‘Tis the season to be festive - so why not explore the best of what Kent has to offer this Christmas from the comfort of a cosy Christmas cottage? From festive train rides to German markets, Dickensian themes to majestic ice rinks, there are lots of fantastic events going on throughout Kent at this magical time of year.
We’ve found some of the best things to do in Kent to ensure you have a cracking Christmas. Take your pick!
Christmas events in Kent
Take a step back in time and experience your very own ‘A Christmas Carol’ with this special celebration of all things Dickensian. This event has been a staple of Rochester’s festive calendar since 1988, and people return time and time again to browse the variety of stalls, sing carols, meet their favourite Dickens characters and take part in the candlelight procession, all to the backdrop of Rochester’s fairytale cathedral and castle.
- When: 7 - 8 December 2019
- Where: Rochester High Street, ME1 1LX
- Stay nearby: Ascot (sleeps 2)
Take a magical steam train journey through the countryside of Kent and East Sussex to meet Santa with this much-loved railway’s Santa Special events. Whilst on board the festively decorated carriages, look out for the elf helpers who will be handing out treats for children and grown-ups alike before the kids get to meet Santa and receive a special toy. Before you board, you can even enjoy unlimited rides on the Victorian carousel at Tenterden station.
- When: 30 November - 24 December 2019 (selected dates)
- Where: Tenterden Town Station, Tenterden, TN30 6HE
- Stay nearby: Pocket Cottage (sleeps 2)
There is all sorts going on at Leeds Castle this Christmas. Throughout November and December, they have early Christmas shopping, Christmas markets, wreath-making workshops, carols, a winter trail, The Great Pantomime Murder Mystery and the staterooms will be transformed into a ‘magical kingdom of birds and festive feathers'. There is a chance to meet Santa too, but he is very popular at Leeds Castle so be sure to book your slot ASAP.
- When: 9 November – 22 December 2019
- Where: Leeds Castle, near Maidstone, ME17 1PL
- Stay nearby: Windmill Cottage Annexe (sleeps 3)
Get ready for a magical journey into the world of Alice in Wonderland as the castle rooms take on a beautiful new look among log fires and twinkling Christmas lights. The magic continues into the grounds of the castle with illuminated gardens and a Christmas Wonderland interactive trail. Break away from the enchanting Alice in Wonderland and you will find Christmas shopping, delicious festive food, vintage fairground rides, the chance to meet the huskies and there will be plenty of visits from Santa too – booking required.
- When: 22 November – 24 December (see website for specific dates)
- Where: Hever Road, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG
- Stay nearby: The Coach House Tonbridge (sleeps 2)
Treat the whole family to some festive cheer, even the four-legged member. Santa Paws will be welcoming canines with a special dog grotto experience where they will receive a Christmas gift from Santa himself. There will also be a traditional Santa’s grotto where you can choose a fun-filled meal or breakfast and tea before little ones receive a gift from Santa. You are recommended to check before booking as the experience may vary at different garden centres.
- When: 17 November onwards
- Where: Notcutts, Royal Tunbridge Wells and Notcutts, Kent
- Stay nearby: Yew Cottage (sleeps 5)
More Christmas events in Kent
Father Christmas events in Kent: where to see Santa!
Set in the trees and snow, come and visit Father Christmas at his special log cabin in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Little ones will have a chance to write a letter to Father Christmas before a 10-minute meet and greet, receiving a gift to take home, and having a photo taken with Father Christmas to treasure forever. Tunbridge Wells will also be home to its very own open-air ice rink where you can enjoy some ice skating hand-in-hand and have a fantastic time out with the family.
- When: 15 November – 5 January 2019
- Where: Calverley Grounds, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1BT
- Stay nearby: Yew Cottage – Tunbridge Wells (sleeps 5)
Get ready for the ultimate Father Christmas experience; not only do you get to meet Santa but once inside the Big Red Grotto, there is an abundance of activities that ignite that festive magic. While you wait to meet the man himself, say hi to his jolly helpers, listen to Mother Christmas tell stories, write a letter to Father Christmas and enjoy the craft and activity sheets, balloon models, Christmas tunes and cartoons!
- When: 1– 23 December, 2019
- Where: Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6PY
- Stay nearby: Keyworths Apartment (sleeps 5)
Take a trip on the Land Train, driven by the Head Elf, receive a gift from Santa in his magical grotto and decorate some festive gingerbread too. While that keeps the kids busy, adults can grab a mince pie and sample some cider. Before you leave, don’t forget to pen a letter to Father Christmas and drop it off at the post office.
