Broadstairs Dickens Festival 2024, Kent

Broadstairs Dickens Festival 2024, Kent

June 14 - June 16

Sarah Thorne Theatre, Fordoun Road, Broadstairs, Kent, UK

The Broadstairs Dickens Festival is held annually in June in the picturesque village of Broadstairs, the hometown of the famous English writer Charles Dickens. In 2024, the festival will celebrate its 87th anniversary, making it one of the oldest literary traditions in the UK. The festival originated in 1937 when Gladys Waterer proposed celebrating the centenary of Dickens' first visit to Broadstairs with a performance of "David Copperfield" and a costume parade. Over time, it has become a major cultural event, attracting tens of thousands of Dickens fans and literature enthusiasts from around the world.

Festival Traditions

costume parade through the streets of Broadstairs

One of the main traditions of the festival is the costume parade through the streets of Broadstairs. Hundreds of participants in Victorian attire recreate the atmosphere of 19th-century London described in Dickens' novels. Among them, you can see ragged beggars, shopkeepers, noble gentlemen, and ladies. The parade opens the festival on the first day.

Another beloved tradition is the reenactment of famous scenes from Dickens' works. Professional and amateur troupes perform excerpts from "Great Expectations," "Nicholas Nickleby," "David Copperfield," and other masterpieces on the city's open stages. In 2024, one of the central events will be the production of "Great Expectations" at the Sarah Thorne Theatre.

Festival Program and Highlights

In addition to the costume parade and theatrical performances, the festival program includes many other exciting events. At Dickens House, where the writer created such masterpieces as "Nicholas Nickleby" and "David Copperfield," thematic tours immerse visitors in the life and times of the writer. Squares and parks in Broadstairs host themed markets with souvenirs and antique books, blacksmiths, and craft workshops.

Festival visitors can participate in quizzes and contests on Dickens' novels, attend lectures by renowned literary scholars, and take writing workshops. In the evenings, music and dance groups recreate the atmosphere of 19th-century London balls on the city's stages.

The festival culminates with a grand masquerade ball on the final day. In luxurious historic interiors, guests in Dickens-era costumes dance traditional dances, socialize, and take photos in century-old settings.

Where and When the Festival Takes Place

Broadstairs Dickens Festival 2024 will be held from June 14 to 16

The Broadstairs Dickens Festival 2024 will be held from June 14 to 16. All major events will take place in the center of Broadstairs, Kent, in southeast England. The main venue will be the historic Sarah Thorne Theatre on Fordoun Road, where "Great Expectations" will be performed. To purchase tickets, call 0333 666 4466 or book on the website

How to Get to Broadstairs

You can reach Broadstairs, where the festival takes place, by various means of transport:

  • By car - from London via the M2/A2 motorway (about 90 km, 1.5 hours drive).
  • By bus - direct services from London's Victoria Coach Station depart every 1-2 hours (about 1.5 hours travel time).
  • By train - from London Victoria (1.5-2 hours travel time), Charing Cross (about 2 hours), or St Pancras (1.5 hours) with a transfer.

During the festival days, special shuttle buses also operate from Canterbury, Ramsgate, and Dover.

Planning Your Trip to the Festival

If you decide to visit the Broadstairs Dickens Festival, plan your accommodation in advance. Broadstairs and nearby towns offer a variety of options, from budget hostels to luxurious hotels and guesthouses. It's recommended to book your rooms early, as Kent sees an influx of tourists during the festival. Staying in one of the picturesque nearby towns, such as Canterbury, Whitstable, or Deal, is also an attractive option.

In Broadstairs itself, numerous snack bars, pubs, and restaurants serving traditional English cuisine open during the festival. Don't miss the chance to try local sausages, fish and chips, or a signature Kentish ale in a village tavern!

Besides the gastronomic delights, the Dickens Festival is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and literary heritage of the great English classic. The atmosphere of old England, colorful costumes of actors and spectators, revived scenes from novels, and cheerful street performances will stay in your memory for a long time! If you want to delve deeper into the writer's biography, be sure to visit the Charles Dickens Museum in London, home to the Dickens Fellowship.