The Royal Harbour History Festival in Ramsgate is calling for you to get involved

The festival was to celebrate the history of Ramsgate and east Kent Photo Tom Parsons

An ambitious festival that is expected to attract 80,000 visitors to Ramsgate next year is calling for sponsors, volunteers and schools to get involved.

The three-day Royal Harbour History Festival ,taking place from June 15-17, 2018, has a massive programme planned to promote the wealth of rich history in Thanet and east Kent.

There will be a focus on commemoration, celebration and education, including a special schools’ festival which will be in line with the national curriculum, a ‘salute’ from a flotilla of Little Ships and a screening of the new Dunkirk movie on the beach.

Cricket at the Goodwin Sands

One of the highlights will be a 25-minute cricket match between a Royal Harbour team and a Royal Navy side at the Goodwin Sands, some four miles offshore.

Photo SEAS

Some high-profile names are already in the hat for match, including Head of the Royal Marines Major General Robert Magowan, former England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom and TV historian Dan Snow.

Presenter and historian Peter Snow will talk to camera from the Sands and the Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce will umpire.

Across time

The festival will run the gauntlet of time from Romans, Saints and Vikings to famous authors, architects and artists and the huge role played by the isle in the First and Second World Wars.

There will be diverse history modules, each with a mixed and unique three-day programme in a dedicated location. These will feature lectures, debates, various displays, living history devised by the Past Pleasures Ltd team, interactive experiences and re-enactments, many of which will be freely available to the public and schools.

Photo Tom Parsons

A commemorative service will take place at the Sailor’s Church and the Landmark Trust will offer free access to The Grange, built by architect Augustus Pugin, during the event.


The Ramsgate Harbour History Festival team wants to hear from anyone who feels they have something to offer that could contribute to the event. This could be anything from a role as a speaker to loaning photos or slide shows and films.

RHHF chairman Victoria Nielson said: “We would like to hear from anyone who may have skills that could add value to the festival.

“We hope this festival will involve people from all backgrounds, bring together major organisations and institutions, community groups and societies, schools and charities and individual enthusiasts, big and small, young and old.”


Schools are invited to get involved with festival activities.

Ms Nielson said: “We’d like to hear from schools that would like to be added to the mailing list so they can be kept informed and would like to be involved in the School’s Day.

“The school’s programme is being supported by the University of Kent and maps the curriculum for key stages 2-4.

Photo Past Pleasures

“Schools will be invited to visit for a full day of activities, demonstrations and talks. This will include ‘have-a-go’ sessions in the Roman, Viking, Napoleonic, World War One and World War Two areas and visits to the Dunkirk Little Ships.

“We also want to include Sea, Army and Air cadets to take part in highlighting our sea, air and land inheritance.”

There will be a dedicated schools’ day on June 15.


Funding has been applied for but an appeal is also being made for sponsors. Ms Nielson said: “The more financial support we can garner in the form of sponsorships and in kind support, the more we can do to showcase, unearth and immerse people in their maritime heritage.”

The festival will raise money for local charities supporting education, heritage and regeneration.


The event was officially launched at the Royal Harbour Brasserie on  July 21.

Photo Tom Parsons

Speakers included Victoria Nielson, her brother and festival co-founder James Thomas, Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, Chief Executive Visit Kent (all pictured above), Rob Kenyon from Thanet council and Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce.

Get involved

To contact the RHHF email [email protected]

Find out more about the festival at

Meet the team

Chairman Victoria Nielson

Vice chairman author and historian Peter Warwick

Director Mark Wallis of Past Pleasures Ltd

Military historian Andy Robertshaw

Lecturer Dr Graham Jones MBE

Director and co-founder of RHHF James Thomas, of the Royal Harbour Hotel

Director MV Events Melissa Stisted

Safety officer and two-time Atlantic rower Roger Gould

Event and creative production manager Andrew Gibson

Photography Tom Parsons

Production Ben Morton

Royal Navy advisor to RHHF Commander Nick Chatwin OBE

Festival patron Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce.

Festival backing

Thanet District Council

Visit Kent,

Lord Lieutenant’s office

Royal Navy


The Cinque Ports Confederation

Association of Dunkirk Little Ships

University of Kent

Landmark Trust

Other cultural organisations.