The Heritage Transport Show, now in its eighth year, exceeded organisers expectation on Saturday 1st April when a near record number of vehicles attended the event.

Amy Thomson, organiser said “This event sees around 5,000 visitors each year and thanks to the dedication of the Heritage Committee and the team who run the South East Bus Festival we are delighted to announce that we had over 800 vehicles for the one-day event”.

Kent County Agricultural Society, organisers, reported that they had pre-booked just over 500 vehicles with a further 200 vehicles attending with local, regional and national Car Clubs. The South East Bus Festival was also able to report high numbers of entries with over 140 buses and coaches booked to attend.

Highly popular were the hop-on, hop-off bus stops around the Showground.  Visitors were able to take advantage of the range of buses and coaches providing visitors with a trip down memory lane. Over thirty vehicles rotated and provided a five-minute frequency free service.  Organisers of the South East Bus Festival were also able to provide buses to meet the Arriva bus service on the A249 to ferry visitors to and from the bus stops on the dual carriageway, to the Showground.

The Heritage Transport Show was pleased to welcome back Kent Farmers Market, which gave visitors the opportunity to buy a range of local food and products.  Run by organisers of Tonbridge and Aylesford Farmers Market, the stands featured award-winning chutneys and jams, Kentish beers, homemade sausage rolls, chocolate brownies and much more.

Visitors were also able to see a wide range of cars, commercial vehicles, tractors, military vehicles, motorcycles, stationary engines and steam vehicles along with a number of exhibits from specialist clubs.  Visitors were treated to a wonderful range of classic and vintage cars many of which had been restored by their owners. These enthusiasts have become custodians of our transport heritage and look forward to spending the day with other aficionados.

The oldest mode of transport on site on Saturday was an 1870, Taylor Velocipede Bicycle which was displayed in the John Hendry Pavilion along with other bicycles from members of the Veteran Cycle Club.  The Kent Kit Car provided the newest vehicles although the Show also featured ‘Classics of the Future’, a category which was introduced for cars manufactured after 1990.

The Hopfields Live Steam Model Railway, Kent Youth Trials and The Maidstone and Tonbridge Model Engineering Society’s had superb displays which fascinated visitors.

Trevor Manuel, Heritage Committee Chairman, said “It was a fantastic day and we were lucky that the weather held.  We even managed a bit of sunshine.  The Kent Showground looked wonderful and we need to thank all our volunteers, the South East Bus Festival organisers and the hundreds of owners who came from far and wide to attend the Show.  I am delighted with the visitor numbers and particularly the feedback we got from people on the day.  This is a valuable event which helps to preserve the important story of our relationship with the motor car.”

The money raised from the Heritage Transport Show helps the Committee run the Heritage Section of the Kent County Show, providing space, camping, steward costs and brasses to give to the vehicle owners who spend their day talking to thousands of visitors.