What’s on in Kent this December? We know!
It's Christmaaaaas! Absolutely gazillions of stuff to enjoy this month, including all the local pantos, carol singing concerts, theatre, ice rinks and much, much more.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
Prince & Pauper, Trinity Theatre, Weds 8 Dec – Sun 2 Jan
Not into Pantos? You’ll love Trinity Theatre’s answer! Don’t miss this charming and hilarious adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic story this December. As King Henry VIII lays on his death bed, his son Edward is reluctant to face the trials of kingship whilst in Pudding Lane an impoverished Tom Canty dreams of a better life. A chance encounter between the two reveals that they look almost identical. Let the farce begin!
Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, The Assembly Hall, until Mon 3 Jan
Mirror, Mirror on the wall… What is the greatest pantomime of them all? Look no further than Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at The Assembly Hall this Christmas starring Shirley Ballas, head judge of Strictly Come Dancing as the Wicked Queen! Joining her is an amazing West End cast including; Cameron Blakely (The Addams Family), Leon Craig (Everyone’s Talking About Jamie) and Rhiannon Chesterman (Rock of Ages). One for all the family, prepare for top-quality entertainment with lavish sets and a seriously funny script!
Christmas at Hever Castle, until Mon 3 Jan
There’s plenty of Christmas magic at Hever Castle this year, with a fairground, Santa’s Grotto, and a visit from the huskies (weekends 12-8pm until 24 Dec). If you’re up for a longer stomp, try Hever’s after-dark Christmas Light Trail which takes approx 1.5 hours to see the Castle’s much-loved landmarks lit up in glorious colours. Starting from 4pm, wrap up warm, enjoy a walk under the stars and witness the enchantment of the Castle, gardens and lake festooned with fabulous colours and twinkling lights.
Canterbury Christmas Market, until Fri 24 Dec
A colourful array of festively decorated huts, unique indie gifts, eats and treats plus a helter-skelter! Visit Canterbury Christmas Market in Whitefriars Shopping Centre and the lower section of St George’s St. Open Mon to Fri 10-6, Sat 9-6 and Sun 11-4. Enjoy live music at the market every Fri, Sat and Sun afternoons. You can book to see Santa Claws for a truly magical experience for your little ones or Santa Paws (for your four-legged friend, obviously).
Jack & The Beanstalk, The Marlowe Theatre, until Sun 9 Jan
Don’t miss this fun-filled family pantomime at The Marlowe Theatre this December! Starring West End star and pop icon Duncan James, Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton, alongside Marlowe favourite Ben Roddy, returning villain Marc Pickering (Mother Goose, Boardwalk Empire), Milkshake! presenter Nathan Connor and Bobbie Chambers (South Pacific). Jack And The Beanstalk, promises to be a giant of a pantomime, so book your tickets now.
Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, until Mon 2 Jan
It always heralds in the start of the festive season – when Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells is once again transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. There’s Father Christmas on-site to visit, Themed DJ Nights, Wreath Making Classes, Bavarian Curling and even Skate with festive characters including Cinders and those Snow Sisters!
Rochester Christmas Market, Every Sat & Sun from Sat 27 Nov til Sun 12 Dec
Set in the picturesque Rochester Castle gardens, browse the stalls for unique gift ideas and unusual stocking fillers. Wander through the Bavarian Village, Craft Fair or visit the funfair. There will also be live performers and live music 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.
The Three Scroges, The Beacon, Tunbridge Wells, Weds 1 – Sun 19 Dec
If you’ve never experienced a GOOMs production before, well you are in for a treat! Their Christmas production of The Three Scrooges is a fast-paced, hilarious and heartfelt immersive dining and theatre production of the all-time favourite classic, A Christmas Carol, where YOU get to decide who plays Scrooge. During the evening, you’ll be fed a three course Christmas dinner, designed by the local legend, Scott Goss, who won Chef of The Year 2019 in the Kent Life Magazine Food and Drink Awards, and represented London and the South East in the 2018 series of Great British Menu. Whilst enjoying this meal, you’ll be immersed in Dickensian London and witness Scrooge’s transformation as he learns to love Christmas. Which Scrooge will you choose? There’s still early-bird tickets available!
