Christmas attractions in Kent
The countdown to Christmas has officially begun, so we have put together a list of 10 festive celebrations taking place in Kent this year!
Visitors to the Garden of England will be spoiled for choice when it comes to fun-filled days out, irresistible shopping opportunities, places to party and stunning winter scenery. Residents will be amazed at just how much there is to see and do right on their doorstep – from Christmas markets and sparkling castles, to ice skating and a festive train journeys!
1. The Christmas Market at Leeds Castle
Dates: 10th/11th – 17th/18th – 22nd/23rd December.
Leeds Castle hosts the annual Christmas Market on the Cedar Lawn overlooking the Castle. Discover an array of seasonal gift ideas, toys, decorations, food and drink. Visit the Leeds Castle reindeer and birds of prey in the animal area.
Enjoy the nostalgic fairground attractions, children’s rides and a daily programme of live musical entertainment at the band stand. The organ from the beautiful traditional horse carousel will add to the festive atmosphere and is a favourite with families. Leisurely trips will also be available on the big wheel, giving spectacular birds eye views of the Castle and Christmas market.
The Christmas Market is open 10am to 5pm and is included with the price of admission.
2. Canterbury Cathedral Service of Carols for Christmas
23rd and 24th December.
Two identical Public Carol Services held at the stunning and atmospheric Canterbury Cathedral to celebrate Christmas. Entry to the services is on a first come, first seated basis.
Service on the 23rd December starts at 19.30 with Doors opening at 18.00
Service on the 24th December starts at 15.00 with Doors opening at 13.30
3. Hever Castle – Once Upon A Castle
12th to 24th December (DAILY).
Children and adults all enjoy a great panto…oh yes they do! This Christmas Hever Castle celebrates the history of pantomime in Once Upon A Castle.
Walk through the rooms of the Castle, adorned with beautiful decorations and welcoming log fires and learn about the evolution of pantomime, from its origins through to the well-loved stories and characters that we know today.
Follow the snowy Christmas trail and discover the story of Jack and the Beanstalk as you wander through the illuminated gardens as dusk falls.
Pre-booked Father Christmas tickets still available but call now!
4. Dreamland Margate -The Frosted Fairground
10th December 2016 to Monday 2nd January 2017.
Dreamland transforms into a magical winter experience with The Frosted Fairground!
As well as the vintage rides there’s also lots of yuletide treats to behold across the amusement park each day it’s open.
Join Teddy and Betty on the Garden Stage for their Christmas show, enjoy the Pop-Up Panto or even enter the magical festive den and enjoy a Christmas tale told in the cosy comfort of The Secret Story Tent.
You might even be lucky (unlucky) to be serenaded by the flash carollers.
All this and more at The Frosted Fairground this Christmas. Yule be a fool to miss it!
5. Christmas Ice Skating in Tunbridge Wells
18th November 2016 to 2nd January 2017.
Set in the beautiful splendour of Calverley Grounds’ amphitheatre and bathed in twinkling festive lights, the Royal Tunbridge Wells ice rink is back, bigger and better than ever.
The ice rink welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities and is perfect for a family day out, a romantic first date and a festive office party – or just a great fun night out with friends. Larger groups are also warmly welcomed.
Easily accessible by bus and National Rail, the rink is in the heart of Tunbridge Wells surrounded by an extensive offering of shops, bars and restaurants. For those wishing to watch friends and family enjoying themselves, the spectator’s area is back, adjacent to the rink and offers a range of drinks and food.
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in person at Assembly Hall Theatre Box Office or online at www.tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com and by calling 01892 554645.
6. Owletts – A Christmas Carol Parlour Play
Shows take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 3rd to 18th December.
Lasting approximately one hour, Owletts tenant Bella Baker performs her one-woman show based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale ‘A Christmas Carol’.
Bella’s re-telling of the classic story will draw you into the world of Scrooge with audience members invited to assume characters (no acting experience or expertise required)… Will you be Scrooge, or perhaps Marley with his chains? How about the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present or Yet to Come?
It’s more than a story… During Victorian England, families and friends would join together and play parlour games, attempt jokes and impressions and sing songs. This parlour play is no exception so be prepared to enjoy a traditional time of traditional fun, for all ages.
£12 a ticket, including a seasonal drink and a homemade mince pie.
Please note that each performance is limited to 13 people.
7. Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway – Santa Specials
Trips are available throughout December.
For hundreds of families who return year on year, no Christmas would be complete without joining us for one of our famous Santa Specials. Included is a steam train ride to see Santa in his grotto, a visit to the Model Railway exhibition, festive nibbles and treats for all, plus the snow machine!
8. Ightham Mote – Christmas Magic at the Mote
Daily from 26th November 2016 to 1st January 2017 (closed 24th & 25th December), 11am to 3pm.
Wander through Yuletides of yesteryear in our 700-year-old moated manor decorated for Christmases past. Experience the true magic of Christmas with carols by candlelight then work off the festivities on our annual Boxing Day Ramble.
9. Bluewater – Ice Skating & The Grotto
17th November 2016 to 2nd January 2017.
Our beautiful outdoor ice rink promises great skating for all. The ice rink is covered with a clear roof and twinkling lights so you can take to the ice no matter the weather.
This year our ice rink will be located in a brand new setting beside the lake outside the West Village with hot drinks and refreshments available from one of our alpine cabins and a dazzling, giant Christmas tree at the centre.
Look out for our photographer who will be taking to the ice to capture photos of your best moves!
Photos will be available for you to purchase from a log cabin beside the rink.
Perfect for beginners or experienced skaters and skating lessons will be available.
24th November until Christmas Eve.
Visit Father Christmas in his traditional toy workshop at Bluewater, located outside the West Village in a brand new log cabin grotto.
You’ll be greeted at the entrance by Bubbles the Elf who has told Santa all about your visit and can’t wait to take you to meet him. Bubbles will guide you through the workshop but along the way you need to help him look out for the missing keys to Santa’s door. You will have to go on a magical journey through the Toy Workshop to find Santa’s keys and our special guest, Paddington Bear!
Photo opportunities will be available with Santa and Paddington and can be purchased as you leave the Grotto. At the end of your visit each child will receive a luxury plush toy.
10. Sevenoaks – Sleeping Beauty Pantomime
December to 8th January 2017.
We can’t leave without mentioning that our local Stag Theatre here in Sevenoaks will be hosting a star-studded performance of Sleeping Beauty over the holiday season!
This year stars EastEnders’ Ricky Norwood alongside 90’s pop sister act Cleopatra, who will be reforming to play Sleeping Beauty’s pantomime fairies. Sevenoaks Panto regulars Jasette Amos, Peter Brad Leigh and Richard Tate also star in this fun, entertaining and positively hilarious pantomime adaptation of Sleeping Beauty!