Kent Pilgrims’ Festival returns to the Kent Downs with guided walks, hikes, e-bike tours and outdoor activities

Kent Pilgrims’ Festival returns to the Kent Downs with guided walks, hikes, e-bike tours and outdoor activities

Kent is set to bring one of the UK’s biggest pilgrimage festivals into the 21st century.

The Kent Pilgrims’ Festival celebrates the county’s ancient routes and follows the footsteps of pilgrims from medieval times with walks, trails and outdoor activities.

The Kent Pilgrims’ Festival is taking over the Kent Downs for five days this September. Picture: Kent Pilgrims’ Festival

The festival, which takes place from Wednesday, September 21 to Sunday, September 25, is centred around the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and gives visitors the chance to escape fast-paced, modern living and connect with nature.

There is a huge selection of activities on offer, including family trails and guided walks, campfire stories, net-walking, art workshops, e-bike tours, poetry performances and the chance to sample local food and drink.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday, September 21 with a celebratory launch at Breakwater Brewery in Dover. There will be live music, special pilgrim ales exclusive to the festival and a hog roast, as well as vegetarian food, to tuck into.

Enjoy a pint of pilgrims ale, created exclusively for this year's festival. Picture: Kent Pilgrims' Festival
Enjoy a pint of pilgrims ale, created exclusively for this year’s festival. Picture: Kent Pilgrims’ Festival

On Thursday, September 22, you can get out and about with a number of tours and trails.

You can hop on an e-bike and set off on a guided cycle tour from Headcorn Aerodrome, near Ashford, through the towns and villages along the Pilgrims Way.

If you prefer to explore on foot, the Women to Womenswold Walk is a gentle six-mile walk for women coping with loss. The modern-day pilgrimage takes you along a section of the famous Via Francigena from Shepherdswell to the picturesque village of Womenswold.

Take a break from adventuring on Friday, September 23 and join a relaxing session with award-winning poet Patience Agbabi.

Patience will be sharing her modern twist on the Canterbury Tales in Reimagining Chaucer, and telling her moving real-life accounts of refugees in Refugee Tales.

There are outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy, from cycling to hiking. Picture: Kent Pilgrims' Festival
There are outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy, from cycling to hiking. Picture: Kent Pilgrims’ Festival

Going into the weekend, Saturday, September 24 is full of things to do, including Meet the Pilgrims at Dover Town Hall, fireside stories and food in Bilsington, Ashford, and the Thomas Becket Churches Tour in Canterbury.

Finally, rounding off the festival on Sunday, September 25 are walks such as the Via Francigena Challenge, which is the longest walk of the festival, and the tranquil guided walk from Chilham to Canterbury.

There are also history hikes, painting workshops, film screenings, picnics, fetes and a food and drink festival – the full programme can be found here.

The festival is a celebration of medieval pilgrimages and nature in the beautiful Kent countryside. Picture: Kent Pilgrims Festival
The festival is a celebration of medieval pilgrimages and nature in the beautiful Kent countryside. Picture: Kent Pilgrims Festival

Some of the events taking place at the Kent Pilgrims’ Festival place are free, however others are ticketed individually and must be booked online in advance. Visit the website to find out more.

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/whats-on/news/follow-in-medieval-footsteps-at-the-kent-pilgrims-festival-273279/

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