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Quirky Christmas

Our round-up of the more unusual and quirky Christmas finds in Kent and beyond! From pop-up restaurants and alpaca treks.

Sue Davies Christmas Shop, Sutton Valence, now – 22 Dec

For three months of the year brilliant Sue Davies Flowers turns her Sutton Valence florist in The Old Butcher’s Shop into a perky, quirky Christmas pop up store. Situated in this pretty rural village, between Maidstone and Headcorn – it’s soooo worth a visit. Wander down the narrow streets into the heart of the village (it feels very quaint – possibly Medieval?) and you’ll find it packed with gorgeous unique decorations – think wreaths, garlands, baubles, lights and ornaments of every kind, all hand-made and cute-as-they-come. Now in its third year, you’ll get a very warm reception in the shop, which is open Tues to Sun, 10am-5pm (late night on Thursdays). Go and see the magic for yourself.

Rent a fruit tree, the perfect quirky gift, Bentinck Farm

Here’s one to add to your Christmas Wish List or to give to a friend – the chance to rent a tree for a year.  You can choose from apple, cherry and cobnut trees or select a combination. Bentinck Farm’s tree rental is a modern on the classic ‘pick your own’ model, giving you the chance to rent a single tree for a season (March to October). You’ll receive a certificate showing the type of tree, the individual number which can be personalised and makes a lovely original gift (£40- £80).

Christmas Alpaca Treks, Reuthe’s The Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks, Dec 8, 15, 20, 21 & 22

Awwww. Just look at that little face. Meet the adorable furry friends and let them lead you and your kids on a one-hour guided trek through Reuthe’s, charmingly referred as the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks. The stomp through the woods will be followed by a woodland-themed Christmas decoration craft workshop and story time with Christmas Tree Hot Chocolate in a yurt. Wrap up warm!

The Wind in the Willows, Trinity Theatre, Thurs 13 Dec – 2 Jan 2019

Looking for an alternative to panto? Trinity Theatre‘s Christmas Show will take you on a musical journey; swap magic carpet rides and poisoned pantomime apples for this heartwarming story of friendship as you venture through the Wild Woods with Toad and his band of rambunctious friends, in fantastical style.

A Christmas Carol, Folkestone Quarterhouse, Fri 14 – Mon 24 Dec

In east Kent there’s another alternative option. LAStheatre bring Charles Dickens’s Christmas classic to life. With only the spirits for company, Scrooge must revisit the past, learn from the present and finally, face up to the future. Expect songs, silliness and a whole lot of festive cheer in this brand-new, thrilling production for all the family.

Dickensian Christmas, Rochester, Sat 1 – Sun 2 Dec

This iconic Dickensian festival has been a recurring essential Christmas event in Rochester since 1988! With people returning year after year to browse the variety of stalls, sing carols, meet their favourite Dickens characters and take part in the candlelight procession, all to the backdrop of Rochester’s fairy-tale cathedral and castle, Dickensian Christmas really is a must this festive season for anyone looking for that ‘A Christmas Carol’ experience.

Cell Feast and Escape In The Towers, December

Fancy some escape room fun followed by a Crimbo nosh up? ‘Course you do! As far as locations go Escape In The Towers – set within Canterbury’s original former city gaol built in the 1830s – is pretty hard to beat. Enjoy a Christmas dinner with a difference when you book your Cell Feast in one of the former police cells. Got the small matter of solving the game first of course.

Skiing and Snow Boarding at Bowles Rocks

Got older kids or teens too big to sit on Santa’s lap? Looking for an alternative festive activity to do with the family? Check out Bowles outdoor activity centre. Learn to ski or snowboard at Bowles. They have a packed programme of courses, private lessons and open sessions for all ages, from beginners to advanced, throughout the winter.  With two slopes and a team of experienced instructors Bowles is the perfect place to prepare for a trip away, or to try a new sport.

Santa Specials, Kent and East Sussex Railway, Sun 1 – 24 Dec

Take a magical steam train journey to meet Santa this Christmas! At Tenterden Station the beautiful Victorian carousel provides unlimited free rides for the young and young at heart alike. On board the festively decorated steam trains, you’ll meet Santa during the 1 hour 10 minute return journey. Look out for his elf helpers with their sacks full of lovely presents and there will be complimentary drinks and snacks on board. The service operating on the 21 Dec, will have a less intensive timetable to welcome individuals, groups and families with children on the autistic spectrum or those who would benefit from a more relaxed environment. Make sure to book your place now.

