We have compiled more than 65 days out in Kent and East Sussex (mainly in and around Tunbridge Wells) between now and Sunday 5th January. So, no look no further for a huge variety of events and attractions offering everything from memorable days out for the whole family to an hour or two of kid’s entertainment while you take a breather!
PLEASE NOTE – this is an old post! To read the best Christmas family days out in Kent & East Sussex in 2020, CLICK HERE.
♥ We’ve checked Santa’s diary and made a list of the top destinations for seeing him in and around Tunbridge Wells this Christmas. There’s everything from traditional grottos to story time and from train rides to breakfast. Have a magical time wherever you choose!
♥ Support local organisations by shopping at the wide variety of fantastic Christmas Fairs in and around Tunbridge Wells. There is often entertainment for the kids, refreshments and lovely, unusual gifts for sale for all ages, that have been lovingly hand-crafted or sourced.
♥ After dark is the most wonderful time of the year to visit Bedgebury National Pinetum. Book now for selected dates until 30th December for Christmas at Bedgebury; a sparkling one-mile trail of lights winding through the trees, with brand-new installations for this year, that rise high into the night sky! Read out review from 2018 HERE.
♥ Little ones will love the classic tale of the Gingerbread Man brought to life with story time and crafts on 30th November and 1st December at Chartwell.
♥ Tunbridge Wells SKATE is back at Calverley Grounds until Sunday 5th January with a second pop-up rink for parent/toddler skating and Bavarian Curling, plus live music nights, wreath-making workshops,Carol-oke and plenty of places to grab a drink and snack.
♥ Frozen fans will love the skating experience with the Snow Sisters on Sunday 1st December at Tunbridge Wells SKATE.
♥ Leeds Castle state rooms have been transformed for Christmas with a twinkly collection of birds and festive feathers to enjoy. Every weekend on the castle lawn you’ll find the Christmas Market, traditional fairground rides and bandstand (until 15th Dec).
♥ Sometimes the simplest days can be the most enjoyable. You could always pop into Tunbridge Wells, have a hot chocolate in The Pantiles, wander up to watch the skaters at the Ice Rink and then drive around the local area to look at some lovely Christmas lights? Check out our blog post on where to find the best Christmas lights around Tunbridge Wells!
♥ Make a day of picking out your tree at Molly Dishwasher (open Fri-Sun until Christmas Eve). The pop-up shop will be brimming with unusual gifts, wreaths and trees alongside a café serving cake and drinks. Combine your visit to lovely Frant, with a countryside walk, pub lunch or run around at Minor Mania.
♥ Take a magical journey down the rabbit hole to the world of Alice in Wonderland, on selected dates until Christmas Eve at Hever Castle. Twinkling lights on the decorated trees in the castle, themed trail through the illuminated gardens and Father Christmas drop-in sessions.
♥ It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Drusillas Park. Santa is ready for visits in his cosy cottage, there are meet & greets with huskies, a light display in the arena, plus the usual animals, adventure play, Go! Safrai and Hello Kitty Secret Garden!
♥ Every Saturday (until 15th December) you can pick out your tree at Wilderness Wood and enjoy the Christmas Fayre; with arts, crafts, face-painting, music, forest school fun and hand-made gifts to buy.
♥ Follow the spellbinding Glow Wild lantern trail at Wakehurst, then make your own tree lantern and toast marshmallows over the fire pit – every Thursday to Sunday until 22nd December.
♥ There’s a whole host of ways for the family to immerse themselves in Christmas this year at Tilgate Park. From brunch with Santa, to grotto and elf workshops, a theatrical experience in the gardens, festive market and more.
♥ Standen House is entering into the festive spirit with late night opening in the gift shop and café, a musical Winter tree and twilight views of the house – decorated for a 1930’s family Christmas. Check for the twilight opening hours before you go.
♥ Meet the loveable, life-size version of Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea and take on the themed parkland trail at Knole this Winter. Pop into the café to warm up, admire the sparkling Christmas trees and join the carol singers every Saturday afternoon until Christmas.
♥ Wrap up warm and take the family on a Quentin Blake inspired festive, family trail at Nymans during winter openings. Four legged friends can go along too after 1.30pm.
♥ A trip to London to see the Christmas lights never fails to get us in the mood! You can easily fill a whole day, with so much to do, such as the Winter Markets including the South Bank and Leicester Square, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and pop-up ice rinks, to name a few!
♥ Follow the adventures of Nellie Peel, one of the first women to travel to the Arctic circle, and previous owner of Sheffield Park, on an exciting trail around the garden. From Saturday 30th November until the New Year.
♥ Watch the unveiling of a Victorian Christmas, meet Father Christmas and browse the mini-market at Ightham Mote’s festive season opening weekend, 30th November – 1st December. The decorated house, family trail and crafts are all open until 5th January.
More Christmas Days out in Kent and East Sussex to choose from…
♥ Daily from 30th November until 5th January you can take the family for some outdoor fun on the magical fairies trail through the decorated evergreens at Emmetts Garden.
