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Christmas lights switch-ons with celebrities across Kent in 2019

Feeling switched on for Christmas and raring to go? The countdown is on to Christmas lights switch-ons across the county. Here's our guide:

BLUEWATER CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Bluewater's switching on its Christmas lights first
Bluewater's switching on its Christmas lights first

This year the Greenhithe centre did not hold a fireworks event in November, but instead was the first in the county to switch on its Christmas lights, on Thursday, November 7, but without a switch-on event. The centre opened its new, larger ice rink from Thursday, November 14, which will also have special events held by kmfm including an ice party DJ set from Rob Wills on Friday, November 29, and its popular Santa's Grotto opened on the same day. Details here.

FAVERSHAM CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The Christmas lights in Faversham have been organised by founder Steve Sherlock, with help, for more than 33 years. This year's switch-on will be on Saturday, November 23, at 5.30pm. Father Christmas will pay a visit to the town during the evening along along with other special guests. Carols will be sung, live music will be played and street food will be served at the Night Food Market in the evening.

Olaf from Frozen at the Faversham Christmas lights switch-on last year Picture: Chris Davey
Olaf from Frozen at the Faversham Christmas lights switch-on last year Picture: Chris Davey

LENHAM CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The festive season begins on Sunday, November 24 in Lenham with the lights switch-on. The fun starts at 1.30pm in Lenham Square, with daytime activities and the lights will be turned on at 5pm, followed by a firework display. There will be stalls and games including reindeer hoopla, a lucky dip and a roundabout for the little ones.Children can also visit Santa in his snowy grotto, enjoy a horse and carriage ride around the village and there will be music and entertainment from Lenham Primary School Choir, HAMS and DJ Keith from All Souled Out. Shops will be putting on themed window displays and will be competing in the Best Dressed Shop Window competition.

WEST MALLING CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL

This year's West Malling Christmas Festival will take place on Sunday, December 1, from noon to 5.30pm. The event, which isin support of the Heart of Kent Hospice, will include a Santa’s Grotto, trampoline, fairground rides, face painting and stalls and hot food. The switch-on will be at 5pm.

Jared Woodward, Suzanne Burdon and Andrew Kuipers at last year's West Malling Christmas Festival Picture: Phil Lee
Jared Woodward, Suzanne Burdon and Andrew Kuipers at last year's West Malling Christmas Festival Picture: Phil Lee

MAIDSTONE LIGHTS SWITCH-ON

This year's will be held on Thursday, November 21, at 6.30pm, in Jubilee Square, and broadcast live on kmfm with hosts Garry and Laura from Breakfast. Organisers One Maidstone will have Hollyoaks and Dancing On Ice star Jake Quickenden, who is also starring in the Hazlitt Theatre's panto, Beauty and the Beast this Christmas, and other panto stars turning on the lights, plus entertainment from a gospel choir and the Military Wives Choir, with carols from Molehill Primary Academy pupils, alongside a song from Jake himself.

The cast of the Hazlitt Theatre's panto Beauty and the Beast with Jake Quickenden (fourth from left) Picture: Andy Jones
The cast of the Hazlitt Theatre's panto Beauty and the Beast with Jake Quickenden (fourth from left) Picture: Andy Jones

TONBRIDGE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON

Now in its ninth year, the Tonbridge Christmas lights switch-on, organised by the Rotary Club of Tonbridge, will be held on Sunday, November 24. The High Street will be closed between 10.30am and 8.30pm to make way for the event, which starts at 1.50pm. The lights will be switched on by Jill Anderson, Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, at 5.45pm. The Rotary Club have organised an action-packed day, featuring Shaws Fun Fair in Sainsbury's car park on Angel Lane, with more than 50 stalls and performers from the Peter Pan and Queen of Hearts pantomimes will be in costume in the High Street, along with the Hartley Morris Men. Razzamataz Tonbridge theatre group start things off at 2.25pm, followed by Charlotte Lubbock, Patinas Band and Roxxon throughout the evening, plus fireworks at Tonbridge Castle. Money raised goes towards local charities.

