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About the South East Bus Festival

The annual South East Bus Festival takes place at Kent Showground, alongside the A249 near Maidstone.

The event brings together a huge number of buses and coaches, old and new, from across the South East and beyond, and is organised by the same team that has brought you eleven previous events. It all started back in 2011 with our 'M&D 100' event that celebrated the centenary of the formation of the Maidstone & District bus company.

At our last event there were 136 buses and coaches on display, around forty of which gave free rides around the showground during the course of the day. More than half of those vehicles attending, 74, had not been to the previous ten events.

You can see an album on our Facebook page containing 270 photos taken at the 2022 event by clicking here.

Special themes

Each year the South East Bus Festival takes an appropriate anniversary or anniversaries as a theme that is reflected in some of the event activities.

It was intended that the main theme for the 2023 event was to be the fortieth anniversary of the Metrobus company, originally based in the Orpington area and now part of the Go-Ahead Group, with a mix of commercial bus services covering parts of Kent, Surrey and West Sussex, and a network of contracted services on behalf of Transport for London. Metrobus is now a major player in the local transport scene, having started from very small beginnings in 1982.


Unfortunately the event had to be cancelled due to the showground being waterlogged and so, as a lot of work went into setting up slide shows, talks and an article in the event programme, we will mark the occasion in 2024, which is still within the company's 41st year. 
We hope to have a display of preserved and current fleet Metrobus vehicles and the anniversary be marked in our other activities, such as the slide shows and the souvenir programme at the 2024 bus festival.

Heritage Transport Show
The bus festival takes place as part of Kent Showground's Heritage Transport Show which usually attracts more than 700 cars, commercials, tractors and motorbikes, ensuring a great day out for people with interests in all types of motor vehicles.

It offers a wide mix of attractions, including a frequent free bus service around the vast showground site, lots of sales-stands and displays of model buses inside the huge exhibition hall, talks by guest speakers and slide shows.

To find out more about what happens on the day please click the links below the photo at the top of this page or the square menu button if viewing on a mobile device.

The gates open to the public at 10am and the event closes at 4pm.

The showground is located on the A249 at Detling, near Maidstone, Kent, between Junction 7 of the M20 and Junction 5 of the M2.

Keep up to date with Facebook
You can keep up to date with news about the South East Bus Festival, by visiting the event's Facebook page.

As well as postings giving lots of useful information, details of vehicle entries are published as they are received, so take a look at the page and 'like' it to receive updates on your wall.

You'll find it at @southeastbusfestival or click the Facebook icon at the top of this page.

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