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The best events across Kent during Christmas 2023

Christmas world at Dreamland, credit Dreamland
Christmas world at Dreamland, credit Dreamland

From castles bedecked with Christmas finery to grand fancy-dress balls and seasonal train trips – not to mention, of course, chance to meet Santa – it’s all happening in Kent, and Ellie’s got some unmissable dates for your diary

Leeds Castle - Narnia at the Castle

November 25 – January 1

Nothing quite beats the wonder of Christmas like a visit to Leeds Castle, where this year it will transform into the enchanting world of Narnia. Ride your sleighs over and embark on the journey from the story we all know and love, bringing to life the wonder for a day out that will leave the little ones bedazzled. Meet characters from the story, wander through snowy landscapes, and witness the magic for yourself.

leeds-castle.com/events/narnia-christmas-at-leeds-castle/

Dreamland – Christmas World at Dreamland

December 15 - 22

Christmas World is getting ready to take over Dreamland this year, so don those Santa hats and get ready for an unforgettable day out. On top of all the usual fun at Margate’s seaside resort, a visit this season will bring you extra special rides, family friendly performances, magical grotto experiences, snowball fights, and sleigh rides. And for those nights when the kiddos are tucked up in bed and you’re out celebrating the magic of the season, choose Dreamland’s Steins by the Sea nights, where music, delicious food and drink, and pure Christmas joy await.

dreamland.co.uk/event/christmas-world/

Historic Dockyard Chatham – Christmas Wreath Making Workshop

November 26, December 3 & 10

Get creative at the Dockyard as you bring your best Christmas colour schemes and visions to life at their Wreath Making Workshop! Nestled in the festive surrounds of the Commissioner’s House, you can spend the day getting creative, learning how to make a wreath formed from rope made by expert craftsmen and women on their historic ropewalk…how about that for a unique decoration!?

thedockyard.co.uk/whats-on/

Whitstable Castle

Running throughout December

You’re most certainly going to want to book in a day or two this December at Whitstable Castle, as they roll out a host of unmissable Christmas events. Whether you want to indulge in mince pies and mulled wine while live music fills the air, or you want to meet Santa himself in his magical grotto; maybe you’re looking for an afternoon tea experience or want to enjoy the delights of a three-course lunch while surrounded by the magic of the castle. Whatever it may be, you can find it right here in one of Kent’s finest seaside towns.

whitstablecastle.co.uk/christmas/

Chartwell – A Christmas Story

November 25 – December 23

At Winston Churchill’s family home in the Kentish countryside, Christmas is coming to life, and you can witness it first-hand. Told through the eyes of his daughter, Mary Soames, see how she spent the holidays as a child, wandering the beautifully decorated house and its references to the literature that Mary loved so much growing up. Come along at the weekend as local choirs perform carols, putting us into that true festive spirit.

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/chartwell/events/0f3e3068-ef3d-45b2-b8ed-5ae3fc7fcac8

Knole – A Christmas at Knole

November 15 – January 7

Throughout the Christmas period this year, Knole park is rolling out a beautifully charming, unforgettably magical display. Inspired by the timeless tale, The Snowman™, you’ll find 12 giant snowman sculptures across the parkland and courtyards. Delve into the wonder of the season and take in the sights, being sure to stop off at the Great Hall to witness the breathtaking decorations and displays.

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/knole/events/22089192-8a64-4782-aa0e-ad2f890da03c

Ightham Mote – A Tudor Christmas

November 18 – January 7

This beautiful, 700-year-old moated manor is the place to be this year, taking you back in time to a Tudor Christmas as you step onto the grounds of Ightham Mote. Rich with the sights, scents, and sounds of the place’s history, you’re in for a real treat. Immerse yourself in the world of Christmas with a visit to the festive fete, listening to traditional carols, warming up, and getting creative in their workshops.

