46 free things to see and do in Thanet this Summer holidays 2018

Holiday fun

The school Summer holidays are almost here but keeping the family entertained doesn’t have to break the bank.

We have rounded up some isle events that are free attend.

Music at Broadstairs bandstand

Photo Dan Thomsett

The bandstand will host concerts almost every day throughout the Summer, weekdays from 1pm and weekends from 2.30pm.

Find the full listings here

Animals and us

Turner Contemporary, Margate

Candida Höfer,, Zoologischer Garten Paris II, 1997 © Candida Höfer / VG Bild, Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2018

May 25- September 30, Turner Contemporary Summer exhibition

Animals & Us is a major exhibition exploring artists’ reflections on the relationship between humans and other animals.

At a time when scientists warn that humans may be causing the sixth mass extinction on earth; how do we see and relate to other animals?

Focusing on contemporary and 20th century artists and including historical artworks and artefacts Animals & Us explores our lives and encounters with animals, and how these have been reflected in art.

Installed across all Turner Contemporary’s first floor galleries Animals & Us encompasses a wide range of media, from painting and sculpture to video and installation.

More details here

Paula the Polar Bear

Photo Pascal Amos-Rest/Greenpeace

Paula the Polar Bear will arrive in Margate on Thursday, July 26 as part of Turner Contemporary’s summer exhibition Animals & Us .

Taking the show out of the gallery, Paula, a life-sized puppet, will wander through the town, sparking thought provoking conversations about climate change and how humans can co-exist with animals.

Paula the Polar will appear at Turner Contemporary at 11am, 11.30am, 12pm, 12.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 3.30pm and 4pm, on the following dates:

Thursday 26 July

Thursday 2 August

Thursday 9 August

Thursday 16 August

Thursday 23 August

Saturday 28 July

Saturday 4 August

Saturday 11 August

Saturday 18 August

Saturday 25 August

Sunday 29 July

Sunday 5 August

Sunday 12 August

Sunday 19 August

Sunday 26 August

Victorian Summer Event

July 21-22, Victoria Parade, Broadstairs

Fun Victorian themed event in Broadstairs with stalls and entertainment. Stilt walker, juggler, magician, organist, pearly Kings and Queens and classic cars.

There’ll also be stalls selling a variety of goods plus entertainment at the Bandstand.

Tennis Open Day

July 21, 11am-4pm, Spencer Square Tennis Club, Ramsgate

After the Wimbledon tournament, Spencer Square Tennis Club will be holding a special open day to encourage children and adults to get involved in the game.

There’ll be lots to get involved with- free coaching, competitions, medals, prizes, barbecue and much more! Also- take part in a special 2 minute Skip2bfit family challenge.

Ramsgate Festival of Sound

July 21-30

Requiem for Cross Bones Image by Tommophotos

Ramsgate Festival of Sound runs from July 21-30 alongside Ramsgate Week. It will include talks, performances, music, family fun and sound installations taking place around Ramsgate town and the Royal Harbour. Free events will include on July 29:  Things With Words and Music takes place on the East Cliff  Bandstand, a travelling spoken word event from Ramsgate that has become known for mixing poetry and storytelling with a flair for the theatrical and a good smattering of music.  Also featuring The Lunatraktors, your local ‘broken folk’ duo and activities for kids of all ages.

July 28-29

Installation Requiem for Cross Bones by Ramsgate sound artist Emily Peasgood will be presented in Albion Square Gardens, courtesy of MERGE Bankside, in partnership with Tate Modern, Better Bankside, and Bankside Open Spaces Trust.

The installation is a composition, sound installation and series of sculptures. It senses movement and responds to visitors, triggering music and sound.

July 28

The festival will also have three music stages. The  Italianate Greenhouse in King George VI Park will host an afternoon of  Jazz with Sabina Desir and the Doug Sides Trio on July 28 from 1pm.  Ramsgate’s up and coming musical stars will perform on the main Harbour Stage from 2pm and music at Harbour Hoo-Ha takes place from 7pm that evening.

July 28

Activities for children include The Enchanted Forest created by Bindlestick Theatre. This will run from Noon to 5pm.

The same day will have The Pirate Ship Adventure, a soft play area for young children by Hackney’s Albion Kids Show and presented on Ramsgate Main Sands from 11am to 4pm.

July 29

Ramsgate Community Summer Parade, 5pm, leaves from Argos!

