Christmas 2018 Events In Kent: Things To Do This Festive Season

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Christmas 2018 Events In Kent: Things To Do This Festive Season
Leeds Castle Christmas market: things to do in Kent at Christmas
Leeds Castle's Christmas market

Allow us, if you will, to dip our toes outside London for a moment and take a look at the best Christmas 2018 events in neighbouring Kent. The county has ice rinks, Christmas fairs, and more reindeer you could shake a carrot stick at. So if you're after a family day out, or an unusual date venue, take a look at what's going on. If this inspires you, take a look at our other ideas for day trips from London. Maybe wait until the summer before heading to the beach though...

2018 Christmas markets, fairs and shopping in Kent

WEALDEN TIMES MIDWINTER FAIR: Regional magazine The Wealden Times brings a curated collection of 220 food, drink, homeware, fashion, jewellery and gift stalls to the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood. 15-17 November 2018

WHITEFRIARS CANTERBURY CHRISTMAS MARKET: Canterbury's shopping centre, Whitefriars, has its biggest ever Christmas market this year, with colourful wooden cabins dotted throughout the centre. 16 November-24 December

CHARTWELL CHRISTMAS MARKET: The former country home of Winston Churchill is now a National Trust property, and hosts a four-day Christmas market where you can stock up on gift ideas. 22-25 November 2018

TENTERDEN CHRISTMAS MARKET: Local makers and food and drink stalls set up in Tenterden High Street for the annual Christmas fair, along with reindeer, a snow machine, Santa's grotto, a Christmas lantern parade and more. 23-25 November 2018

SISSINGHURST CASTLE CHRISTMAS MARKET: The East Grinstead Concert Band serenades crowds at Sissinghurst Castle, where local food, drinks, craft and produce will be sold. 24-25 November 2018

FAVERSHAM CHRISTMAS MARKET: Faversham Market Place and Guildhall are brought alive with brass bands, carol singing and donkeys (!) to serenade shoppers as they browse gifts, toys, clothes, jewellery, homeware and more. 25 November, 9 & 16 December 2018

Leeds Castle Christmas market: things to do in Kent at Christmas
Leeds Castle Christmas Market

LEEDS CASTLE CHRISTMAS MARKET: Victorian fairground rides, birds of prey, and live music performances are just some of the attractions at Leeds Castle's Christmas market — and that's before we get to the stalls, or the views of the stunning landmark itself. Stock up on gifts, toys, food and drink. Weekends 24 November-16 December

WIZARDING WINTER FAIR: Tonbridge Grammar School, a secondary school in the West Kent town, has added a wizarding theme to its fair this year, with an indoor owl display, Harry's Pottery (see what they did there?), a giant snowglobe, assault courses, bungee trampolines, face painting, raffles, food hall and a hog roast. 9 December 2018

Christmas lights, illuminations and winter light festivals in Kent 2018

Christmas at Bedgebury: things to do in Kent at Christmas
Christmas at Bedgebury Pinetum

CHRISTMAS AT BEDGEBURY: For the first time ever, a lights trail illuminates Bedgebury Pinetum. A mile-long trail of lights winds through the tree canopies, installed by the same company as the fantastic Christmas at Kew. 30 November-30 December 2018

RAMSGATE ILLUMINATIONS: Many of the boats and yachts berthed in Ramsgate's Royal Harbour are given a festive twist by their owners, making for an impressive sight when viewed from dry land nearby. 1-31 December 2018

See the Christmas lights switched on in the following towns:

Santa's Grottos and meet Father Christmas events 2018 events in Kent

SANTA'S GROTTO AT HOWLETTS: Wildlife park Howletts hosts Santa and his elves this winter. His grotto will appear in the park, with kids able to visit him, share their wishes and maybe get a photo or two. 24 November-23 December 2018

SANTA'S GROTTO AT WHITSTABLE CASTLE: The man in red is very much in demand at this time of year. Head along to Whitstable Castle to visit him in his grotto. If you want to make a day of it, Christmas afternoon tea is served in the Orangery Tearooms throughout December. Weekends 25 November-16 December 2018

THE ELF EXPRESS AND MAGICAL ELF FOREST: Margate's Quex Park is taken over by elves. Board the Elf Express through the Elf Forest to the Elf Tower, and climb a winding staircase to meet Santa at the top. Sounds like an enchanting day out for younger visitors. 1-23 December

SANTA SPECIALS ON THE SPA VALLEY RAILWAY: Christmas starts at Eridge station, where the Spa Valley Railway picks up passengers for this special ride through the countryside to Tunbridge Wells West station. Through the journey, Santa makes his way through the train, chatting to children on board while Christmas songs play. At Tunbridge Wells West station, visit Santa in his sleigh, before hopping on the train back to Eridge. Selected dates 1-24 December. Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway also runs Santa specials throughout December.

Santa Specials on the Spa Valley Railway: things to do in Kent at Christmas
Santa on a train at the Spa Valley Railway

BEWL WATER CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE: A 'magic ice' rink, marshmallow toasting, a magic wishing tree, fairground rides, a winter wonderland forest and a trip to see Santa are all included in the family-friendly Bewl Water Christmas experience. Weekends 1-24 December

DINE WITH SANTA: Tunbridge Wells hotel One Warwick Park has gone one better than a Santa's Grotto — they've invited him to dinner. Find out what he eats (other than mince pies) as he mingles among families tucking into a three-course dinner. 16 December 2018.

Other Christmas 2018 events in Kent

Hever Castle at Christmas: things to do in Kent at Christmas
Christmas at Hever Castle

TUNBRIDGE WELLS ICE RINK: An outdoor ice rink pops up in Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells town centre. Special parent and toddler sessions take place on weekdays, and the cafe and bar are open at all times when the rink's open. For the first time, local music venue The Forum is bringing live music acts to the park this year too. Who needs Hyde Park's bandstand, eh? 16 November 2018-2 January 2019

CHRISTMAS AT HEVER CASTLE: The childhood home of Anne Boleyn is decorated beautifully for Christmas, with twinkling Christmas trees and roaring log fires adding to the atmosphere in the public rooms. 24 November-24 December

ROCHESTER DICKENS FESTIVAL: Things get Victorian in Rochester, in a nod to Charles Dickens, who frequented the area and is credited with giving us Christmas as we know it today. Stalls take over the cobbled streets, and people come out in their Victorian costumes, with plenty of street performances going on around the town. 1-2 December 2018

Ice rink at Eastwell Manor: things to do in Kent at Christmas
An ice rink comes to Eastwell Manor

EASTWELL MANOR ICE RINK: Fancy Ashford hotel Eastwell Manor is better known for its Champneys Spa experiences, but an ice rink pops up in the grounds for Christmas this year. Santa's reindeer will be watching somewhere nearby, but don't let that put you off your figure-of-eights. 1 December 2018-2 January 2019

SANTA DASH: Don your best Santa suit and charge either a 5k or 10k route around Gravesend Cyclopark. Choose whether you want to raise money for charity, or just take part as a fun run. 16 December 2018


Want this, but closer to home? Take a look at our guide to spending Christmas in London, where you'll find all the ice rinks, Christmas lights and Santa's grottos you could need.

Last Updated 09 November 2018

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