Discovery Planet in Ramsgate celebrates 10 years of bringing science to the community

Discovery Planet team with ward councillor Raushan Ara Photo Pete Bateson

A unique community science education project based in Ramsgate has celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Discovery Planet took over the former Boots Opticians unit in Ramsgate High Street in 2022 after operating on a pop-up basis at different Thanet locations. The team provides science workshops to schools and the community.

The Discovery Planet shop HQ, is the first of its kind in the UK and has not only brightened up the street but has also enabled thousands of visitors to take part in exciting science-based activities and learn about cutting edge research going on at the University of Kent and Discovery Park.

Xanthe Pitt, Director at Discovery Planet, said: “As the only long-term project of its kind in the UK, over 26,000 visits have been made to our events since we set up in 2014. We have won a slew of prestigious awards and become nationally recognised for our innovative approach and expertise in community engagement.

“It is incredibly exciting to be going for 10 years. It takes a long time to build relationships with the community and for people to understand what we are doing but it is lovely to see all the people coming in.”

The team also have a number of youngsters from Thanet schools who are volunteering or undertaking work experience by helping with the workshop sessions.

Photo Pete Bateson

Thanks to an award from the Prosperity Fund the Discovery Planet team  have held a fun, free science party for schools and families as part of the birthday celebrations and also have events lined up for Halloween and Christmas.

The Discovery Planet team headed up by directors and founders Xanthe Pitt and  Nikki Hildesley and director Dr Victoria Mason -have also just won the Inclusion and Diversity Prize 2024 from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Photo Pete Bateson

The prize is in recognition of the mission to bring STEM (science, technology, and maths) to the community and the inclusivity that means special education needs schools and unaccompanied child refugees have been able to take part in enjoying science sessions.

Coming up this week

This week Discovery Planet has a series of events this week as part of national Refugee Week.

Refugee Week is the world’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Refugee Week has evolved into an international movement, with events spanning the globe and bringing together people from different backgrounds to connect and understand why people are displaced and the challenges they face when seeking safety.

As part of Discovery Planet’s Refugee Week 2024 programme, Ramsgate Community Cinema will be screening Nezouh, an award-winning Syrian film.

Still from NEZOUH by Soudade Kaadan_light © Nezouh LTD – BFI – Film4

The screening takes place on Thursday 20th June at 7pm, 64 High Street, Ramsgate, CT11 9RS and is FREE to attend.

The film follows 14-year-old Zeina and her family who are the last to have stayed in their besieged hometown of Damascus in Syria. A missile rips a giant hole in their home, exposing them to the outside world. When a rope is mysteriously lowered into the hole, Zeina gets her first taste of freedom, and an unimaginable world of possibility opens up for her.

On Friday 21st  June Discovery Planet will team up with expert educators from Dover-based charity, Samphire, to provide interactive, curriculum-linked workshops to local schools.

On Saturday 22nd June, Discovery Planet and Arts in Ramsgate – also based in the High Street- will both open their doors from 10am to 3pm to offer refreshments and a range of activities which explore the meaning of ‘HOME’, the theme of this year’s Refugee Week.

Photo Pete Bateson

You can see an artwork produced by young people attending Pie Factory Music’s Open Arms project; make friendship bracelets; listen to a story; have lunch and more.

To complement the event, independent bookshop, Book Bodega, on Harbour Street has curated a reading list that can be found online at Many of the titles can also be obtained through the local library.

For more information see the Discovery Planet website , Facebook: ttps:// , Twitter: @ScienceSpaceCr8