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HopFest at K&ESR

Celebrating the Hop history of Bodiam, HopFest offers fun for all the family!

Bring the whole family along to enjoy a weekend of Hopping Fun at Bodiam Station on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September.

The railway’s heritage steam trains will run each day through the beautiful Wealden countryside between Tenterden and Bodiam stations with trains every 45 minutes.

Visitors can take a walk through the Hop Gardens and try their hand at picking hops before Garland makingtaking a peek inside a recreated Hoppers’ Hut. Children can also enjoy face painting, swing boat rides and games, punch and judy shows, balloon modelling and other activities.  Live musicians and local dancing groups will be performing through the weekend.  There will be a selection of heritage vehicles on display and vintage stalls selling souvenirs.

The licensed ‘Hoppers Bar’ features a range of locally brewed real ales and the popular Hoppers Kitchen will be serving the very best in railway tea and scrummy homemade cakes!  In addition to this the barbecue will have some local produce on offer including a delicious range of sausages.

The railway played an important part in hop picking at Bodiam as hops were grown along the Rother Valley and at the Guinness Hop Farms at Bodiam.  Each year special trains were run to the Kent & East Sussex Railway from London to take the hop-pickers, invariably entire families from the East End of London to Kent & East Sussex.  The men, women and children would spend several weeks in the countryside each year, picking hops as their holiday. There was much drinking too!

Admission prices include all-day travel on the trains.

Admission on the day are:  Adult £18, Child (3 - 15 years inc.) £12 and Family (2 adults + up to 3 children or 1 adult and up to 4 children) £38.  The timetable on the website www.kesr.org.uk  gives times of steam train operation.

About the Railway

The Kent & East Sussex Railway, was the first light railway opened in Britain under the Light Railways Act of 1896, built by Colonel Stephens.

Today it is one of Britain’s most loved and original heritage railways, running for over 10 miles from Tenterden, capital of the Kentish Weald, to Bodiam in Sussex in the shadow of the 600 year old castle. Plans are well advanced for the restoration of the remaining three mile section between Bodiam and Robertsbridge where the line will once again link up with the national network. 

The Kent & East Sussex Railway is operated by the Kent & East Sussex Railway Co Ltd, a charitable company, limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. Registered charity No. 262481.

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