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Christmas markets across Kent 2018

By Angela Cole

It’s time to tackle that list and stock up on Kentish goodies at fairs and markets going on across the county. Here's our guide on where to head.


Saturday, November 10 until Tuesday, January 2

The Maidstone shopping centre welcomes back its traditional Christmas market from next week. It will be open daily during trading hours and offer unique gifts and tasty treats to visitors, who can also grab a selfie with a life-size animatronic polar bear while they shop.

For more go to fremlinwalk.co.uk/christmas-cabi

You can get one-off goodies at Christmas markets
You can get one-off goodies at Christmas markets


Saturday, November 10

Ashford's Christmas Fair, presented by Pilgrim Hospice, will feature a range of seasonal stalls run by Pilgrims volunteers, local groups and businesses. The free event will fill three huge halls with delicious food and drink, beautiful crafts and games galore. It will run from 10am to 3pm.

Fore more details, visit https://www.pilgrimshospices.org/event/ashford-christmas-fair/


Thursday, November 15 until Saturday, November 17

The Hop Farm is set to host a three-day shopping spectacular with more than 220 exhibitors lined up, selling original, handmade festive wares and high-end gifts. And you won't go cold either - the stands will fill seven heated marquees and feature street food and snacks from Street Food Cafe, plus a tea tent, with hot drinks and cake on tap.

It runs from 9am to 4.30pm each day, and entry is £10, £4 for children and free for under 5s.

For more visit thehopfarm.co.uk

Christmas in Canterbury
Christmas in Canterbury


Friday, November 16 until Christmas Eve

Canterbury's ever-popular festive market is set to be bigger than ever this year. It expansion onto the city's high street is dependant on a planning application which goes to committee on Tuesday. With hot food, winter cocktails and unique gift ideas, the market will will be open from 10am until 6pm Monday to Friday.

It will open an hour earlier on Saturdays at 9am, and run from 10am to 5pm on Sundays.

For more details visit canterburychristmasmarket.co.uk


Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18

Lenham’s medieval tithe barn, off the high street, is to be the host venue for the village's fifth pre-Christmas ‘made by hand’ craft and art market including local food and drink producers. From 10am to 4pm it will showcase the work of 60 stall holders, mainly Kent based artisans, working with a wide range of materials or producing fine food and drink from the countryside.

Entry is £2, children go free.

Stock up at a Christmas market in Kent
Stock up at a Christmas market in Kent


Saturday, November 17

St Margaret of Antioch Church will open its doors from 1pm until 3pm for its annual festive craft fair organised by the Friends of St Margaret's. There will be a wide selection of home-made creations including gift hampers, baking, honey, needlework, pottery, jewellery and pens. Refreshments will be served and parking is available at the end of Lapwing Drive.


Saturday, November 17

There will be an of gifts and items for Christmas on offer plus old favourites like a tombola, cake raffle and seasonal refreshments at the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Tonbridge Road, Wateringbury on Saturday, November 17 between 11am and 3pm.


Monday, November 19 to Sunday, December 2.

The popular two-week gift fayre will have speciality stalls with an array of Christmas gifts, toys and decorations, plus seasonal food and drink. The free event includes the chance to enter a competition to win a Christmas hamper. For details click here.


Thursday, November 22

Find gifts, gadgets, textiles and decorations at this one-day only event taking place between 10.30 and 3.30pm. Entry to Hever Castle's grounds on this day is free, with free parking at Lake View. Entry to the fair is £3 and £2.75 to go into the castle. All proceeds from the event go to Hever Primary School and St Peter's Church, Hever.

For details go to hevercastle.co.uk


Thursday, November 22 to Sunday, November 25.

Due to its popularity the National Trust is extending the market to four days for the first time. There will be stalls with a wide range of gifts from local businesses from chocolates to candles and jewellery to antiques. It will be open from 10am to 4pm daily and is free to browse, though normal admission applies to the gardens, exhibition and studio.

