Christmas Fair And Market, Leeds Castle, Various Weekends from now- 17 Dec
Visit the Christmas Market on the Cedar Lawn overlooking the Castle and wander through the stalls of seasonal gifts and specialist food and drink. The Mudlets enjoy it too because there’s a mini funfair as well as the chance to meet Father Christmas’ Reindeer in their stable.
The Frosted Fairground, Dreamland, Margate, Fri 1 Dec – 2 Jan
Come and enjoy The Frosted Fairground this festive season at Dreamland, filled with every Christmas trimming you can think of. You can buy ride wristbands in advance online and save and if you’ve got little ones then stick 21 Dec in your diary because they’ll be a special appearance from favourite festive characters, The Snowman and The Snowdog, at the amusement park (the appearance will be at intervals, arrive early to avoid disappointment).
Victorian Christmas & Festive Market, Ightham Mote, Sat 2 & Sun 3 Dec
Father Christmas is visiting us and will be handing out little gifts to good children. There will be local produce stalls to get those Christmas gifts. Festive music will resonate throughout the rooms to add to the atmosphere. Wrap up warm and feel festive.
Santa Special at Spa Valley Railway, Sat 2 Dec – Sun 24 Dec
Got any train spotters in the family? Journeys start from Eridge station where visitors will be met with festive music and the smell of hot chestnuts and a roaring coal fire in the festively decorated waiting room. Arrive a little earlier for children to have their face painted with either a Christmas Tree or Snowman in the ladies Waiting Room before boarding the train.
Christmas Wreath Making, Bore Place, Tues 5 Dec
With a background in art and design and a flair for using natural materials, Bore Places Lead Teacher Jo Sheach is teaming up with their fantastically creative Head Gardener, Marigold Secker, to deliver a festive morning workshop taking inspiration from nature to create your own beautiful wreath to hang on your door. Using resources sourced from the grounds at Bore Place, you will learn simple techniques to combine natural and found materials into a unique Christmas decoration. No previous experience or knowledge is necessary. There will be tea, coffee and mince pies, and a light lunch to finish the workshop.
The History Of Christmas Carols, Hever Castle, now – 24 Dec
You’ve sung them in church, at school, or with friends and family and you know all of their words by heart, but do you know the stories behind some of the best-known Christmas carols? Walk through the rooms of the Castle adorned with beautiful decorations and welcoming log fires to learn about the history of these seasonal songs. Discover the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ trail and wander through the illuminated gardens as dusk falls. From now until December 10 (open Wed – Sun) then from December 11 – 24 (open Daily).
Peter Pan, The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, now ‐ Sun 14 Jan
Another one that will appeal just as much to your sons and daughters, Peter Pan, even stars some faces that you might well recognise too Shaun Williamson (EastEnders and Extras) and Wendi Peters (Coronation Street). And if your kids, like mine have been glued to CBBCs for years, they’ll be delighted to see children’s favourites Gemma Hunt (CBeebies’ Swashbuckle), David Ribi (Channel 5’s Milkshake) and Samantha Dorrance (CBeebies’ The Tale Of Mr Tumble). The croc is ticking so hook your tickets now! *snigger*…
The Christmas Shop, Sutton Valence, now until 22 Dec
For three months of the year Sue Davies Flowers, the florist in The Old Butcher’s Shop in this pretty rural village, between Maidstone and Headcorn turns into a perky, quirky Christmas pop up store – and it’s soooo worth a visit. Wander down the narrow street into the heart of the sleepy little village 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. Take a look…
Moonlight Drive-in Cinema, Hop Farm Family Park, Various Dates
Grab the blankets and recline those seats, The Moonlight Drive-In Cinema at the Hop Farm is back with some of our Christmas classic Faves including Elf, Love Actually, The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Aladdin, The Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Fri 8 Dec to Wed 3 Jan
Oh yes it’s the thrilling story of a boy, a lamp and a genie. Aladdin is one of the most popular pantomimes of all and it’s a personal favourite because it’s just as good for boys as girls. (I once watched a 7-year-old boy ball his eyes out because his mum told him he had to sit through Cinderella!) With plenty of songs, jokes and excitement to keep everyone in your family happy this one looks like a fab all-rounder.
