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This Month

DEC 2019

The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort, Now Open!

The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort near Canterbury is now open – yey, FINALLY! We’ve been watching this space (quite literally) for a few years now (while they’ve forked out over £12million to bring their vision to life.) Fancy the penthouse with it’s own chef, butler and cinema screen? Or keep it real with one of the hotel’s 41-state-of-the-art rooms that have been built to reflect the highest standard of comfort and luxury at affordable prices. Be first to book! cavehotels.com

The Christmas Shop, Sue Davies Flowers, Sutton Valence, OPEN NOW

Super-talented Sue is the flower power house behind this florist and really knows her ‘stuff’ having worked in the industry for years. A florist all year round and a magical Christmas shop for the festive season which is opening its doors again this October! If you’re anywhere near Sutton Valence you really must visit… suedaviesflowers.com

See Santa, Rare Breeds Centre, Various dates from Sat 30 Nov

Photo credit: Alexander Brattell

Santa is flying in this Saturday to kick start the festive fun (all kicking off from 10.15am) along with some helpful Elves and a very Naughty Snowman. The Rare Breeds Centre is a truly special setting and you can be sure of a really good old fashioned, magical, twinkly experience. Each child gets a present and one-to-one chat from The Big Man himself while sitting in a big wooden sleigh in the hand-built grotto. There is a Pantomime happening on site too at 12pm and 2pm each Santa day and the Santa days are the following: 30 Nov, 1 Dec, 7 Dec, 8 Dec, 14 Dec, 15 Dec, 18 Dec, 19 Dec, 20 Dec, 21 Dec, 22 Dec and 23 Dec. Prices are £9.50 for an adult and £20 per child over 3 (Children under 3 are a £10) Member Adults go FREE. Slots are pre-booked – but you can use your ticket to access the farm all day. There’s a restaurant on site too. rarebreedscentre

Candelit Ghost Tours, Lamb House, NOW – 7 Dec

Take part in a spooky tour this festive season! Experience an atmospheric tour of Lamb House following Joan Aiken’s book The Haunting of Lamb House with excerpts from the book which spans the whole history of the house from the Lambs to E F Benson. All tickets included a mince pie and mulled wine. nationaltrust.org.uk

Father Christmas & Christmas Market, Leeds Castle, NOW – 15 Dec

Have the chance to meet the big man himself at Leeds Castle! Follow an enchanted path to a magical grotto, where only those who have been good will receive a gift to take home. After your meet and greet, head to the Marker to discover a splendid array of seasonal gifts, toys, festive decorations, specialist food and drink. Not forgetting the birds of prey, traditional fun fair rides and live music to keep everyone entertained. leeds-castle.com

Father Christmas at Howletts Animal Park, NOW – Mon 23 Dec

This winter season treat your little ones to meet Father Christmas and his merry elves at this popular wild animal park. Santa will be meeting children in the magical grotto every weekend from Sat 30 Nov until Sun 15 Dec and then everyday from Tues 17 – Mon 23 Dec. Every child will get a gift and souvenir photos will be available to purchase. Book your slot now: aspinallfoundation.org

Twilight Christmas at Hever Castle, NOW – Tues 24 Dec (Selected Dates)

This year’s theme at Hever Castle is Alice in Wonderland! Wrap up and follow the themed interactive trail and wander through the illuminated gardens in the dark. All the Castle Rooms will be decorated beautifully with welcoming log fires and twinkling Christmas trees. Bring your little ones to meet Father Christmas in the magical Grotto where they’ll be led by an elf through the snowy forest to meet Father Christmas in his log cabin. Or enjoy some Christmas shopping in the Gift Shop. hevercastle.co.uk 

Christmas at Bedgebury, NOW – Mon 30 Dec

It’s the most wonderful time of the year as the tree-tops begin to glisten and shimmer. After last year’s sell-out event, it’s back and their 2019 winter trail is set to look very different. The sights and sounds of Christmas await under unique canopies with new installations rising high into the night sky. A dynamic Vortex Tunnel leads onto colour changing and immersive ribbons of light. If you went last year, rest rest assured, the towering Tunnel of Light will twinkle yet again with thousands of pea-lights as you walk into a world festooned with seasonal cheer. Complete your walk under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate and gather around the fire-pit with family and friends to toast marshmallows. Tickets are almost gone! christmasatbedgebury.seetickets.com

