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What’s on in Kent in December

PUBLISHED: 11:42 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 28 November 2018

Discover an Illuminated Winter Wonderland at Bedgebury National Pinetum

Discover an Illuminated Winter Wonderland at Bedgebury National Pinetum


Our selection of top events and diary dates for this month in Kent


• Dr Cosmos (1 Dec)

Award-winning comedian Dylan Moran offers his unique take on love, politics, misery and the everyday absurdities of life.

Tickets: £25. 01892 530613. Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

• Aggers and Tuffers (3 Dec)

Jonathan ‘Aggers’ Agnew and Phil ‘The Cat’ Tufnell are taking to the boards again. You don’t have to be a cricket fan to appreciate their on-stage charisma, anecdotes and witty banter; it will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good yarn. The show is raising money for the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, supporting past and current players and their dependents during illness or hardship.

Tickets: £25. 01892 530613. Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

• Cinderella (1 - 30 Dec)

Birds of a Feather’s Lesley Joseph stars as the Fairy Godmother, sent to save Cinders.

Tickets: £18 to £40. 020 3285 6000. Churchill Theatre, Bromley

• Snow White (2 Dec)

This charity show in support of Heart of Kent Hospice takes place in a marquee in the grounds of The Friars. New this year is a Winter Wonderland, with an 
ice rink, fun fair, food and stalls.

Tickets: £18 to £40. 020 3285 6000. Churchill Theatre, Bromley

• Snow White (7 to 9 Dec)

Support Tonbridge Community Pantomime’s own home-written adaptation of Snow White.

Tickets: £12. 01732 359 966. Angel Centre, Tonbridge

• Sleeping Beauty (7 Dec to 2 Jan 2019)

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful princess was born. Cursed by a wicked fairy, she was destined to spend her life as the Sleeping Beauty, until awakened by true love’s kiss. The cast of this magical production includes Claire Sweeney, Derek Moran and Quinn Patrick.

Tickets: From £24 (adults); from £15.50 (children). 01892 530613. Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

• Aladdin (8 to 30 Dec)

Follow evil sorcerer Abanazar (played by Marti Pellow), Aladdin, his brother Wishee Washee and, of course, his mother Widow Twankey on a spectacular adventure with great costumes and plenty of boos and hisses.

Tickets: £18 to £37. 01322 220000. The Orchard Theatre, Dartford

• Christmas concert (8 Dec)

The Kent Police Male Voice Choir will be singing in a joyous seasonal celebration to raise funds for Kent charity the Canterbury Oast Trust. Expect some fine voices at the concert, during which the choir will be joined by the Queen’s Regimental Corps of Drums

Tickets: £11. 01233 732684. St Dunstan’s Church, Cranbrook

• Jack and the Beanstalk (15 Dec to 6 Jan 2019)

This year’s ‘giant’ of a panto promises festive ‘fe-fi-fo-fun’ for the family as you join Jack on the adventure of a lifetime when he is forced to swap his bovine best friend for a seemingly useless bag of beans, which soon turn out to be decidedly magical.

Tickets: £10 to £54. 01732 304241. EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge School, Tonbridge

• Sammy the Sheep (Until 24 Dec)

It’s Christmas Eve on Pepperpot Farm. All the animals will be coming to the barn to celebrate the big day and Sammy is helping Mum make sure there’s enough hay for everyone. Suddenly, news arrives from the duckpond: Christmas is in serious trouble and might be cancelled forever!

Tickets: From £8.50 (adults); from £7.95 (children). 01634 338338. The Brook Theatre, Chatham

• Richard Durrant (19 Dec)

The acclaimed guitarist will be joined by special guests Amy Kakoura (vocals) and Nick Pynn (violin). Get into the festive spirit by enjoying an evening of seasonal music from the folk, pagan and Christian traditions.

Tickets: £14 to £19. 01892 678678. Trinity Theatre, Tun Wells



• Ice skating (until 1 Jan 2019)

Skate by day or night at Calverley Grounds’ amphitheatre, decorated with festive lights. Look out for storytelling workshops, live music, local choirs and Tunbridge Wells In Winter themed talks courtesy of Tunbridge Wells Museum.

Tickets: From £14.50 (adults); from £9.75 (children). 01892 530613. Calverley Grounds, Tun Wells

• Christmas Grotto (until 24 Dec)

Meet enchanting characters such as a snowman and colourful giant candy canes and sweets. Entrance to the grotto to visit Father Christmas includes a wrapped gift.

Tickets: £5 (per child). Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham

• Winter lights (until 30 Dec)

Discover the new Christmas light trail at the National Pinetum, inspired by the landscape itself. Enjoy a magical festive adventure amid trees drenched with lights.

Tickets: £10.50 to £50. 0844 995 1365. Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst

• Once Upon a Time (until 1 Jan 2019)

Paddington Bear will join in a selection of winter stories told through illustration as Once Upon a Time at Christmas gets into swing. The castle rooms will be styled around the tales.

