The 13th Kent Big Weekend will take place on 6th & 7th April 2019, when 130 Kent attractions will open their doors for free to thousands of lucky Kent residents. This celebration of tourism, run by Visit Kent, is aimed entirely at Kent residents, inviting them to celebrate the best attractions and activities that Kent has to offer.
For one weekend during England’s Tourism Week 2019, Kent residents will have the chance to enjoy a day out in the county, discovering and rediscovering the amazing things to see and do in their home county.
Families across Kent will soon be able to enter for the chance to win tickets to a host of top attractions and fun-filled activities across the county when the Kent Big Weekend 2019 ballot opens on Thursday 21 February 2019. Residents can get their hands on the tickets by pre-registering for tickets NOW and then entering the ballot when it opens in February. When the ballot closes, hundreds of pairs of free tickets will then be dished out to the lucky winners.
Some of the county’s biggest attractions have signed up to this year’s event giving residents plenty to choose from - with a select number of pairs of tickets or family tickets available for each attraction.
Experiences on offer this year include close-up animal encounters, brewery and vineyard tours and tastings, rounds of golf, family activities, stunning stately homes, relaxing afternoon teas, river tours, castles, fascinating museums and shopping experiences.
Attractions confirmed to take part in the Kent Big Weekend for 2019 include Leeds Castle, Dover Castle, Hever Castle and Gardens, Wildwood Trust, Betteshanger Country Park, Ightham Mote, Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Kent Life, Jetstream Tours, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Diggerland, Eagle Heights and many, many more!
Tourism is certainly big business for the county of Kent. Outside of London, the Garden of England is the 3rd most popular visitor destination in the UK welcoming in excess of 65 million domestic and international tourists a year. More and more international visitors make a beeline for the UK each year and Kent remains a star attraction, while domestic visitors are drawn to the beautiful Kent coast and countryside for great value yet high-quality staycations.
Since launching in 2002, the county’s destination management organisation Visit Kent and its network of public and private sector partners have made it their mission to both promote Kent as a top destination and ensure the visitor economy grows.
Chief executive of Visit Kent, Deirdre Wells OBE said: “Tourism is an incredibly important part of Kent’s economy and whilst we strive to attract new visitors to our county from London, the rest of the UK and abroad, we must never forget that our own residents are our greatest ambassadors who support our industry week in, week out. This is essentially why we created the Kent Big Weekend 13 years ago – to give residents a free day out to say thank you, and to create positivity and enthusiasm for their wonderful home county.”
“It is also about delivering the message to residents that there is so much to see and do right here on their doorstep. 2019 looks set to be the biggest Big Weekend yet, with so many of our partners signed up to be involved – it really is a wonderful opportunity for discovering and rediscovering a whole host of superb attractions and activities - with the added bonus of everything being so close to home.”
Since launching the Kent Big Weekend 13 years ago, it has become one of Visit Kent’s most successful tourism campaigns. The original aim was to ‘reward’ Kent residents for supporting the local economy and to inspire them to recommend the county’s attractions to visiting friends and relatives. In its first year, 80 attractions donated 10,000 free tickets to be used over a single weekend during English Tourism Week (which marks the ‘official’ start of the UK tourism season), and Kent residents bid for any tickets they liked, with tickets were allocated by random ballot to the lucky winners.
In 2018, 34,000 tickets were donated by 130 attractions, and a record breaking 233,000 applications were made to the ballot online. The campaign has proved so successful in Kent since its inception that other destinations have started buying into the campaign model, with both Hertfordshire and Essex now run their own Big Weekends in partnership with Go To Places.
To register and to see the full list of attractions taking part, visit https://www.kentbigweekend.co.uk/
For more information and inspiration about things to do in Kent, go to www.visitkent.co.uk.