High Street shopping at its best

High Street shopping at its best

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Christmas Shopping & Christmas Markets in Tunbridge Wells

Visitors shopping for Christmas in Tunbridge Wells are in for a festive treat with dazzling shop windows, twinkly lights and entertainment making Tunbridge Wells the perfect place for Christmas shopping.

Whisk yourselves away on a day trip or a long weekend to Tunbridge Wells and you will be more than delighted with your festive stay.

Take advantage of the late night shopping opportunities on Thursday evenings until 8pm.

Make a weekend of it - have dinner, maybe see a show, go ice skating - with free parking available after 4pm from 17th – 22nd December you can relax in to the magical festivities with ease.

On Major York's road, the car park wil have free parking from 2pm - 7pm on the same dates.

Chapel Place, Royal Tunbridge Wells by D Hodgkinson
Photo: Chapel Place by David Hodgkinson

Shop ‘til you drop, late night shopping

Santa Claus arrives at Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre on 18th November when the Christmas lights go on and he snuggles up in his Grotto with his entourage of elves and presents! Free parking is offered so you have plenty of time to show your list to Father Christmas.

In December the shops in the High Street look extremely merry and traditional brightening up the dark Christmas afternoons.

Come along for a sparkling Christmas experience, with special offers, discounts, refreshments and festive activities.

Christmas Lights in the High Street, Royal Tunbridge Wells by D Hodgkinson
Photo: Christmas in the High Street by David Hodgkinson

Finalist in the 2018 Visa Great British High Street Awards, this area from the High Street through to Chapel Place including Castle Street, is the handy destination for hungry shoppers as some of the best cafés and bars are on hand to revitalise your shopping spirit!

Amongst them, there are delectable Italian and traditional British fayre to try, all for the sake of refuelling of course.

Also a Finalist in the Great British High Street Awards 2016 and 2018, the historic Pantiles is but a few steps away, an absolute must when you visit Tunbridge Wells. This year (2018), the Summer Jazz on the Pantiles festival has been nominated for a Beautiful South Tourism Award.

Be sure to take the opportunity to visit the traditional wooden chalets overlooking the ice rink in Calverley Grounds where crafts people exhibit and sell their exquisite products and gifts. Our Twin Town friends from Wiesbaden have a welcoming stall selling delicious bratwurst and gluhwein (German mulled wine) which is not to be missed either!

Traditional Christmas Shopping at the wooden chalets, the ice rink in Royal Tunbridge Wells,

The Christmas Shop at Penshurst Place will be open to welcome you for gift shopping too from the first Saturday in November right up to Christmas Eve. Late night shopping is every Wednesday from mid November to mid December, until 7pm. Enjoy the country air after shopping, and go for a wander or pub lunch.

Pop Up Christmas Sales

For a shopping trip with a difference, head to the gift shop at Pashley Manor near Hawkhurst.  Open in the last week of November and the first few days of December, from 10am to 4pm there will be a large selection of quality cards, decorations and luxurious presents to buy.

You’ll find plenty of inspiration as you work your way through your Christmas shopping list to find that special gift for family and friends. Entry and parking is free, mulled wine and mince pies will be on offer although the gardens and café will not be open. 

Visit the Pop Up Christmas Fair at One Warwick Park Hotel, on every Sunday from 4 November to 16 December. Purchase hand made gifts from small local artisans including jewellery, bags, soft furnishings, art and homeware at the newest hotel in town.

Local Christmas Produce

The special Tunbridge Wells Christmas Farmers’ Market will take place outside the Town Hall on Saturday 22 December from 9am – 2pm.

Pick up fresh, locally sourced seasonal food. Stock up on all the essential ingredients for your pre-Christmas, Christmas and post-Christmas meals. Buy all kinds of fresh meat, fresh fish, fresh vegetables and last minute handmade gifts too!

Orders are very welcome and taken in the run up to this market– just don’t forget to pick them up!

Near Hawkhurst, the Weald Smokery is an award winning smoked fish and meat producer with a beautiful brasserie to try out. They also offer hampers and gift packages for the discerning/difficult-to-buy-for relative or friend!

