its performance at this year's Proms in the Park.

Helen Bailey

Middlesbrough-born soprano, Helen Bailey, is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music opera course, Trinity College of Music, and Liverpool John Moores University.

Helen enjoys a busy schedule of opera, oratorio, and recital engagements, appearing regularly as a soloist with Bromley Oecumenical Singers, Ember Choral Society, Hampton Choral Society, and Sutton Valence Choral Society. Recent highlights include Jenkins' The Armed Man with the Voices for Hospices choir at Kempton Park racecourse, Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle with Botley Choral Society, and Mozart's Mass in C minor with Ember Choral Society.

Opera roles include Pamina (The Magic Flute, Ryedale Opera), Micaela (Carmen, Meantime Opera) Véronique (Le Docteur Miracle, Popup opera), and Giovanna (cover, Giovanna d'arco, Buxton Festival Opera), Helen has also sung principal roles for Hampstead Garden Opera, Blackheath Halls Opera, British Youth Opera, and Bath Festival Opera.

This summer, Helen will return to Buxton Festival Opera to cover the title role in Beethoven's Leonore. See www.helenbailey.org for more information.


We're delighted to announce that the final performers set to appear at Ramblin' Man Fair 2016 have been named. With the stellar line up already including Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, and Black Stone Cherry, the final bands set to appear have been revealed to be:

Warren Haynes

Grammy Award-winning artist Warren Haynes has been recognised as a cornerstone of the American music landscape and revered as one of the finest guitar players in the world. Throughout his prolific career as part of three of the greatest live groups in rock history – Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule and the Dead – his artistry has led to thousands of unforgettable performances and millions of album and track sales.

The Supersuckers

One of the few outfits that can call itself 'The World’s Greatest Rock ’n’ Roll Band!' and actually get away with it, the Supersuckers eat Marshall stacks and cowboy hats and play high-volume Motörheading country music and Willie Nelsoning garage-punk better than virtually anyone else, ever.

Tax The Heat

2015 was intense for Bristol’s Tax The Heat. Following the release of two critically acclaimed singles 'Fed To The Lions' and 'Highway Home', the band has cemented its live reputation by supporting the likes of Cadillac 3, Reef, The Graveltones, Black Star Riders, Masters Of Reality, The Virginmarys and Thunder. The band’s unique blend of classic blues driven rock with a modern alternative twist is set to continue winning them a legion of fans throughout 2016.


Nashville-based improvisational trio SIMO will be bringing its invigorating blues, psychedelic Brit Invasion, and countrified Southern-rock manifestations to Ramblin’ Man Fair 2016.

Following the overwhelming success of the inaugural Ramblin' Man Fair 2015 in Maidstone's popular Mote Park, this fantastic celebration of classic rock is returning to the borough on July 23/24, 2016. The festival, which is anticipated to attract more than 12,000 visitors each day, will feature a vast selection of iconic bands, with none more acclaimed than the Ramblin' Man Fair 2016 headliners, Whitesnake.

The legendary rock’n’roll band founded and formed by Deep Purple singer David Coverdale is set to headline the festival as part of its 2016 'The Greatest Hits Tour', performing some of the biggest hits from Slide It In, Whitesnake and Slip Of The Tongue records. "We are truly excited and looking forward to playing at the Ramblin' Man Fair in 2016 on what will be our 'Greatest Hits World Tour' and most likely my personal 'Farewell to Arena Rock' after over 40 years of writing and performing rock music," said Coverdale. "As I write this we are finishing our incredibly successful touring cycle of 2015. Co-headlining a monster UK tour with Def Leppard, releasing our tribute to Deep Purple Mark 3 & 4, Whitesnake The Purple Album, and touring this incredible world, I look back on an amazing, memorable journey of four decades of fun performing for millions of people. Whitesnake is singularly honoured to headline The Ramblin' Man Fair, looking forward to some British fun in the sun... see you in 2016!"

In addition to the announcement that Whitesnake will headline, a number of additional acts have been announced as part of the Ramblin' Man Fair 2016 line-up.

Further Main Stage Announcements

Ginger Wildheart

Prog Stage

Procol Harum – Headliner
Uriah Heep – Special Guests
Hawkwind – Special Guests
Life Signs

Country Stage

Hayseed Dixie – Headliner

Blues Stage

Walter Trout – Special Guest
King King

Tickets are already on sale for Ramblin' Man Fair 2016, with weekend admission prices from £130, and weekend VIP from £225. For more information on Ramblin' Man Fair 2016 on the Visit Maidstone website.

Love is in the air and it’s time to spoil those you care about most with a romantic Valentine’s Day treat. But what can you plan for Valentine’s Day in Maidstone this year? A bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates is no longer enough when those around you are making grand gestures and sharing across social media. And, while a trip to Paris or New York, or even the grandest of all romantic gifts – a sparkling diamond ring – may be beyond your means, you want to do something extra special and different from the rest.

Valentine's Day in Maidstone

At Visit Maidstone, we’ve taken a look into some of the best options for Valentine’s Day in Maidstone, and provided a few suggestions to ensure your day is truly unforgettable. Take a look at the options below and get your plans for Valentine’s Day in Maidstone in order.

Wildlife Heritage Foundation

For something truly different, book your place at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden for a Valentine’s Day dinner among the glorious Kent countryside and some of nature’s most impressive creatures. A perfect combination of fine dining, sparkling champagne, and an overnight stay in one of the intimate on-site lodges, this romantic retreat also features guided walking tours of and the chance to hand feed some of the big cats resident at the sanctuary.

Prices for this romantic Valentine’s weekend begin at £850 per lodge, and include a complimentary bottle of champagne in each lodge.

