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Christmas festivities are in full swing across Kent, from visitor attractions to stage shows and markets


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The big day is looming, but before you hunker down for the holidays, here’s a last festive events preview.

Meet Santa at Drusillas this weekend
Meet Santa at Drusillas this weekend

Santa has taken up residence in his cosy Christmas cottage at Drusillas Park, near the Kent border with EAST SUSSEX. Visit Santa and see Mother Claus or the elf at their winter wonderland until Tuesday, December 23, from 10.30am to 4.30pm for an additional £6 per child. Santa will be accompanied by two of his reindeer, Tinsel and Twinkle, and each child will receive an early Christmas gift. The entry price for Drusillas varies (and costs less online). Prices range from £15.50 per person to year-long passes for £59 per person. Visit www.drusillas.co.uk or call 01323 874100.

Santa’s Tickly Tale is a children’s show that will have youngsters on the edge of their seats. Santa has gone missing and the wicked Feathered Phantom is trying to ruin Christmas Day. Mrs Claus enlists the children’s help to stop the baddy in his tracks and rescue her hubby. The show by the Whizz Bang Pop theatre company provides an hour’s worth of fun with songs, dances, chases and merriment. You can see it at Charlton Park in BISHOPSBOURNE, near Canterbury, on Sunday, December 21, at 3pm. Tickets cost £7.50 for adults and £5 for children. Call 01227 831355.

Visitors to Groombridge Place will be making a gingerbread village
Visitors to Groombridge Place will be making a gingerbread village

Create a dream cottage or fairy-tale castle to add to the gingerbread village at Groombridge Place in TUNBRIDGE WELLS. Once complete, each house can be added to the village, with its festive landscaping and lights. Parents can even receive a photo of their child with their gingerbread house by email. Workshops run from 10am until 4pm every day until Christmas Eve. The gingerbread houses used to create the village can later be collected free in January or, if children can’t wait until then, they can be taken home for £5. Otherwise the activity is free with the entry price of £8.95 for adults, £7.45 for children aged three to 12, or £33.95 for a family of four. Visit www.groombridgeplace.com

A farmers’ market will provide all the usual fresh produce and much more besides when Santa turns up. CAPEL-LE-FERNE Farmers’ Market is on Tuesday, December 23, at Capel-le-Ferne village hall in Lancaster Avenue between 10am and 12.30pm. It will feature three new stalls - cider makers Rough Old Wife, Debonair Tea Company and the Doggie Bag Company, who will sell treats for ‘man’s best friend’. See www.facebook.com/capellefernefarmersmarket

Christmas in Ramsgate
Christmas in Ramsgate

A fantastic display of lights on boats in the harbour and shop windows full of twinkle and sparkle, left, means RAMSGATE is a winter wonderland all its own. This year, the Christmas in the Tunnels event is being held for the first time, with merriment, a mix of local artisan stalls and music, plus a tour down the wartime tunnels under the town. Be there on Sunday, December 21, between 10am and 5pm. Find out more at www.ramsgatetunnels.org

And Ramsgate’s UpDown Gallery in Elms Avenue shows its Christmas exhibition, Flowers of Basalt by Jill McManners, until Sunday, December 21. It is also running Thanet Open Art, an exhibition featuring 100 works by artists across Kent at the new Albion House Hotel until Sunday, December 21. Visit www.ramsgatetown.org

There's a sackful of tempting treats at Leeds Castle
There's a sackful of tempting treats at Leeds Castle

LEEDS CASTLE is spreading Christmas cheer with free entry to its market and grounds.

The castle’s festive market is the place to go for those last-minute stocking fillers while youngsters will love to get up close to the reindeer and take a ride on the carousel. There’s live music, plenty of food stalls and a ferris wheel.

A chance to explore the gardens and playgrounds are included with the free entry, that’s available weekdays from 1pm up to and including Tuesday, December 23. A normal admission ticket is needed to get in to the castle. On Monday, December 22, visitors can discover what is was like to be a guest of Lady Baillie and spend Christmas at Leeds Castle in the 1950s at a free talk at the main marquee in the market.

The grounds open at 10am daily and the castle is open from 10.30am. Visit www.leeds-castle.co.uk

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