There’s no denying it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and here in Kent we like to think we know a thing or two about how to make Christmas extra special. With our fairytale castles, Christmas markets and frosted forests, Kent is perfect for some family-friendly festive fun. So what are you waiting for? The lights are up and the tinsel is out – the countdown to Christmas has officially begun.
Kids from one to ninety two can revel in the Christmas spirit at Hever Castle this year. See the castle grounds dressed for Christmas and wrap up warm for sparkling trails through the gardens at dusk as Jiminy Cricket leads you under the sea and on a Pinocchio- themed trail. And because no Christmas castle would be complete without a visit to the fairground, finish your trail with a spin on the Big Wheel!
Does it get much more festive than a whole pinetum of conifers lit up for Christmas? This year at Bedgebury the treetops are well and truly glistening, with a one mile shimmering path through the forest to create a true winter wonderland. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and take a trail lit with more than 100,000 lights, stars and giant baubles to fire pits made for marshmallow roasting, and be sure to keep an eye for Father Christmas along the way. Trust us, Christmas doesn’t get much more magical than this.
A winter wonderland
On the first day of Christmas Leeds Castle gave to us...a magical experience in the grounds of the castle! Walk under the turtle dove arch, see the swans-a-swimming in the lake and bang the drums as you the family enjoy the many sensory experiences. What's more, with the castle dressed in its festive best, you'll find plenty of magical photo-worthy moments on your visit.
12 days of Christmas
Follow the Christmas Brick road to The Beaney this season as Santa's workshop has moved to Canterbury! See BRICKLIVE Christmas models, including a live-size Santa and his reindeer, and those cheeky Christmas elves! Once you've checked out the workshop, take to Canterbury's cobbled streets and see even more Christmas models in the city's shop windows for a real taste of Canterbury Christmas spirit.
This winter wrap up warm and celebrate the festive season at Folkestone Harbour Arm's first ever Christmas market! Enjoy tempting treats, get the gift giving all wrapped up and even make the pilgrammage along the Harbour Arm and into The Lighthouse for drinks! Word on the Arm is that there'll be music, festive flicks and more delicious street food in The Yard than ever, so be sure to bring an empty stomach!
Christmas on the coast
We love getting hands on in the kitchen at any time of the year, but Christmas is truly special! With Kent Cookery School's festive feasting classes you'll soon be able to master the art of the Christmas pudding and other festive treats, or shake things up on the big day with Christmas cooking and cocktail making classes!
Bring the family together and enjoy the magical festivities of Rochester Christmas Market. See the fairy lights draped over traditional German wooden chalets, twinkling at the foot of the 11th century Rochester Castle as you fill the kids’ stockings with wonderful handmade gifts from the market. Better still, you're in for a treat with the Rochester Dickensian Festival on 4th and 5th December and the chance to see a parade, costumed characters and open air carol concerts.
A real life Christmas Carol
Experience how Christmas was celebrated during the Second World War as the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham goes back in time. Immerse yourself in the wartime festivities and get a vintage makeover, discover how British families cooked their Christmas dinner on rations and listen to the Brompton & Invicta Military Wives Choir perform traditional Christmas carols.
Santa Claus is coming to...Ashford! Yes, get your tickets to see the big man at Ashford Designer Outlet and your little elves will be transported on a magical journey through Santa's Workshop and Christmas Cabin. Little helpers can meet the Elf Crew, learn Santa's tricks of the trade and the truth behind Santa's journey around the world.
From an Elf School and gingerbread decorating, to meeting Father Christmas (and not forgetting his Head Elf!) or stepping back in time to find out what Christmas was like in the Victorian times, Kent Life has plenty in store to get the family in the Christmas spirit.
Festive fun on the farm
Tonbridge Castle will be sprinkled with Christmas magic this season, with a new Christmas extravaganza featuring a shop local Christmas market, a Jingle Bell Bar with a Castlemas Brew and even an enchanting igloo theatre on the lawn of the castle! With music, magic and even a Santa's Grotto, we can't wait to celebrate Castlemas this year!
It’s going to be a Claus for celebration!
Dover Castle and Walmer Castle and Gardens are hosting a Christmas quest to keep little adventurers entertained this Christmas. Follow the trail through the grounds of each magnificent castle, keeping an eye out for clues along the way. Once you've finished your trail, you'll be in for a treat with a collection of festive folklore and fun facts picked up along the way.
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