SO Culture: Our edit of the most entertaining events happening this October

Nusrat Ghani


West Kent Mind, the mental health charity, will be hosting a ten day online fundraising auction from Friday October 15 to Sunday October 24. Having been unable to run the usual programme of fundraising events, the charity is running an online auction to raise vital funds to support people experiencing mental ill health in the community. A spokesperson says: “The support from local businesses and individuals who have donated prizes has been amazing. There is a whole host of exciting prizes on offer to bid on from family photoshoots, bespoke podcast production and recording studio time; to artwork, jewellery, fitness memberships, electric bike hire, memorabilia and much more!


If there’s one place to appreciate all the splendour of autumn it’s the grounds of Hever Castle which boasts the prettiest red, orange and copper tones on its Maple and Acer trees and trademark Boston Ivy climber on the castle. As the air turns crisp and a rich display of autumn colour envelops the countryside, this is the perfect place to go walking and enjoy all of nature’s rich seasonal joy with friends and family.


The fourth Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival takes place over the weekend of October 15-17 in various venues over town. In addition to all the shows and workshops, one of which includes a series of free puppetry workshops for teenagers with local charity Mental Health Resources facilitated by Russell Dean from Strangeface, there will also be an art installation featuring Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon at Calverley Grounds for three days.


The popular Murder Mystery evenings with the 368 Theatre Company return to the Spa Valley Railway on Saturday October 9. The evening starts at Tunbridge Wells West Station with a briefing at 18:15 before everyone boards the train and the story starts to unfold. After departure, a fish and chip supper will be served and enjoyed as the train travels through the High Weald countryside to Groombridge. Upon arrival more of the story will be revealed and passengers will be invited to stand on the platform to make sure they don’t miss out on the action. Intriguing! Tickets cos £40 per adult.


Aspens Charity are inviting keen runners and dedicated walkers to join their spooky 5K run. The event takes place at 11am on Saturday October 30 with the starting point at their Cornford Lane site. Participants are encouraged to dress up in their most glamorously ghoulish costumes in order to raise funds to support Aspens’ work caring for people with learning disabilities and those on the autism spectrum. Entrance costs £10 per adult ticket.


Halloween wouldn’t be the same without a trip to source a pumpkin or two would it? Nowadays there are plenty of places you can go to for gourds, squashes and the like. Locally you can head to Aspens on Cornford Lane in Pembury where their patch will be open on Tuesday October 26 and Wednesday October 27. Two sessions are available: 10am-2pm and 1-3pm and cost £5 for adults and children aged 5-15, under 5s go free. There will also be scavenger trails and activities in addition to pumpkins for sale. Find out more and book at: www. Pumpkin Moon near Maidstone is another great place to find pumpkins, squashes and gourds of all shapes and sizes.


Hole Park Gardens near Rolvenden are renowned for their beauty all year round but especially during autumn when the rich colours on leaves and trees are simply spectacular. The stunning exotic border is also full of vibrant colours, especially in October when you can see bright cannas and dahlias and the late flowering agapanthus ‘Hole Park Blue’ which can be enjoyed in the formal gardens. Visitors can enjoy a circular walk which takes walkers past a delightful carved wooden sculpture of a family of bears climbing a tree to reach a honey pot and also a renovated ‘Ice House’ which was built in around 1740 to store ice long before the days of refrigeration. Open on Wednesday and Thursdays until the end of October visitors can also enjoy additional Sunday openings all the way through this month too.


We have so many beautiful National Trust properties on our doorstep and many of them are hosting special Halloween and half term events. It’s a good idea to check each one’s website first to see what’s on when and of course to book tickets. Locally you can choose to visit magical properties such as Bodiam Castle, Igtham Mote and Emmetts Garden. Scotney Castle and Sissinghurst are another couple of National Trust gems which boast a long and rich history and are the perfect places to escape to on a bright and crisp autumnal day.


On October 22 Mencap, the national charity supporting with a learning disability is asking its supporters and also anyone who would like to get involved in their Superhero Fundraising Challenge. All you need to do is get your family to dress up as a superhero of their choice in order to raise money and awareness.


Go Ape at Bedgebury is always a safe bet for kids – and adults alike who enjoy indulging in some thrill-seeking activity. As it’s half term it’s also a great place to spend time, with its tree top walks, swings and zip wires it’s definitely fun for all the family. Children must be aged at least ten years old to participate and be a minimum of 1.4m tall in this external adventure.



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