Looking to do something special this festive season? Come to Kent this winter and embrace the seasonal celebrations through an array of magical events and activities across the Garden of England
The county will sparkle as our many castles and historic homes are dressed for the festive season, offering some truly dazzling days out for all of the family. Discover a Dickensian Christmas, indulge in festive food and drink experiences, visit the county’s many fairs and markets, and enjoy a cosy overnight stay in a luxurious castle, hotel or traditional country pub. Whatever you decide, the Garden of England delivers fascinating entertainment during the festive season, allowing you and your loved ones to experience Christmas in a truly unique and fulfilling way. For further information on these and other events in Kent, please go to www.visitkent.co.uk
Christmas Celebrations at Leeds Castle (6th Dec – 31st Dec)
The magic of Christmas descends upon the entire Leeds Castle Estate this December, celebrating the traditions of the festive season with wonderful things to see and do for the whole family. The German style Christmas market will be returning for its second year, allowing you to browse a variety of homemade products, gifts, local produce and festive fayre. See the Castle interiors transformed with a traditional gingerbread theme for Christmas with beautiful decorations and a central display to take your breath away. All the presents have been unwrapped and crackers pulled, so it’s time to breathe in some fresh air and take the children on the Leeds Castle Winter Trail. Collect festive clues as you go round with the chance to be entered into an exciting prize draw. Why not celebrate the start of 2015 at Leeds Castle? Make the evening a night to remember, enjoying scrumptious food, dancing the night away, and enjoying a spectacular fireworks display which will commence high above the 900 year old castle. Retire to a magnificent Castle bedroom or the Stable Courtyard Bedrooms for the night, enjoying a full English breakfast the following day. Christmas market: 6th – 23rd Dec, open daily 10am – 5pm. Gingerbread Christmas: 6th – 23rd Dec. The Winter Trail: 26th Dec – 4th Jan. New Year’s Eve: Leeds Castle (Evening price £195 per person, Battlement Bedroom £275 per room, Castle State bedroom £325 per room), Fairfax Hall (Evening Price £110 per person, accommodation £200 per room). www.leeds-castle.com/What%92s+On/Events+and+Activities
Port Lympne Christmas Events
Celebrate this Christmas party season in style at Port Lympne. Port Lympne Mansion, built for parties and entertaining, and the Aspinall Suite, can accommodate up to 180 people for a 3 course sit down meal and a festive disco, providing the perfect historic exotic venue to hold your Christmas party. Alternatively, why not enjoy a unique Christmas afternoon tea experience? Enjoy a selection of freshly made festive finger sandwiches nestled beside a selection of homemade cakes and pastries, served with freshly brewed fair-trade tea and coffee. Port Lympne Mansion is also pleased to host a two course Christmas lunch for OAPs, including a welcome drink and festive entertainment. Prices and dates are as follows:- Christmas party nights: 4th – 6th, 11th – 13th, 18th, and 20th Dec. 7pm-12am Thursdays and Fridays, 7pm – 1am Saturdays. £40 per person. Christmas afternoon tea: 7th and 14th Dec, 2pm. £13 per person. OAP Christmas Lunch: 16th December, £20 per person. Call 01303 234111 or visit www.aspinallfoundation.org/weddings-events/private-hire/christmas-parties for more information.
Christmas at Canterbury Cathedral (2nd – 28th Dec).
There is no better time to visit Canterbury than December as the Cathedral prepares itself for one of the most important events in the Christian calendar. The life size crib, designed and made by Cathedral staff and ‘sewing ladies’, is worth a visit and the music sung by the Cathedral choir at Services can only be described as ‘heavenly’. Warm up those vocal chords and join in the Mothers’ Union Carol Service, PWRR Carol Service, Canterbury Choral Society Carol Concert, Crib Service and the Canterbury Cathedral Service of Carols for Christmas. For information on all Carol, Christmas and Christingle Services and other events, visit www.canterbury-cathedral.org/events or call the Visits Office +44 (0) 1227 762862.
Christmas Magic at Hever Castle (29th Nov – 24th Dec)
Capture the spirit of Christmas with a day that casts a magic spell on all the family. Decorated Castle rooms, welcoming log fires and twinkling Christmas trees. Father Christmas will be visiting again, relaxed Christmas shopping in the gift shops and delicious festive food in the restaurants. As dusk falls, the gardens are magically lit creating stunning illuminated displays. www.hevercastle.co.uk
Christmas Events at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit (12th Dec, 19th Dec).
Join us on Friday 12th December, for our Christmas karting party sprint evening. Following a practice, you will then take part in the race heats followed by the all-important final on the National Circuit. This event is available for any group size, this Christmas party evening combines the perfect blend of karting with a Christmas themed meal. Celebrate this Christmas in style at our very special party-night on Friday 19th December. This fun-filled, adrenalin fuelled evening includes; 5 minute qualifying, non-stop 30 minute endurance race, trophy and prizes for top finishers, dinner and other activities. Exclusive Christmas events are also available. http://www.buckmore.co.uk/
Dickens Country Experience (Nov & Dec)
Christmas carols, mulled wine and mince pies await on the Dickens Country experience. Immerse yourself in the wonderful world of Dickens on a bus tour accompanied with a costumed actor who will show you where Dickens wrote his novels and took inspiration for his books. The experience starts at the Guildhall in Rochester and finishes at Eastgate House.