Tickets: £17.50 to £25.50. 01622 765400. Leeds Castle, Maidstone

• Spa Valley Railway (until 24 Dec)

Visitors will be met with the smell of hot chestnuts and a roaring coal fire in the waiting room at the station before hopping aboard one of the Santa Specials. Face painters will be waiting to add Christmas tree or snowmen decorations and, of course, children will meet the man in red himself.

Tickets: £4.50 to £18. 01892 537715. Spa Valley Railway, Tun Wells

• Christmas Grotto (1 and 2; 8 to 22 Dec)

Children can visit Santa’s secret study and workshop, where they can take part in a variety of Christmas crafts and activities such as helping to decorate the tree, enjoying Christmas crafts, quizzes and colouring, having their face painted and making decorations, signs and cards to take home to show the family.

Tickets: £14.50 (per child). Penshurst Place and Gardens

• Father Christmas (1 to 24 Dec)

Father Christmas and his friendly elves will be welcoming families in the natural amphitheatre of Calverley Grounds. Children can write a letter to Santa in the cosy waiting area before they meet him, when he will know all their names – thanks to his elves.

Tickets: £14.50 (children); £2 (adults). Calverley Grounds, Tun Wells

• Santa at Kent Life farm (until 24 Dec)

Santa is taking time out from his busy schedule to meet the children of Kent. Jump on board the Land Train, which is driven by the head elf and hear some Christmas tales. Grown-ups can enjoy a mince pie and cider.

Tickets: £6.95 to £34.95. 01622 763936. Kent Life, Maidstone

• WWII Christmas (1 and 2; 8 and 9; 15 and 16 Dec)

Take a journey back to the Home Front and find out how Christmas was celebrated during times of war. Visit the recreated officers’ mess to hear tales of Christmas at the Dover Castle Garrison and see birds in flight at the falconry show.

Tickets: £18 to £50. 0370 333 1181. Dover Castle, Dover

• Behind the scenes (2 and 16 Dec)

Get an insider’s view of key parts of Penshurst Place with behind-the-scenes talks by expert staff giving a unique insight into some of the estate’s lesser-known features. ‘Portraits through the centuries’ (2 Dec) and ‘Christmas in the Baron’s Hall’ (16 Dec).

Tickets: £21.50 (adults); £9.50 (children aged five to 12. 01892 871053. Penshurst Place and Gardens

• Wreath Workshop (4, 5 and 6 Dec)

Join one of the wreath-making workshops at the Neptune Canterbury showroom under the guidance of Anna of Anna’s Country Flowers and create your own seasonal wreaths.

Tickets: £49. 01227 209300. Neptune Canterbury

• A Walmer Christmas (6 to 20 Dec)

Get in the holiday spirit by taking a tour of the castle out of hours when the rooms will be festively decorated. Pre-booking essential.

Tickets: £10 to £26. 0370 333 1181. Walmer Castle & Gardens, Deal

• Carol Concert (9 Dec)

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre is holding its traditional carol concert, with stores closing early so shoppers can sing their favourite carols from 4.45pm

Tickets: Free. Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham

• Living Farm Nativity (9 Dec)

Experience a very special nativity with Kent Life’s farmyard friends. Working with Maidstone Family Church, visitors can walk through the grounds to see the nativity story scenes and sing carols.

Tickets: £5.95 to £21.95. 01622 763936. Kent Life, Maidstone

• Traditional Tales (10 to 24 Dec)

Rooms at Hever will be decorated and themed around stories including The Nutcracker, The Tailor of Gloucester and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, with twinkling lights and log fires. Outside, enjoy an interactive trail themed around Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Tickets: £9.75 (children); £17.25 (adults). 01732 865224. Hever Castle, Edenbridge

• Jane Austen (12 Dec)

Celebrate the acclaimed English novelist’s birthday. The birthday address this year is called ‘The Importance of Being Henry: The influence of Jane Austen’s banker brother on her novels’.

Tickets: £5.50. 01732 357872 (Susan Adams Business Services); 01732 452055 (Sevenoaks Bookshop). Church of St Peter and St Paul, Tonbridge

• Magical & medieval (15 and 16 Dec)

The Canterbury Tales plays host to Father Christmas in a very special time-travelling adventure for children. With Santa transported back in time to the Middle Ages, it’s up to some budding young adventurers to save him and bring him back to 2018 in time for Christmas.

Tickets: £5 to £40.50. 01227 696002. The Canterbury Tales, Canterbury

Coming soon

• Faversham Literary Festival (21 to 24 Feb 2019)

Jo Brand, Will Self and Jenni Murray head a stellar line-up at Faversham’s second literary festival, which takes place in various venues around the medieval market town. There are more than 30 events to choose from, with some of the highlights including storyteller Diane Setterfield (Once Upon a River), Hugh Warwick on the plight of the hedgehog and former punk legend Viv Albertine’s frank and insightful memoir To Throw Away Unopened.

Tickets: various. Various, Faversham


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