Canterbury On Ice, Dane John Gardens, NOW – 1 Jan 2020

Canterbury’s spectacular Christmas ice rink in the Dane John Gardens will open for spins, twists and turns this November. Among their many projects, iSkate provides the rink for the ITV show Dancing on Ice. Canterbury on Ice will run every day (except Christmas Day) until Wednesday 1 January 2020. Opening times vary, but will be from 10am to 9pm on weekends and during the school holidays. The maximum capacity is 140 skaters per session. Adult tickets £12.50 and child tickets are £9. Get your tickets now: canterburyonice.co.uk 

Eastwell Manor Ice Rink, Eastwell, NOW – 2 Jan 2020

Whether it’s an afternoon out with the family, or a romantic date with someone special, Eastwell Manor skating rink is perfect for some traditional festive fun. Get in the spirit of Christmas with mulled wine and mince pies, plus the chance to do some shopping from a Christmas boutique. Get your skates on down to Eastwell Manor this Christmas, just remember to wrap up warm! Adult tickets £14.50 and child tickets £9.50. eastwellmanor.co.uk

12 Days of Christmas Trail, Chartwell, NOW – Sun 5 Jan 2020

Make your way around the Chartwell gardens on their winter outdoor family trail from November and discover the many characters from the well-known Christmas rhyme. From the partridge in a pear tree singing down in the orchard, swans a-swimming down the Gavin Jones water feature to lords a-leaping across the lawn – the 12 days of Christmas have come to life at Chartwell! nationaltrust.org.uk 

Kipling’s Just So Stories, Bateman’s, NOW – Sun 5 Jan 2020

There’ll be magic at Bateman’s this festive season as the rooms will be decorated in rich, opulent colours inspired by Kipling’s travels and his Just So Stories. Enjoy wandering through the 17th-century house or venturing out into the garden and estate for a wintery walk through the Winter Garden Trail. Bateman’s festive celebrations are based around Kipling’s Just So Stories, which will cast their magic around his family home. Event is open daily, 11 am – 4pm. Free. nationaltrust.org.uk

British Wildlife Photography Awards, Bodiam Castle, NOW – Sun 5 Jan 2020

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) and Bodiam Castle is hosting an exhibition of winning photographs. The towers of the castle provide the perfect backdrop to showcase British wildlife captured in stunning photographic detail. Discover a new space in the castle as the 1st floor of the West Tower will open for the public for the first time to host the exhibition. Climb the steep spiral staircases to get to the top of the towers and be rewarded with incredible views – cameras at the ready! nationaltrust.org.uk

SKATE, Calverley Grounds, NOW – Sun 5 Jan 2020

Pictures of Elsa & Ana, David Bartholomew. Pictures of Peter and Tink, Sam Taylor photography.

Winter is on its way! Join in from the 15 Nov for some ice skating fun for all the family. New for this year is the chance to do some Bavarian Curling, they’ll also be live music nights from The Forum and even the chance to meet Father Christmas. Don’t miss the chance to meet and have a photo with Elsa and Ana on 1 Dec and Tinkerbell and Peter Pan on 8 Dec – they’ll be skating around on the ice and singing! Characters from Once Upon A Wish Events. assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk 

Mother Goose, The Marlowe Theatre, NOW – Sun 12 Jan 2020

The mother of all pantomimes! Don’t miss The Marlowe’s fun-filled family pantomime, Mother Goose, starring Dr Ranj (CBeebies, This Morning, Strictly Come Dancing), Jenna Russell (EastEnders, West End Star), the egg-cellent Ben Roddy (in his tenth Marlowe pantomime!), Canterbury favourite Lloyd Hollett, and Marc Pickering (Boardwalk Empire, Les Misérables). With hilarious comedy, beautiful sets and costumes, and fantastic music, Mother Goose will be our funniest and most spectacular pantomime ever! Book now for the best seats! marlowetheatre.com

Festive Roller Rink, Dreamland, Margate, selected dates Dec

Ice too cold for you? There’s more than just brilliant retro rides and amusements at Dreamland. Step back in time and strap on your skates in their Festive Roller Rink. Resident Frosted FM DJ will spin the Christmas classics and spread the festive cheer between 12 – 4pm. And when you’ve thrown a few funky, retro shapes and bopped until you’ve dropped why not pop into the Roller Diner, for refuelling? £4 per person, including skate hire (members skate free). dreamland.co.uk

Advent Refresher Day, Ismini Philips Studio, Sun 1 Dec

Don’t miss Ismini Philip’s sell-out Advent Refresher Day. It’s a day to concentrate on yourself, meet new people and experience a range of classes. The Day Pass includes 5 classes (including bootybarre, stretch, Pilates and more), lunch and refreshments. Even have a treatment like reiki, reflexology or massage. Spoil yourself before the hectic festive season begins! Day pass is £90 and treatments are available at an extra cost, discounts on Day Pass when you book a treatment. To book: email info@isminiphillips.com OR call the studio on 01732 669683.