SEVENOAKS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON

The lights will be switched on on Friday, November 29 between 6pm and 9pm. The High Street will be closed to make way for fairground rides, stalls and a variety of entertainment. The cast of Aladdin at theStag Theatre and the Mayor of Sevenoaks, Cllr Nicholas Busvine, will be doing the honours at 7.30pm.

TUNBRIDGE WELLS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

This year the lights will be switched on across the town on Thursday, November 14. Local shops will be taking part in the Rotary Club Charity Christmas shop window competition and the lights will be switched on in time for the ice rink to open the next day until Sunday, January 5, and features a family-friendly rink alongside the main one this year.

Santa will be bringing two friends with him when he heads in to the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre on Thursday, November 14, and, to mark the opening of his Arctic Grotto, kids’ favourites Chase and Marshall from PAW Patrol will be popping in at 4.30pm. The event will be hosted by kmfm Breakfast’s Laura with live music from the Tunbridge Wells Rock Choir. Chase and Marshall will be meeting their fans at intervals throughout the day at 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 6.30pm. The grotto, styled as an Arctic forest with thousands of twinkling lights, will be a festive fixture daily from Friday, November 15, through to Christmas Eve.

Tunbridge Wells Victoria Place switch on with Santa, Laura from kmfm and PAW Patrol
Tunbridge Wells Victoria Place switch on with Santa, Laura from kmfm and PAW Patrol

A visit to see Santa costs £7 per child and includes a wrapped gift. Sensory Santa visits will be available on Tuesdays from 10am to 11am for children needing a sensory-friendly environment. Booking in advance is not required and a £l donation is made to the National Autistic Society. More details at royalvictoriaplace.com

Everybody get up! 5ive are heading to Westwood Cross
Everybody get up! 5ive are heading to Westwood Cross

WESTWOOD CROSS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON, BROADSTAIRS

Nineties boyband 5ive and Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson will be among the celebrities appearing at this year’s Christmas lights switch-on at Westwood Cross shopping centre on Friday, November 22, for the centre's biggest Christmas line-up to date. Love Island star India Reynolds from this year' show will also be appearing. Alongside the celebrity appearances, there will be special performances, entertainment and competitions hosted by kmfm's Garry and Laura. Festivities will begin at 4pm, with the big switch-on at 6pm and the event due to finish at 6.30pm. For information visit westwoodx.co.uk

TENTERDEN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON

The Tenterden Christmas Lights will be switched on on Friday, November 22. Organised by Tenterden Town Council, they will light up the High Street's avenue of trees after dark. Every afternoon at about 3.30pm the Christmas lights adorning the high street trees will be switched on, along with illuminations in the Christmas trees above many of the High Street shops.

A previous parade in Tenterden
A previous parade in Tenterden

SHEERNESS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The annual Christmas lights switch-on for Sheerness takes place at the Clock Tower in the High Street on Saturday, November 30. There will be market stalls and entertainment all day, including a Santa Saunter at 3pm and a lantern parade at 4pm. The lights will be switched on at 5pm. The free event is organised by Sheerness Town Team.

SITTINGBOURNE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Santa will be switching on Sittingbourne's lights on Saturday, November 16. The button will be pushed on stage at the junction of Central Avenue and High Street at about 5.30pm. Visitors will be kept entertained all day with a Christmas market. Performers are expected to include a sign language choir.

Last year's Christmas lights switch on in Sheerness Picture: John Westhrop
Last year's Christmas lights switch on in Sheerness Picture: John Westhrop

CANTERBURY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON

The panto stars of Mother Goose from the Marlowe Theatre will be turning on the lights with kmfm when the city's annual Christmas lights switch-on returns to St Georges Street, Canterbury, on Friday, November 15.

Join the stars from 4pm to 6pm as they countdown to the display along with Garry and Laura from kmfm Breakfast. Kent band Marylebone Jelly will also be providing music to get you in the mood for Christmas.

Some of the Mother Goose cast from the Marlowe Theatre will be at the switch-on
Some of the Mother Goose cast from the Marlowe Theatre will be at the switch-on

MEDWAY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The Towns celebrate the festive switch-on dates throughout November, organised by Medway Council.

Rochester's lights will be switched on with cast members from this year's Central Theatre pantomime, Cinderella, on Saturday, November 16 in the High Street, along with Rob Wills from kmfm. Entertainment in the town begins at 3.45pm with the lights due to be switched on at 5pm.

