Where and when to see Christmas light switch-ons in Kent

PUBLISHED: 11:16 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 15:47 23 November 2016

Christmas Lights © shironosov /Getty Images

Christmas Lights © shironosov /Getty Images


Across Kent towns and cities will be celebrating the spirit of Christmas and lighting up the streets to herald the start of the festive season. Here is your guide for where to be to enjoy the festivities along with what’s on offer at each event.

Faversham Community Christmas Lights
Saturday 26th November 5pm

Wrap up warm and head out to Faversham’s Night Food Market which begins with the switching on of the beautiful festive illuminations. Then it will be time to enjoy local food and drink under the twinkling lights as the Market gets into full swing.

Check out our town guide to Faversham for more places to try out.


Thursday 17th November 5pm – 7pm

What could be cosier than Canterbury at Christmas? With the ancient, winding streets flooded with festive lights, cosy coffee shops and old pubs to unwind in, this is surely one of the best places to spend the holiday season. The switch on starts Canterbury’s festive celebrations so expect music, entertainment, food and drink, and a lot of friendly costumed faces.

Retreat to one of the cosy cafés or pubs such as Tiny Tim’s the pretty tea rooms housed in an ancient building or the delicious seafood eatery Chapman’s.


Sandwich Guildhall
Saturday 26th November. Stalls from 10am, outdoor events 3pm, lights at 7pm

It’s a full day of Christmas festivities at the Sandwich Guildhall with plenty of food and drink to satiate, stalls to browse for gifts and lots of great entertainment including a parade lit up with lanterns that will travel through the streets. The switch on will fill the streets with glittering lights to round off the festivities.

Why not book a table for dinner afterwards at the historic and cosy George & Dragon pub on Fisher Street?


Cattle Market road name sign at Sandwich, Kent. #cattlemarket #sandwichkent #kent #roadname #sign

A photo posted by Andrew Hills (@hills.andrew) on


Sittingbourne Christmas Lights Switch On
Saturday 26th November 11am – 7pm

This year, Sittingbourne’s Town Centre will be illuminated with festive lights along the High Street. There will be stalls, a fun fair, food and drink and plenty of entertainment throughout the day to keep you occupied until the switch on.


Westwood Cross, Broadstairs
Thursday 10th November 3pm – 7pm

With a special guest switching the lights on, it’s sure to be an exciting day of fun at Westwood Cross shopping centre. Enjoy plenty of live entertainment with local bands and dance performances. Santa will also be paying a visit too from the 10th November right up until Christmas Eve. Book tickets online to meet the jolly man himself.

Westwood Cross will also hold a Christmas Market from 10th until 24th December that will be perfect for gifts and sampling festive fare to get you in the spirit of Christmas. Keep up to date on the website.


View - Westwood Cross

A photo posted by Canon600D📷 (@ross_page) on


Magical Margate, Turner Contemporary
Saturday 3rd December from 1 – 6pm

Located on the seafront in Margate is the Turner Contemporary gallery, the architecturally interesting building that holds exhibits of some of the finest contemporary artists of the moment. This year, the gallery will be hosting a day of Christmas celebrations for visitors to enjoy. Designer Zoe Murphy will be leading a festive craft workshop, there will be a parade traversing through the town, and the day’s events will culminate with the Christmas light switch on at 5.30pm to the sound of the Big Sing community choir’s seasonal songs.


Broadstairs Christmas Fayre and Lights Switch On
Saturday 3rd December

Coinciding with the Christmas Fayre in Broadstairs, this year’s much loved Christmas lights switch on will take place in the pretty Pierremont Park. With mulled wine in hand, wander through the stalls and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the market.

Why not book a table at the Tartar Frigate, a delicious seafood restaurant or relax with a cup of tea from the lovely café Bessie’s Tea Parlour, the kitschy vintage style tea rooms when you have finished exploring?


Christmas light being switched on 😊🎄

A video posted by Lydia Grace Preece 🍄 (@lydia_preece) on


Thursday 17th November 3.35pm – 5pm

Former figure skater Robin Cousins will join the Mayor of Chatham to switch on the lights on Chatham’s High Street. The fun kicks off at 3.45pm with Heart radio presenters hosting a variety of entertainment before the lights at 5pm.


Saturday 19th November 12pm – 5pm

Expect the sound of choir singing, dance performances, exciting events and more at this year’s Rochester Christmas lights switch on event. Held on the High Street, there will be entertainment all afternoon before former Hollyoaks actor Joe Tracini joins the Mayor on the stage to turn on the lights and kick off Christmas in style.

Why not pay a visit to Rochester Cathedral before indulging in an elegant afternoon tea in the café there? Check out our Rochester town guide for more ideas.




Saturday 26th November 3.45pm – 5pm

Kids will love this one as a very special guest is helping the Mayor with the light switch on this year: Marshall from Paw Patrol! There will also be a choir performing traditional Christmas hits and presenters from Heart FM to host the event. Lights will be turned on at 5pm, so don’t be late.


Westerham Late Night Shopping and Christmas Light Switch On
Thursday 24th November 6pm – 9pm

The Beauty & The Beast pantomime cast from the Westerham Amateur Dramatics Society join the one and only Father Christmas to ring in the festive season with the Westerham Late Night Shopping and Christmas Light Switch On this year. There will be lots to do including a Christmas Tree Festival in the local St Mary’s Church; hot chestnuts and other festive fare on outside market stalls; and even shire horses that will bring Father Christmas on his sleigh.


Bluewater Shopping Centre, Dartford

 10th November will see Bluewater’s Light Night, the great switch on of the twinkling festive lights. This is the perfect destination to find everything you need for Christmas and with extended opening hours to boot alongside other yuletide activities such as ice skating, a Santa’s grotto and much more, Bluewater is leading the way in Christmas fun throughout the season. There are over 300 brands so there really is something for everyone. Stop by one of the many restaurants when you’re finished to refuel.


Merry Christmas everybody #littlebump #bluewater impromptu meal @Zizibluewater

A photo posted by Russ Burly (@russburly) on


Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre, Maidstone
Thursday 17th November at 4.30pm

More details to follow.


Christmas in Gravesend
Friday 18th November

More details to follow.

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