There are some super Christmas family days and events in Kent and East Sussex this festive season. Below is a round-up of some of my favourites which include local Tunbridge Wells activities as well as days out slightly further afield, Children’s Christmas workshops, family workshops and much much more! I hope it’s useful…
PLEASE NOTE – This post is from 2017. To read about 65+ Christmas family days out in Kent & East Sussex in 2019, click HERE.
♥ Let the Assembly Hall Theatre’s Aladdin in Panto take you on an amazing journey this Christmas. The thrilling story of a boy, a lamp and a genie, Aladdin is one of the most popular pantomimes of all. Taking place from 8th December to 3rd January, and starring Michael Greco (of Eastenders fame), BGT’s Jessica Robinson and CBBC’s Mark Rhodes, tickets can be purchased HERE.
♥ Check out Becky Boo Parties’ Children’s Christmas Party & Workshop on Friday 22nd December from 2-5pm. Taking place at Christ Church in Southboorugh, the kids will love getting involved in Christmas themed crafts and games. A terrific treat for the kids to kick off the festive holidays and an opportunity for mums and dads to have a few hours to get in some last minute Christmas Shopping or wrapping too! More info HERE.
♥ Visit Santa in his waterside grotto before hopping on the Santa Express train and helping the elves find the missing Christmas items at Bewl Christmas Experience on selected dates in December. Advanced booking needs to be made HERE. Don’t fancy cooking on Christmas Day? Bewl Water are also offering a magical Christmas Day Dinner at The Boat house Bistro on 25th December. Find out more HERE.
♥ Visit Batemans to see how creatures from Rudyard Kipling’s Sussex fairy tales are casting their magic around his family home from now until 1st January (closed 24 & 25 December). Look out for miniature handmade decorations and glowing doors. From cooking pine cones to crafty carpentry, turning books into baubles and lighting up fairy homes, there is no stone left unturned. The garden will also have a trail based on Kipling’s ‘Rewards and Fairies’ tales. More info HERE.
♥ Gather your friends and family and experience the thrill and exhilaration of Betteshanger’s Snow Tubing from Thursday 21st December to Monday 1st January. This is bound to get your heart pumping and adrenalin flowing as you speed down the 18m-long artificial slope on a large inflatable ring. It’s guaranteed to bring out the kid in everyone. Find out more HERE.
♥ Experience what Christmas meant to the medieval residents of Bodiam Castle in an immersive light and sound display from now until Monday 1st Jan (closed 24 & 25 Dec). Discover the roots of festive traditions, such as the importance of the twelve days of Christmas in surviving the long cold winter months. On select days, costumed actors will be on hand to guide you around the castle in a tour with a difference – be prepared to dance, sing and be merry! More info HERE.
♥ Help save Father Christmas at the Canterbury Tales Magical Medieval Christmas in a very special time travelling adventure for children. The Master of Revels will guide families through a series of festive activities on the medieval streets of The Canterbury Tales visitor attraction. There will be songs, games and dressing up, to get you fully into the Christmas spirit! Find out more HERE.
More of the best Christmas family days out and events in Kent & East Sussex
♥ Share in the memories of a Churchill family Christmas at Chartwell as you explore four rooms of the house decorated as the Churchill’s would have enjoyed. Take delight in a Christmas lunch in the café, follow the 12 days of Christmas family trail or just enjoy a traditional winter walk around the estate. Find out more HERE.
♥ Go on an indoor adventure at Clip ’n Climb – described as the place where climbing meets theme park for ages four and up, Clip ’n Climb is a popular choice for indoor adventurers since it opened in Tonbridge earlier this year. The Tonbridge centre includes 23 climbing wall challenges which look like SO much fun! This is a great activity for families to do together whether you are 4 or 44! No climbing experience is necessary as a full safety briefing is given for every session, and includes a 30 minute safety brief and harness fitting followed by an hour in the climbing arena. Sessions can be booked in advance HERE.
♥ If you could build a snowman, what would he be like? Cheeky, with a bowler hat and bow tie? Or sparkly with a glittery scarf and wings? At Creatables, anything goes! So join them this Christmas to follow a wintery story and bring your very own snowman to life! There’ll be a magical mix of exciting drama games, creative crafts, song, dance and interactive storytelling. The Tunbridge Wells session is on 22nd December while the Hildenborough workshops are on 21st and 22nd December. Find out more HERE.
♥ Enjoy Dreamland’s Frosted Fairground in Margate, filled with every Christmas trimming you can think of – including an Ice Rink, Father Christmas Grotto, lots of exciting rides and appearances from The Snowman and The Snow Dog. Open on weekends until 16th December and then daily (with the exception of 25th Dec) until 3rd January. More info HERE.
