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Ice Rink

Ice Rink

Calverley Grounds

Tunbridge Wells is Christmas

When the Christmas season is upon us, so the magic begins…

With its fantastic selection of shops, excellent choice of cafés, bars and restaurants, and so many Christmas events taking place and things to do, Tunbridge Wells is the premier destination for all things festive.

The countdown to the celebrations starts here, so read on as we show you where to go for a magical start to the seasonal festivities.

Get your skates on

“The ice rink in Calverley Grounds is a sign that Christmas is coming! A skating trip is fast becoming part of the Christmas ritual”

Set in the magnificent amphitheatre of Calverley Grounds in the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells, and suffused with sparkling festive lights, the beautiful winter real ice rink is a firm favourite festive destination.

Skating at the Ice Rink in Tunbridge Wells by Jez Timms
Photo: Jez Timms

The ice rink is open daily from 17 November to the Monday 1st January (closed Christmas Day).  You will need to book now as this is an extremely popular attraction, so hurry, grab your skates and take a twirl around the ice.

This is arguably one of the most fun nights out at Christmas in Royal Tunbridge Wells, everyone is welcome: families, couples, friends, kids, all abilities, office parties, Para-Olympians and Olympians too!

As Father Christmas has so many places to be he and his friendly eleves will be welcoming families visiting the picturesque Calverley Grounds ice rink in Royal Tunbridge Wells on selected dates from Saturday 2nd December to Sunday 24th December. Book now to see him in his beautiful log cabin.

Calverley Ground Ice Rink at night by David Hodgkinson
Photo: David Hodgkinson

The Royal Tunbridge Wells Christmas Lights

It wouldn't be Christmas without the Christmas lights. This year the lights will be switched on across town on Sunday 19 November when Father Christmas takes up residence in his Festive Grotto under cover of Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre.   Make sure you get there early to give Santa Claus your list!

Getting here and getting around

In celebration of the arrival of Santa Claus on 19 November, parking will be free from 10am to 5pm across the borough in the Council’s car parks.

In December, there will be free parking after 4pm from Monday 18 to Saturday 23 December 2017.

You can also use the Southeastern train services to visit Royal Tunbridge Wells, roughly every half an hour from London and Hastings and taking just under an hour to arrive.

The buses continue as usual. More details are to be found at Getting Here & Getting Around

Pantomime season is well and truly upon us….oh yes it is!

Christmas isn’t complete without a visit to the pantomime at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

The annual popular pantomime provides sparkling festive entertainment, glittering sets, gorgeous costumes and an all star cast. Singing and dancing and plenty of audience participation provide fun and laughter for the whole family.

Aladdin at the Assembly Halls Theatre

The antics begin on Friday 8th December so book well in advance and climb on board the magic carpet for a thrilling adventure about a boy, his lamp and a genie.  Michael Greco stars this year in Aladdin until 3 Jan 2018.

In early December the Trinity Theatre is host to the Christmas Comedy Café, where the comedy has a festive feel good factor. There is a great comedic line up waiting to get you in the Christmas spirit during a laughter-filled evening.

Their Christmas show is the timeless musical fantasy, The Wizard Of Oz. This new production which includes all the favourite songs from the original movie score Follow The Yellow Brick Road, If I only Had A Heart and the Oscar winning Somewhere Over the Rainbow, will appeal to everyone, both young and old.

On 21st December Trinity Theatre screens the definitive Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, recorded live from the Royal Opera House. With a sprinkling of magic, dancing mice and snowflakes, the kingdom of sweets and a Sugar Plum Fairy, this enchanting ballet is the perfect Christmas treat. 

Christmas days out around Tunbridge Wells

For a day out that the whole family can enjoy take a trip through the Wealden countryside on one of the Spa Valley Railway Santa Specials. 

Meet Santa at Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells

The jollity starts at Eridge Station. Before joining the train pop into the Waiting Room where two face painters will be waiting to decorate your cheeks with Christmas trees or snowmen!

Visitors meet Santa Claus and his elves on board the special Santa steam train. All children (aged 2 -10 years) will have the opportunity to meet Father Christmas and receive a gift. Booking is essential.  

Don’t forget to look out for the snowmen as you pass through Groombridge.

At Penshurst Place, get creative and make some Christmas cards and decorations before Mrs Beaver takes you deep in to the enchanted forest of Narnia, where Father Christmas is waiting in his sleigh to meet in his guests.

Tickets are available from September and must be pre-booked online.

Tickets for the grotto will be available for weekends only from 25th November - 10th December. Daily from 11th December - 23rd December

While you wait to meet Father Christmas pop into the Christmas Gift Shop from 3 November to 24 December, 10.30am – 4.30pm, a treasure of gifts  and festive goodies.

Let your little ones loose to help save Christmas at the Bewl Water ‘Christmas Experience’.

This engaging event involves lost Christmas treasure, a magic map, the Santa Express and a trip on the water sailing on the Bewl Belle Ferry in a race to find the missing Christmas items that have been lost! It runs from 9th–24th December and you will need to book on their website.

Christmas Concerts in Tunbridge Wells

Christmas Candles

The Big Christmas Sing is being held at the Assembly Hall Theatre on 1 December at 5.30pm. Get into the Christmas spirit alongside the Glyndebourne musicians as traditional favourites and songs from popular seasonal films lull you into a festive trance filled with the sweet melodic voices of over 200 primary school children.

On 10 December, visit our lovely country village of Lamberhurst and hear Carols by Candelight in the delightfully atmospheric Church of St Mary’s at 7.30pm. The choir of Sidney Sussex College will provide the rousing Christmas carols in this year's Lamberhurst Music Festival programme - bringing beautiful classical music to the rural areas of Tunbridge Wells.

The Family Christmas Concert at the Church of King Charles the Martyr, with the King Charles Singers in mid December is a concert of Christmas classics.  An uplifting experience leaving you joyously rejuvenated to revel in the rest of the season.

With so much going on throughout the festive season, it is going to be a very special Christmas indeed.

For further information on things to see and do in the Tunbridge Wells area over the Christmas period, please see the What’s On list and our Christmas Shopping page. Of course the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tourist Information Centre is available to advise you too.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a magical stay here from us at the Tunbridge Wells Tourism Team.

External links

TunbridgeWellsatChristmas – for the ice rink and Santa’s grotto

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