This year the Summer parade, funded by Ramsgate Town Council, will be made up of people from the community sending the message that Plastic is not fantastic!
Ramsgate Town Team is joining Arts in Ramsgate, Addington Street Community Group, Ramsgate Arts and local schools and groups to create things made of discarded plastic found around the town and beach. It could be a sea creature, a whale or even an outfit made out of bubble wrap!
There are free workshops at;
Newington Community Centre (Tuesdays, 5pm-6.30pm, running now up to and  including  July 24)
Glo Hub Brunswick Street (Wednesdays, 5pm-6.30pm running now up to and including July 26) for children aged 7-12

AiR Arts in Ramsgate Harbour Street is also holding workshops running now until July 21 on Thursday mornings, 10am-12pm and evenings 6pm-8pm or Saturdays, 1pm-4pm and Friday drop-ins from 10am to 5pm, open to everyone, children and adults!

There will also be an opportunity to pick up instructions and kits to make sea crabs and turtles at home and bring them along on the day!

Collect your packs from Arts in Ramsgate, make them at home and join the parade on the day.

Find more about the festival here

Ramsgate Carnival Weekend

July 21-22, Government Acre, Ramsgate

Photo Brian Whitehead

Around 70 floats are expected to take part in the parade on Sunday, July 22 but there will also be fun on the Saturday at Government Acre with fairground rides and a dog show.

Fair opening times

Saturday noon until 9pm

Sunday noon until 8pm

Special events

Free under 10s event – Saturday from noon until 3pm at Government Acre under 10s can take advantage of free fairground rides, a circus workshop and other entertainment.

There will also be a carnival dog show on Saturday from 10am at Government Acre. It is not free to enter but is free to watch!

The parade sets off at 4pm on Sunday from Royal Esplanade and circuits the town St Augustine’s Road; Paragon; Royal Parade; Harbour Parade; Madeira Walk; Wellington Crescent; Plains of Waterloo; King Street; Queen Street; Westcliff Road; Grange Road and back to Royal Esplanade.

Find your carnival guide here

Margate Lawn Tennis Club summer fete and open day

July 22, 1pm to 6pm.

There will be stalls with games of skill, things to buy and food to eat. As part of ‘The great British Weekend’ there will be plenty of opportunities to swing a racket! get some tips from the pro’s and get detailed information about joining our club either as an adult, or maybe how to get your children involved in our regular coaching sessions.

  • Try your hand at tennis
  • Grand Raffle
  • Licensed bar
  • Hoopla
  • Barbecue
  • Tin Can Towers
  • Cake stall
  • Beanie Challenge
  • Hit the Bully

The club is based at Tivoli Park Avenue, Margate.

Broadstairs Summer Fireworks

July 25, Viking Bay

Broadstairs fireworks display Photo John Horton

Activities at the bandstand from 6pm, live music at the bandstand 8pm and firework display at 9.45pm

Event is subject to changes/cancellations and is weather dependent.

Supported By:
*Thorley Taverns
*Broadstairs and St Peters Chamber of Commerce
*Morellis Ice Cream Parlour
*Lillyputt Mingolf
*Broadstairs Tourism and Leisure Association
*Broadstairs and St Peters Town Council

Thanet Male Voice Choir concert

July 25, Starts at 7.30 pm

The Thanet Male Voice Choir will perform at the First Prom Concert at The Pavilion, Broadstairs

The Choir was formed in 1977. The Choir performs approximately fifteen concerts a year and raises many thousands of pounds for various local causes and charities in the East Kent area. During its thirty-five years the choir has also performed in France, Italy and Germany as well as in the UK.

Free admission

Marian Padina exhibition

July 25-August 7, Nice Things gallery, Harbour Street, Ramsgate

Open daily 11am-5pm

Marian is a fine oil painter with a fascinating career as a painter and dyer of fabrics for the highly specialised field of classical ballet, at the Royal Opera House. She is expert in shoes, making and colouring.

Seaweed and its Secrets exhibition

July 25-September 2

Drum Room, Margate Visitor Information Centre, Droit House, Daily 10am-5pm

A look at the sheer variety of seaweeds around the Kent coast and their sometimes surprising uses in everyday life.

This exhibition has been created by Ian Tittley (Natural History Museum & Kent Field Club) with help from the Thanet Coast Project and NEKMPA Coastal Wardens.