The Traditions Of Christmas, Leeds Castle, now – 24 Dec
This Christmas the magnificent Castle rooms will be beautifully displayed with glittering decorations and fragrant pine trees styled around Christmas traditions, past and present. Christmas as we celebrate it today has its origins in Victorian Britain. Visit the Queen’s Room to see the style of tree, the Royal Family would have had and find out more about the influence of Victoria and Albert on our modern festive traditions.
Santas Grotto, Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells, now – 24 Dec
Make sure your little ones experience the true magic of Christmas with a special visit to see the Big Man himself and he’s stopping in at RVP this Christmas. His ‘fireside’ Grotto is located on level 1 opposite M&S and now open every day until 4pm on Christmas Eve. There is even a photography service to capture that special moment (hopefully smiles and not tears).
Cinderella, The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, Sat 9 – Sun 31 Dec
You are invited to the biggest Royal Ball of the year as a sumptuous production of Cinderella comes to north Kent. Starring Louie Spence as Dandini, Michelle Collins as The Wicked Stepmother, Jayne Wisener as Cinderella and Phil Butler as Buttons, don’t miss this year’s unmissable Christmas treat. Packed with all of the traditional pantomime ingredients you’ve come to expect, expect laugh-out-loud comedy, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and some very special extra guests -genuine Shetland Ponies joining in the fun!
Farm Nativity, Kent Life, 10 Dec
Come and experience the living Nativity with Kent Life’s very own farmyard friends. Working together with Maidstone Family Church they will take you on a journey through the grounds to discover the nativity story scenes and join in the traditional Christmas Carolling. All children are encouraged to dress up and be part of the Nativity.
Justin Moorhouse: People And Feelings, Marlowe Theatre, Sun 10 Dec
After touring last year’s show, of which The Guardian said ‘the amount of first-rate comic craft that goes into his deceptively simple routines is worthy of admiration’ he’s had a think about people. And feelings. About people Justin knows, their feelings and how he feels about them. And they about him. It’ll be a (very) funny show. Promise.
Live at the Marlowe,Marlowe Theatre, Mon 11 Dec
The hugely popular regular night of live comedy, featuring some of the country’s biggest stars alongside the stars of the future. This evening’s fantastic line-up features a David O’Doherty (8 Out Of 10 Cats), Hal Cruttenden (Live At The Apollo), Phil Wang (Have I Got News For You) and John Robins (Mock The Week).
The Hop Shop at Castle Farm now – Sat 23 Dec
Packed to the brim with thoughtful gifts, for him, her and the kids, it’s a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of delights… and with plenty of free parking. Plus, the Coffee Cart café is back with a special Christmas menu on offer – including delicious Mince Pies (handmade in Kent in small batches of course), and loads of other festive treats in store… This is a very cute little farm shop.
Sleeping Beauty, Little Herne Bay Theatre, now – Sat 9 Dec
Sleeping Beauty, directed by Dick Langrdge. This is the pantomime! For anyone who has lived on another planet for the last five hundred years Sleeping Beauty is the ever-fascinating tale of a young Princess whose precocious behaviour ends up with a pricked finger and a very long sleep. During the time it takes to wake her up there is chaos and lunacy and general mucking about culminating in the handsome Prince Alexander doing the decent thing and giving her a wake-up call in the traditional manner of a smooch and, in true traditional style, they all live happily ever after.
Festive Afternoon Tea, Port Lympne Reserve, now – 24 Dec
A festive afternoon tea is the perfect winter warmer after a morning spent walking round the reserve, including a selection of dainty sandwiches including turkey breast and winter cranberry jam, British Isle stilton with festive tomato chutney and smoked salmon with lemon infused cream cheese and chives. And have I mentioned the homemade scones with a hint of Christmas dusting or the selection of pastries, macarons, chocolate truffles and shortbread? Oh and served with a glass of mulled wine of course (or selection of teas or coffees if you must).
Winter Walks, Hever Castle & Gardens, 27 Dec – 1 Jan
Looking for something to burn of all the christmas indulgence? I know I am! Why not wrap up and blow the cobwebs away by taking a stroll in the gardens of Hever Castle where the warm red bark of the Redwood trees glows against the winter sky and winter berries glisten in the frost. Hever’s yew topiary looks fantastic with a covering of frost and the majestic hellebores nod gracefully in the winter sun. Hot chocolate after is a must.
Compiled by Natasha Mayhew