The Kent Life Diary

All you need to know to plan your best-ever November days out, from fireworks to Christmas fairs

The Kent Life Diary Christmas events

Festive Fair

20 to 21 Nov

Tickets: Entry fee + additional �2 for fair

Tel: 01622 765400

Leeds Castle, Maidstone

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How about a Christmas shopping excursion that will be fun for all the family? Look no further than Leeds Castle’s Festive Fair, which is being held in the grounds of the historic building. There will be everything on offer from stocking fillers and gift ideas to crafts and fashion. Of course, there will also be a special area devoted to mouth-watering festive foodstuffs and some Christmas tipples for you to enjoy.

Christmas Fair

20 Nov

Tickets: 50p

Tel: 01634 831163 (for more info)

Wisdom Hospice, Rochester

Start your Christmas shopping early and help a good cause at the same time.

There will be stalls selling a wide range of festive treats, including jewellery, handbags, candles, soaps and cakes. The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice’s range of Christmas cards and goods will also be on sale, and there will be plenty of games to try. And for those that believe, Father Christmas will be making time in his busy schedule to visit.

Christmas Parade

25 Nov

Tickets: free

Tel: 01622 356580

Fremlin Walk, Maidstone

Father Christmas, Reindeer, children’s characters, panto acts, elves, snowmen and the bog countdown to a Christmas light switch-on. This can only mean one thing: Fremlin Walk’s Christmas Parade is back again. Make sure you get down there and enter into the festive spirit.

Unique Events

Folkestone Book Festival

5 to 13 Nov

Tickets: Varies

Tel: 01303 858500

Quarterhouse, Folkestone

Alexei Sayle, Germaine Greer, Ron Moody, Peter Snow and Brian May are just a few of the well-known names taking part in this year’s book festival at Folkestone. There will also be a short story competition and a specially created free event for children – Scientriffic – as well as live music, comedy and creative writing workshops and film screenings. This year’s event also marks the launch of the Folkestone Anthology.

A Morning With… Sarah Raven and Juliet Nicolson

5 Nov and 19 Nov

Tickets: �30 for each event

Tel: 01580 710700

Sissinghurst Castle, Biddenden

For those of you with a passion for exotic plants, don’t miss your chance to spend a morning with the gardening and cookery writer Sarah Raven (5 Nov). Quiz her on the best flowers for your garden and when to start planning for next season. Alternatively, in the week after the anniversary of the burial of the Unknown Soldier, Juliet Nicolson will be talking about her latest book, The Great Silence, 1918-1920, Living in the Shadow of the Great War (19 Nov)

Outdoor Events

Electric Forest

Until 7 November

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01580 211 781

Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst

See the trees in a brand new light, quite literally. The trees will be specially illuminated by an expert visual arts team, and the walk (appx 2km in length) will be further enhanced by music and interactive installations dotted about discreet locations throughout the trail. It will be a sensory experience that taps into your senses and will allow you to lose yourself in an ‘electric’ dream or two as you take on the trail.

Autumn Sundays

Until 31 Oct

Tickets: �5 (50p child)

Tel: 01580 241344

Hole Park Gardens, Cranbrook

Take a trip through the tranquil environment that is Hole Park Gardens as autumn edges ever closer to winter, and glimpse the transformation, as the leaves change colour from greens, to reds, yellows and golds and eventually drop to the floor.

Stardust Memories

19 Nov

Tickets: �10 (Frant Stores)

Tel: 01892 750665 or 01892 750845

The Church of St Alban, nr Tunbridge Wells

Martin Nicholls and the Broadway Band, along with special guest, trumpet virtuoso

Andy Woon, will be playing some of the music from such legends as Hoagy Carmichael, Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. The evening will feature such standards as Stardust, Georgia, The Nearness of You, Lazy Bones and many, many more.

Italian Food Market

5 to 6 Nov

Tickets: Free

Tel: 01622 356580

Fremlin Walk, Maidstone

Go Italian on bonfire night this year thanks to the Italian Food market in Fremlin Walk. Rustle up some Italian delicacies and make your bonfire night not only go with a bang, but a Continental sizzle as well. You can choose from mouth-watering traditional foodstuffs and whole lot more besides.

Fireworks festivals

Dunorlan Park

6 Nov

Tickets: �6 and �4 (on the gate)

Tel: 01892 515 675

Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells

One of the biggest attractions that Tunbridge Wells has to offer is once again upon us. In the wonderful setting of Dunorlan Park, the fireworks festival is a must-see if you are in the area. The lake act as a perfect reflective surface for all the fireworks action going off in the sky, and thanks to the marvellous restoration work carried out in the park, it is now a perfect locale for such an event.

Leeds Castle Fireworks

6 to 7 Nov

Tickets: from �17

Tel: 01622 765400

Leeds Castle, Maidstone

A stunning foreworks display set to some foot-tapping film scores, the Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular is hailed as one of the most dramatic displays in kent. Of course, it is helped no end by the fact that the Castle itself supplies one of the most awe inspiring backdrops you could dream of.

Bonfire and Firework Spectacular

6 November

Tickets: �6.50 to �8.50

Tel: 01622 763936

Kent Life, Maidstone

Gasp as fire breathers light the grand bonfire and then join in the countdown for the fireworks to start. A wonderful celebration of all things that go whiz and bang. There will also be a ‘Tunnel of Doom’ glow sticks galore and fire performers throughout the evening. Of course, there will be plenty of food and drink to keep you warm should it get a little nippy


Ross Noble: Nonsensory Overload

8 to 9 Nov

Tickets: �21

Tel: 01892 530613

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Back from his travels in Australia, Noble returns to British shores and gets back to what he is good – and renowned – at: spinning forth hilarious nonsense just to make you laugh. Don’t miss your chance to see one of the brightest comedians on the UK circuit at the moment.