♥ Take the Emmetts Garden ‘Boise Family Trail’ and help them find their misplaced Christmas presents around the beautiful grounds. Pick up a trail sheet from the visitor centre and start your festive adventure. Don’t forget to send Father Christmas a Christmas card. Running from now until 3rd January (closed 24 and 25 December) from 10am to 4pm, it’s £1 per trail and normal admission applies. There’s a great little play area at Emmetts too, along with a teepee and log cabin with toys.
♥ The Drusillas Winter Wonderland Illuminations are a dazzling display of a magical wonderland scenes which are switched on daily at 10am. The official Light Show starts at 4:30pm when the scene comes alive as it synchronises to music. Young revellers can expect to see a host of magical creatures in the ice-capped kingdom, adding some extra sparkle to the festive season – from now until 1st January. Visitors will get the chance to meet two of Santa’s reindeers up until 23rd December and can also visit Father Christmas in his Grotto! Find out more HERE.
♥ EM Forster Theatre’s Aladdin in Panto, presented by Wicked Productions promises to be full of laugh out loud jokes, fabulous costumes, magical special effects and a ‘bazaar’ airborne genie from Saturday 16th to Saturday 30th December. You’ll love the sing-along songs and an astonishing flying carpet in this year’s spectacular family pantomime too. Starring Benidorm’s Michael Fenton Stevens, local favourite Tom Swift and the sensational Amanda Swift as the Genie of the Lamp along with Edwin Wright as the Evil Abanazar, tickets can be purchased HERE.
♥ The fantastic Freckles & Fire Funshop is back on Thursday 21st December with a selection of creative sessions for the kids including Foam Clay Creations (5+), Secret Gifting (6+) and Baubles of Beauty (6+) at Fine Grind on Tunbridge Wells High Street. They’ll keep the wee ones entertained while you can attempt to get some of those last minute job ticked off the never ending list! Plus they’ll have a lovely keepsake to remind them of Christmas 2017. Book your place HERE.
More of the best Christmas family days out and events in Kent & East Sussex…
♥ Groombridge Place’s ‘Merry Elfmas’ will be open to visitors between 10am and 4pm each weekend leading up to Christmas. Expect an exciting fun filled Christmas extravaganza with festive entertainment including joining the elves in their work shop, going on a Treasure Hunt and running through falling snow. There will also be Gingerbread decorating and a chance to make some Christmas crafts as well as several theatrical Christmas shows every day. Everyone can meet Frosty the cheeky snowman too! Find out more HERE.
♥ Visit Hever Castle’s History of Christmas Carols event and learn something new while walking through the beautiful rooms of the castle adorned with festive decorations and welcoming log fires. Discover the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ trail and wander through the illuminated gardens as dusk falls. Also check out the brand new Tudor Towers at the Adventure Playground! Each weekend and daily from selected dates, ride the carousel and enjoy vintage fairground stalls too plus meet characters along the trail and join a craft workshop to make an angel. Find out more HERE.
♥ For over 10 years, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has been spreading the Christmas spirit throughout London and it is back again this year until 1st January 2018. Winter Wonderland has grown into an extravaganza with ice skating, shows, roller coaster rides, street food stalls, festive bars and live music. It is free to enter the grounds and take in the joyous atmosphere and with over 100 spectacular rides and attractions, this sounds like a very fun day out in London! Tickets can be bought in advance for some of the attractions and shows HERE.
♥ Jump In Trampoline Centre is all geared up for the holidays with Christmas socks now in stock and a colouring competition running until 18th December. Trampolining is a great activity to do as a family, whether you are three or 33 – why not bring the children along to their pyjama party on Christmas eve too – tire them out so they get a good night’s sleep and Santa can deliver his presents easily! If you haven’t had a go at jumping, I can highly recommend it! Look out for their Christmas gift packages which can be purchased HERE.
♥ Kidenza’s ‘Musical Feast with a Wolf and a Beast’ is taking place at Sevenoaks School on Sunday 17th December. Enjoy songs from Peter & The Wolf as well as the Disney blockbuster ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at this family concert in a world premiere of the epic children’s classical music story now written in rhyme. This is a present day, truly contemporary way of learning the instruments of the orchestra, accompanied by fab imagery to give a 3D experience. Find out more HERE.
♥ Take part in the Knole Deer Trail and help Father Christmas deliver his presents at Knole Park from now until 3rd January. The trail will take you on a walk through the courtyards and beautiful Knole Park. Don’t forget to claim your prize at the end. It’s £5 per trail and suitable for children aged 10 and under. There are also Christmas crafts and workshops taking place in December which you can find out more about HERE.
♥ The magnificent rooms at Leeds Castle will be beautifully displayed with glittering decorations and fragrant pine trees styled around Christmas traditions, past and present this festive season – from now until 1st January (closed Christmas Day). Children can follow a free trail of Christmas puddings in selected rooms through the Castle, to be rewarded with a chocolate sixpence for joining in the fun. The Christmas Market will be taking place on selected weekends (10, 11, 16 & 17 Nov) and the opportunity to meet some of Santa’s real reindeer! More info HERE.
