What’s On With The Times

    Sissinghurst Castle

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    SEVEN DAYS OF SOCIAL ACTIVITIES AT A GLANCE

    >> Wednesday
    This morning from 10am-3pm the Kent High Weald Partnership will be holding a big gardening session at Dunorlan Park. So if you want to help hoe, weed and keep one of the town’s majestic green spaces looking smart for you and your family’s enjoyment, then your contribution will be greatly appreciated! Just turn up wearing appropriate attire.

    >> Thursday
    Following their gardening stint in Dunorlan, Kent High Weald Partnership will be in green-fingered action again today. This time they’ll be at Barnett’s Wood from 10am-3pm for another of their horticultural overhauls. If you want to help just turn up in your gardening gear.

    Captain Flinn

    >> Friday
    The EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge will be hosting two events today. The first one is a production of Captain Flinn and The Pirate Dinosaurs 2 – The Magic Cutlass by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto. Les Petits Theatre Company bring this charming children’s book to life. Prepare to see what Flinn does when his friends are kidnapped by the evil Mr T Tex Rex and forced to look for a magical cutlass. Tickets cost £10 each or £8.50 per person for groups of ten or more. Visit www.boxoffice.tonbridge-school.co.uk

    Later on in the evening at EM Forster is another Tonbridge Comedy Night, and this month’s comedians are Stuart Goldsmith, Kate Lucas and Christopher Betts. The action kicks off at 7.30pm and tickets cost £12 each.

    Ale

    The sixth annual CAMRA real ale and cider event will be back at the Spa Valley Railway from today until Sunday. With 130 ales, 30 different ciders, plus numerous hop and cask beers and a few Belgian brews, there really is something for every palate. The main action takes place in the Tunbridge Wells West Victorian Engine Shed and there will be trains departing every 40 minutes so you can sit, sup and enjoy the Wealden scenery. For more information visit www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk

    >> Saturday
    The Play and Display exhibition is currently on at Sissinghurst Castle. Featuring a range of paper cards and toys, the collection shows how popular and charming paper dolls, model theatres and puppets have been over the centuries. Normal National Trust admission charges apply. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst

    Running from 10am-1pm, the Autumn Charity Fair takes place in King Charles the Martyr Church Hall in aid of the Barnabas Fund and Canon Andrew White’s Fund for Persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq. There will be a variety of stalls selling china, glass, stationery, toys, books, games and much more. Refreshments available and admission is free.

    The next Hospice in the Weald community choir concert takes place at 8pm and is entitled Harvest Harmonies. The group formed a few years ago to provide singing as a kind of therapy for hospice patients, and to also provide opportunities to raise money courtesy of their annual autumnal concert. The choir meets every other Tuesday evening at the hospice throughout the year. Doors open tonight at 7.30 pm and tickets cost £5. Call 01892 820578 to book.

    >> Sunday
    A Halloween-inspired event taking place over the weekend, and every day until next Sunday, is the pumpkin trail at Emmetts Garden. Children and their parents are encouraged to journey along it and seek out eerie clues to find out where and who it leads to. It promises to be a fun seasonal activity – especially as there’ll be a special prize at the end of it. £1 per participant and normal admission charges apply.

    Tonight at the Assembly Hall the Russian State Ballet perform their version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. With a cast of talented dancers, and a live orchestra boasting over 30 musicians, it promises to be a magical evening. Tickets cost £33 for adults and £21 for children. www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk. See here for our exclusive interview with the show’s director.

    Hunt for the Wilderpeople

    Sam Neill and Julian Dennison star in the Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a charming film from New Zealand in which they play foster father and son respectively. Showing at Trinity from 7pm, this well received black comedy centres on the pair’s adventure when they are forced to go on the run in the wild. Bittersweet and enjoyable in equal measure. Tickets cost from £9.50. www.trinitytheatre.net

    >> Monday
    Half term gets under way this week and there is plenty to keep children of all ages amused and occupied. Older ones can be spooked by Grimm’s Terrifying Halloween Tales, which is on every day until next Sunday at Groombridge Place. It’s an event that’s inspired by some of the Grimm brothers’ most ghastly stories, with witches and ghouls reacting extracts of some of their classics. It also includes pop-up eateries, fire pits and ghost boat rides. Ticket prices cost £14.95 per adult and £10.95 per child. A family ticket is priced at £45. Visit www.groombridgeplace.com

    Over at Knole, there’s a Family Monday taking place from 11am-3pm. Visitors can enjoy free arts and crafts sessions, which will be inspired by nature and her rich bounty of materials. So stroll around the grounds and let the pretty red and golden hues and falling autumn leaves inspire you. Suitable for children aged 5-12. Normal admission costs. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole

    There will be a Half Term Forest School at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park. The event will be divided into two separate sessions taking place on Monday and Tuesday, and Thursday and Friday. Open to children over seven, the range of activities on offer will be both practical and fun, including things like making camping mallets and pirates’ swords from wood and learning lots of tips on how to survive in the wild. Tickets cost £35 per child. To book, or for more information, email: steff.dagorne@tunbridgewells.gov.uk

    >> Tuesday
    The Wild Garden is the focus of autumn colour at Bateman’s, with a range of stunning ornamental trees and shrubs to enjoy in their glorious gardens. The family home of Rudyard Kipling is also renowned for its wonderful orchard, which turns vibrant shades of red, green and auburn as the apples, pears, plums and greengages ripen. Their Halloween activities this year include pumpkin carving, apple bobbing and minibeast hunting. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans

    Understanding the Stone Age is pop-up exhibition happening at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park this evening from 5.30pm. Put on in association with the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, it gives both children and interested adults the opportunity to explore this rich era of history. As well as lots of detailed information, there will be artefacts on loan from the museum on display. The event is free but pre-booking is required. Call 07917 643 961.

    PICK OF THE WEEK:

    Pumpkin Moon

    Pumpkin Moon, Eckley’s Farm, Maidstone, Kent
    From Thursday October 20 to Sunday October 30

    Given there’s nowhere local to pick your own pumpkins for Halloween, it’s definitely worth making the effort to travel out to this family farm in Maidstone. Fifteen acres of it have been planted with 13 different varieties of pumpkin and squash. Not only are there the usual orange pumpkins, there’s also a number of other varieties, including the Munchkin, Goosebump and Snowman. After you’ve picked your preferred pumpkin, you can enjoy the mini Maize Maze and hot food and refreshments.

    Entrance is free, and prices start from £1 for a Munchkin and £2-£3 for a regular pumpkin.

    Ten per cent of the profits will be donated to the Heart of Kent Hospice and the British Heart Foundation.