7 Nov

Tickets: �15 and �22.50

Tel: 01322 220 000

Orchard Theatre, Dartford

‘Classically’ bridging the gap between classical and pop, Blake perform such beautiful and popular songs such as Bridge Over Troubled Water and Nessun Dorma. The group’s diverse approach has helped propel them to the forefront of the nation’s attention, which was rewarded when members Humphrey Berney, Jules Knight and Ollie Baines scooped an award at the Classical Brits. Never one to rest on their laurels, Blake have also enjoyed number one albums in South Africa and Australia. Don’t miss your chance to see the group when they arrive in Kent.

Mozart and Durufl� Requiems

20 November

Tickets: �12 (�5 for full-time students)

Tel: 01474 816684

St George’s Church, Gravesend

From Mozart’s stirring opening to Durufl�’s ethereal closing chords, this is an evening of music that will inspire and lift you up to unseen heights. The Gravesham Choral Society, together with some first-rate soloists, and an orchestra conducted by Alan Vincent will be performing these well-known and much-loved pieces of music.


My Fair Lady

24 to 27 Nov

Tickets: �16

Tel: 01689 820448

The Stag, Sevenoaks

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Petts Wood Operatic Society, a new version of the well-known My Fair Lady will be coming to the Stag’s stage in Sevenoaks. Well worth a look, in our opinion.


Southborough Community Play

12 to 13 Nov

Tickets: �5

Tel: 01892 538378

St Thomas’s Church, Southborough

St Thomas’s is 150 years old this year, and to celebrate such an event, a play will be staged that has been inspired by last year’s performance of Vanishing Elephant. The church space is being used to stage half-a-dozen short scenes that tell the tale of how the church was founded, the construction of the attractive and popular building, and the characters from the local community that have made the place so special.

The Madness of George III

11 to 13 Nov

Tickets: �18.50

Tel: 01892 530613

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

From the pen of Alan Bennett, The Madness of George III is a brilliant exploration of duty and kingship. It is an epic play about the ties that bind us together as family, as a society and as a nation. Gripping drama, dangerous politics and irreverent comedy collide in a rollercoaster ride where the health of the nation is at the mercy of the mental health of one man.


Journey Through The Afterlife: The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

4 Nov to 6 Mar 2011

Tickets: �10 to �12

Tel: 020 7323 8299

British Museum

Uncover the spells and incantations needed to guarantee safe passage to the afterlife from the Ancient Egyptians by visiting this wonderfully enlightening exhibition. Drawing on the museum’s substantial collection of Books of the Dead on papyrus, visitors can see beautifully illustrated depictions of the netherworld and the god and demons that dominated Egyptian’s lives at the time. Alongside these documents, there will be displays of funerary regalia and jewellery, kindly provided by other museums across the world.

Spirit of Christmas Fair

3 to 7 Nov

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 020 7385 1200

Olympia, Hammersmith

What could be better than completing all of your Christmas shopping in one fell swoop and under one roof? Expect the finest seasonal products, from decorations and home accessories to children’s toys and seasonal grub, and everything in between. Of course, once you have finished shopping you can browse the food hall and tuck into a number of festive goodies, including sweets, treats, and other seasonal consumables. This is a perfect event to get yourself in the mood for Christmas, as well as take all the hassle out of finding that unique present for that special someone.

Bonfire Night in the Capital

5 November

Tickets: Varies

Tel: Varies

Various venues across London

Like your Bonfire Night to go with a bang? The capital offers all manner of events designed to mark the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder plot. Alongside the traditional approaches of bonfires and fireworks, there will also be funfairs, processions and festivals. There will be huge displays staged across London, including ones in Ravenscourt Park, Victoria Park, and Alexandra Palace, to name three.

Lord Mayor’s Show

13 Nov

Tickets: Free

Streets of London

The Lord Mayor’s Show culminates in one of the biggest, loudest and boldest firework displays in the capital. However, before the bangs and flashes start, there is a mighty procession through the streets of the capital involving 6,000 people, military marching bands, Chinese acrobats, decorated floats and a gilded Stage Coach that the Lord Mayor travels in. A fun family day out that offers something for everyone, whatever there age.

When We Are Married

Until 26 Feb 2011

Tickets: From �19.50

Tel: 0844 412 4662

Garrick Theatre

JB Priestley’s best-loved British comedy returns to the West End, and a welcome return it is. Set in a Yorkshire town in 1908, the play tells the story of three well-to-do couples who were married on the same day in the same church, by the same vicar, who come together to celebrate a quarter of a century of wedded bliss… or that’s the plan. Outrageous revelations, embarrassing secrets, home truths and a huge helping of farce ensure that the plan goes straight out of the window.

London Jazz Festival

12 to 21 Nov

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 0844 875 007

Southbank Centre

Now in its eighteenth year, the London Jazz festival attracts thousands of fans and a world-class selection of performers who offer a diverse and eclectic programme of events. The Southbank Centre is the headlining venue, but there will be other events staged across London, including the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican Centre, and legendary jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s. Tickets will be at a premium for some of the bigger shows, so book early to avoid disappointment.

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