Kent’s Christmas Markets
Warm your soul and brighten your advent at one (or all!) of Kent’s Christmas markets; the merriest of events to attend this December.
Kent is packed with bustling festive markets in the lead up to Christmas. With everything from traditional outdoor markets in towns to chalet-style huts by the sea, expect a plethora of independent traders promising visitors some marvellous artisan shopping experiences. Whether you are choosing gifts for a loved one, wanting to stock up your Christmas parlour with unique delicacies, or simply want to enjoy these special advent festivities that only come once a year, Kent is certain to be the place where you will find your yuletide treasures. From food and drink, clothes and crafts to jewellery, art, sweet treats and beautifully scented soaps (plus a whole heap of other things you’ve never even dreamt of), these indie traders and markets come in a diverse array, each one promising their own unique Christmas sparkle.
So, get ready to clutch a mulled wine to warm your cold hands as you fully immerse yourself in the sights, scenes and sounds that are sure to get even the most Scrooge-like characters into the festive spirit – right here in The Garden of England.
Rochester Dickensian Christmas Market
Loved for being one of the most atmospheric of Kent’s Christmas markets, Rochester has Mr Dickens to thank. Also known as ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’, Charles Dickens was a constant frequenter of Rochester, with the town appearing in some of his works. Although it did not feature in A Christmas Carol, the enchanting Victorian approach to Christmas floats through Rochester’s lamplit streets setting a spectacular scene. Located in Rochester Castle gardens, the Christmas markets are held over three consecutive weekends, from 25 November until 10 December, Friday to Sunday from 10am. It’s the ideal place to search for that special gift and those exciting stocking fillers by wandering around the many craft and trade stalls. Food and drink stalls are available to purchase hot and cold beverages, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and even Christmas trees and wreaths from Lydia’s Florist.
This year, Rochester Christmas Market is featuring a brand new Children’s Christmas Village. Mrs Claus and her elves have worked hard to bring your children a magical Christmas experience that includes Christmas stories in Mrs Claus’s snug, crafting their own Christmas decorations in the Elves’ workshop and decorating a festive sweet treat to take home. Tickets for the Children’s Christmas Village are £10 per child (ages 4 – 11). Adults do not need a ticket.
Whitefriars Christmas Market
An abundance of Christmas-themed Scandi-style stalls in Canterbury’s Whitefriars. The delicious aroma of festive treats and mulled wine fill the air and the visual spectacle of handcrafted ornaments, unique gifts and beautiful decorations instil the joy and sparkle of the Christmas season. Your journey through the market will be accompanied by the sweet serenade of Christmas carols and jubilant holiday classics. Santa Claus himself will also be in residence, and his enchanting grotto is the place to share your wish list and receive a special gift.
Festive Marketplace at Folkestone Harbour Arm
The ultimate market by the sea, you won’t get Christmas shopping closer to the ocean than at Folkestone Harbour Arm. Running every Friday evening and weekends from 17 November – 24 December, this yuletide spectacle will be the arm’s largest ever market, spread across purpose-built huts connected to the Goods Yard and stalls to create one large Christmassy oasis of independent makers, creators and designers, food and drink, and entertainment such as festive films, snow blizzards, live music and carol services. Building on the success of the past two years, returning visitors can expect more decorations, more free films, more entertainment, longer opening hours and even an opportunity to meet Father Christmas.
Reuthes Lost Garden of Sevenoaks Christmas Market
Running for the three consecutive weekends throughout December, Reuthes will be bringing some extra-festive sparkle to their usual speciality markets that they host throughout the year. All of these markets are free entry, free parking and dog friendly. The café is open for the duration for lovely foodie treats alongside some great festive entertainment.