Bluewater Ice Rink, Bluewater Shopping Centre, until Mon 2 Jan
Located outside The Village, this outdoor rink will sit under a clear roof, making it the perfect activity come rain or shine this festive season. There’ll be quiet sessions, as well as parent and toddler sessions for budding skaters. Penguin and seal skating aids will be available for little ones plus bob skates to help guests stay steady on the ice. What’s more, party nights are back by popular demand this year – let the teens show off their skills to classic party anthems.
Festive Cracker & Mini Wreath Workshop, SET, Weds 1 – Tues 14 Dec
Make your Christmas table look amazing this year! Join luxury table setting brand SET for their Festive Cracker & Mini Wreath Workshop. For £50pp, you’ll make 6 recyclable crackers topped with mini dried floral wreaths, the perfect keepsake! An array of dried flowers, beautiful ribbons, jokes, riddles and little fillers are included as well as light refreshments. Just bring yourselves and some festive cheer! The workshops will be Weds 1 Dec in Tunbridge Wells, Thurs 2 & 9 Dec in Matfield, Tues 7 Dec in St Julian’s Club in Sevenoaks and Tues 14 Dec at The Chequers in Lamberhurst. To book your tickets, email SET here.
Drive-In Cinema, Brands Hatch, Tues 7 – Weds 22 Dec
The Luna Cinema is back this winter and at none other the UK’s best loved race circuit, Brands Hatch for their epic festival Christmas Drive-In run. Watch all you favourite Christmas films like Frozen, Love Actually, Elf, Home Alone or It’s A Wonderful Life from the comfort of your own car. Don’t forget your snacks!
Christmas at Leeds Castle, until Mon 2 Jan
Step into Christmas at Leeds Castle and enjoy wintery woodland walks in the crisp winter air. Pop on your coats and spot the 12 unique artworks located around the estate, all themed to the Twelve Days of Christmas Carol. Walk under the turtle dove arch, admire the seven mirrored swans swimming on the Great Lake and bang the 12 drummer’s drums with your little ones. The castle itself will be dressed beautifully with magnificent trees everywhere!
Christmas Cinema, The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, Fri 3 – Thurs 23 Dec
We all love to celebrate this time of the year with a cosy Christmas film, so why not see them in the cinema? The Gulbenkian in Canterbury have a wonderful selection of festive films from; It’s A Wonderful Life, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Muppet Christmas Carol, Polar Express and lots more!
Water Lane Christmas Market, Hawkhurst, Fri 3 – Sat 4 Dec
Experience a festive day out to Water Lane this Christmas! On Fri 3 and Sat 4 they’ll have a group of creatives, producers and makers setting up with their wares. Enjoy breakfast or lunch in the Carnation House before choosing a Christmas tree and wreath to take home and shop for beautiful and original gifts including cards, candles, baskets, skin care, mince pies and puddings, charcuterie, gin and cheese. There will be a children’s craft table, hot chocolate and marshmallows and hot chestnut soup and wood fired flatbreads. The perfect day out.
Wreath Workshops, The Bloom Foundry, Sat 4 – Fri 17 Dec
Winner of Best Florist in Kent thanks to you guys! Join Lucie from The Bloom Foundry for a stunning Christmas Wreath Workshop experience. She’s got events happening all over December in a range of different locations from Goupie Chocolate House, bar Pitcher & Piano in Tunbridge Wells and even Castlemas at Tonbridge Castle. We adore her unique style, so you’ll definitely be taking a Wreath home set to impress. All workshops are 1.5 hours and tickets start from £55pp. Book now!
Percy the Park Keeper’s Winter Trail, Scotney Castle, Sat 4 Dec – Mon 3 Jan
Join Percy the Park Keeper and his friends on a winter adventure activity trail around Scotney Castle’s garden. Working with Percy’s animal friends follow the clues and find the activity boards, playing a couple of games along the way. At the end, find Percy and his friends all gathered together and pick up a prize which will help you do your bit for nature at home too. £2 per trail, available at the garden entrance.
Taste of Christmas, The Heritage Garden Kitchen, Biddenden, Sat 4 & Sun 5 Dec
Start Christmas in style at The Heritage Garden Kitchen’s festive weekend! Christmas trees, mulled wine, hot chocolate, festive food and gifts, discounts plus the chance to win an Afternoon Tea for 2 – see ya there!