Canterbury’s Crafternoon, The Ballroom, 1 Dec

Support a fantastic cause for a Charity Crafternoon! Hosted at The Ballroom in Canterbury spend an afternoon listening to Christmas tunes and crafting from cards to cake decorating. There’s even a charity raffle! Only £5 per ticket, refreshments and materials included. 1 – 5pm. All proceeds go to Mind. facebook.com/events 

Rochester Christmas Market, 1 – 15 Dec

Set in the picturesque Rochester Castle gardens, browse the stalls for unique gift ideas and unusual stocking fillers. Wander through the Bavarian food village or visit the funfair. There will also be live performers to keep you entertained. There is even a guaranteed snowfall, all framed by Rochester’s fairytale cathedral and castle.  Rides are £1 every Friday and activities are half price. medway.gov.uk

Festive Yoga Day Retreat, Green Farm Spa, 1 Dec

A day of restoration, health & wellbeing using our carefully designed combination of Yoga, spa, nature and home-made food. Combined with relaxing country walks and ESPA Spa treatments, set in the most beautiful Kent Countryside. Have free use of the boutique private Spa facilities including the sauna and hot tubs – you could even book in for an ESPA Spa Treatment (extra charge). Enjoy a home-made lunch with home-grown ingredients (vegan options) and have a chat with the in-house nutritional therapist. Be led on the guided country walk with wellies you can borrow or use the bikes! 9am – 5pm. £120 pp includes classes, lunch, refreshments and use of spa facilities. Book your spot now: greenfarmkent.co.uk

Christmas Emporium at Creek Creative, Faversham, Tues 3 – Sat 21 Dec

Creek Creative Art & Design Studios are hosting a Christmas Emporium in Faversham presenting a huge range of handmade items from local artisans in Kent. Open Tues – Sun, 10-4pm. Refreshments available from the Gallery Kitchen Cafe. creek-creative.org

Christmas Carol Immersive Dining Experience, The Beacon, 3 – 7 Dec

Have you heard that on the 3rd-7th December, Get Out Of My Space are returning to our door, combining the success of their two summer shows, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The 39 Steps’, to provide the ultimate Christmas experience? A three-course Christmas dinner (from our amazing staff at The Beacon) weaved into the narrative of a classic story, and topped off with a whole lot of comedy! It wouldn’t be Christmas without ‘A Christmas Carol’, but in this stage version by Patrick Barlow (writer of ‘The 39 Steps’), Charles Dickens’ classic story of greed, grief, ghoulish ghosts and eleventh-hour redemption is made to feel fresh and brand new. Performed by just five actors, it’s going to be another evening of fast-paced fun, with a wholesome Christmas feeling to get you in the seasonal spirit! Friday and Saturday night have already sold out, but there are tickets available Tuesday-Thursday. We advise booking fast though because they are going quick! There are only 6 tickets left for Wednesday night! Tickets available at: www.gooms.co.uk/current

Village Idiot Comedy, East Peckham Village Hall, Fri 6 Dec

Enjoy the full pop-up comedy club experience, complete with pro stand-up comics and a bar serving drinks and snacks! The have an amazing line-up of brilliant, distinctive and very funny comics from the national circuit. Headlining is the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Gareth Richards (Russell Howard’s Good News, Host of Sony Award winning Absolute Radio show with co-host Frank Skinner). Also performing; Wendy Wason, Tom Mayhew, Francis Foster and MC Adam Preston. Tickets are £15 in advance and £17.50 on the door. Book now: villageidiotcomedy.com

Feel Good Friday Scheme, FLOW Tunbridge Wells, Fri 6 Dec

Kick start your weekend with this upbeat, positively charged yoga session with Senior Yoga Teacher and Founder of FLOW, Lucy. Move & breath to the beat and enjoy some challenging, strengthening yoga postures moving with awareness & stability. The feel good factor of this class is not limited to you alone as 25% of all the income goes straight to the Nourish Food Bank to support our local community. Incase you didn’t know, Nourish is a registered charity that provides short-term emergency provisions, support and signposting in a crisis to individuals and families within the borough of Tunbridge Wells, South Tonbridge and the surrounding areas. On the first Friday of each month FLOW will be collecting TOILETRY items for Nourish to be distributed. Class is suitable for everyone! flowtunbridgewells.com

