The Kent Life Diary

PUBLISHED: 09:51 29 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:14 20 February 2013

The Kent Life Diary

The Kent Life Diary

All you need to know to plan your best December ever in Kent, from shopping to pantomime, music to ice nskating

The Kent Life Diary

All you need to know to plan your best December ever in Kent, from shopping to pantomime, music to ice nskating

Open evening

Magical Millbrook Evening

24 Nov; 2 Dec

Tickets: Free

Tel: 01474 331 135

Millbrook Garden Centre, Gravesend

Get into the spirit of Christmas and enjoy carol singing and mince pies all in the aid of charity. Millbrook Garden Centre will be going all festive, and shoppers can enjoy food demonstrations, live entertainment, and a 10 per cent discount if they spend over 25. Any money raised from the event and the raffle will be put towards the Millbrook Community Project initiative.

Unique events

Victorian fun and games

5 Dec

Tickets: 4 to 19.50

Tel: 01892 870347

Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddgintstone

A festive fun family day out that will transport visitors back to the Victorian times. Throughout the day, people can learn about how the Victorians celebrated Christmas, and discover how the rich and the poor went about getting into the festive spirit. Children can test their creative skills by indulging in some of the arts and crafts workshops scheduled for the day. Tea room.

Christmas at the Castle

6 to 24 Dec

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01622 765400

Leeds Castle, Maidstone

Be transported into an enchanted winter wonderland as you wander through the castles many rooms. The decorations in each room will have been inspired by a pantomime, so variety is a guarantee. Bring your children to meet Father Christmas in his grotto, enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch and visit the castles gift shops for that bespoke gift idea. There will also be evening Christmas tours of the castle where pantomime characters come to life.

Christmas at Bluewater

Throughout Dec

Tickets: Varies depending on event

Tel: 0870 777 0252

Bluewater, Greenhithe

Experience the magic of Christmas in Kents biggest shopping mall. Good food, festive entertainment, Christmas events and a whole lot more besides. Get into the spirit of the season by ice skating in the specially created ice rink, shopping in some of the biggest high street names, and then relaxing and enjoy some fine dining in one of the 50 bars and restaurants dotted around the location.

Santas Lapland Fun Run

5 Dec

Tel: 0300 373 1034

Bayford Meadows Kart Circuit, Sittingbourne

How quick do you think Father Christmas is? Heres your chance to find out and to see if you can be quicker than ol St Nick. Sign up to take part, turn up in a Santa costume and see how many laps you can do in an hour. A fun family day out. Its all in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, so go along and offer your support, even if you arent dashing about dressed as Father Christmas.

Christmas shopping

Otford Christmas shopping festival

28 Nov

Tickets: free

Otford, nr Sevenoaks

On 28 November, the picturesque shops in Otford will be open for people to purchase that extra-special Christmas gift. There will also be street entertainment, as well as a raffle and few other little festive surprises. Why not pay Otford a visit and experience a gentler shopping experience?

The Dickens Christmas Market

3 to 19 Dec

Tickets: Free

Tel: 01634 338141

Rochester Castle, Rochester

German-style chalets will play host to a wonderful selection of stallholders from across Europe, as well as local craftsmen and artisans, who will be offering everything from hand-made wreaths to Christmas decorations, jewellery to every imaginable foodstuff, festive or otherwise.


A Christmas Carol

10, 11, 12 Dec

Tickets: 12 to 15

Tel: 01622 880008

Leeds Castle, Maidstone

Taking place in a heated marquee, Chapterhouse Theatre Companys brand new adaptation of A Christmas Carol will be staged. This production of Charles Dickens legendary Christmas tale promises to inject a sense of magic into your Christmas plans. It is a perennial favourite and is sure to captivate both young and old alike, helped no end by being staged in the grounds of Leeds Castle.