♥ The Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel Snow Party is taking place on Sunday 17th December from 12 noon to 3.30pm. This family friendly festive party is being hosted by the Christmas Elves with a surprise visit from a snowman! Enjoy a 2-course Festive lunch followed by two hours of children’s entertainment whilst you sit back and enjoy drinks with family and friends. Tickets are £20 per adult, £12 or children age 3-13 years and children under 2 for Free. To book, contact 01892 628 298 or email email@example.com. Find out more about The Mercure events HERE.
♥ Enjoy a special family encounter at The Reindeer Centre this Christmas between now and Christmas Eve. Visits to the Father Christmas Grotto only need to be pre-booked for Christmas Eve and visitors can stroll through the seven animated scenes before visiting the grotto. Afterwards, check out the animal barn, which is all undercover where you can feed the Reindeers and meet the farm animals. The children can let off steam in the popular straw bale ball pit, climb aboard the pirate ship in the sand play area and then have fun in the artificial snow play area too! Find out more HERE.
♥ Celebrate Christmas together at Riverhill’s Skating Rink & Cafe from now until Sunday 7th January. Enjoy a family skate in the daytime or one of the parents & toddler sessions or wait until it’s dark to skate under the stars. The rink and cafe are in a marquee, meaning you don’t have to worry about the weather and the rink itself is made of a synthetic ice, meaning it is eco-friendly and you won’t get wet! Find out more HERE.
♥ Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to see Santa in his grotto! There’s a super selection of options around Kent & East Sussex including Royal Victoria Place, Millbrook Garden Centre, Sussex Country Gardener and many more. You can read all about them HERE.
♥ Visit a veritable ‘woodland wonderland’ at Scotney Castle, with a family Christmas trail amongst natural sculptures around the garden. Make decorations to take home and visit the tree at the castle to make your wish. Taking place from now until 4th January, it’s £2 per trail and normal admission charges apply. More info HERE.
♥ I do love a visit to the Cinema and Odeon Kids is a good option as it is really budget friendly at £3.25 per seat and runs every morning during the school holidays and weekends. At the moment The Nut Job 2 and The Emoji Movie are showing but this should change as we get closer to Christmas. If you fancy lunch afterwards, the Hop House next to it has soft play and very cheap meals (though it may not be to everyone’s taste) and Frankie & Bennies usually have some deals too. Also Hollywood Bowl has had a recent re-vamp so may be worth checking out too.
♥ Temper Temper Chocolate are hosting a series of both kids and family workshops in December. There two hour sessions are designed for enthusiastic budding chocolatiers who would like to have a go at making their own chocolates. Most of the time will be spent in the kitchen, but there will be a break at the end for refreshments. The kids only workshops are on 22nd December while the family sessions are on 23rd and 24th December. Spaces are limited and need to be booked in advance by calling 01892 538758 / 07999 058820. Find out more HERE.
♥ Trinity Theatre’s Wizard of Oz is being performed from Thursday 14 December to Wednesday 3 January. This new production from the creative team behind the hugely successful productions of Oliver! and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, is a spectacular show for all the family. It includes much-loved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score including; Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Follow The Yellow Brick Road, If I Only Had A Heart and We’re Off To See The Wizard. Tickets which are from £16 can be purchased HERE or by calling the Box Office on 01892 678678
♥ The Tunbridge Wells Artisans’ German Christmas Market is taking place on Saturday (9th December) from 11am to 6pm. A brand new creative space bringing together over 30 local craftspeople in converted stables next to The George on Mount Ephraim (TN4 8AA), there promises to be lots of festive fun with a German twist as well as a Christmas decoration workshop and competition. Visit Tunbridge Wells Artisans right up to Christmas to find a unique and locally crafted gift. Afterwards, why not pop down to the Ice Rink and/or go and visit Santa’s Grotto and cuddle the biggest bear in Tunbridge Wells at Royal Victoria Place. Find out more HERE.
♥ The Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink has transformed Calverley Grounds into a winter wonderland and is operating daily until Monday 1st January 2018. With stylish skating, festive food and drink, music and Christmas shopping inspiration, there’s lots going on at the town’s star attraction. Enjoy skating in the splendour of Calverley Grounds, in a 35 x 20 foot ice rink and after your ice skating experience, you can enjoy refreshments from Basil Cafe.
♥ Take part in Tunbridge Wells Museum’s Saturday Craft Club: Victorian Christmas Cards drop-in craft session for all ages on Saturday 16th December. This is a free self-led session from 10am to 12 noon and 2-4pm. You could make a day of it and pop into Victoria Place to have a cuddle with Tunbridge Wells’ biggest teddy, visit Father Christmas at his fireside grotto or wander down to Calverley Grounds to the Ice Rink and festive cafe.
I hope you found this post about Christmas family days out and events in Kent & East Sussex useful. If you have any other suggestions, please do let me know in the comments box below!
For more exciting Events and Activities, check out the Events Calendar HERE.