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/ightham-mote/a-tudor-christmas-at-ightham-mote

Emmetts Garden – An Ant’s Christmas

December 2 -31

‘Anta’ Claus has been busy this year, so now he needs all the help he can get to make presents across the Kingdom. Inspired by the name of this West Kent Garden, ‘emmett’ coming from the local word for ‘ant’, you can follow the ant-y world at Christmas this year. Follow the willow sculptures around the 19th century garden, discovering how the ants prepare for Christmas and seeing if you can spot the ants’ sleigh for that picture-perfect moment.

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/emmetts-garden/events/0cbacc70-1fc3-466b-8f57-1036fe142f66

Scotney Castle – The Swinging Sixties

November 25 – January 1

The swinging sixties await this year at Scotney Castle, where the last residents, Christopher and Betty, are getting ready to host a special get-together for their guests. The seasonal rooms will immerse you in the flamboyance and extravagance of the era, where every piece of clothing, artwork, and decoration outdoes the last. Bring those cameras along and capture the stunning image of Christmas in time gone by.

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/scotney-castle/christmas-at-scotney-castle

Quebec House – A Georgian Christmas

December 1 - 17

Kicking off the season with a free late-night opening on November 30, Quebec House is throwing open its doors to let you in on Georgian feasts, carol singing, roaring fires, and a fantastic spirit. The childhood home of General James Wolfe is ready to put on a show for you, family, and friends, giving you a taste of Christmas in the house as you’ve never seen it before.

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/quebec-house/events/fb56802d-dfc6-49bd-a4d0-40a7b18e118f

Canterbury – Christmas Market and Lights

November 10 – December 27

The annual Christmas Market and Lights are back and better than ever in Canterbury this year, and we’ll be the first to say that we’re booked in with our cameras and festive spirit at the ready. The medieval city will be transformed into the winter wonderland that we all know and love, dotted with wooden huts, where beautiful trinkets and delicious food and drink await under twinkling lights. Stroll through cobbled streets, backdropped by the Cathedral, soaking up the magic of this time of year.

canterbury.co.uk/events/christmas-market-lights-2023-101649/

Canterbury Cathedral – Festive stained glass windows tour

Dates in November and December

Step into the iconic Canterbury Cathedral this Christmas and witness the magic of the season coming to life through the architecture of the building in their Festive Stained Glass Window Tour. Look through the windows that decorate the walls, seeing the wintry skies of Canterbury through the beautiful shades of these magnificent pieces of artwork. Delve deeper into the history of the windows, from medieval to modern, as you’re guided through the tales that make up the Cathedral.

canterbury-cathedral.org/what-s-on/events/#

Spa Valley Railway – Polar Express Experience

November 17 - December 23

All aboard the Spa Valley Railway! Step into Christmas as you begin your journey on the train ride of a lifetime in Tunbridge Wells this year. A truly incredible winter day out, The Polar Express™ experience will immerse you in singing, dancing, and pure festive joy – and, of course, hot chocolate! You and the little ones will always remember your day out on the railway, so don those matching pyjamas and climb aboard!

spavalleythepolarexpressride.com/

Folkestone Harbour Arm – Festive Marketplace

November 7 – December 24

Markets bursting with festivity, shining lights everywhere you look, carols filling the air, and smells of delicious food trailing past your nose…it doesn’t get much more Christmassy than that! At the Folkestone Harbour Arm, the Festive Marketplace returns following two successful years of running, and we couldn’t be more excited. Spend the day on the seaside arm, enjoying the delights of the season with loved ones and even getting the chance to meet Santa as you build up that excitement for the big day.

folkestoneharbourarm.co.uk/festive-marketplace-2023/

Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival

December 2 & 3

Celebrate the season in Victorian style this year as you head to join the crowds at the Rochester Dickensian Festival. Enjoy the delights of street entertainment, readings, song, and dance as they used to many years ago, taking in the captivating Dickens’ characters as they guide you on a literary journey through the writer’s life.

