Seasonal Fun in Ashford
Make lasting memories together
Whatever time of year you choose to come and stay with us at the Ashford International Hotel, there’s always plenty of things to do in and around Ashford. Here are some of our favourites for each season…
The Small World Festival (30 minute drive)
The small world festival comes to Headcorn near Ashford in May. It’s a five-day celebration of sustainable living and creativity, encompassing music of all kinds, arts and crafts, workshops, speakers on all kinds of topics, and teens and children’s spaces. Performers, artists, jesters and magicians rub shoulders with families and party goers for a festival dedicated to environmental awareness.
No dogs allowed sadly, but everyone else can see more here.
The area round Ashford is dotted with beautiful gardens. Enjoy the blossoms at Godinton House and Beech Court, and look out for the Easter Bunny and egg hunts in several locations. Or ride through the countryside on one of the country’s most picturesque steam railways.
Victoria Park (14 minute drive)
Victoria Park in Ashford is the place to be in the summer, with plenty to do for every member of the family.
Youth groups can take part in the Art in the Park activities, which include summer schools hosted by local artists, and Garden and Grow, which is a series of free workshops throughout August with a gardening expert, where young people can learn skills in garden design and management.
Nature lovers can join the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership’s Walking Tour in July, and August sees the Partnerships’ popular ‘River Dipping’ activity for families.
Finally, there’s a one-day world music, dance and food festival complete with workshops and cultural exhibitions in July. Entry is free.
Pumpkin Day at Godinton House (7 minute drive)
Ghost stories, pumpkin carving, a treasure hunt and games, this is one for the whole family in the grounds of the beautiful Godinton House
Biddenden Vineyard (27 minute drive)
From mid-September through to the end of October, the world leading Biddenden Vineyards offers free tours. See how grapes are grown and processed in the heart of the Kent countryside, sample the wares, and shop for a little treat when you get home.
Autumn colours at Hole Park (40 minute drive)
Hole Park Gardens are stunning all year round, but they celebrate their spectacular autumn colours, with extended autumn opening to include Sundays as well as Wednesdays and Thursdays. Look out for the famous late flowering ‘Hole Park Blue’ agapanthus and magnificent Japanese Maples in the 16 acres gardens. There’s a circular walk, wooden bears and a renovated icehouse to discover too.
Tenterden Folk Festival (30 minute drive)
Thirty years after it was first launched, the Tenterden Folk Festival now fills five days in October and includes 50 events, a craft marquee, a dance stage, campsite, and over 50 guest performers. Ticketed events include concerts, a barn dance, workshops and special show sessions, while there’s plenty of free entertainment too, including street stalls, Morris dancing, street theatre, and a procession.
Steam Railway Santa Special (35 minute drive)
The beautifully restored Kent and East Sussex Steam Railway runs ‘Santa Special’ trips to take keen steam enthusiasts and excited Santa-seekers alike through the fabulous frosty countryside, with plenty of Christmas cheer and treats and surprises for all. The Railway is within easy reach of Ashford and your festive experience starts at the Winter Wonderland on the station itself.
During evenings in the first week of December, there’s a series of five-minute ‘glow’ digital mapping projections on the side of International House in the centre of Ashford offering a thrilling lightshow as well as an insight into the town’s heritage. Local bars and restaurants will provide great local and sustainable food and drink, and there’s a market to explore too.
Ashford’s Winter Forest
Also in early December, a series of illuminated trees round the town centre make up a trail which will tell you more about Ashford, as well as its landmarks and famous illustrious residents, with all the magic of a wintery woodland walk.
The Illumination Station
Decorate your own Christmas bauble, and contribute to the Winter Forest, in what promises to be a great local initiative and a fascinating installation.
Kent Christmas Markets
Ashford is no exception to the wonderful range of Christmas markets hosted by our towns and villages country-wide. Great local produce, wines, ciders, juices, and ideas for even the trickiest Christmas presents can all be found here. If you have time, why not visit the Christmas Market in nearby Tenterden too?