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 Christmas activities, events, boutiques, excellent choice of cafés, bars and restaurants, Tunbridge Wells is the premier destination for all things festive.

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

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.

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

The ice rink is open daily from Friday 16 November to the Wednesday 2 January 2019 (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 elves will be welcoming families visiting the picturesque Calverley Grounds in Royal Tunbridge Wells on selected dates from Saturday 1 to 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 18 November when Father Christmas takes up residence in his Festive Grotto under cover of the Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre.   Make sure you get there early to give Santa Claus your list!

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 magical special effects. Singing, dancing and plenty of audience participation provide fun and laughter for the whole family at the Assembly Hall Theatre.

Sleeping Beauty pantomime at Assembly Hall Theatre, Royal Tunbridge Wells 2018

The antics begin on Friday 7 December so book well in advance and wake up to the Christmas jollies with Sleeping Beauty starring famous actors Clare Sweeney and Derek Moran from Milkshake!, on until 2 January 2019.

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 on 6,7 and 8 December.

Their Christmas show is the timeless children’s story, The Wind in the Willows. This new musical production by Julian Fellowes includes brand new songs from Olivier award winner George Styles and Anthony Drewe.

On 20th December Trinity Theatre screens the definitive Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, recorded 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. 

4 Country Christmas days out around Tunbridge Wells

Meet Santa at Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells

1. The Spa Valley Railway is a winning day out the whole family can enjoy.

For Christmas, take a trip through the Wealden 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. Booking is essential, do note this sells out fast!  

Don’t forget to do ‘Spot the Snowmen’ out the windows as you chug through the valley.

2. At Penshurst Place, get creative and make some Christmas crafts.

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.

Tickets must be pre-booked online for 24 and 25 November, 1 and 2 December then open daily from 8th December – 22nd December 2018.

Why not also pop into the Christmas Gift Shop from 2 November to 24 December, 10.30am – 4.30pm? Discover a treasure of gifts and festive goodies, also open late until 7pm on Wednesdays from 14 November.

3. Let your little ones loose at the Bewl Water ‘Christmas Experience’.

This engaging event has a Magic Wishing Tree, a Magic Ice Rink, Father Christmas’ Grotto, and unlimited fairground rides. Running from 1st – 16th on weekends only, then 21st - 24th December and you will need to book on their website.

4. Christmas at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest is an illuminated wonderland.

Tread a magical path between the iconic trees as they are lit up in a multitude of colours after dark! Sparkling lights flicker in time to festive tunes, enjoy hot chocolate or mulled wine with marshmallows and revel in the shimmering shadows and luminosities.

Book in advance for dates between 30 November – 30 December 2018.

3 of the Best Christmas Concerts in Tunbridge Wells

Christmas Candles

1. The 9 December sees ‘A Traditional English Christmas Concert’ at Goudhurst’s Church of St Mary with RTW Choral Society and the Wadhurst Brass Band performing live from 6.30pm. Tickets are available in advance or on the door.

2. On 16 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 Clare College 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. Handel’s Messiah, now a Christmas staple, will be performed live at the Parish Church of King Charles the Martyr on 8 December at 7pm with guest soloists. Details and tickets are available via their website.

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. 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. 

Free parking is available after 4pm from 17th – 22nd December.

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

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  1. Add Christmas Gift Shop at Penshurst Place & Gardens to your Itinerary

    Christmas Gift Shop at Penshurst Place & Gardens

    Penshurst

    Get away from the high street this Christmas and visit the quaint Christmas Gift Shop.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    2 Nov 2018 To 24 Dec 2018
  2. Add Ice Skating in The Park at Calverley Grounds to your Itinerary

    Ice Skating in The Park at Calverley Grounds

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Ice Skating In The Park will return this Christmas season from Friday 16th November - Wednesday 2nd January.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    16 Nov 2018 To 2 Jan 2019
  3. Add Christmas At Bedgebury to your Itinerary

    Christmas At Bedgebury

    Goudhurst

    Discover a fantastic new Christmas light trail in the heart of Kent at the Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest from 30 November – 30 December 2018.