Valentine’s Weekend at Castle View Restaurant

Nothing beats a spectacular view to add to the romance of an occasion and, when it comes to heading out in the South East, few venues offer quite such a breathtaking vista as the Castle View Restaurant at Leeds Castle. Spend a romantic evening enjoying fine wine and a specially devised menu, and soak up the atmosphere from one of the region’s most auspicious attractions.

Prices for a Valentine’s Day meal at the Castle View Restaurant start at £35 per person.

Enjoy a Valentine's Day meal in Maidstone

Valentine's Day Wheel Throwing

Who can forget the iconic scene from 1990’s ‘Ghost’ with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore at the pottery wheel? Well, now’s your chance to relive that scene with your significant other… well, kind of. This Art of Mine is hosting enjoyable pottery sessions that enable you to create your very own message of love on a plaque. Who knows, maybe ‘Unchained Melody’ will even be playing in the background for some added romance.

Prices for the Valentine’s Dat Wheel Throwing at This Art of Mine are £40 per couple.

Let us know your plans

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day in Maidstone this year? Do you have something booked already, or are you just going to wing it on the day? Let us know what you have planned in the comments section below.

If you're looking for something a little different to do in Maidstone, you may well find a visit to Maidstone Museum on Saturday, January 23 offers a day out that guarantees entertainment. As part of the museum's Magic of Masks and Puppets exhibition - which runs until February 20 - a special appearance by Aslan from 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' will can be enjoyed.

Of course, it's not going to be a real lion - or even Liam Neeson, for that matter - but instead a magnificent puppet version that first appeared in the Hazlitt Theatre's production back in 2013. Crafted by the team behind the ever-popular War Horse production, the life-sized lion puppet will be operated by performers from the Hazlitt Youth Theatre from 11am until 12.30pm, and will provide a fascinating insight into the dexterity and skill required of puppeteers in modern theatre productions.

Aslan at Maidstone Museum

Speaking about the event, Maidstone Museum's Interpretation and Exhibitions Manager Lyn Palmer said: "We’re delighted to be able to bring this magnificent version of Aslan to Maidstone Museum. To be able to have the Hazlitt Youth Theatre perform with the model perfectly complements the current Magic of Masks and Puppets exhibition on show at the museum, and represents a wonderful display of modern puppetry in the world of theatre.

"We’ve had a great reception for the Magic of Masks and Puppets exhibition at the museum, so welcoming Aslan represents an added bonus for visitors on the Saturday. The history of puppetry has provided a fascinating education for everyone fortunate enough to see the display and, with this live demonstration, it promises to be equally as fun and entertaining."

Entry to the demonstration of Aslan begins at 11am on January 23, so make sure you're up and about early to avoid missing out.

Hywel Dowsell

Actor Hywel Dowsell is currently performing at the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone as Mrs Smee in the popular pantomime Peter Pan. Taking time out from performing, Hywel was delighted to chat with Visit Maidstone about his career and time in Maidstone.

Hi Hywel, welcome to Maidstone. Would you like to tell the Visit Maidstone readers a little bit about yourself?

Hiya! I’m Hywel Dowsell, a Welsh actor from the South Wales Valleys, and I’m currently playing Mrs Smee in Peter Pan at the Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone.

How are you finding Maidstone?

Maidstone is a little gem. The shops, bars and local attractions are great, and the people are even greater!

How is it playing Mrs Smee?

Oh, Mrs Smee is fabulous; what a joy to play! It is my first time playing the Dame in panto and I couldn’t have wished for a better place for the debut. The cast and crew have been very supportive of me and the audiences have been so welcoming. Playing a comedy role is something of a regular occurrence to me, having played many of Shakespeare’s fools and comedy roles within musicals.

What about when you’re not on the stage? What do you like to do when not performing?

A very interesting question, and one that I get asked often. Sometimes, when I finish an acting job, I take time to have a little break, whether this be going on holiday or simply sitting at home with a good book or a box set. However, I am always keen to get stuck in with the next job. When I have the time, I’m often playing the French Horn in professional gigs or playing alongside the Central Band of the Royal British Legion.

What would you say was your proudest moment?

I’ve had a few of these in my life, but I think the most prominent one was performing for HRH Queen Elizabeth II for the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. What an honour!

And any regrets?

I don’t really have any regrets in life. Christmas is a time of reflection, so If I think of something, I’ll let you know.

What's your favourite film?

This is probably the easiest question I am ever asked: Mrs Doubtfire, without a doubt. I am a huge Robin Williams fan and his performance in this film is up there with his very best. I can also quote the whole thing, so if we ever have a night in, don’t let me choose the film, as my “joining in” becomes quite annoying… at least, so I’ve been told!

What’s your favourite food?

I am a hopeless cook and I’d never put anyone through the ordeal of eating a meal prepared by myself, so when I suggest having dinner with a friend, it normally involves a takeaway or eating out. I think my favourite place to eat is Pizza Express. Those doughballs! However, I am looking forward to my mam’s Christmas dinner in Wales this year.

Do you have any New Year resolutions?

I think it would have to be, and I say this every year, to get a little bit fitter. I often spend January at the gym and at dance classes, but that soon dies down. I spend too much time in Pizza Express!

Finally, do you have any tips for Christmas?

Spend it with your friends and family. Last Christmas I was working in Dubai. While I did have a great time, you simply can’t celebrate Christmas without your nearest and dearest. Remember what Christmas is all about and have a great time.

Ricky Groves as Captain Hook

Hywel Dowsell will be performing as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan at the Hazlitt Theatre throughout December until January 3, 2016. Find out more about the show on the Visit Maidstone website today.