South East News

Registration now open for Kent Big Weekend!

More than 22,000 pairs of FREE tickets for a host of attractions and activities across the county are up for grabs in the Kent Big Weekend ballot from today (Thursday 9th February).

Registration for the 11th Big Weekend is now open, with 112 attractions offering amazing tickets.

Lucky Kent residents won’t have to pay a penny to get up close to exotic animals at some of Kent’s top wildlife parks, jump aboard a high-speed boat, enjoy tours and tastings at some of the country’s top vineyards or head off on a railway adventure on the first weekend of April 2017.

The Big Weekend is designed to get local people out and about exploring the amazing destinations on their doorstep during one ‘big weekend’, on 1st and 2nd April.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of free tickets, residents must register at by 3rd March.

Some of the county’s biggest attractions will be opening their doors or offering special gifts to lucky ticket holders on 1st and 2nd April, as part of Visit Kent's annual celebration of the county's tourism industry. These include Wingham Wildlife Park, Port Lympne Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park, Rochester Cathedral, Ashford Designer Outlet, Wildwood Trust, Tonbridge Castle, Betteshanger Country Park, Kent Life, Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle, Hever Castle, Dover Castle, Hush Heath Estate & Winery, and several National Trust properties.

The event is also part of English Tourism Week, which highlights tourism as one of the fastest growing sectors in the national economy.

Two tickets per household will be allocated to winners by random ballot (some family tickets are available). Last year, more than 120,000 people applied for tickets to the big event, so make sure you bid for as many tickets as possible to be in with a chance of winning!

Attractions have also donated extra tickets to the Family Holiday Association charity, which helps struggling families to enjoy a day out for free.

Visit Kent Head of Marketing Sinead Hanna said: “The Big Weekend marks the beginning of the tourist season and is a fantastic way to celebrate all that is on offer in Kent.

“Over the last decade Kent’s Big Weekend has given our residents some brilliant opportunities to discover what’s happening in their home county and this year is no different.

“We’ve once again been overwhelmed by the support from attractions across Kent and the range of visitor experiences on offer, and we encourage all Kent residents to rediscover the amazing things to see and do in their county.

“And if you have a good time during the Big Weekend, don’t forget to share your stories and pictures on social media using #kentbigweekend17!”

To register and to see the full list of attractions taking part, visit

For more information about Kent, please visit