♥ Step into Phileas Foggs World of Adventures this Winter! A fun packed immersive, live pantomime experience aboard the Polar Express, through 14 stunning sets, until finally meeting Father Christmas himself. On selected dates in December until the 5th January.
♥ Your pre-schoolers can have fun preparing the Christmas dinner on Wednesday 4th December at Feed the Brood’s Christmas Pudding Making at Langton Pavilion Cafe.
♥ Take the next generation of fans to a screening of ‘Gremlins (Re 2019)’ on Friday 6th December at Odeon Tunbridge Wells.
♥ Get together to watch the cast of the record-breaking Stag Theatre pantos perform Aladdin. A six-piece band, gospel choir and circus will add to the panto traditions we know and love, between the 6th December and 5th January.
♥ Explore the decorated house after dark, enjoy relaxed shopping, festive treats in the tea-room and tastings in the shop at Batemans’ Twighlight Evenings on Saturday 7th and 14th December.
♥ Imagine having afternoon tea with Father Christmas! Well now you don’t need to, because you can join him in Tonbridge Castle’s Great Hall on selected dates between 7th and 23rd December. Afternoon tea is supplied by The Old Fire Station and the experience includes a gift for each child.
♥ Father Christmas saves the day from a naughty elf at this panto-style storytelling at Penshurst Place (7th, 8th, 15th, 21st, 22nd December). After each performance, receive a sweet from the man of the moment, get crafty, have your face painted and enjoy the adventure playground, gift shop and café – Christmas jumpers and fancy dress very welcome!
♥ Visit Chartwell house to see rooms decorated for a traditional Churchill family Christmas on selected dates between 7th-22nd December. Then dress up warm and follow the 12 Days of Christmas Family Trail through the gardens.
♥ Escape to a magical Christmas-time by the sea at Dreamland’s Winterland Margate, on weekends from 7th December and daily between the 21st-31st (except 25th). Includes a winter market, yuletide crafts, free festive film screenings, a giant snow globe and some seasonal rides.
♥ Uncover a feast of Victorian delights, including costumed characters in wonderful Dickensian parades, open air carol concerts and Christmas market in the historic streets of Rochester, on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December.
♥ Suitable for all ages, especially those that never wish to grow up, is this year’s Assembly Hall panto, Peter Pan. This swashbuckling adventure has a cast of TV stars, plenty of family fun, spectacular sets, side splitting comedy and dazzling costumes – showing between 7th December – 5th January.
♥ The magic of Neverland comes to Tunbridge Wells SKATE with a one-day experience on Saturday 8th December.
♥ CREATE and FoGH invite everyone to their annual “Carols in the Park”, with carols, mince pies and mulled wine. Sunday 8th December at the Grosvenor & Hilbert Park from 2-4.30pm.
♥ On Sunday 8th December the festively decorated Spa Hotel is showing Home Alone at 1pm (12pm entry) with cookies and milk for the children, with an adult screening of Love Actually later on.
♥ For one day only, Dale Hill Hotel and Golf Club invites you to Pantoland with the family, on Sunday 8th December at 3pm, for Jack and the Beanstalk. Why not make a day of it and have Sunday lunch with Santa there too!
Some of the best Christmas Days out in Kent and East Sussex…
♥ Make memories with the family at an extra special Sunday lunch with Santa as he takes time out from his busy schedule at the stunning Salomons Estate on 8th or 15th December. Consider a decadent, festive breakfast with Santa on 23rd or 24th December or why not visit his magical grotto from 19th to 23rd December, which you can read more about HERE?
♥ Visit the pop-up Christmas chocolate shop at Temper Temper to pick up stocking fillers on Wednesday 11th December between 6-9pm or the following morning from 10-1pm.
♥ Head to The Oast Theatre and Youth Theatre production of Sherwood! The Adventures of Robin Hood, for some swashbuckling family fun in Tonbridge between 12th and 21st December.
♥ New parents can have their own Christmas party at the Bring Your Own Baby Comedy Festive Event at the Mercure Tunbridge Wells on Thursday 12th December at 11.30am.
♥ Back for a fourth spellbinding year, following last year’s smash hit pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk which broke box office records, Wicked Productions return to the EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge with the high-flying Peter Pan from Friday 13th December to Sunday 5th January.
♥ Get ready for a hilarious show full of fun and frolics, disco balls, a prancing rabbit and crooning cat at the Tonbridge Community Panto. The Queen of Hearts starts at 7.30pm on Friday 13th December in the Angel Centre.
♥ Your 0-6 year olds can visit Santa this Christmas at Gymboree’s Play & Music Winter Wonderland on Friday 13th December for 2 hours of non-stop fun – including an interactive festive themed pay and music session, party games, light buffet, and present from Santa in his grotto.
♥ Get ready for a high energy Christmas Show alternative to panto, with lots of audience participation at Trinity Theatre’s The Snow Queen, from 13th to the 31st December.
♥ Join Kidenza on their journey to rescue a lost ‘Santa in Space’ at this classical concert for kids, which will hopefully include a visit from the Big Man IF he makes it back in time! Held at Sevenoaks School on Saturday 14th December at 2pm, with an optional percussion workshop at 12.30pm.