Walk & Talks:

  • Thursday 26 July at 5pm – Margate VIC/Fulsam Rock, Margate (CT9 1JD)
  • Thursday 23 August at 4:30pm – Margate VIC/Fulsam Rock, Margate (CT9 1JD)

Kent Car craft open day and barbecue

July 28,10am-3pm. Oakwood Industrial Estate, Dane Valley Road, St Peters

To celebrate Kent Car Craft’s 11th year in business a day to see show cars, grab a burger or ice cream and meet the team!

Ramsgate Handmade & Vintage Fair

 Saturday, July 28 at 12pm-6pm and Sunday, July 29 from 11am-5pm, Harbour Parade, Ramsgate

Photo Adam Dark

Harbour arts and craft market with the Ramsgate Festival. Browse the produce and items of many talented local makers and artists.

Broadstairs & St. Peters Art Group Open Air Exhibition

July 29, Viking Bay Seafront Railings by the lift

Exhibition showcasing wide range of group members’ talents comprising paintings in all media, embroideries, ceramics and stained glass.

All work for sale – original art at affordable prices

Broadstairs Water Gala

August 1, 9am to 10.30pm, Viking Bay, Victoria Gardens and Bandstand:

Broadstairs Water Gala

The water gala has a full fun filled programme of free activities

  • Teddy Bears Picnic at Lillyputt Mini Golf at 9am
  • Beach Games from Your Leisure
  • Water Sport activities and try out sessions from Kent Surf School
  • Sandcastle Competition
  • Beach Decorated Beach Hut Competition
  • Millers & Sweeps battle it out in the water
  • Punch & Judy on the beach
  • RNLI Lifeboat will be moored by the Jetty
  • Funfair
  • Craft/ Bric a Brac stalls
  • Crabbing Competition
  • Seashore Discovery sessions with Thanet Coast Project
  • Bandstand entertainment which also features Titan the Robot

Evening events
Family party time with live music on the bandstand from ‘The Curb Pilots’, funfair (charges apply)

Broadstairs Summer Fireworks

August 1 (part of the water gala celebrations) Viking Bay

Activities at the bandstand from 6pm, live music at the bandstand 8pm and firework display at 9.45pm

Event is subject to changes/cancellations and is weather dependent.

Battle of the Buskers

August 2-30, Westwood Cross

Open Monday – Friday 9.30am-7.30pm, Saturday 9.30am-6.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm

Live music will be a theme at the centre during summer with performances from buskers on selected dates throughout August.

At the end of the summer, the best of the buskers will be voted for by the Westwood Cross shoppers to see who will win the £500 gift card.

Margate Soul Festival 2018

August 3-5

Free outdoor music as part of the festival.

The Piazza – Zero Radio Stage.
Market Place – Mi-Soul and Revenge of the Soulboy Stage.
Fort Hill – Original Carnival Soul Sounds.

Stages will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 12pm – 6pm.

St Laurence Open Church

August 4- September 28, Historic Grade I listed church open for visiting

Every Saturday August – September 10am -3pm

Broadstairs Bandstand Concert

August 4, 2.30pm until 4pm

Enjoy an afternoon concert with Goosebumps

Contra Pop Festival

August 4-5, Extra Normal Records presents ‘Contra Pop’ on Ramsgate Main Sands

Extra Normal Records presents the third edition of Contra Pop Festival, a two-day event encompassing live performances from some of the foremost artists working at the intersection between experimental music and pop

  • DJ Airplane and Spaceship
  • Laraaji
  • Coldnose
  • Otherworld
  • Adrian Sherwood (DJ)
  • The Storm Bugs
  • Lyzza (DJ)

Tickets are free of charge (or by donation), but booking is necessary and as capacity is limited.

Details here 

Broadstairs & St. Peters Art Group Open Air Exhibition

August 5, Viking Bay Seafront Railings by the lift 10am-5pm

Exhibition showcasing wide range of group members’ talents comprising paintings in all media,  embroideries, ceramics and stained glass.

All work for sale – original art at affordable prices

Broadstairs Bandstand Concert

August 5, 2.30pm until 4pm

Enjoy an afternoon concert with Betteshanger Brass Band

Margate Carnival

Photo Thanet from my perspective

Sunday, August 5. Moving off at 2:30pm.

Margate Carnival will start in Palm Bay Avenue and process through the streets of Cliftonville, Margate and Westbrook.

