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Christmas events across Kent going ahead this year

In these uncertain times, it's important to have something to look forward to.

Here's our calendar of events scheduled to go ahead - many of which have been rearranged to allow for lockdown - and sprinkle some festive magic across the county.

Bluewater has confirmed its ice rink for this year
Bluewater has confirmed its ice rink for this year

Early December - January 3 (Exact date to be confirmed)

Bluewater has confirmed the return of its ice rink for Christmas.

The popular attraction outside The Village will once again have a clear roof cover so skaters can enjoy the ice whatever the weather.

It will be joined by the Friday evening party nights with kmfm playing classic party anthems on ticketed events.

Quiet sessions and slots for parents and toddlers will also all be taking place and there will be penguin aids for little ones and bob skates for anyone who needs them.

Book your slot at bluewater.co.uk

SKATE Tunbridge Wells
SKATE Tunbridge Wells

Secret Switch-on, Maidstone

November 19

Thanks to One Maidstone, the town's Christmas lights will be switched on, but instead of a public, live switch-on event, it will be marked with a socially distanced concert film online, featuring performances from local singers and dancers. The lights will be switched on as they are installed by contractor Gala Lights. Watch at onemaidstone.com/secretswitchon

Believe, Bluewater

Early December (Exact date to be confirmed) - Christmas Eve

Believe is due to open at Bluewater shopping centre after lockdown in December and promises to be an "immersive festive journey," with magical moments along the way.

The experience, which will be outside The Village near Zizzi, has been designed with safety measures and restrictions in mind, will run through to Christmas Eve, will include a chance to see Santa but not in a one to one grotto setting. Find out more here.

Bluewater's Christmas event for this year
Bluewater's Christmas event for this year

Christmas at Bedgebury

December - New Year's Eve

The magical, magical, one-mile illuminated trail is back for a third year at Bedgebury Pinetum in Goudhurst, though its dates had to be rescheduled to allow for lockdown. There will be a Tunnel of Lights with thousands of pea lights, as well as new features this year, and the chance to see Santa long the way. There are very few tickets left in the run-up to Christmas now, though dates up to New Year are still available. Book tickets at christmasatbedgebury.co.uk

Hever Castle will be lit up this Christmas
Hever Castle will be lit up this Christmas

Christmas at Hever Castle

November 21 - Christmas Eve

This year visitors to the castle near Edenbridge will be able to take a Peter Pan-themed trail through the grounds, which is able to continue as it is outdoors. The illuminated trail, with a one-way system through the castle grounds, will include Peter's friends, the Lost Boys, the Mermaid Lagoon and even Nana the dog in her kennel, though the characters will not be present until lockdown has ended, when the castle is also due to reopen. It is able to continue in lockdown, as the trail is outdoors and paid-for gardens and grounds are permitted to stay open. Book at hevercastle.co.uk

Father Christmas is scheduled to come to Tunbridge Wells
Father Christmas is scheduled to come to Tunbridge Wells

Father Christmas in Kent

December 3 - Christmas Eve

Grottos may be difficult to stage this year, but little ones won't miss out on their chance to meet Father Christmas thanks to this event, which offers the chance to see him in person, in your own home, or even via Zoom, if lockdown returns.

All visits will keep to the latest government guidelines involving social distancing, households and the Rule of Six.

Book at fatherchristmasinkent.co.uk

Santa Specials on the Spa Valley Railway have added an extra weekend
Santa Specials on the Spa Valley Railway have added an extra weekend

Santa Specials, Spa Valley Railway

December 5 - Christmas Eve

Tickets for the Santa Specials from Eridge Station have been suspended while rescheduling for those who already have tickets take place. The two-hour return journey to Tunbridge Wells West, with children getting the chance to see Santa Claus himself from the comfort of their seat and receive on board, runs until Christmas Eve. When booking reopens visit spavalleyrailway.co.uk