To find out more go to nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell

There are family friendly Christmas markets across the county
There are family friendly Christmas markets across the county


Friday, November 23 to Sunday, November 25

The High Street will be crammed with Christmas goodies over the weekend, with a shuttle bus running between Rolvenden and Tenterden on the Saturday. Other venues include St Mildred's Church, The Woolpack Barn & Garden, Zion Baptist Church and Highbury Hall.

For more information, visit https://www.mytenterden.co.uk/


Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25

Visitors to The Friars can browse Christmas crafts and ceramics against the stunning backdrop of Aylesford Priory. It runs from 10am to 4pm on both days and also feature an ice skating rink, Santa's parlour, Polar Express train seasonal refreshments.

Tickets are £4.50, under 12s go free. For more details go to thefriars.org.uk


Sunday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25

The annual festive market will feature plenty of local food, drink, crafts and produce as well as ideas for special gifts, plus treats for all the family. There'll also be live entertainment, including the East Grinstead concert band performing on the Sunday. For anyone wanting to enjoy something non-festive, the Beatrix Potter’s Garden exhibition will be on in the Oast House exhibition space until Sunday, January 6. Entry to the market is free but normal admission applies.

For more details go to nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle


Weekends from Sunday, November 24 to Sunday, December 16

The annual Christmas market will be held over four weekends, beginning on Saturday, November 24, with an array of gifts, toys, festive decorations and specialist food and drink. At the centre of the market will be nostalgic fairground rides including a Victorian carousel and the big wheel. The market will be on Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25, Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9, and the final one on Saturday, December 15 and Sunday, December 16.

There are traditional rides at the Leeds Castle Christmas market Picture: Andy Jones
There are traditional rides at the Leeds Castle Christmas market Picture: Andy Jones

Entry is included in general admission for the castle, tickets for which last a year and cost £25.50, £17.50 for children, and under fours free. Go to leeds-castle.com


Weekends from Saturday, November 24 to Sunday, December 9

You can pick up unique gift ideas and unusual stocking fillers on the many stalls in the picturesque Rochester Castle gardens, plus wander in the Bavarian food village and visit the funfair. There will also be live entertainment and guaranteed snowfall. The highlight of the calendar will be the market on the popular Dickensian Christmas weekend, of Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2. It will be open from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25; noon to 8pm on Friday, November 30 and Friday, December 7, and from 10am to 7pm on Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, and from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9.

For details click here

Kirsty, James and Rory at last year's Christmas market in Rochester Picture: Steve Crispe
Kirsty, James and Rory at last year's Christmas market in Rochester Picture: Steve Crispe

For Christmas lights switch-ons across the county click here.


Saturday, November 24

The only time of the year that the hospice building is open to the public, there will be local stalls with crafts, mince pies, festive soups and Santa will be in his grotto for the little ones. Last year's event raised £5,000 on the day. This year's runs from 10am to 3pm.


Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25

There will be 35 decorated trees to be seen in the 13th century St Margaret's Church in Church Lane, plus a craft fair with stalls, a raffle and children's lucky dip, plus homemade cakes. Both days the fair is open from 10.30am to 4.30pm.


Sunday, November 26, Sunday, December 9 and Sunday, December 16.

Held in the marketplace by the Guildhall, the popular annual event will be packed with stalls selling handmade gifts, toys, clothes, jewellery, crafts and pottery as well as local produce. Browse with a sip or two of mulled wine and enjoy the festive music including carol singing and brass bands and donkeys.

For more details click here

There will be some craft activities at National Trust markets
There will be some craft activities at National Trust markets


Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2

There will be local producers selling their wares, craft activities and festive music to keep you entertained throughout the day and Father Christmas may be popping by. The ground floor of the house will be unveiled in all its Christmas glory and open throughout December. Normal admission costs apply.

To find out more go to nationaltrust.org.uk/ightham-mote


Saturday, December 1

Coinciding with the town's Christmas lights switch on, a market featuring loads of festive stalls will be held from 12.30pm until 5pm. Santa will be in his grotto and there will be local choirs performing too.