Illuminities, Ashford, 6 & 7 and 14 Dec

An incredible, never-seen-before series of events will dazzle and amaze Ashford this December. As the Illuminites events unfold, watch in amazement as Ashford’s skies and streets transform before your eyes. On Fri 6 and Sat 7 Dec, enjoy a five minute digital projection on the side of International House, Dover Place, celebrating Ashford’s heritage and history. Watch in wonder as the building transforms before your eyes, falling away and reappearing in a kaleidoscope of imagery. The newly-opened Coachworks in Dover Place will be serving up a range of food and drink, working with Kent Food Hubs to provide tasty, local and sustainable food, and there will be a small market of local traders. The shows will be at 4.30, 5.30 and 6.30pm. The car park at Dover Place will be closed for viewers to watch safely.Or experience Ashford’s enchanting and magical Winter Forest, made up of a trail of illuminated trees dotted around the town centre and Elwick Place, for two nights only Fri 6 and Sat 7 Dec! Don’t miss the Illuminities finale on Sat 14 Dec – the Carnival of the Baubles! Starting at Elwick Palace and Ashford Town Centre from 5:30 pm, a procession of giant, illuminated baubles will make its way down Bank Street. They’ll be a market selling hot food and drink, the perfect family evening. For all the details: loveashford.com

Saturday Brunch, Mount Ephraim Gardens, 7 Dec

Have brunch in the West Wing Tearoom at Mount Ephraim Gardens and build-your-own Breakfast, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, homemade porridge with Mount Ephraim fruits and more! After your leisurely brunch, take a stroll around the garden – bright your wellies! To book your table email: tearoom@mountephraimgardens.co.uk. mountephraimgardens.co.uk 

Peter Pan, The Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Sat 7 Dec to Sun 5 Jan

For a swashbuckling classic, look no further than Peter Pan at The Assembly Hall this Christmas. Starring Paul Bradley (Holby City’s Elliot Hope), Quinn Patrick (Tunbridge Wells favourite dame), Lloyd Warbey (Disney’s Art Attack), Sarah Jane Buckley (Hollyoaks), and Holly Atterton (Nick Junior’s Go Go Go). One for all the family, prepare for out-of-this-world flying effects, galleons of laughter and the hungriest of crocodiles. assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

Faversham Market, 8, 15 & 22 Dec

Faversham Market have become a popular yearly event and are the place to pick up gorgeous, locally made gifts and produce, enjoy some festive music and get all your shopping done in one go. Find the market in the heart of Faversham’s town centre with carols, music and entertainment, there is something for all the family. Don’t miss the Plastic-Free Christmas Pop-up Shop (23 Nov – 23 Dec) where you can buy locally grown Christmas tree, handmade wreaths and gifts from local businesses. There’s even a Christmas Eve Market for the last-minute rush! 8am – 1pm. visitfaversham.org

The Bloom Foundry, Tunbridge Wells, 12, 17, 18, 19 Dec

Make a stunning Christmas wreath at The Bloom Foundry this Christmas. Enjoy a 3 hour session creating and producing a unique festive wreath whilst enjoying a mince pie. Ticket price includes the base, foliage, a bow and 5 decorative items for your wreath. There are day and evening workshops throughout December which are £30 pp. eventbrite.co.uk 

Macknade’s Festive Family Event, 12 Dec

Don’t miss Macknade’s festive shopping extravaganza perfect for the whole family! The choirs from Selling and Sheldwich Primary Schools will both be singing Christmas carols on The Deck and there will be festive food & drink available for purchase, including warming mulled wine and spiced apple juice. Let your kids can get stuck into the Christmas scavenger hunt, taking place throughout the shop, and there will be an opportunity to meet Santa after completing the trail. Donate £3 (per child) to the team at Happy Endings Animal Rescue who will be there for the afternoon, meet the lovely donkeys Barney and Matilda. Pick-up last minute pressies, choose your Christmas tree and place your pre orders! The shop will be open until 7:30 pm. macknade.com

Christmas Dinner, Lime Wharf Cafe, 12 Dec

A gorgeous river-side café and activity centre 6 miles from Rye and 8 miles from Cranbrook. Book a table at Lime Wharf Cafe’s festive Christmas Dinner this Thurs 12 Dec! Vegan and gluten-free friendly too. Did we mention the cocktail bar too?! Book now… limewharfcafe.co.uk