Christmas at Leeds Castle
Christmas at Leeds Castle

Christmas at the Castle, Leeds Castle

November 28 - Sunday, January 3, 2021

There will be an array of bespoke Christmas trees inspired by the castle's state rooms near Maidstone brought out of the castle and into the grounds Children will also be able to post their letters to Santa. Book at leeds-castle.com

Kent Life, Maidstone

December 4 - Christmas Eve

Tickets to meet Father Christmas in his magical grotto at the Sandling attraction and take home a special gift are already selling well, with sessions sold out from Saturday, December 12 to Christmas Eve already. There are extra restrictions and guidelines including the Rule of Six and only two adults per child. Visits also include an opportunity to decorate some festive gingerbread, sample some cider (for grown-ups) and visit some farmyard friends. Book by clicking here.

Skate Tunbridge Wells

December 4 - January 3

The skating attraction returns to Calverley Gardens in Tunbridge Wells for a tenth year, but will have a large main rink this year to allow for social distancing, as opposed to last year's two rinks, with one for children.

There will be a bar and café alongside the rink will be in a semi-open marquee and increased outdoor seating, while parent and toddler sessions will be at 9.15am at weekends and there will be curling sessions on some evenings. Refunds are being processed up to and including December 3 and ticket sales are currently on hold. Find out more at skatetw.co.uk

Santa’s Grotto, Margate Caves

December 5 - December 20

Santa will be setting up his winter wonderland grotto inside the caves in Northdown Road at weekends from Saturday, December 5 to Friday, December 20.Children will be able to meet him, receive a gift and explore the festively-themed caves. Tickets will be £9.50 for children, to include entry to the caves and a gift, with two adults per child allowed in free, and additional adults charged at £4.50. You can book tickets now at margatecaves.co.uk.

Christmas at Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells

December 16 - Christmas Eve

Christmas can still be Christmas for little ones this year, as Groombridge Place's secret garden with its stream and wooden bridge will be transformed into a Christmas scene where visitors can see the wishing tree and children can add a wish to it. There will be a one-way system in place to ensure social distancing is maintained.

And in the garden, visitors should watch out for Santa, who will be waving from his sleigh, accompanied by his naughty elves.

There will also be Punch and Judy shows at Crusoe’s World from Saturday, December 19 to Christmas Eve. You'll need to book your time slot in advance at groombridgeplace.com

Christmas events at Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells
Christmas events at Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells

Christmas Fun at the Farm, Hop Farm

December 5 - December 23

Christmas Fun at The Farm at the Hop Farm Family Park in Beltring, Paddock Wood, is due to run from Saturday, December 5 through to Wednesday, December 23.

The attraction will give visitors who pre-book, a chance to enjoy children's rides, attractions and the animals in festive surroundings. The grotto is sold out.

To book a place, at £3 per person, click here.

Elf Express, Quex Park

December 5-6 and December 12 to Christmas Eve

Hop aboard the Elf Express this year to go and watch the Big Elf Show at the Elf Tower, an interactive spectacle for all the family. After the show, the journey continues into the Magical Elf Woods where Santa will await everyone's arrival. The event has been put together with social distancing and government guidelines in mind.

To book go to quexactivitycentre.com/elf-express

Santa Selfies, Gravesend

December 18 - December 20

Santa has a new home this year with a socially-distanced grotto on Gravesend Town Pier where there will be five festive scenes, each in its own booth, from a moonlit winter’s sky to riding Santa’s sleigh and a traditional gingerbread house. Santa’s elves will be working extra hard to keep everyone safe, making sure there is plenty of hand sanitiser and booths are cleaned between visits.

To reserve your timed slot at £3 per person, or £10 for a family bubble of a maximum of six, email your name and details to info@visitgravesend.co.uk. And don't forget your camera or phone to snap your selfies. More details here.

Tickets on sale for this year's Marlowe theatre pop-up panto.

For more days out across Kent click here.

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