Saturday, December 1

A Christmas craft market will be held in Broadway, Sheerness, from 10am to 4pm. It's part of the wider lights switch-on (5pm) events which also include a charity Santa's Saunter (3pm) ending with a Clock Tower conga and the annual lantern parade (4pm).


Weekends from Saturday, December 1 and daily Thursday, December 20 to Saturday, January 6, 2019

The fair with Christmas treats and family friendly rides, will be open every weekend from Saturday, December 1 and daily from Thursday, December 20 (excluding Christmas Day). There will be stalls, a Santa's Grotto and mulled wine. It will be open from 11am to 4pm at the park in the High Street.

Staff and Trustee members in the Grotto at Whitstable Castle, Tower Hill Picture: Andy Jones
Staff and Trustee members in the Grotto at Whitstable Castle, Tower Hill Picture: Andy Jones


Sunday, December 2

More than 50 stalls will this year join the annual traditional festive fair. Christmas wreaths, candles, food hampers, cards and crafts will all be among the gifts you can browse at the event on Sunday, December 2. Santa is said to be arriving in style at 10.30am ahead of the market which runs between 11am and 4pm. The tearooms will be open all day serving light lunches and there will be mince pies and mulled wine too alongside live music. Entry to the castle is free but tickets to see Santa in his grotto cost £5.

For details go to whitstablecastle.co.uk


Sunday, December 2

Shoppers at the annual White Cliffs Christmas will experience a festive market with a difference. The annual spectacular at Dover Marine Station (Cruise Terminal 1) includes an ice skating rink, a bar and food vendors.

The official launch date for this year’s bigger and better ICE-travaganza is Sunday, December 2.

The station will once again be beautifully decked out with Christmas trees and decorations and will feature ice-skating on the fantastic 400m2 indoor real ice rink, Father Christmas will be in his grotto and there are rides including electric donut bumper cars, chair-o-planes, mini waltzer, fun house and side stalls. A tea room and many delicious food outlets will also be available.

Weekend Christmas market stalls will be available every Saturday and Sunday for gift ideas.

There will be a packed programme of entertainment for the launch from 10am until 7.45pm including live music from local bands and Father Christmas’ arrival with his surprise friends at midday.

Live bands include Swingtime Sweethearts, Stellar Talks, Cool Maniere, Gentlemen of Few and Rudy Warman & The Heavy Weather.

The events are available Thursday and Friday evenings from 5-9pm, Saturdays 10am–9pm and Sundays all day from 10am-6pm until January 1. Booking for the ice skating can be made online in advance via www.whitecliffschristmas.co.uk


Sunday, December 2

Ashford's biggest farmers' market of the year returns for its fifth outing, as the upper High Street is taken over by food and produce stalls. The event, which could feature up to 31 stallholders, is provided with free parking at the Edinburgh Road, Station Road and Flourmills car parks. It will run from 10am to 2pm.

The kids will love them too. Picture: ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris
The kids will love them too. Picture: ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris


Saturday, December 8 and Saturday, December 15

Maidstone Museum in St Faith's Street will be opening its doors over two Saturdays in December for Christmas craft markets. Expect stalls selling a variety of local produce, handmade gifts and presents.

For more visit museum.maidstone.gov.uk


Sunday, December 9

The fayre between noon and 8pm will be in aid of Louie's Helping hands charity to help fund the Llewellyn School & Nursery for children with multi-sensory and physical complex difficulties. There will be face painting, stalls, a raffle, birds of prey, meet the Alpacas and Father Christmas, plus mince pies and mulled wine. Details here.


Friday, December 14 to Sunday, December 16

Taking place on the Holman's Field canal bank, visitors will enjoy a variety of exotic arts, crafts, clothing and jewellry. Food and drink will also be on offer alongside original Christmas gifts. The market is open between12pm to 8pm on Friday, 9am to 8pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

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