The Best Christmas Events in Kent

by Robert Best on November 20, 2019
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Rochester Christmas Market Shot from the sky

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Kent comes alive at the festive season with fun activities across the county. There are markets aplenty, and many opportunities to meet Father Christmas himself.

We have picked out some of the best Christmas events in Kent this year. Have a look through the list and then tell us your favourite at the end.

Festive Train Ride to Santa's Grotto

Festive Train Ride to Santas Grotto

Image courtesy of Kent and East Sussex Railway

How about visiting Santa in style this year? The Kent and East Sussex Railway are putting on special events throughout December with a festive-themed train ride straight to Santa's Grotto.

Every child will receive their own personalised gift and there are a Mince Pies and a glass of Sherry on offer for the parents. The trains will run every Saturday and Sunday from the 1st of December until Sunday, the 22nd of December with an additional service on the 23rd and 24th of December.

Book quickly because their dates are selling out fast. Click here for more information and booking visit.

Meet Father Christmas at the Hop Farm

It's not Christmas if you haven't taken the little ones to see Father Christmas. Jolly St Nick is very busy this year with many sites around Kent but the Hop Farm near Paddock Wood always make good hosts.

Santa's Grotto is open all through December up to the 23rd. Each child receives their own gift as well as some other goodies and a story from Mother Christmas. Each visit also comes with a free printed photo to remember the occasion.

Book now before tickets sell out. Click here for Father Christmas at the Hop Farm.

Christmas Market at Leeds Castle

Christmas Market at Leeds Castle

Image courtesy of Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle makes a beautiful Christmas location. The Christmas Market is situated on the lawn across from the moat and the Castle itself. The centrepiece is a Victorian Carousel ride and a big wheel offering unique views of the Castle.

The stalls offer an array of festive goods, toys, decorations and seasonal food and drink. There is even live music from a bandstand. The market runs from the 23rd of November to the 15th of December.

Visit the Leeds Castle website for more details.

Canterbury on Ice

Dane John Gardens, the historic park within Canterbury's city walls, plays host to a festive ice rink. Canterbury Ice is Christmas ice skating in a historic location. The rink is open from the 29th of November through to New Year's Day.

If you're not a skater there is also festive food and drink on hand throughout the day. Click here for more information on Canterbury on Ice.

Christmas at Bedgebury

Bedgebury have created a twist to the most magical time of the year. A one-mile path winds magically through Bedgebury National Pinetum. The tree-tops are soaked in seasonal colour creating a festive adventure amongst the pines.

This special event starts Friday night on the 22nd of November. Through December the path is open earlier in the week and they have booking times starting from 4:20pm. Visit Christmas at Bedgebury for all the dates and times.

Rochester Christmas Market

Rochester Christmas Market Shot from the sky with a drone

The best known Christmas Market in Kent. Situated in the grounds of Rochester Castle the market offers festive goodies and rides. There is a Bavarian food village as well as live music and a funfair. They even guarantee a snowfall.

The Rochester Christmas Market is opened for 3 weekends starting on the 30th of November. The two December markets include Friday as well. Click here for all the information on the Rochester Christmas Market.

Dickensian Christmas Festival

For one special weekend of the year, Rochester goes full Dickensian. This year the Dickensian Christmas Festival is on Saturday 7th December and Sunday 8th December. The festival has parades, street entertainment and open-air carol singing. There are 4 separate parades consisting of costumed characters. The main parade starts at noon and is led by the Mayor of Medway.

Fancy taking part in the parade? Everyone is welcome to join the parade, just remember you need a Dickensian costume. For more information in taking part in the parade or the festival itself click here


Kent is the place to be for Panto this year. Eastender Steve McFadden is starring in Peter Pan in Dartford. Or you can see Peter Pan with Holby City actor Paul Bradley in Tunbridge Wells. Another EastEnder Lucy Benjamin takes to the Chatham stage as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.

You can find a full list of the panto in Kent by clicking here

Christmas at the Castle

Christmas at the Castle

Santa's Grotto, Christmas lunches, parties and disco, Whitstable Castle has the lot this Christmas. Santa's Grotto runs for 3 weekends starting on the 30th of November.

The delicious Christmas lunches run throughout December until the 24th of December. The Christmas parties can be booked on their website and on the 22nd of December Whistable Castle hosts a Children's Christmas Dinner. Click here for all the information on Whistable Castle

Santa at The Reindeer Centre Bethersden

Finally, you can't have Christmas and Santa without some Reindeer. So head to the Reindeer Centre at Bethersden. Visit the animal barn where you can feed the Reindeers and meet the farm animals including goats, pigs, donkeys, llamas, guinea pigs and the cheeky meerkats in the Reptile Corner.

There is also a Santa's Grotto open from November 16th through to December 23rd. Check the Reindeercentre website for timings and prices.


Whichever one of these fun festive activities you decide to visit this year have a wonderful time and Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas CTA


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