Springtime bloom: The Secret Gardens of Sandwich


It's anniversary time in Kent. The Sandwich Celebrations (sandwichevents.info; 12-13 May) will mark the moment when John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, wrapped two slices of bread around a tasty filling, 250 years ago. The present Earl – the 11th – will host special events around the town, which will feature suitable period fun such as a Food Fayre, a teddy bears' picnic and, of course, a re-enactment of the "invention" of the sandwich.

The Secret Gardens of Sandwich (01304 619919; the-secretgardens.co.uk; admission £6.50) will also be a subject of celebration for the town throughout 2012. One hundred years ago, the house known as The Salutation was built by the renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also laid out the gardens with the help of horticultural designer Gertrude Jekyll. To see the grounds in their full splendour, join the guided Midsummer Dusk Tour (admission £12, including a glass of wine) on 24 June.

Events marking the bicentenary of Charles Dickens's birth continue throughout 2012. Kent's important role in the writer's life means the county's calendar is filled with celebrations such as the Broadstairs Dickens Festival (01843 861827; broadstairsdickensfestival.co.uk; 16-22 June).

Meanwhile, the Historic Dockyard at Chatham (01634 823845; www.thedockyard.co.uk; admission £16.50) has launched a new walking tour, "Dickens's Dockyard". Led by a costumed guide, it takes in sights such as the place where his father worked. Tours depart Sundays at 2.30pm; £3.50 plus admission.

It's the 200th birthday of the Royal School of Military Engineering in the village of Brompton. At the Royal Engineers Museum (01634 822312; re-museum.co.uk; admission £7.80) in nearby Gillingham, a programme of talks (admission £10) includes, on 17 May, Corporal James Bedford MC speaking on why he was awarded the Military Cross in Afghanistan and became one of GQ's Men of the Year. Free guided walking tours of Brompton will take place throughout the summer.

Among the mere whippersnappers, Canterbury Historic River Tours (www.canterburyrivertours.co.uk; tours £8) has notched up 80 years of taking visitors by boat along the River Stour to see the city's main sights.

It's 60 years since Brogdale Farm (01795 536250; brogdalecollections.co.uk; admission £10) near Faversham became the home of the National Fruit Collection. Fifties-themed celebrations include a Soft Fruit Day on 24 June and a Cherry Festival, 7-8 July.

For more information go to visitkent.co.uk.