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It’s Christmaaaas! What’s on this week?

Huskies, twinkly lights, pantos and more - Kent is going into full festive overdrive for the run up to Christmas. Here's where to find the fun.

MEET THE MAIN MAN

Rare Breeds Centre, Ashford, 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! Read to see what we thought here

Wildwood, Herne Bay, until Fri 24 Dec

Experience the magic of Christmas and create memories to last a lifetime at Wildwood just outside Herne Bay this festive season. With over 200 native animals set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland, there is guaranteed to be an animal-favourite for everyone! Expect to see bears, wolves, Arctic foxes, bison, owls, wild boar, lynx, wild horses, badgers and beavers (and that’s just 10 of those 200…)

Don’t miss the return of their legendary Santa’s grotto, their (wardrobe) doors are open to a magical Narnia-inspired Christmas grotto. Be transported to a magical world where you’ll get to meet the big man himself, get a luxury soft toy and have your photo taken with Santa. To book in for the grotto, call the team on 01227 209621.

FESTIVE FILMS

Drive-In Cinema, Brands Hatch, until 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 FrozenLove ActuallyElfHome Alone or It’s A Wonderful Life from the comfort of your own car. Don’t forget your snacks!

Cinema, The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, until Thurs 23 Dec

We all love to celebrate this time of the year with a cosy Christmas film, so why not experience it on the silver screen? 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!

THEATRE 

Prince & Pauper, Trinity Theatre, until 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!

Beauty & The Beast, The Malthouse Theatre, Fri 10 – Fri 24 Dec

Belle will have her Ball (oh yes she will) in The Malthouse Theatre’s spectacular family pantomime Beauty and the Beast this December. Featuring stunning sets & costumes, side splitting comedy, catchy hit songs and a dazzling West End cast, you don’t want to miss this festive treat for the whole family! Make sure to book before the last rose petal falls…

TRAILS

Brickmas Lego Trail & Exhibition, Canterbury

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 (ends Fri 24 Dec). 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! 

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. 

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!

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!

Percy the Park Keeper’s Winter Trail, Scotney Castle, until 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.

MERRY MARKETS

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).

Folkestone Harbour Arm, until Fri 24 Dec

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.

ICE RINKS

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!

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.

Looking for more festive fun? 

The best things on TV this Christmas

Review: 8 days of Christmas at Rare Breeds Farm

Your guide to the big smoke this Christmas

25 films to get you in the Christmas spirit

Bake this: Anja Dunk’s perfect Christmas biscuit

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