The Adventures Of Mr Toad

11-31 Dec

Tickets: 12.50 to 46, schools, schools 8 (one in 10 free)

Tel: 01892 678678

Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells

Poop Poop! Prepare to join Mr Toad and his friends on a series of action-packed adventures. This fun-filled musical of Kenneth Grahames The Wind In The Willows tells the much-loved story of the fall and rise of the impulsive Mr Toad and all his riverside chums, practical Ratty, timid Moley and wise old Badger, as they mess about on the river and battle with the dastardly weasels. Stunning costumes, fantastic choreography and catchy feel-good numbers, including Hang Spring Cleaning, Lets Jump Aboard and Weasels Reign, make this delightful production a perfect family outing.


Kids Christmas Holiday Crafts

20 to 22 Dec

Tickets: 2 per child

Tel: 01622 814650

Yalding Gardens, Yalding

Let Yalding Gardens give you a helping hand and ease the seasonal stress by taking your children off your hands for a few hours. These craft sessions allow them to let their creative tendencies run riot while you can put your feet up and enjoy a hot chocolate in the caf.

Meet Father Christmas

Image courtesy of Lewis J Brockway

Throughout Dec

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01580 765155

Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden

Come and meet Father Christmas on one of the Santa Specials, which have been running for 36 years and counting. The festive fun starts when you arrive at Tenterden Station, with traditional pipe organ music. Board the beautifully decorated train and go on a nostalgic journey, with the highlight being an audience with Father Christmas. Each child will also receive a gift from Father Christmas pixies and elves, who will be attending the trip as well.

The Mouse who Saved Christmas

6 Dec to 21 December

Tickets: 6.50

Tel: 01634 338300

The Brook Theatre, Chatham

Younger children are hereby invited to experience a Christmas show with, quite literally, a bit of a twist in the tail. Its all about a mouse that takes it upon himself to save Christmas after he finds out that because someone has played a cruel trick on Father Christmas, the festivities might not take place. Can Archie, our intrepid mouse, save the day? Find out by going along to the first ever walk-though production at the Brook Theatre.


Ian Anderson

18 Dec

Tickets: 30

Tel: 01227 464764

Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury

In support of the Canterbury Gift, folk and rock legend Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull will be performing the Jethro Tull Christmas Album. He will be supported by a whole host of friends and guest stars, and the evening promises to gently rock the cathedral from pillar to nave and back again. Having spent around 40 years in the music business, Anderson is no stranger to playing venues of such magnitude, but the evening still has the potential to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all those involved, whether they are on stage or in the audience. Book early.

Choral Concert

5 Dec


Tel: 01732 450 175

The Stag, Sevenoaks

Presented by the Sevenoaks Philharmonic Society, this concert features music from the 16th and 17th century in the run up to Christmas. The Sevenoaks Philharmonic Choir will be performing Handels Dixit Dominus and Charpentiers Messe de Minuit pour Noel, together with a selection of motets for Advent and Christmas.


Peter Pan

11 Dec to 2 Jan

Tickets: 9 and 12

Tel: 01634 890 421

Dickens World, Chatham

The tale about the boy who wouldnt grow up and his battles with the evil pirate Captain Hook has thrilled and entertained audiences for many years, and it is set to do it all over again as Peter Pan returns to the stage at dickens World. A perfect family affair that will appeal to young and old alike. All tickets include a hot dog and soft drink before the show.


3 Dec to 9 Jan 2011


Tel: 08448 717620

Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Lucas from Eastenders, Don Gilet will be donning his cape as the evil magician Abanazar in the Churchills production of Aladdin this year. Get ready to boo this most dastardly of characters. Joining him on stage will be Melinda Messenger, who will be playing the genie.

Jack and the Beanstalk

11 Dec to 2 Jan 2011

Tickets: 13 to 15

Tel: 01732 450175

The Stag, Sevenoaks

The Bills PC Tony Stamp aka Graham Cole will be crossing the thin blue line to tackle the dastardly Fleshcreep character in The Stags pantomime this year. He will be accompanied on stage by a wonderful cast, including actor Tony Haygarth and Ant Payne, who was such a hit last year when he played Silly Billy last year.

