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What’s on Where - West Kent, South Surrey, East Hampshire, Central and East Sussex

Embracing Autumn at Historic Venues Across Kent

You only have to step outside to sense that Autumn has arrived, with a slight chill in the air and all those vibrant colours appearing across the landscape. If you’re wondering how to get involved in autumn activities with the family this year, while taking in some of the wonderful historic venues that Kent has to offer, then scroll down our round-up of events and attractions coming your way over next couple of months.

A stroll in the countryside

If you’re looking to fill a lazy Sunday afternoon, then Hole Park Gardens are the answer. Renowned for their autumnal beauty and colour – and showcasing a stunning range of Japanese maples, cannas, dahlias, and the “Hole Park Blue’ agapanthus – the gardens are extending their opening days to include Sundays in October, giving you a chance you roam the 16-acre gardens and 10-acre woodland. Why not enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the coach house while you’re there?

Meanwhile, on 13th October you can enjoy a two-hour amble around the stunning grounds of Penshurst Place, where you will be guided around the parkland before tucking into a two-course roast dinner in the Garden Restaurant. Tickets costs just £30 per person.

Over at Hever Castle, the gardening team will be sharing tips on how they salvage, dry and store seeds as part of their Garden Exhibition this autumn. There will also be free tours of Faith’s Garden on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout October (except half term) starting at 11.30am. For children, the Leaf & Seed Collection Challenge offers an opportunity to collect seeds and leaves from Anne Boleyn’s Walk and Lake Walk before receiving their very own bulb to take home and plant.

Snap up the beauty of autumn

If you’re a dab hand with a camera, why not take part in one of Scotney Castle’s outdoor Autumn Photography Courses, which take place on 16th and 19th October, and provide the perfect opportunity to learn how to capture the beautiful autumn colour of the grounds and gardens. A mixture of theory, practical and good fun, the workshops show you how to make the most of your camera and cost just £25 per person including tea/coffee and cake.

Prepare to be spooked

With only a few weeks until Halloween, here’s a sneak peek at some spook-tacular events taking place near you.

First up is the ‘Spooky Halloween Musical’ at Groombridge Place, in which the best in West End talent perform a range of songs from well-known films including the Addams Family, Little Shop of Horrors, Nightmare before Christmas, Hocus Pocus and many more. Performances take place from 19th October to 3rd November, from 10am, and children are encouraged to come along in their best Halloween outfits for a chance to win a prize following the disco at the end of each day. Family tickets can be purchased for £49.50 and include daily bird-of-prey displays, entrance to the walled gardens, and all the forest attractions including Crusoe’s World including a pirate ship, rope bridges and swings, and a zip wire. Food is available from the burger grill or the café.

For energetic little monsters, Leeds Castle is transforming into The Halloween Monster Academy from 21st – 27th October, where you can complete spooky classes through the castle and grounds, winning stamps from each teacher to graduate. There’s also a haunted trail guiding younger visitors through the Woodland Walk. At 12pm and 3pm, they can dance in the outdoor ‘Monster Mash Ball’ and take part in the daily fancy dress competition at 2.30pm.

Meanwhile at Scotney Castle, in the “spirit” of former inhabitants Edward Windsor and his siblings who often shared ghost stories, little ones are invited to come along and make up their own ghoulish tales, as well as helping to find related 8 props from around the garden. Trails take place 10am – 5pm, from 19th October to Sunday 3rd November, and cost £2 each including a prize upon completion.

Lots of half-term Halloween fun can be had at Hever Castle, which is holding an array of events between 19th and 31st October, including storytelling, Halloween craft sessions, a scarecrow scavenger hunt, and a biscuit-decorating workshop. Before taking part in the fancy dress competition, why not indulge in some face painting to up your chances of winning!

Explosive family fun

Boasting to be the largest firework display in the South East, on 2nd and 3rd November, a stunning 25,000 starbursts will fill the sky over Leeds Castle as it celebrates nearing the end of its 900th anniversary year. This year’s ‘around the world’ themed event, which will be sponsored and DJ’ed by KMFM, will have everyone from children to grandparents dancing the night away to live music including singer Adam Chandler. Arrive from 2pm onwards (car park opens from 1pm) to enjoy fairground rides, a falconry display, maze, play areas and variety of delicious food options before the fireworks begin at 5.30pm.

So that’s Autumn covered. Stay tuned for our round-up of festive events across Kent coming soon!

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