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5 of the best Christmas markets in and around Kent to enjoy this December

Category: News

As December approaches, now’s the time to get into the Christmas spirit… if you aren’t there already.

Whether you’ve already got your decorations up and your presents wrapped, or you prefer a more organic (last-minute) approach, we’ve got you covered. With plenty of events and markets taking place in and around Kent, there’s ample opportunity to dust off your Christmas jumper and get in the festive mood.

Here are just five local events to consider this December featuring funfairs, festive food and a drink, and a trip back in time to celebrate a Tudor Christmas.

1. Canterbury Christmas Market

Taking place until 24 December at various locations around Canterbury, you’ll find more than 50 stalls featuring festive food and drink, and unique crafted gifts from talented artists and small local businesses.

You’ll also find live music, face-painting, VR experiences, and the chance to “Meet and Greet” Santa.

The fair is open:

  • Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm
  • Saturday 9 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday 11 am to 4 pm
  • Christmas Eve, closing at 4 pm.

2. Rochester Christmas Market

You’ll have to be quick if you want to catch the weekend Christmas markets in Rochester. Running from Saturday 25 November to Sunday 10 December, the market is located in the beautiful gardens of the English Heritage-owned Rochester Castle.

In the shadow of Rochester Cathedral, you’ll find plenty to eat and drink in the Bavarian food village, plus all the stalls you’d expect selling local arts and crafts and a huge fun fair.

As if that wasn’t enough for the kids you’ll also find the children’s Christmas Village, a new addition for 2023. Young ones will enjoy story time in Mrs Claus’ snug, cake decorating, and elf school. Note, though, that the latter is a ticketed event (£10 a child, aged 4 to 11) and must be booked in advance.

3. Christmas @ the Castle

Whitstable Castle plays host to its town’s traditional Christmas Fair over the weekend of 2 and 3 December between 10 am and 5 pm.

You’ll find more than 50 stalls in and around the castle and its grounds, selling Christmas wreaths and decorations, handmade gifts, and food and drink.

There’s also the chance to meet Santa in his grotto but be aware that you’ll need to book tickets for this in advance.

At 4 pm on Saturday 2 December, the cast of Mother Goose (The Lindley Players) will officiate the switching on of the lights followed by live music from the Kent Soul Choir. The event promises something for everyone.

5. Faversham Christmas Market

The following weekend (Saturday, 9 December and Sunday, 10 December), head to Faversham town centre to experience the special “Christmas Best of Faversham Market”. This will be held in Preston Street, alongside the usual Market Place Charter Market.

At the Christmas Market, you’ll find the best local sellers and producers of fresh goods, artisan decorations and gift ideas.

Sunday will be solely dedicated to festive stalls and with live entertainment as well as festive food and drink.

5. Ightham Mote Tudor Christmas

The National Trust-owned Ightham Mote is celebrating a Tudor Christmas throughout December, so expect a roaring fire and a hearty Tudor welcome, with feasting and entertainment.

There is a whole range of activities to enjoy in the run-up to the big day and into January.

Events run until Sunday 8 January although some finish sooner (allowing Santa a well-earned rest).

Inside the 700-year-old moated manor house itself, enjoy a sensory trip into the past with music, lights and smells, designed to recreate the history of a festive Tudor mass.

The kids will have great fun trying to discover the hidden mice dotted around the house and courtyard, before meeting Santa.

Father Christmas will be in residence on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 December with no booking required.

For the grown-ups, there are carols in the courtyard and a program of live music including from the Tonbridge Rock Choir.

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