♥ If nothing says Christmas to you like a great family movie ‘Home Alone (Bring Back 2019)’ is back in the Odeon Tunbridge Wells on Saturday 14th December. One of our favourites!!!
♥ Hear Mother Christmas read a special festive story, make magical reindeer food and watch out for Father Christmas with a gift for each 0-7 year old. Book now for 14th, 16th, 19th and 23rd December at Millbrook Crowborough.
♥ Create a homemade Christmas at Sussex Country Gardener by making your own Christmas crackers or tree decorations, on the 14th and 15th December. Read more about the children’s events at Sussex Country Gardener HERE.
♥ Ballet fans can watch screenings of theatre performances of seasonal classics, such as The Nutracker on Sunday 15th December at Odeon Tunbridge Wells.- part of the Event Cinema programme.
♥ All ages won’t be able to resist singing and dancing along to popular musicals and films sung by West End performers at the Stag Theatre’s Baby Broadway Christmas. Lots of interactive elements to keep little ones entertained, on Sunday 15th December at 11am.
♥ Who will take on Hospice in the Weald’s Speedy Santas at the Ho Ho Hospice Rumble? Run, walk or skip your way to the finish of this 5k family route in Tonbridge on Sunday 15th December, all for a great local cause.
♥ Catch this year’s highly anticipated CBeebies Christmas Show on the thrill of the big screen at Odeon Tunbridge Wells. Hansel & Gretel is a feast of family-friendly Christmas fun, including interactive content exclusively created for cinemas – the schedule is released a week in advance here.
♥ Join Hospice in the Weald and the Cottage Hospital Five Ashes for a special candlelit Choir Concert from 6.00pm on Tuesday 17th December, hosted by National Treasure, Len Goodman.
More Christmas Days out in Kent and East Sussex to choose from…
♥ Bring out their creative side and decorate a festive mug, bauble or plate at Millbrook Crowbrough with the help of Mother Christmas. Father Christmas will be popping in with a present for each child. Book now for the last few dates; 17th, 18th, 20th December.
♥ The house at Scotney Castle has been decorated for a very special visit from Father Christmas. He will be meeting little ones with a special present and photo opportunity by the tree on the 17th and 18th December.
♥ Are you like Buddy at Christmas or maybe you know somebody who is? Then you won’t want to miss the hilarious Will Ferrell as Elf on the big screen at Trinity Theatre on Wednesday 18th December at 6.30pm.
♥ If you haven’t yet tried a Gymboree or Puddleducks Class, you’re welcome along to the joint Christmas party at Gymboree Tunbridge Wells on Wednesday 18th December from 12.30-2pm. Book now for themed play, games and activities!
♥ Paulos Circus is visiting Millbrook Staplehurst for a Christmas Show with all the thrills and spills of the UK’s favoutite family circus, plus lots of Christmas cheer! Showing from Tuesday 19th December until Sunday 5th January.
♥ Keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours at a Creatables mix of festive team drama games, exciting interactive storytelling and crafts on Thursday 19th December at Hildenborough Village Hall. 4-8-year olds workshop at 10am and 8-12-year olds at 12.30pm.
♥ Keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours on the 19th or 23rd December at Temper Temper school holiday chocolate making workshops.
♥ The pantomime is coming to Speldhurst for a one-off family friendly performance of Jack & The Beanstalk at 4:30pm in the Village Hall on the 20th December.
♥ Magical adventures await in Wilderness Wood this Christmas! Book onto the themed forest schools – A Stick Man (21st Dec), Gruffalo’s Child (22nd Dec) and Snowman Making (23rd Dec).
♥ Make a magical Christmas fairy garden with Sussex Country Gardener on Saturday 21st December or a bag of festive sweet treats on the 22nd.
♥ Join the Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel for a fantastic Snow Party hosted by Mascot Moments Parties & events on Sunday 22nd December! The party is hosted by the Snow Queen and Princess with a surprise visit from a snowman! There’ll be two hours of children’s entertainment whilst you sit back and enjoy drinks with family & friends, followed by a delicious 2 course festive meal in the restaurant.
♥ Take your little fans of the railway along to the Trainmaster Christmas Party at Sunnyside Hall, Rusthall on Sunday 22nd December. You’ll find a room full of fun, including train tracks, fancy dress, crafts, ride on trains and a personalised Christmas bauble for every child to take home.
♥ Little ones shall make it to The Once Upon a Wish Winter Ball on Sunday 29th December at Salomons Estate. Extend the magic after Christmas, with a live show, games, singing, meet & greet with favourite characters, crafts, a gift and more!
Here’s a round-up of several blog posts which you may find useful too:
♥ 50+ Christmas Fairs in Tunbridge Wells and beyond – read the full post HERE.
♥ 50+ family days out in Kent & East Sussex – read the full post HERE.
♥ 50 things to do for FREE in Kent & East Sussex – read the full post HERE.
♥ 50 things to do in Kent when it’s raining – read the full post HERE.
♥ 9 of our favourite family walks in Kent and East Sussex – read the full post HERE.
And don’t forget to check out the EVENTS CALENDAR for lots of exciting events coming up between now and Christmas!