Step back into the past at the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s Hop Festival Weekend. The Kent & East Sussex Railway played an essential role in bringing about 4000 hop pickers to Bodiam each summer on specially timetabled trains from London. The pickers were mainly women, their children and elderly relatives and hop picking often became an annual holiday for families who would stay for several weeks enjoying the fresh countryside air. Over the weekend you’ll get the chance to meet former hop pickers who will re-live memories of their long, hot summers. Experience the hop picking way of life first hand in the recreated hop garden – try your hand at hop-stripping and peek inside a hopper’s hut where pickers stayed, sometimes for as long as six weeks. These huts were often given a "homely" feel with wallpaper and pictures added to brighten them up. There’ll be memorabilia on display at the station together with heritage vehicles and traction engines plus Morris Dancing will add to the nostalgic atmosphere which often sees hop pickers and visitors singing around the camp fire. Enjoy local speciality sausages from the BBQ and fine local ales from the beer tent.
When/where: 10-11 Sep, Bodiam Station, Kent & East Sussex Railway
Price: Tickets including return train travel to Bodiam are – Adult £17, Child (3 - 15 years inc.) £11.50 and Family (2 adults + up to 3 children or 1 adult and up to 4 children) £38
Kim Jones is an experienced journalist who has worked at various women’s weekly magazines, and now freelances for them and the national papers writing about travel, health and lifestyle. She lives in Cardiff with her partner and their two sons, aged 17 and 13 and loves persuading them all to come away on holidays with her in the family VW camper van.
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