Ice Rink

Ice Rink

Calverley Grounds

Tunbridge Wells is Christmas

When the Christmas season is upon us, so the fairy-tale begins…

Tunbridge Wells serves up a fantastic selection of Christmas activities, events, gift boutiques, butchers, excellent choices of cafés, bars and restaurants offering you a premier destination for all things festive.

Join us in the countdown to Christmas via a few celebrations and trips along the way.  Read on as we show you where to go for a sensational start to the seasonal festivities.

Father Christmas Arrives in Kent

Father Christmas in Tunbridge Wells, Calverley Grounds - Darryl Curcher
Photo: Darryl Curcher

As Father Christmas has so many places to be, he and his friendly elves will be welcoming families visiting the picturesque Calverley Grounds in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Book now to see him on selected dates from 23 November to 24 December in his beautiful log cabin and witness the magical moment your little one meets Santa!

Ice skating in Tunbridge Wells

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 Christmas destination in the South East of England.

In 2019, there will be not one but two ice rinks! A tiny tots rink will be open all day for the pleasure of 2-4 year olds.

Skate at the Christmas Ice Rink with your Toddlers in Royal Tunbridge Wells by Samuel Taylor
Photo: Samuel Taylor

The ice rink is open daily from Friday 15 November to the Sunday 5 January 2020 (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 including wheelchair users, office parties, Para-Olympians and Olympians too!  There is an exciting new opportunity to try Bavarian Curling which is a great option for groups.

The Royal Tunbridge Wells Christmas Lights

It wouldn't be Christmas without Christmas lights. This year the lights will be switched on across town on Thursday 14 November. Make an evening of it and browse the local shops which are taking part in the Rotary Club Charity Christmas Shop Window Competition!

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

The annual popular pantomime provides sparkling festive entertainment, glittering sets, gorgeous costumes and bewitching special effects. Singing, dancing and plenty of audience participation provide fun and laughter for the whole family at the Assembly Hall Theatre.

The antics begin on Saturday 7 December so book well in advance and wake up to the Christmas jollies with Peter Pan starring famous actors Lloyd Warbey (Disney’s Art Attack), Holly Atterton (Nick Junior’s Go Go Go) and Paul Bradley (Holby City) until 5 January 2020.

In late November the Trinity Theatre is host to the Christmas Comedy Club, where the jokes have 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 on 30 November, 5, 6,and 7 December.

Santa’s Christmas Countdown is an interactive stage show for 2 – 7 year olds with singing and giggles galore on 24 November.

The old favourite Christmas ghost story, A Christmas Carol, will be performed for traditionalists on 28 November.

Trinity’s Christmas show 2019 is the timeless children’s story, The Snow Queen. This new musical production by Theresa Hawkins from the New Vic is directed by new Trinity Artistic Director Kezia Cole. Book tickets early for a performance between 13 December and 5 January.

On 17 December Trinity Theatre screens the definitive Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, recorded from the Royal Opera House. With a sprinkling of fairydust, dancing mice and snowflakes, the kingdom of sweets and a Sugar Plum Fairy, this enchanting ballet is the perfect Christmas treat. 

4 Country Christmas days out around Tunbridge Wells

Meet Santa at Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells

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

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 will have the opportunity to meet Father Christmas and receive a gift.

Even more entertainment awaits you at Tunbridge Wells West station including Santa’s Sleigh and a miniature railway!

Booking is essential, this sells out fast!  

2. At Penshurst Place, get creative and make your Christmas wreath, inspect the naughty and nice lists and see the toy prototypes before being led to the secret grotto where Father Christmas is waiting to meet his guests.

Check back soon for more information to come. Tickets must be pre-booked online.

Why not also pop into the Christmas Gift Shop from early November to Christmas Eve? Discover a treasure trove of gifts and festive goodies, also open for late night shopping on some evenings.

3. Fancy Christmas by the water? Let your little ones loose at the Bewl Water ‘Christmas Experience’.

This engaging event has a Father Christmas Grotto, Christmas parties, walks and other entertainment not to be missed. Running throughout December, check back soon for details.

4. Christmas at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest is a wonderland of Christmas illuminations.

By night, tread a fantasy path beneath the iconic trees as they are lit up in a multitude of colours in the dark. Fairy lights flicker in time to festive tunes, enjoy hot chocolate or mulled wine with marshmallows and be hypnotised by the shimmering shadows and sparkles.

Book in advance for dates between 22 November – 30 December 2019.

By day, walk in the gently undulating utopia of evergreen firs and pines.

3 of the best Christmas Concerts in Tunbridge Wells

Christmas Candles

  1. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio will be performed live at the Parish Church of King Charles the Martyr on 7 December at 7pm by 4 world class soloists.
  2. On 15 December, visit our lovely country village of Lamberhurst and hear Carols by Candlelight in the delightfully atmospheric Church of St Mary’s at 7.30pm. The choir of Royal Holloway will provide the Christmas carols in this year's Lamberhurst Music Festival programme - bringing beautiful classical music to the rural areas of Tunbridge Wells.
  3. The RTW Choral Society's eagerly awaited Christmas Carol Concert, an advent staple, is held in mid-December in one of the borough’s more intimate venues. This year in 2019, it is going to be at the stunning St Mary's church in Goudhurst.

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 browse the full What’s On at Christmas list and our Christmas Shopping and Markets page. For some advance inspiration take a look at the RTW Christmas Shopping Guide too. Of course the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tourist Information Centre is available to advise you too.

Getting here and getting around

Being situated in the West of Kent we are only an hour from London or Hastings by train. Trains are roughly every half an hour to and from these locations. More details are to be found on the main Getting Here & Getting Around page. 

Parking on Sundays from 6 October is £2 all day in the 6 main town centre car parks: Meadow Road, Linden Park, Major York’s Road, Great Hall Arcade, Crescent Road and Royal Victoria Place.

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

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