Fenton’s Rink, Tunbridge Wells

As England’s only dedicated curling rink, Fenton’s is an ideal venue for a sporting experience with a difference – and has gained popularity for a fun evening out (yes really). Curling is a winter Olympic sport and the rink at Fenton’s is a full sized ice pad, exactly the same as played on by top athletes. But it’s a game that is easy for beginners to pick up and have fun from the start.  A 2 hour session for 8 people, including coaching and a game, comes to £180.

Home Gurr’own Pop-up Restaurant, Sutton Valence, Fri 7 Dec – Sat 15 Dec

The incredibly popular Pop-Up Restaurant by Kent caterer and event planner, Home Gurr’own, is back for 4 nights only. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tipi tents is an utterly unique experience, a rustic feast of local food with entertainment such as fire and silk performers, magicians and even aerial hoop acts throughout the night. Tickets cost £69 which includes a 5 course meal of local food with entertainment and performers.

Dreamland, Margate, Various dates in Dec

If you’re bored of the cold outdoors, step back in time and strap on your skates in their indoor retro Roller Rink. Or slip inside the Giant Snow Globe and take a selfie or family photo in the winter wonderland inside. There’s even the chance to make some Christmas Crafts in the Woodland Lodge on 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th,15th and 16th December and daily from 22nd to 31st December from 12-4pm.


CHRISTMAS: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, until Sun 6 Jan

hyde park winter wonderland illuminated heater skelter and fairground ride London

Go big or go home when it comes to festive fun, London’s Winter Wonderland is huuuuge. Free to enter but once inside, prepare to sell a kidney. The costs can get out of control – particularly if you hit the glühwein a little too hard. What to expect? Winter markets, fairground rides and ice skating. Major attractions this year include the Magical Ice Kingdom Secret Forest, an immersive showcase of woodland animals and mythical creatures created from ice and snow; a Bavarian village offering an authentic Oktoberfest experience; karaoke cabins, ice sculpting workshops, the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club, immersive screenings of The Snowman and plus Peter Pan on Ice.

CHRISTMAS: Kew Gardens, London, until 5 Jan

Photo: RBG Kew

A spectacular winter trail with over a million twinkling lights and thousands of laser beams, Kew’s light show is awe-inspiring. You can be mesmerised by the Fire Garden, walk through the moonlit woods and check out the laser garden. Mulled wine, hot choc and spiced cider will help keep you warm and the kids can whizz round on vintage fairground rides whilst looking out for Santa and his elves.

The Christmas Labyrinth, Backyard Cinema, Clapham, Thurs 15 Nov – Sat 22 Dec

This Christmas, discover magic around every corner inside the beautiful Christmas Labyrinth. Explore the secret enchanted tunnels and make your way to the beautiful indoor cinema, set in a magical woodland, in the heart of Winterville Festival. Snuggle under a blanket and into your own giant beanbag, with a mulled wine and a mince pie, and settle in for a Christmas cinema experience like no other. Films range from The Greatest Showman to Love Actually and tickets start from £18.98 per person.

Jimmy’s Lodge on the River, Southbank, London, NOW – 6 Jan 2019

Situated on the river along the Queen’s Walk, Jimmy’s Lodge offers the perfect place to soak up the festive atmosphere. Whether you want an intimate evening in the Igloos with friends, the chance to cosy up with a hot cocktail or spoil yourself with a winter feast fit for a king. Book in quick! A few of the dates are sold out already…

Find more ideas here

CrimboDay TripsQuirkyThings to Do

2 comments on “Quirky Christmas”

  • LisaBeaumont November 29, 2018

    Thanks for great suggestions in true muddy style, for slightly different carols, may I suggest Carols by Candlelight in Penshurst church on December 9th

  • Lesley Miles December 9, 2018

    Hi Ali,

    The Swan at Little Chart and the Black Horse pub in Pluckley have been taken over by new owners Ann and Ray Perkins. The Black Horse has been completely refurbished and is due to open on 15th December. The food is meant to be delicious. We are off there today for lunch at the Swan.
    Maybe worth investigating for when you do your pub food articles.


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