Culture Kent

Culture is thriving in Kent. World-class cultural organisations such as Turner Contemporary, Margate; Creative Foundation, Folkestone, and vibrant venues such as the Marlowe and Gulbenkian are proving the importance of culture.

Our proximity to London, the spectacular scenery of country and coast together with our high quality creative and affordable spaces makes the Kent region a burgeoning hotspot for culture and the creative industries.

But research shows that only 23% of the 50 plus million visitors who come to Kent each year are motivated by culture. So Culture Kent has been developed with the aim of raising the profile of Kent’s world-class culture to visitors and working with the cultural organisations across Kent to maximise their tourism offer.

Culture Kent is a project led by Turner Contemporary in partnership with Visit Kent. Turner Contemporary won funding from Arts Council England through the Cultural Destinations Programme and is one of 10 cultural organisations across the UK running such a project.  With a Steering Group chaired by Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Culture Kent is made up of cultural organisations across Kent, local authorities, a university and some more traditional tourist organisations.  

Culture Kent aims to:

  • Reposition Kent as the UK’s creative county
  • Showcase Kent’s cultural assets and attract more visitors to Kent 
  • Create new strategic relationships between the cultural and tourism sectors to drive economic growth
  • Develop knowledge to strengthen Kent’s cultural tourism offer


Culture Kent is starting the change by:

  • Undertaking research on Cultural Tourists and cultural audiences- commissioning research about the current value of the cultural tourism market, the cross over (or not) of audiences between different cultural venues and more “traditional” tourism venues and researching cultural tourists motivators to visit kent cultural events and their perception of them. 

  • Developing a digital data pool of events data- Creating a new pool and potential new platforms through which cultural organisations of all sizes can connect with and grow new audiences to increase income. 

  • Developing a network of culture and tourism organisations across Kent- Setting up local tourism clusters between cultural organisations and tourist businesses – sharing learning, best practice and cross promotion opportunities

  • Piloting new tailored Cultural Tourism experiments  These include staff and volunteer training, and trialing culture tourism products that generate income for cultural and tourism businesses (of all sozes from large organisations to individual practitoners) and contribute to the sustainability of the sector. Setting up local tourism clusters between cultural organisations and tourist businesses - sharing, learning, best practice and cross promotion opportunities

  • Promoting tourism marketing opportunities to cultural organisations - This will include existing activities such as Visit Kent’s Big Weekend, Visit Kent 2FOR1 Campaign with rail providers and links with local Destination Management Organisations.

  • Knowledge Exchange - Providing case studies and examples of good practice to be shared with businesses and organisations across the SELEP region.


More information about the project and shared learning can be found on the Culture Kent b2b website.