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone, Fri 13 – Tue 31 Dec

Exciting news for Folkestone locals. This year’s annual family pantomime at Leas Cliff Hall will see the iconic venue team up for the first time with award-winning pantomime producers Paul Holman Associates. Headlining the glittering production of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs as Prince Benedict will be Thomas Redgrave. Thomas shot to fame winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2014 as a member of Musical Theatre group Collabroatgtickets.com

The Snow Queen, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Fri 13 – Tue 31st Dec

Travel on an enchanting, winter adventure as Kai meets the Snow Queen and is transported to far away Lapland away from his best friend Gerda and Grandmother. Follow the journey of Gerda as she sets off all alone on her quest to find Kai. trinitytheatre.net

Santa’s Grotto, Salomons Estate, 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23 Dec

Santa will be bringing some seasonal cheer to Salomons Estate as he opens up his cosy Christmas Grotto! Come and meet him and his hard-working elves as they take up residence in the beautiful grounds of the estate. £10 per child including a visit to Santa in his grotto, a gift and Christmas colouring in. Then have some lunch in the The Pub or Dining Rooms which will be serving delicious Christmas specials and winter-warmer drinks. Book your slot now: salomons-estate.com

Samsara Yoga Retreat, Maidstone, Dec 31

Why not try New Year Samsara style? Enjoy an evening of yoga, joy, supper, dancing and of course bubbles! The evening will start with a 90 min Yoga flow class taught by Co-Founder Dipu Das with an Indian Buffet for supper and the chance to try ”Ecstatic dance” style. Sit on the sofa in front of the inglenook fire and see in the New Year gathered around the fire pit (weather permitting) with a glass of bubbles. Make an evening of it and stay over in the rustic boutique B&B. Book in now! eventbrite.co.uk

FURTHER AFIELD…

 

Hyde Park Wonder Wonderland, London, Now – 5 Jan

The big one. Along with 100 wooden chalets there’ll be *deep breath* ice skating, ice bars and sculpting workshops, rides, Santa Land, shows, boozy Bavarian Village and, new for 2019, A Christmas Carol, 70m lit-up ferris wheel, Paddington and Mr Men shows for children. It’s free to enter and get in on the festive atmosphere, but you’ll have to pay for the attractions. hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, London Palladium, Sat 7 Dec – Sun 12 Jan

This is like fantasy panto casting. I mean, seriously, does it get better than this? Paul O’Grady, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot and  – well who cares about the rest, I’m sold.  lwtheatres.co.uk

Pinocchio on Ice, Alexandra Palace, Fri 13 – Mon 16 Dec

A panto but with a few triple salchows thrown in for good measure. This show features pro skaters, a mix of modern and traditional music, a performance from a West End star and lashings of festive spirit all performed on Ally Pally’s ice rink. alexandrapalace.com

Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Now – 19 Jan 2020

The colourfully lit onion domes of Brighton Pavilion back the city’s seasonal ice rink. The large covered cafe/bar terrace opens 9.30 am till late with mulled wine and full meals including an after-school children’s menu and stone-baked pizzas. There’s no charge for spectating from here if you just want the atmosphere. Kids can get their balance on a separate rink with a penguin skating aid – first come first served but you’re expected to share. Family tickets £39, 2 adults tickets £28. royalpavilionicerink.co.uk

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, London, Now – 12 Jan 2020

London’s most beautiful ice rink returns, transforming the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court into a winter oasis, and ushering in the festive season with a 40ft Christmas tree. Enjoy skating lessons, late night DJ series Skate Lates or if you’re feeling brave try their first-ever Skate all-nighter on Sat 7 Dec. Après-skate, stop by the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade for shopping, enjoy gourmet dining in Fortnum’s Lodge or soak up the atmosphere with a Baileys Hot Chocolate at the Skate Lounge. Adult tickets £11, child tickets £8.50. somersethouse.org.uk

National History Museum, London, Now – 12 Jan 2020

Set against the backdrop of the Waterhouse building, the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most magical places to be this winter. Whether or not you can skate like Torvill and Dean or Bambi, a visit to the Museum’s Ice Rink is a must-have! Or relax in the Cafe Bar and have a bird’s-eye view of the rink.  Adult tickets from £12.65, child tickets from £8.80. nhm.ac.uk

Compiled by Mollie Manning

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