Castlemas, Tonbridge Castle, Fri 10 – Sun 19 Dec
A FREE, fabulously festive, fun-filled event is coming to Tonbridge this December! Open from the 10-19 Dec, open 10am-11pm every day, Castlemas has everything you need for a festive day-out. The entry is free to The Bandstand where they’ll be live performances, Mistletoe Town (a fabulous range of independent local stalls) and The Jingle Bell Bar. But you’ll need to book tickets to The Igloo Theatre for live entertainment and music for all the family (Dreamboys and Moulin Rouge Cirque is on our list!), visits to Santa’s Grotto and festive workshops such as wreath making, with Kent’s Best Florist (Muddy Awards 2021), The Bloom Foundry at Santa’s Workshop. There’s also wine tasting on 15 Dec (7 – 9.30pm) with local wine sommelier, Vicki, founder of Muddy favourite, Carafe. Watch out for the snow at 6:30pm (weekends at 2:30pm!). Book your activities now.
Yuletide Special, Kent & Sussex Railway, Fri 10 Dec
Christmas is not just for the kids! Experience a 70min Yuletide trip through the beautiful Wealden countryside by steam train, departing from Tenterden Town Station. Enjoy a festive tipple and entertainment from their live local choir before boarding your festively decorated train. Then sit back and relax with your complimentary hot drink and mince pie as the journey takes you to Northiam Station. There’s even an on-board magician too!
Brickmas Lego Trail & Exhibition, Canterbury, Sun 11 Dec
Merry Brickmas! Lots of lego fun to be had in Canterbury this December. Including their Christmas Lego Trail, make sure to keep an eye out for all sorts of Lego creations in Christmas window displays across the city, just follow the map available at The Beaney on the High St. Then visit The Beaney’s BRICKLIVE Exhibition opening on Sun 11 Dec til Sun 2 Jan, it’s completely free and you’ll get to see life-size Santa, reindeer, elves and much more all made out of bricks!
Meet Santa, Rare Breeds Centre, Sat 11 Dec – Thurs 23 Dec
Visit the Rare Breeds Centre this Christmas to experience the incredible twinkly magic in their Winter Wonderland Barn. There are just eight days available throughout December for booking this festive family event.
Sprout the Elf will be waiting and who knows what present Santa has in store just for you – you’ll just have to BOOK A BOOTH to see! Booths are socially distanced and accommodate 4, 6 or 8 people in whatever family groups you prefer. You’ll then have access to the 100 acre farm to enjoy the play areas, Meet The Animal sessions, tractor-trailer rides and Falconry Displays. Plus hot chocolate, burgers and plenty more to eat at their restaurant!
Christmas at Bedgebury, Goudhurst, until Mon 3 Jan
Visit Bedgebury Pinetum at night to experience Christmas at Bedgebury, a magical spectacle of light. We’re talking singing trees saturated in colour-changing lights, giant baubles and snowflakes – and of course you won’t wanna miss the breath-taking tunnel of light. There’ll also be a special appearance from the big man himself. This event sells out early every year but there are a handful of tickets left so be quick!
Cinderella, Leas Cliff Hall, Fri 10 – Fri 31 Dec
With one charming Prince, two Ugly Sisters and a huge sprinkling of Fairy Godmother magic, join Leas Cliff Hall this Christmas to find out if the glass slipper fits and if Cinderella will make it to the ball. Featuring breath-taking special effects, spectacular scenery and sparkling costumes along with plenty of traditional pantomime mayhem and laughter – exciting star cast to be announced soon!
Festive Market, Folkestone Harbour Arm, From Sat 27 Nov
For the first time ever, Folkestone Harbour Arm will become home to a purpose-built Festive Market! Expect lots of wooden huts surrounded by decorated trees and fairy lights – pictured above. Beginning from Sat 27 Nov, running every weekend in the run up to Christmas, including the 23 & 24 of Dec. There will also be a programme of Christmas events including bands, choirs and films plus traders from The Good Yard will be offering the very best of food and drink with a festive twist. More details coming soon…