Dates and Times:
15 & 16 November x 2 tours per day
22 & 23 November 2 tours per day
29 & 30 November x 2 tours per day
6 & 7 December (festival) x 1 tour per day
13 & 14 December x 2 tours per day
20 & 21 December x 2 tours per day
Tour 1 – 10am for 1030am departure (return approx 1230pm) Tour 2 – 1.30pm for 2pm departure (return approx 4pm). Festival Tour – 1pm for 1.30pm departure (return approx 3.30pm). Tickets available from The Guildhall and Visitor Information Centre for more information visit www.visitmedway.org £10 per adult £7.50 per child / concession.
Rochester Christmas Market ( 29th Nov – 14th Dec)
Visit the Rochester Christmas Market, where luxury and unique gift ideas sit alongside value goodies and stocking fillers, as well as a range of tasty Christmas treats and even a visit from Santa. Open 11am – 7pm on 29th – 30th Nov, 5th – 7th Dec and 12th – 14th Dec. www.visitmedway.org
Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival (6th – 7th December, 11am – 5pm)
The famous Dickensian Christmas Festival returns to Rochester for an enchanting weekend of traditional Victorian Christmas festivities. Street entertainment, song, dance and classic readings – PLUS rub shoulders with some of Dickens’ most beloved and infamous characters. www.visitmedway.org
Yuletide Brewery Tours – Shepherd Neame, Faversham (Dec)
Take a look behind the scenes on an award-winning tour at Britain’s Oldest Brewer. Discover a little of the Company’s fascinating history and gain an insight into the brewers’ art. Of course, no visit would be complete without the chance to try some of the brews so your expert guide will lead you through a fascinating tutored tasting. This will include Christmas Ale, a full-bodied, warming winter ale, and the perfect tipple for the festive season. Warm, homemade mince pies will also be served in the Visitor Centre bar while the Brewery Shop is packed full of wonderful beer and fantastic gifts. Tours run most days throughout December – advance booking recommended. £13.50 per person. Book online at www.shepherdneame.co.uk or call 01795 542016.
Medieval Christmas at Dover Castle (Dec)
Dover Castle is situated in spectacular settings above the White Cliffs of Dover and makes a great Christmas atmosphere. Join the court of King Henry for a weekend of medieval festive celebrations at Dover Castle. Enjoy music, dance and storytelling around the roaring open fire. Available every weekend in December. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/dover-castle/events
Kent Life’s Christmas Experiences (29th Nov – 21st Dec)
Step back into yesteryear and re-live Christmas time in the 1940’s. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of “Christmas on the Home Front”. Among the attractions will be ‘make do and mend’ lessons, in which former teacher Judi Knight will show visitors how to preserve and re-style clothes from the era. She will also demonstrate war-time cookery, using genuine 1940s recipes issued by the Ministry of Food. This December Santa will be taking time out of his busy schedule to stop off at Kent Life. Grab your chance to meet him in his magical grotto every weekend in the run up to Christmas from 11am to 2pm. Prices are: WW1 experience – Adults £7, Concessions £6, Children £5, Under 3’s FREE. Booking strongly recommended. Meet Santa: Children 1+ £5. For more information visit: http://www.kentlife.org.uk/discover-kent-life/whats-on.aspx
A Unique Christmas with Canterbury Tales (Nov – Dec)
Follow in the footsteps of Chaucer’s pilgrims by combining an immersive experience at The Canterbury Tales with a visit to Canterbury Cathedral and lunch in the stunning Canterbury Cathedral Lodge. Canterbury Tales also welcome you to Party like Pilgrims – an office party with a medieval theme! Enjoy a visit to The Canterbury Tales, a costumed escort to the historic Conquest House, compete for a bottle of mead in our medieval quiz and enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner. A choice of one, two or three course dinner options available on selected dates in December. There’s still more; Canterbury Tales will be hosting an Artisan Christmas Fair over the last weekend of November, with a range of crafts folk and artist’s stalls for guests to browse for free. For full details, including prices, dates and menu, visit the website:
Christmas at Quex Park (23rd Nov – 20th Dec)
Quex Park prides itself for bringing to you a varied programme of magical events and activities to enjoy with your loved ones this festive season. Begin the celebrations by attending ‘Quexmas’; the bright and magical Christmas craft fair, with over 70 stalls selling a variety of crafts and gifts. Join Santa in the dining room of Quex house, where he will be warming his toes by the fireside. Enjoy a stroll throughout the museum, house, restaurants and marquees before singing along to your favourite festive songs in the Quex Gardens. Alternatively, why not book a private Christmas party at Quex barn, or enjoy a festive family carvery at Powell-Cotton Museum? Let your children enjoy the festive party at Jungle Jims, relishing the indoor play centre, a disco, and plenty of entertaining party games. The fun continues after enjoying a tasty meal box, where Santa will arrive on his sleigh with a present from the North Pole for each child to unwrap (so be sure to stay off the naughty list!). Prices and dates for each event are as follows: – Quexmas (23rd Nov, 10:00 – 16:00, £3 per adult with accompanied children under 16 free – please note additional charges may apply for certain excursions). Christmas parties (Start from £10 per person and can be booked by calling 01843 846103 or email@example.com). Festive Family Carvery (7th Dec, £16 for two courses or £21 for three courses. Children under 12 cost £10 which includes a present from Santa. Pre booking is strongly advised, and for more information contact 01843 482004 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Children’s festive party (20th Dec, 18:30 – 20:30, £10 per person. For further information and bookings please call 01843 846305).