Broadstairs Folk Week

August 10-17, Broadstairs

Free music events in the town’s pubs, characters and music throughout the town and promenade.

The family-friendly parade of music, morris and magic, starting from Pierremont Hall at 5.30pm on Saturday, August 11.

Hobby Horse Club at Broadstairs Bandstand through the week which welcomes all generations to singalong, dance along and meet the Hooden Horses and feed Clarence the Folk Week Dragon.

More festival details here

Lark in the Park

August 9- September 19, Government Acre, Ramsgate, Open from 12.45pm weekdays, evenings 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

Lark in the Park has a packed programme andis  hosted by an extraordinary team of volunteers, both local and from other parts of the UK and even Europe!

Afternoons – full of activities for all ages. Venues ranging from toddlers groups for the young ones and Tea Rooms for those who want to take it slower.

Weekend family fun from 2pm-4.30pm

Bouncy castles, face painting, hair braiding, inflatable slides, assault courses, Gladiator podiums and more.

Park Life live stage hosting entertainment and music throughout the afternoon. The Art Tent, Fun Factory garden, The Vibe, The Chapel.

Week days

Fun Factory, ages 0-4,  weekdays 1.45pm-3.45pm

Fun Factory

A large tent filled with noise, laughter, fun and colour for toddlers and their families.

Soft play activities, a new baby area, an outside garden for older ones to stretch their legs, bounce on the castle and trampoline, and get sand between their toes in the sand pit. Outside tent, the ‘Messy Church’ zone, where the children can do a different craft orientated around a different story and theme each day

HQ, ages 5-10, weekdays 1.45pm-3.45pm

Games, messy challenges, daily gunging and daring stories!

Children going to HQ will need to register

The Vibe, ages 11-16, weekdays 10am-noon and 1.45pm-3.45pm

There’s a lounge, Half Pipe, Consoles, Table Tennis, Pool table, café – and that’s inside! Outside; football cage, basketball, mini skatepark or just hang out in the garden area. In the evenings there’ll be silent disco, beach party and loads more.

Vibe evenings

Everyday at 7.30pm the Vibe put on events including a silent disco, beach party and more

Children need to register

Art Tent, all ages, under-11s to be accompanied by an adult, weekdays 1.45pm-3.45pm

Clay modelling to painting plates, bag decorating to specialist workshops. There will also be adult workshops.

Park life, all ages, 1.45pm-4pm

Outdoor stagefree tea, coffee and refreshments whilst watching a variety of local acts from live music, dance groups, cooking demonstrations, games and more!

This year there are different themed days with special guests and surprises along the way.

Tea Rooms, over 60s, 1.45pm-4pm

Cream teas, going down memory lane, musical bingo and some good old fashioned sing ups

Evening events range from movie nights to Thanet’s Got Talent and Family game show fun. Find the full line up here

Margate Pride

August 11 (main event)

Photo Adam Dark

Community cultural events, parade and rally on the seafront with this year’s theme ‘Wildlife’

1.30pm for 2pm: Parade from Walpole Bay Lawn
2pm-4pm: Turner Contemporary Gallery – Dirty Ears – Poetry and Spoken Word Event

Find a full line up of paid and free events here

St Laurence Church Summer Fair

August 11, 2pm-5pm

St. Laurence Church annual Summer fair with stalls, games, music and refreshments.

Coastal Crafty Crew

August 12,10am-3pm, Quex Small Barn, Quex estate, Birchington

Handmade and unique crafts

Free entry

Model Transport Day

August 19, 10am – 4pm, Crampton Tower Museum, Broadstairs

Model Transport Show – Free Admission (donations welcome)

Slot-car racing, model cars etc

Broadstairs Bandstand Concert

Photo Sallyann Harris

August 19, 2.30pm-4pm

Enjoy an afternoon bandstand concert by Burt Butler’s Jazz Pilgrims

Broadstairs Summer Fireworks


August 22, Viking Bay

Activities at the bandstand from 6pm, live music at the bandstand 8pm and firework display at 9.45pm

Thanet Male Voice Choir concert

August 22, 7.30pm, Pavilion, Broadstairs

Thanet Male Voice Choir will perform at the Second Prom Concert

The Choir was formed in 1977. The Choir performs approximately fifteen concerts a year and raises many thousands of pounds for various local causes and charities in the East Kent area. During its thirty-five years the choir has also performed in France, Italy and Germany as well as in the UK.