Gillingham's festive lights will be lit on Friday, November 22 at 5pm in the High Street with kmfm's Andy Walker. There will be entertainment from 3.45pm with guest appearances from minions Bob and Kevin.

Chatham gets the festive treatment on Saturday, November 23, in the High Street with panto cast members from Cinderella and kmfm's Rob Wills. Entertainment begins at 3.45pm and the official lights switch-on is also at 5pm.

Rainham's High Street will be lit up with entertainment from Shrek from 3.45pm on Friday, November 29, with kmfm's Andy Walker, while Strood will be the last to get the festive treatment on Saturday, November 30 when special guest Kung Fu Panda will be in the High Street for the festivities from 3.45pm. The event will be hosted by kmfm's Rob Wills and lights switched on at 5pm.

FOLKESTONE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Friday, November 15, will see the Folkestone Creative Quarter Christmas lights switch-on, which also kicks off the annual Folkestone Book Festival. Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri will be doing the honours at the top of the Old High Street at 5.30pm. There will be an evening of light, song and cheer as local choirs and a brass band perform in the streets while many of the businesses in the area will be creating festive window displays for the occasion.

FOLKESTONE TOWN CENTRE

The town centre lights event will start at 5pm on Friday, November 22 at the Leas Cliff Hall with pre-parade festivities, before the parade departs for the Town Hall at 5.30pm. A stage will be in Guildhall Street and the switch-on will be 7.30pm with fireworks at the Harbour Arm just after 8pm.

Christmas lights switch-ons are coming to Kent soon
Christmas lights switch-ons are coming to Kent soon

GRAVESEND CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Some of the stars of this year's panto, Beauty and the Beast, at The Woodville, will be appearing at this year's Christmas lights switch-on which will be on Friday, November 22, between 3.30pm and 6pm. There will be street entertainers around the town from 3.30pm and the main event gets underway at 4pm with entertainment on Community Square.

At 4.30pm the lantern parade featuring hundreds of children from local schools leaves from the square and tours the town before returning for the lighting of the Christmas tree by the Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr Gurdip Bungar.

DARTFORD CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

This year the town's big Christmas switch on will take place on Saturday, November 16.

Dartford mayor Cllr Roger Perfitt will be leading the event in the High Street and joined by Father Christmas as well as the council's colouring competition winner to turn the lights on at 5.15pm.

In addition to the switch on there will be a range of family entertainment and giveaways in the town centre.

Celebrity faces such as Denise Van Outen and Britain's Got Talent winners Twist & Pulse will be at the annual event. They'll help mayor Roger Perfitt with the switch-on, on Saturday, November 16.

The lights are set to be turned on after an afternoon of music and attractions including The Soundcasters, a tribute to JoJo Siwa, Lee Jackson and the Country Jukebox Band and X Factor's Che Chesterman.

DEAL CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Head to Deal town centre for the annual Christmas lights switch-on on Friday, November 22. The family entertainment starts at 4.30pm, with the arrival of Father Christmas and Deal Carnival Queen Court. The countdown and lights switch-on will happen at 7.30pm. There has also been a search for a local hero to take part.

SANDWICH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Gather round on Saturday, November 30 in the Guildhall Forecourt and watch as the festive lights come on, with a parade through the town. There’ll be entertainment and food to buy from a range of stalls.

Jan Anton enjoying the parade for the Sandwich Christmas lights switch-on last year Picture: Chris Davey
Jan Anton enjoying the parade for the Sandwich Christmas lights switch-on last year Picture: Chris Davey

PADDOCK WOOD CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The Christmas tree lights will be switched on in Paddock Wood on Sunday, November 24. The festivities run from 2pm to 6pm in Commercial Road. This year's event sees a funfair, pop-up bars and food stalls as well as a visit from Santa. Stars from the Assembly Hall Theatre panto will also be there for the switch-on and teen band Angels N’ Bandits will perform. Details at paddockwoodlightsup.co.uk

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.

For how to get tickets to Bedgebury Pinetum's Christmas illuminated trail click here.

For Christmas lights in London's Oxford Street, click here.


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