The Hartley Dyke farm shop is just down the road from Cranbrook which will have all kinds of fresh local Christmas produce, goodies and hampers to purchase.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Christmas Farmers Market by David Hodgkinson
Photo: Royal Tunbridge Wells Christmas Farmers Market by David Hodgkinson

7 Traditional Country Christmas Markets

The wider rural area has much to tempt you at this time of year. Explore the quaint settlements of Cranbrook and Hawkhurst with their ancient white wooden cottages.

There are a plethora of typical dainty villages and country pubs to warm you up with open log fires and an abundance of Christmas spirit not forgetting the all important bracing country walks!

We’ve written up a handy miniguide of some of the cutest Christmas markets in the country villages of Tunbridge Wells, an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!

  1. On 3 November, if you venture to Penshurst village you will come across a divine Vintage Christmas Fair  in the village hall. Only £2 entry, stalls will be selling clothes, jewellery, soft furnishings, “kitch”enware, tableware, furniture and many other vintage gifts. Live music from Miss Vintage, refreshments from Dolly’s Diner.
  2. 24 November will see the Cranbrook Christmas Farmers’ Market on from 9.30am – 1pm.  Following the usual monthly format but with gifts and Christmas goods to get you all stocked in time for the big day.
  3. On 25 November from 3pm – 6pm Paddock Wood Lights Up! A fabulous annual event with the Christmas Tree Light Switch On and Christmas Market. Free family entertainment provided by KMFM and local music and dance acts – join in the family fun!
  4. The Penshurst Christmas Market is on in the village of Penshurst from 30 November to 1 December.  This market is attended by small local businesses and it will offer a magical Christmas experience in the heart of this scenic village. There will be a variety of small stalls, choirs, bands, mulled wine, hot chocolate and hot food.
  5. The Brenchley Christmas Lights Switch On is 2 December at 6pm. Join the village celebration of the festive season and enjoy the merry-making, fairy lights and communal celebrations under the grand old oak tree opposite the ‘Palace’ of the Agincourt era. Legend has it that this is a 'palace' because a descendant of King Charles II owned it once upon a time.
  6. 8 December: In ye olde smuggler town of Hawkhurst, from 12pm-5pm, there will be very Merrie Yuletide activities in the form of a Christmas market and welcoming shops for your purchasing pleasure! A Christmas Jumper Competition, hog roast, festive drinkies and Santa’s Grotto! Such a pretty little town too.
  7. On 15th December, Cranbrook will hold its final Christmas Farmers’ Market of the year from 9.30am – 1pm. The indoor market has an average of 14 stalls plus special guest stallholders each month. Available at the market are vegetables, plants, honey, jam & marmalade, bread, vegetarian/ vegan meals, cakes, chocolate/fudge, coffee, meat, fish, wool craft, cards, natural cosmetics/ body products, art, rag rugs, silver jewellery, ceramics, candles, outdoor crafts, kindling wood, and of course Christmassy gifts!

Christmas gingerbread decorations

If you can’t make these dates, the local shops in the high streets of these villages, Royal Tunbridge Wells and Hawkhurst all have grocers, butchers and gift shops ready to welcome you.

Indulge in a long Christmassy weekend in Tunbridge Wells

Ease the pressure, stay a while longer and relax. With so many shops, things to see and do, there is some fabulous accommodation for seasonal Tunbridge Wells Christmas warmth.

Smart reasonably priced boutique hotels and homely B&Bs will help you settle in and enjoy the best of what is on offer.

All high quality, you could try the Mercure Tunbridge Wells HotelRussell Hotel, The Spa Hotel, Salomons, Hotel du Vin, One Warwick Park, Brick House B&B or Burrswood Guest Rooms amongst the many others on our site.

The Spa Hotel at Christmas in Royal Tunbridge Wells

Equally, if you are visiting as a group, family or friends, self-catering may be your preferred option.

Overlooking the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells, there is Plaisance which is a gorgeous Georgian Grade II property, home to 2 apartments. 

For more on things to see and do in the Tunbridge Wells area over the Christmas period see Tunbridge Wells is Christmas, What’s On at Christmas or contact the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tourist Information Centre.

map of the borough will aid you to orient yourself, see where these places are. For further information about these villages go to the Explore pages.

We hope you enjoy all that the Tunbridge Wells region has to offer and come back again soon with friends and family. Merry Christmas to you all!

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