Dick Whittington

17 to 18 Dec

Tickets: 6 to 8

Tel: 01732 359966

The Angel Centre, Tonbridge

Produced by the CLIPS Theatre Company and written by Colin Wakefiled and Kate Edgar, this vibrant festive production will be packed full of family fun and is the perfect launch pad to all your Christmas fun. The pantomime continues a long-running tradition for the town of Tonbridge and is in aide of charity. Go along, support a worthwhile cause and enter into a real sense of community Christmas fun.

Carol events

Festival of carols

1 Dec

Tickets: 5

Tel: 01732 450175

The Stag, Sevenoaks

Get your Christmas season off in a traditional way with the help of the Salvation Army Bromley Band. They will be playing some of your favourite carols and seasonal music with the help of some special guests.

Family events

Tree dressing day

5 Dec

Tickets: Contact venue

Tel: 01622 814650

Yalding Gardens, Yalding

Encouraging the celebration of trees in the city and the country, this festive family event not only reminds us of our responsibility to look after the trees, but also of their environmental importance. Plus, it will be a whole heap of fun that draws on a number of old customs and traditions from around the world.

Christmas Craft Emporium & Santas Grotto

27 to 28 Nov

Tiekets: 1 per child

Tel: 01303 854080

Creative Quarter, Folkestone

Looking for that extra special, unique gift? Well, look no further than the Creative Quarter in Folkestone. Christmas gifts and goods made by craft makers, local artists and food producers will be available for you to buy in the lead up to Christmas. Father Christmas will be in his grotto, ready to entertain children of all ages.

London Life

The France Show

14 to 16 Jan 2011

Tickets: From 10

Tel: 020 7385 1200

Earls Court

Get a real taste of France by attending The France Show. The finest in French food, wine, shopping, travel, culture and property will be bought together under one roof. For those with a passion for everything across the Channel, this is the perfect opportunity to discover more, and experience a little je ne sais quois on our own shores. Book your tickets now.

The Snowman

1 Dec to 9 Jan

Tickets: 12 to 32

Tel: 0844 412 4322

The Peacock Theatre

What could be more magical and Christmassy than seeing the beautifully-illustrated book by Raymond Briggs about the adventures of a boy and his snowman bought vividly to life on stage. Well, here is your opportunity. See the two adventurers fly into the air, whiz across the stage in a motorcycle and sidecar, meet a snow princess and the icy Jack Frost, as encounter Father Christmas. And, of course, the wonderful song Walking in the Air will ring out in the Peacock Theatre as this Christmas favourite reappears for a new generation of children.

Peter Pan

10 Dec to Jan 16 2011

Tickets: 15 to 27

Tel: 0844 871 7646

New Wimbledon Theatre

Pineapple Studios very own Louie Spence will be swapping his dance shoes for acting chops when he treads the boards in the New Wimbledon Theatres pantomime of Peter Pan. Having appeared in a number of West End productions over the years, and become the runaway star in the reality TV dance show, Louie is no stranger to the limelight, but this will be a whole new experience. Louie will be playing a very butch pirate and will be high-kicking and twirling his way on to Captain Hooks, pirate ship. The role of Captain Hook will be played by none other than David Hasselhoff.

Winter Wonderland

Tickets: Free entry, but other attractions may charge a fee

Until 4 Jan 2011

Tel: 0871 620 7064

Hyde Park

The Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park this year, following a bumper year last year. Returning this year will be everything that made 2009s appearance such a hit, but there will also be some bumper new additions. One of these additions will be the Angels Christmas market. The market will boast more than 100 wooden chalets run by artisans and craftsmen, offering unusual handmade gifts that will look wonderful under your trees at home. There will also be a Winter Wonderland Big Top in the evening and the traditional ice skating rink.

Ice Skating at Somerset House

Tickets: 7.50 to 36 (depending on ticket and time)

23 Nov to 23 Jan 2011

Tel: 0844 847 1520

Somerset House

Londons original and most glamorous open-air ice rink returns for Christmas. In addition to the ice skating, there will also be additional events staged in the run up to Christmas. Young and old alike will be able to get into the festive spirit and try out some of their moves on the ice, all played out against the wonderful and marvellous backdrop of Somerset House.

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