- When: 30 November – 24 December 2019 (selected dates)
- Where: Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3AU
- Stay nearby: Noah’s Loft (sleeps 2)
The 2019 Grotto will take on the timeless, festive magic of The Nutcracker and the Realms story which, beside the beautiful lake at Bluewater, will be an enchanting experience. Guests will be greeted by toy soldier guards who will give each child a golden key before embarking on a journey through the various realms, meeting all kinds of characters and taking on festive tasks before eventually reaching Father Christmas for a one-to-one greet with a gift and photos.
- When: 14 November – 24 December 2019
- Where: Dartford, Greenhithe DA9 9ST
More Father Christmas events in Kent
Christmas fairs and markets in Kent
Canterbury Christmas Market
Christmas comes to the historic city of Canterbury with a fantastic festive market with more than 50 German-style cabin stalls to check out in Whitefriars Square – enjoy barbecued bratwurst and a glass of mulled wine while shopping for gifts and decorations. Don’t forget to head to the Christmas Eve carol service in the grand cathedral to really get into the Christmas spirit!
- When: 22 November – 24 December 2019
- Where: Whitefriars Square, Canterbury
- Stay nearby: St Stephens Apartment (sleeps 6)
Folkestone Christmas Market
This year for the first time, Folkestone town centre will be adorned with festive lights and decorative garlands as it hosts its own Christmas market. There will be at least 15 wooden cabins selling decorations, crafts, and a chance for children to get involved and make their own baubles. A local twist will be added with food and mulled wine provided by the Harbour Arm.
- When: November 29 – December 22nd, 2019
- Where: Sandgate Road, Folkestone
- Stay nearby: Wren Cottage - Ottinge (sleeps 6)
Faversham Christmas Market
Four special Christmas markets will be incorporated into the Faversham market calendar to celebrate the festive period. The first will coincide with the town’s Christmas light switch-on, taking place from 6pm. The three events that follow will offer locally produced food and drink, festive gifts, carols, music and entertainment that will set a merry atmosphere for families.
- When: 23 November, 8, 15, 22 December
- Where: Market Place, Faversham
- Stay nearby: Blue Beach House (sleeps 4)
The three-day market will this year take on the magical theme of the much loved, Nutcracker, with the first coinciding with the Friday night lights switch-on and late-night opening. On Saturday the market will remain open until 8pm and on Sunday, until 4pm. You can expect artisan food producers, street food, Christmas gifts, festive crafts, Santa’s grotto, entertainment and a whole load of Christmas cheer.
- When: 22 – 24 November 2019
- Where: Tenterden town centre
- Stay nearby: Pocket Cottage (sleeps 2)
Against the backdrop of the fairy-tale Rochester Cathedral and Castle and coinciding with the popular Dickensian Christmas Festival, Rochester Christmas market will once again be packed with festive cheer and family fun. Like previous years, you can browse unique gift stalls, wander through the Bavarian food village, try out the rides in the funfair and be entertained by live performers.
- When: 30 November – 15 December 2019 (selected dates)
- Where: Rochester Castle
- Stay nearby: Sandown (sleeps 2)
Other Christmas fairs and markets in Kent
Christmas breaks in Kent
This beautiful Grade II listed oust house offers boutique-style accommodation in a quiet location in rural Kent. With plenty of space for a large group to spread out, it is the perfect base for a big family holiday. A games room with pool table, table football and dartboard will be sure to keep teenagers and older children entertained, while you gather in the kitchen or relax in front of the open fire in the lounge. Little ones can also burn off some energy on the outdoor swings, slide and trampoline.
This beautiful oast house enjoys a quiet countryside location with lovely walks right from the doorstep and easy access to attractions such as Leeds Castle and Hush Heath Vineyard. Sleeping ten people across five rooms, and with comfortable living areas, it is the ideal size to host a big family Christmas. The property also has a games room, which is sure to keep everyone entertained. Inside, you will find table football, table tennis, a TV, games console and a variety of board games.
This stunning luxury farmhouse is a rural idyll for a family Christmas in Kent. Stylishly decorated throughout with a combination of rustic charm and period features, it has everything you need for a big group to feel at home during the festive season. Situated between the villages of Marden and Goudhurst, you will be well served in the local area with gastropubs, bakeries, cafes, farm shops, butchers and grocers. With a whole floor of bedrooms specially designed with children in mind, you can be confident that this property is a great family-friendly option.
Book a Christmas break in Kent
Will you be indulging in any of these fantastic Christmas festivities? Take a look at our collection of Christmas cottages in Kent to find the perfect place to gather the whole family together this Christmas.