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Kent's towns and villages turn on the festive cheer as Christmas approaches

As December has crept up on us and we gear ourselves for Christmas, here is how Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells and our other towns are getting us in the festive mood.

A lights switch-on was one of the highlights of a Christmas fair which saw Bearsted packed out with 4,000 people.

The ceremony, organised by Bearsted Parish Council, was held by Heart FM’s weekend presenter and Maidstone resident Claire Lawson.

Paddock Wood Town Centre Christmas Lights. Pics Sean Aidan

Paddock Wood Town Centre Christmas Lights. Pics: Sean Aidan

Santa Claus also paid a visit and several craft stalls also offered homemade gifts. Following an annual tradition, the star for top the Christmas tree was donated by a resident.

Shoppers in Tunbridge Wells heralded the start of the Christmas season as they welcomed Santa to Royal Victoria Place on Sunday, November 19.

Almost 25,000 turned up to the event as Santa made his grand entrance and officially opening his brand new Fireside grotto, as well as switching on the Victoria Road centre’s lights.

Vocademy perform at the Bearsted Christmas lights switch-on during Saturday evening.

Vocademy perform at the Bearsted Christmas lights switch-on during Saturday evening.

Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells held its festive fun day on Sunday, Nov 19, with almost 25,000 people in attendance over the course of the day.

Hosted by KMFM DJ Rob Wills, the excitement kicked off at 11.30am, with Hundreds of excited children waited to meet the big guy, who was joined by celebrity friends CBBC presenter Mark Rhodes, and former EastEnder Michael Greco, who are starring in the Assembly Hall Theatre’s pantomime, Aladdin.

The land train had lots of passengers at the Christmas fair held at Aylesford Priory on Saturday.

The land train had lots of passengers at the Christmas fair held at Aylesford Priory on Saturday.

Santa’s grotto will now be open every day until 4pm on Christmas Eve, and is located on level one of the centre opposite Marks and Spencer.

Hundreds of revellers spent the afternoon and evening from 3pm to 6pm on Sunday on Commercial Road, Paddock Wood having their fill of seasonal food and drink, perusing 40 Christmas market stalls and enjoying a funfair.

Father Christmas with Ellie Rocamora, aged three, at the Festive Family fun day at Royal Victoria Palace, Tunbridge Wells.

Father Christmas with Ellie Rocamora, aged three, at the Festive Family fun day at Royal Victoria Palace, Tunbridge Wells.

The day before, Headcorn hosted its Christmas Fair around the High Street.

The event was organised by the village’s trader’s events group, and featured a Santa’s grotto visited by 124 children throughout the day. In addition, a variety of stalls were set up in the street to provide food and gift inspiration.

Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink Launch Calverley Gardens.

Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink Launch Calverley Gardens.

Costa Coffee reported record sales, with hand-bell ringers performing in store. Other stores played host to a variety of entertainment, with ukulele playing in the White Horse pub and a performance from singer Acetone in Headcorn Gifts and Music shop.

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