87th Broadstairs Dickens Festival to take place at seaside town this summer

While Medway residents love to claim Charles Dickens as their own, it’s not the only place that the novelist had a soft spot for in Kent.

The seaside town of Broadstairs is where the writer spent many summers and his frequent visits prompted the town to start its own Dickens Festival in 1937.

Victorian costumes and Dickensian characters will be on the beach for this year’s Broadstairs Dickens Festival. Picture: Alan Langley
Victorian costumes and Dickensian characters will be on the beach for this year’s Broadstairs Dickens Festival. Picture: Alan Langley

Now in its 87th year, the festival celebrates the author’s holidays in Fort House, also known as Bleak House, which inspired his acclaimed novel David Copperfield.

The property has since been turned into the Dickens House Museum which displays items, letters and Victorian clothing.

The three-day festival, which started on the 100th anniversary of Dickens’ first visit to the town, includes puppet shows, music, exhibitions, costumes and outdoor games.

The festival starts on Friday with music on the bandstand at Victoria Parade, as well as themed mini-golf and a Dickensian beach party with people dressed up in traditional Victorian clothing on the sand.

The festival has been running since 1937 - these were the crowds in 1977, 40 years after it first launched
The festival has been running since 1937 - these were the crowds in 1977, 40 years after it first launched

The following day, visitors can enjoy a Punch and Judy show, Victorian food stalls and a parade of characters from Dickens’ stories.

The final day, Sunday, boasts even more food and drink, as well as an outdoor croquet match and Dickens in Moving Pictures, a short film of works inspired by Charles Dickens dating back to 1901 showing at the Palace Cinema.

Over the weekend, visitors can also watch a production of Oliver Twist at the Sarah Thorne Theatre.

The Broadstairs Dickens Festival takes place from Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 16.

The festival is free to attend, but some events, such as Oliver Twist, are ticketed separately.

Share this story

COMPETITION

Win a football coaching session at Ballerz in Bluewater with former England star Rio Ferdinand


Helpful links

Local news