visitmedway.org/events/rochester-dickensian-christmas-festival-2023-96679/

Skate! Ice Rink in Caverley Grounds

November 19 – January 3

It wouldn’t be a Christmas round up if we didn’t include somewhere for you to spend the afternoon skating away under twinkling lights. And Caverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells is just the place to do so. Back for it’s eleventh year (that’s right, these guys have got a decade of ice skating under their belts!), the rink is open to all, from families with little ones, all the way to the experienced skater. Lace up those boots, and we’ll see you on the ice!

visittunbridgewells.com/event/skate-ice-rink-in-calverley-grounds/

Christmas at Hever Castle

November 18 – January 1

We love the magic of our Kentish castles, and there’s something extra special about them when November comes, and Christmas descends upon the stone walls, glorious gardens, and beautiful grounds. Experience all of this and more at Hever Castle’s Christmas this year, where the wonders of the season come into full light and take over, bringing some of the most picturesque trails, jaw-dropping rooms, and mouth-watering food.

hevercastle.co.uk/whats-on/hever-castle-christmas/

Faversham’s Christmas market

December 10

Looking for those perfect Christmas gifts? The Faversham Christmas Artisan Craft and Gift Market does exactly what it says on the tin and is your go-to spot for all things festive and gifting! Found in the Alexander Centre, the market features some of the area’s best makers and traders, showcasing their jewellery, fashion, artwork, crafts, candles, and food. Get those lists at the ready, we’ll see you there!

visit-swale.co.uk/events/faversham-christmas-artisan-craft-and-gift-market-december-97704/

Rochester Christmas Market

November 25 – December 10

Set in the picturesque gardens of Rochester Castle, you can spend an afternoon browsing stalls at this wonderful market. Choose from unique gifts and unusual stocking fillers for loved ones, before treating yourself to delicious delights from the Bavarian food village, or get the adrenaline pumping and take the excitement to the max at the funfair.

medway.gov.uk/info/200242/christmas_in_medway/643/rochester_christmas_market

Reuthe’s – The Lost Garden of Sevenoaks’ Breakfast with Santa and Christmas Markets

December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 (Breakfast with Santa), December 2 – 17(Christmas Market)

Get to meet the man himself at Reuthe’s, the Lost Garden of Sevenoaks’ with their Breakfast with Santa events, running throughout December. Let the magic of Christmas enter the hearts of your little ones as they come to the gardens to meet Santa, before settling down to a tasty breakfast and even being treated to a gift! If you fancy some browsing, stay a little longer and take a look at their Christmas Market, where bountiful gifts and wonderful treats await.

reuthes.com/

Pantiles - Christmas Market

Weekends, November 19 – December 24

There’s no place quite like the Pantiles Market in Tunbridge Wells at this time of year, when the twinkling lights turn on and the magic of the season springs to life. The year-round market turns into a Christmas wonderland this November, and it’s at the top of our bucket list. We’ve got our Christmas hats on and are ready to dive into the world of local produce, tasty treats, artisan crafts, and much much more…

thepantiles.com/whats-on/pantiles-market-2023/

Kent Life Heritage Farm Park – Santa grotto

November 25 – December 24

Embark on a magical journey at Kent Life Heritage Farm Park, meeting Father Christmas himself in his enchanting grotto. Let the little ones experience the magic of the season as they get immersed in the holiday spirit, graduating from Elf School, indulging in Christmas films, and hopping on The Jingle Express for a merry ride!

kentlife.org.uk/event/meet-santa/

Quex Activity Centre – The Elf Express

The magic of the Elf Kingdom is coming to you, family, and friends this Christmas, so put on your Santa hats and get ready for an extraordinary day out on the Elf Express. Thousands of Christmas lights, sweet treats, and encounters with Santa’s top elves are on the itinerary at Quex Activity Centre.

theelfexpress.com/visit

Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch Railway – Santa Specials

November 25 – December 24

At the Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch Railway, they know how to throw a Christmas extravaganza. Hop on board and join in on the fun at the Santa Special, running for 40 years and never ceasing to amaze passengers. Enjoy food and drink to get you into the festive spirit, take in the wonderful wintry views out the window, and even make your day out that extra special with an All-Day Festive Breakfast.

rhdr.org.uk/special-events/

 



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