Chiddingstone Literary Festival – a review

Chiddingstone Literary Festival takes place in the stunning grounds of Chiddingstone Castle over the May Day bank holiday weekend

It is a four day event with Saturday and Sunday aimed at adults and Sunday for both adults and families. It also runs on Tuesday for Schools. We were invited to attend the family day with our two sons.

There was a vast array of events to choose from at the Chiddingstone Literary Festival

From the award-winning Pericles Theatre Company performing The Little Mermaid, to Aardman Animations Wallace and Gromit clay modelling workshop, to writing workshops there was something to keep even the most fidgety-bottomed child entertained.

Each event is bookable in advance online but there is a box office on the day. I would recommend booking in advance to secure your space as some of the events are very popular!

We got to Chiddingstone Literary Festival fairly early (for us) and the field was already filling up with cars.

It was a chilly, overcast day but that wasn’t putting people off. There were a couple of independent stalls selling food – I can highly recommend the veggie/vegan one – yummy! One for a children’s book club subscription and another selling drinks.

The tea rooms and castle were open as usual but you had to pay (a reduced rate) to go round the castle.  

Clay modellingWallace and Gromit with Aardman Animation

The Wallace and Gromit clay modelling workshop with Aardman Animations

Each event was held in a marquee so the inclement weather was not an issue. The marquees had seating too. Adults weren’t permitted in all the events, for instance they had to hang around outside the marquee while the clay modelling took place. This was not something my eldest was happy with but all the other kids seemed fine with it!

Having two children who both love Giraffes Can’t Dance we jumped at the chance to attend illustrator Guy Parker-Rees adventure in the jungle with Gerald, the giraffe

Being the twentieth anniversary of Giraffes Can’t Dance it was a bit of a celebration the the Consultus Marquee. 

Guy explained how he comes up with the idea for the characters and that he has loved drawing since he was a child. There was plenty of audience participation when we were asked to stand up and move like the animals in the book.

He chose a young man from the audience to be drawn and we watched as he drew him as a dancing monkey

Giraffes can't Dance Guy Parker-Rees drawing a monkey

Guy Parker-Rees drawing a young member of the audience

Guy Parker-Rees then read Giraffes Can’t Dance from beginning to end – something we do at least weekly here! It was a thoroughly engaging and entertaining half hour, after which he signed books – we got our much loved copy of Giraffes can’t Dance signed for both sons.

What we thought of Chiddingstone Literary Festival

We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours at the festival. The only downside was it was very cold so a picnic was out of the question (we are fair weather picnickers!) but I certainly wouldn’t let the weather put me off. I think it is a lovely way to to cultivate a love of reading for children (and adults) and an all round nice family day out.  

The grounds are a fabulous place to let off steam in between sessions too.

Guy Parker-Rees with Gerald the Giraffe

Keep an eye on the Chiddingstone Castle website here for details of the next Literary Festival and other events throughout the year.

Please join my Facebook group Things to do in Sevenoaks to see and share events in Sevenoaks and the surrounding area here

You can find my other days out reviews here

*We were given free entry for purposes of this review

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