2018 festival set to celebrate history of Royal Harbour

PUBLISHED: 15:18 16 August 2017

Harbour festival

Harbour festival


Kent’s coastal and maritime history will be championed next summer

Thanet’s tourism and leisure sectors have received a significant boost after bosses announced a three-day extravaganza celebrating the history of Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour will be taking place in the district next summer.

The Royal Harbour History Festival (RHHF) is set to welcome huge crowds between June 15 and 17 in Ramsgate next year.

The festival’s vision is to create a ‘destination history’ event with four main interlocking aims: to showcase Kent’s coastal and maritime history; to provide an educational experience for younger generations; and to bring people into east Kent to enjoy its local history and cultural air, sea and land inheritance and to raise money for local charities supporting both education and heritage regenerations.

The festival has the backing of both Thanet District Council and Visit Kent, along with the support of the Lord Lieutenant’s office, the Royal Navy, the RNLI, The Cinque Ports Confederation, the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, University of Kent, Landmark Trust and many other cultural organisations.

Councillor Hunter Stummer-Schmertzing, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise services at Thanet District Council, said: “Our coastline is central to British history and we are delighted to be supporting The Royal Harbour History Festival 2018.

“The three-day extravaganza will celebrate our local history with a high profile programme of events and community engagement activities.”

Rob Kenyon, community development officer, Thanet District Council, added: “Thanet is the fastest growing tourism destination in the UK and Ramsgate is the ideal location for those looking for rich maritime history, continental charm, first class entertainment and beautiful architecture.

“This festival will give visitors yet another reason to come and enjoy England’s only Royal Harbour.

“There is such a feel-good factor in Ramsgate at the moment, having just been named as one of ten Heritage Action Zones in the country by Historic England and with the opening of the Grade II-listed The Royal Victoria Pavilion just around the corner.”

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, chief executive Visit Kent, said: “The Royal Harbour History Festival is the centrepiece of a collective campaign to spotlight the extraordinary stories that are part of Kent’s maritime history. History and heritage are strongly associated with Britain’s holiday offer with 81 per cent of overseas visitors stating it was their main reason for going beyond London.”

The festival is the brainchild of brother and sister team James Thomas, director at the Royal Harbour Hotel and Victoria Nielson, chairman RHHF.

The festival will be a combination of a ticketed events and a free to public events.

Ms Nielson said: “It will focus on nine history modules, each with a dedicated location. The programme includes lectures, debates, displays, living history and interactive experiences.”

Tickets will go on sale early next year and can be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis.

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