If you’re thinking about starting your dreaded Christmas shopping but haven’t got a clue where to begin, four big markets are opening up in Kent next week.
With festive gifts, treasured antiques and tasty produce from across the county all up for grabs, you’ll be sure to find fantastic stocking fillers for your loved ones.
The first market to open over the weekend is the Canterbury Christmas Market, which will be setting up shop for the festive season from Friday, November 10.
The free market, which stretches from the city’s Whitefriars centre and along the length of the High Street, will be bustling with stalls selling gifts, decorations and treats such as mulled wine and hot chocolate.
There are also live performances of Christmas carols, hymns and chart hits popping up while the market is open and, this year, there will be a number of bookable activities for families to enjoy during their visit.
Santa’s Grotto will be open with a magical talking letterbox waiting to post your Christmas list and you can snap an adorable photo of your pups in the Santa Paws room.
You can even book a breakfast with Santa, take a sleigh ride through Dash’s toy workshop and enjoy a unique Lapland VR experience.
All of these events can be booked online in advance here.
The opening of the market also coincides with Canterbury’s Christmas light switch on, which includes a lantern parade through the city and stars from the Marlowe Theatre panto.
The following day, on Saturday, November 11, Bluewater’s magical Winterland will return for another year of stalls, food and funfair.
The illuminated promenade will lead visitors to the market where you can find stands selling all sorts of festive treats, including gifts and hot food such as Yorkshire pudding wraps and loaded doughnuts.
To keep the family entertained during your visit, there will be a fairground filled with attractions, including bumper cars, waltzers, a carousel, arcade games and the 40-metre-high observation wheel.
The Greenhithe shopping centre will also be open as usual, with plenty of shops selling Christmas gifts throughout November and December.
James Waugh, centre director at Bluewater, said: “Christmas is truly one of the most magical times of the year here at Bluewater, and we’re thrilled to be welcoming back Winterland once again.
“With a range of new and exciting attractions, we are sure guests that guests will love what Winterland 2023 has to offer.”
You can book tickets to Winterland online here.
If you’re taking the kids with you and want to keep them entertained while you shop, the Kent Festive Country Fair is bursting with things to see and do.
While you stroll through the crafters’ market and check out the local produce from food traders, the children can enjoy magic shows, Punch and Judy, donkey rides, character meet-and-greets and a visit from Father Christmas.
The fair, which takes place on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 at the Wings of the Morning Field in Wrotham, also includes live music from Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley tribute acts, cookery demonstrations and a dog show, so there’s something for everyone.
Finally, opening up for the weekend on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 is the Detling Antiques and Village Fair.
The huge fair, which will be setting up shop at the Kent Showground just outside of Maidstone, will offer more than 400 indoor and outdoor stalls selling vintage items.
While the fair isn’t necessarily festive, it will be bursting with hidden gems such as furniture, silverware, jewellery, clothing, paintings and much more from a range of eras including Art Deco, mid-Century and Victorian.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional trinket or decades-old treasure, this is the perfect place to find something special for your friends and family this Christmas.
Tickets are available on the door and it’s cash only.