Photo Credit & Copyright Simon Kelsey

Photo Credit & Copyright Simon Kelsey

Where can you build sandcastles, see knights do battle, attend a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and meet St George and his dragon, all in one day?

Thousands of visitors are expected to go along and do just that at this year’s English Festival, which takes place on Saturday 20 April at Riverside Country Park, Gillingham. Held annually on the closest Saturday to St George’s Day, the free family day out celebrates the iconic and ironic traditions of England. The park will be divided into four themed zones, the Seaside, the Village Square, the English Countryside and Medieval Fun. Visitors will be able to play games and enjoy donkey rides at a specially created sandy beach, meet farm ponies and goats, watch bee keepers in action, have a go at falconry and join a good old fashioned tea party while listening to the sounds of the bandstand.

An assortment of colourful characters will also mingle with the crowds including an English bobby and his Penny Farthing, dueling lollipop ladies, and of course St George and his pet dragon. Traditional food and drink will also be on sale throughout the day, from chips and curry to candy floss and cake. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr Howard Doe said: “This wonderfully quirky festival is now in its 4th year, and it’s the perfect way for all the family to have a free day out and celebrate St George’s Day”. The English Festival runs from 11am to 5pm. Entry to the event is free but some activities such as donkey rides, seaside rides, and face painting will have a small charge. All children entering the event must be accompanied by an adult.

There will be limited parking on site. Spaces are free but as it is limited visitors are strongly advised to use the free park and ride service from the visitor entrance to the Historic Dockyard, Chatham and Rainham Mark Grammar School to Riverside Country Park, Gillingham and back. The buses will run between 10am and 6pm and will drop and collect passengers on Lower Rainham Road, outside Riverside Country Park. For more information phone 01634 338141, email or visit