Free admission

Broadstairs Bandstand Concert

Saturday, August 25, 2.30pm-4pm Canterbury Brass Band

Sunday, August 26, 2.30pm-4pm EK1

Monday, August 27, 1pm-4pm John Myhill’s Jazz Quartet

Punch and Judy

August 26-27

A series of Punch and Judy Shows to be performed free of charge for residents and visitors to Westgate on Sea

West Bay on August  26

St Mildred’s Bay  on August 27

All shows will take place on the greens above the beaches. There will be three shows a day, the first at noon, 2pm and 3:30pm.

Model Car Event

September 1,10am – 4pm, Crampton Tower Museum, Broadstairs

Model Car Event – Slot-car Racing layouts with sales tables for kit, motoring memorabilia & diecast cars.

Free entry – donations welcome.

The Cliftonville Games

September 1, noon until 5pm at The Ova, Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville

Open to everyone, the community sports day organised by the Gordon Road Association will also include a new arts and crafts fair with food stalls, activities, games and live music.

Events include inflatable obstacle courses where fastest child in their age group wins a prize; dog show; face painting and tombola and egg and spoon competitions.

From hula hooping to volleyball and football, there will be lots of fun free activities to get involved with.

The Cliftonville Games has a key focus on health and wellbeing.

Broadstairs Bandstand concert

September 1, 2.30pm-4pm

Enjoy an afternoon bandstand concert by UK Paper Band

Open from 10am

Model Ship Rally

September 2, Ramsgate boating pool, Royal Esplanade, from 10am

Photo Dean Spinks

Ramsgate Vikings Model Boat Club present their annual Model Ship Rally

Coastal Crafty Crew

September 2,10am-3pm, Quex Small Barn, Quex estate, Birchington

Handmade and unique crafts

Free entry

Broadstairs Bandstand concert

September 2, 2.30pm-4pm

Enjoy an afternoon bandstand concert by Gravesend Borough Band

Easy Sunday – Clay Critters

Turner Contemporary

1pm – 4pm

Drop-in family workshop in the Clore Learning Studio

Choose your favourite animal in the exhibition and sculpt it from your own slab of air-dry clay. Once it’s finished, use the recycled materials to create an environment for it to live in!

Entry £4.50/ Free for CT9 Card Holders

Addington Street Revival Fair

Sunday, September 2 from 10am – 5pm

Photo Adam Dark

Stalls,fun, music plus historical, arts and musical activities.

Addington Street Revival Fair combines again with Ramsgate Handmade and Vintage Fair 11am-5pm – A huge celebration of local crafts, arts, bric-a-brac, music and food.

Thanet’s beaches and bays

It’s an obvious one but why not pack a picnic and a bucket and spade and visit one of the isle’s beaches or bays. Get involved with sandcastle making, rock-pooling and a paddle.

Thanet Community Kitchen

July 30-August 31

Cllr Barry Lewis with Sharon Goodyer of Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet

A community kitchen offering free meals for families in need, both eat in and takeaway,  will open for the Summer at a Margate primary school.

Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet has teamed up with Drapers Mills school, Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Thanet, Fareshare, Asda, Windmill Allotments, Geoff Philpott’s farm, Your Leisure and county councillor Barry Lewis to offer the meals and activities scheme throughout August.

Cllr Lewis has provided start up funds for a team of six professionals and a small army of volunteers who will be serving up roast chicken dinners, roasted vegetable tagine with cous cous, beetroot chocolate cake, flapjack with added apple and carrot , Appleberry to go with yogurt and Kulfi -a sumptuous ice cream from the Middle East.

The aim is to get the community together to enjoy the meals, with those who can afford it making a donation, and to have fun in a variety of activities.

It will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6pm to 8pm from July 30 to August 31.

Our Kitchen in Thanet will be holding a training evening on Monday, July 23 at Drapers Mills school from 6pm-8pm. If you would like to be more than a guest diner and  be a part of running the Summer Kitchen just turn up to the session. Volunteers can do as much or as little to help as they want during the scheme.

To book or find out more call 01843 223989 or visit the Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet facebook page here


  1. Kathy, you left out all those tasty, free Summer Kitchen dinners and games of family rounders and easy crafts to do at Drapers Mills Primary Academy! 6-8pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in August.

  2. Our kitchen will fill the void that school meals provide during school term during the summer holidays for Thanet families, delighted to fund it

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