The Pantiles Festive Market, Tunbridge Wells
Set against the iconic Georgian colonnade in the heart of the historic old town, The Pantiles Festive Market offers an array of food and drink, artisan goods and great gifts. Shops will be showing off their dazzling decorated Christmas windows while restaurants and cafés will have some delicious festive menus. Enjoy a hot chocolate or a mulled wine as you peruse the stalls, or if you want something a bit more substantial, sample the delights of one of the many street food vendors as you wander. With a host of seasonal themes, guest traders and ever-changing ranges from your favourite regular stalls, this is a fabulous way to embrace the holiday season in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Make your Christmas market trip to Tunbridge Wells even more Christmassy with a visit to SKATE at Calverley Grounds. Open seven days a week from Friday 1 December (closed Christmas Day), the outdoor ice rink and festive stalls are only a five-minute walk from the train station and town centre offering spectacular views of the beautifully lit park, creating a unique and special seasonal experience.
Christmas at Tonbridge Castle
Taking place in the grounds of Tonbridge Castle, this Kent event brings a winter spectacle to life with a range of experiences including a Christmas Market, an Alpine Bar, and an illumination light trail. This year, The Tonbridge Christmas Market has partnered with The TN Card to create something extra special with even more Christmas cheer for everyone. With over 30 traders each day, expect to be wowed by this fabulous array of stallholders, find Christmas gifts, foodie treats and more as you support the local businesses selling here. Tonbridge Christmas Market is open every day from 26 November until 23 December.
Tenterden Christmas Market
Coinciding with the switch on of the Christmas tree lights and located on the town’s charming High Street, the Tenterden Christmas Market will be bringing international street cuisine and artisan grocery foods together with ethically traded and handmade arts and crafts, clothing, jewellery and accessories, all ideal for Christmas gifts, stocking fillers and hamper items.
Faversham Christmas Artisan Craft and Gift Market
Having been a historic Kentish market town for centuries, Faversham has markets all year round but really comes into its own throughout the Christmas period as a true seasoned pro! On the weekend of 9 – 10 December, Faversham will host an extra-festive Christmas market with a fabulous selection of stallholders from across all the usual markets and other local market favourites over the festive period. This is a truly wonderful opportunity to shop local and pick up any last-minute gifts including locally made crafts, arts, artisan items as well as delicious food and drink alongside beautiful Christmas decorations and more. Faversham is also home to a wonderful array of independent shops, cafes and businesses, ideal for adding to your Christmas shopping experience.
Christmas World, Dreamland Margate
Christmas World is coming to Dreamland this winter, bringing whimsical fun and magical moments for the festive season 2023. Featuring a variety of attractions, activities, entertainment, food, drinks and more, Christmas World will have something to appeal to all ages. There’ll be specially selected rides, family friendly performances, magical grotto experiences with Santa, snowball fights and sleigh rides in Santa’s snowmobile and even ‘Steins By The Sea’ nights for grown-ups, too. Christmas World will be open from 11am to 6pm, from 15 – 22 December with later timings for evening entertainment to be announced.
Christmas at Broadditch Farm Shop
Experience Broadditch Farm Shop’s Magical Christmas Shop, a wonderland of decorations, festive lights and unusual gifts. A lovely festive addition to this Kentish farm shop, Broadditch will also host a Festive Food Hall, both to open daily until Christmas Eve. The Farm Shop will always have everything you need for your traditional Christmas dinner. You will find shelves bursting with an abundance of fruit, vegetables, condiments, dates, nuts, stuffing, cold meats, cheeses, cream, incredible Christmas hampers, festive cakes and lots more including goose fat for those delicious roast potatoes and chestnuts perfect for roasting.
Christmas trees will be available from Saturday 25 November. Two varieties of tree will be available: the Nordmann, a low needle drop tree with a silvery green appearance, and the Norway Spruce, a traditional tree with deep green colouring and a stronger pine scent. Hundreds of trees in varying sizes including some potted trees will be available together with tree stands and handmade wreaths. Broadditch will wrap your tree ready for its journey home, or they can deliver to your door for a small charge.
Visits to Farmer Christmas will also be on offer… Your journey begins when you climb on board the tractor sleigh and journey into the enchanted wood. Once there, you will be met by one of the elves who will lead you to Farmer Christmas’s cosy cabin. Inside the cabin, enjoy the wonder of meeting Farmer Christmas as he reads you one of his festive stories and gives you a Christmas gift. Farmer Christmas arrives at the farm on Saturday 9 December and will be in residence on selected dates and times up until Christmas Eve. Prices start at £14 per child and £4 per accompanying adult.