Relish History at Kent's Sandwich Celebration

by  Kristan Schiller | May 2, 2012
ham sandwich street sign
ham sandwich street sign / VisitBritain

Just 65 miles east of London, in Sandwich, Kent, the famous lunch snack, the sandwich, was born. The Sandwich Celebration in mid-May coincides with British Sandwich Week and commemorates the 250th anniversary of the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, “inventing” the sandwich. A food fair, street music, children’s events, and concerts will take place during this two-day festival honoring the genesis of the sandwich.

The story goes like this: in 1762, the Earl of Sandwich asked for meat to be served between slices of bread, to avoid interrupting a gambling game. So, his servants brought him what is today known as the sandwich, and the rest is (delicious) history.

On Saturday, May 12, there will be outdoor games for children on Quay Green, with a sandwich competition being held in the late afternoon. Evening entertainment includes a concert of 18th century music reflecting the life and time of the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Musicians in this unique performance will wear period dress and play instruments from that era.

The current Earl of Sandwich will be in attendance for this special musical performance and also the following day to welcome the children of Sandwich to a picnic in the center of town at noon. The festival concludes on Sunday, May 13 with a reenactment of the 4th Earl of Sandwich calling for his sandwich in 1742 and the final round of the sandwich making competition.

If not for the rock bands that are also performing, attendees might think that they’ve been transported to Downton Abbey for the weekend.  Now, if only they could get Maggie Smith to serve as judge for the venerable sandwich competition.

Check out this guide to the Sandwich Celebration activities.

See our London and England destination guides for more trip-planning information.

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