Walking in a winter wonderland…in Faversham (29th Nov – 21st Dec)
Faversham welcomes you to explore their vintage markets to keep you and the family busy this Christmas, as well as find all the special gifts you’re looking for! Be sure to bring a hearty appetite as you indulge in mulled wine, cider, and hot soups before snuggling up and relaxing in the snow. Watch the streets come to life with twinkling fairy lights, carol singing, face painting and over 60 stalls with gorgeous gifts and seasonal food. Santa will also be working hard in his grotto so make sure you’ve been nice and pop in to say hello! Market locations are held at The Alexander Centre (29th Nov, 14th, 20th and 21st December), Market Place and Court Street (29th Nov, 7th, 14th, and 21st Dec). More information regarding the opening hours can be found online: www.Faversham.org
National Trust Christmas Events (Nov – Dec, 2014).
Join National Trust this Christmas with a variety of events to choose from! At Ightham Mote, come and see traditions old and new as the house is decorated for the festive season. Learn how to make Christmas decorations and join us for mulled wine and carols in the inner courtyard by candlelight.Father Christmas is visiting and will be handing out gifts to good children, and there will be local producer stalls to get those Christmas gifts, craft activities and a trail for children. The popular Christmas market returns at Charwell, as well as a chance to meet Father Christmas, enjoy fantastic Christmas choirs and tour the beautifully decorated house. Discover what the elves are up to at Emmetts Garden, and don’t forget to write your letter to Santa. At Knole, make the most of the festivities in the Great Hall, with wreath and swag making workshops, carol singing, and family storytelling and crafting. At Quebec House, warm up by the open fire in the drawing room and see the house lit by candlelight. Sissinghurst Castle Garden is also hosting festive foliage workshops, and festive markets, allowing you to find the perfect gift. For more information and more events, please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/whats-on/events/
Tunbridge wells – Christmas Events (21st Nov– 4th Jan 2015)
It’s time to get your skates on – and your gloves and ear muffs. The Royal Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink returns this winter for another season of festive skating fun. The outdoor ice rink, set in the picturesque natural amphitheatre of Calverley Grounds, offers spectacular views of the park. As added attractions, rink side traditional wooden chalets sell local and seasonal produce, Christmas gifts and much more. And with aromatic winter food and drinks on offer, this is the ideal venue for family skating with children, romantic dates – or just a great fun night out with friends.
Tickets booked online at www.tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com Adults from £9.50, children from £7.00. Sessions last for one hour – including time to fit your skates so expect to have approximately 45 minutes on the ice.
Tonbridge Christmas Festival (23rd Nov)
Tonbridge Christmas festival brings to you an array of magical events to keep you and the family busy the whole day! At 2:30pm, begin with on stage entertainment on Tonbridge High Street, followed by a Christmas light switch on at 4pm. The on stage entertainment continues before you and your loved ones can snuggle up with a mug of hot chocolate whilst enjoying the glorious firework display at 6pm. More entertainment will begin by the Angel Centre, and the events will finish at 8pm. For more information please visit: http://www.tmbc.gov.uk/services/leisure-and-culture/events
Christmas Events in Thanet (22nd Nov – 31st Dec)
One thing’s for certain, there will never be a dull moment in Thanet this Christmas. Begin at Broadstairs, where they shower you with marvellous Christmas Fayres, a light switch on show, Santa Specials and a Mother Goose theatre show. Then, just a few miles away we come to Margate, where you will be spoilt for choice with a Tudor Christmas fair, spectacular Christmas shows, Christmas carol concert, Trees of Love, Farmers Market, Make ‘n’ Paint activities, a Beauty and the Beast show and much more! Margate also welcomes you to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style – join them in the Morgan’s Dance Hall, the Margate Harbour Arm for a ‘light up market 2015’, or the Sands Hotel for a truly spectacular night – don’t forget to pack your best dancing shoes! On December 13th, Ramsgate offers you a wonderful Handmade Arts and Crafts fair, Christmas cracker variety show, and St Laurence Christmas Fair. The conveniently close surrounding Villages invite you join their Christmas Events, including ‘Quexmas’ in Powell-Cotton Museum, a Christmas event in Westgate-on-Sea, and a party in Jungle Jims. Don’t forget to bring a hearty appetite to the family carvery festive Luncheon, before laughing away to the fantastic Cinderella show in The Centre, Birchington. For more information go to: www.visitthanet.co.uk