    Type

    Show / Display

    Dates

    From:
    30 Nov 2018 To 30 Dec 2018
  4. Add Father Christmas at the Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink, Calverley Grounds to your Itinerary

    Father Christmas at the Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink, Calverley Grounds

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Come along to the amazing open-air ice rink in Calverley Grounds, and you can visit our wonderful Father Christmas in his cosy, warm log cabin set in the trees & snow!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    1 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
    From:
    18 Dec 2018 To 23 Dec 2018
    From:
    24 Dec 2018 To 24 Dec 2018
  5. Add Father Christmas at The Llama Park to your Itinerary

    Father Christmas at The Llama Park

    Forest Row

    Come and see the "Real" Father Christmas at home in his cosy log labin at The Llama Park's Christmas Wonderland this festive season.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    8 Dec 2018 To 24 Dec 2018
  6. Add Sleeping Beauty at the Assembly Hall Theatre to your Itinerary

    Sleeping Beauty at the Assembly Hall Theatre

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    We are delighted to announce that our pantomime for 2018/2019 is one of the best-loved Christmas pantomimes, Sleeping Beauty.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    8 Dec 2018 To 29 Dec 2018
    From:
    9 Dec 2018 To 30 Dec 2018
    From:
    11 Dec 2018 To 18 Dec 2018
    From:
    12 Dec 2018 To 2 Jan 2019
    From:
    13 Dec 2018 To 28 Dec 2018
    From:
    24 Dec 2018 To 31 Dec 2018
    From:
    7 Dec 2019 To 7 Dec 2019

    Venue

    Assembly Hall Theatre, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  7. Add Santa's Grotto at Royal Victoria Place to your Itinerary

    Santa's Grotto at Royal Victoria Place

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Visit Santa's grotto in Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    10 Dec 2018 To 23 Dec 2018
    From:
    24 Dec 2018 To 24 Dec 2018
    From:
    19 Nov 2019 To 9 Dec 2019
  8. Add Christmas Show - Wind in the Willows at Trinity Theatre to your Itinerary

    Christmas Show - Wind in the Willows at Trinity Theatre

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to Trinity Theatre this Christmas!

    Type

    Theatre/Drama

    Dates

    From:
    13 Dec 2018 To 2 Jan 2019

    Venue

    Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  9. Add Santa Specials on The Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    Santa Specials on The Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Start your Christmas with a Santa Special experience on the Spa Valley Railway, running on various dates throughout December 2018

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    15 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
    From:
    20 Dec 2018 To 24 Dec 2018
  10. Add Pantiles Christmas Market to your Itinerary

    Pantiles Christmas Market

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Come along to the Pantiles Christmas Market for your Christmas shopping - gifts, food, drink, crafts and with live music on the Bandstand, enjoy the festive atmosphere...

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

    From:
    15 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
    From:
    22 Dec 2018 To 23 Dec 2018
  11. Add Christmas Experience 2018 at Bewl Water to your Itinerary

    Christmas Experience 2018 at Bewl Water

    Lamberhurst

    Father Christmas and his elves are returning to Bewl Water this December.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    15 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
    From:
    21 Dec 2018 To 24 Dec 2018
  12. Ho Ho Hospice Rumble

    Add Ho Ho Hospice Rumble to your Itinerary

    Ho Ho Hospice Rumble

    Tonbridge

    Join Hospice in the Weald for our Ho Ho Hospice Rumble around the beautiful grounds of The Schools at Somerhill and raise money for your local Hospice.

    Type

    Sporting Event

    Dates

    From:
    16 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
  13. Add Pop Up Christmas Fair at One Warwick Park Hotel to your Itinerary

    Pop Up Christmas Fair at One Warwick Park Hotel

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Come along to the Pop Up Christmas Fairs at One Warwick Park and find the perfect Christmas gifts or simply treat yourself!

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

    From:
    16 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
  14. Add Lamberhurst Music Festival - venues in Lamberhurst to your Itinerary

    Lamberhurst Music Festival - venues in Lamberhurst

    Lamberhurst

    This vibrant and varied celebration of classical music has been bringing "Culture to the Country" since 2003. The programme is packed full of high quality classical performers and helps to financially support St.Mary's Church, Lamberhurst.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    16 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
  15. Add Sunday Lunch with Santa at Hotel Du Vin to your Itinerary

    Sunday Lunch with Santa at Hotel Du Vin

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Kick off your Christmas with an indulgent gourmet Sunday Lunch at Hotel Du Vin this December.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    16 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
  16. Add Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Guitar Concert to your Itinerary

    Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Guitar Concert

    Tunbridge Wells

    Richard Durrant A Candlelit Christmas Guitar Concert with special guests Amy Kakoura on vocals and Nick Pynn on violin.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    19 Dec 2018 To 19 Dec 2018
  17. Christmas Circus Spectacular at Groombridge Place

    Groombridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The timeless magic of the Circus is rolling into town this Christmas and pitching its Big Top in the stunning grounds of Groombridge Place.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    20 Dec 2018 To 23 Dec 2018
    From:
    27 Dec 2018 To 30 Dec 2018
  18. Add Christmas Special Tunbridge Wells Farmers' Market to your Itinerary

    Christmas Special Tunbridge Wells Farmers' Market

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Held outside the Town Hall, centrally in the heart of the town, this Christmas Special Farmers' Market provides a good source of local fresh food and gifts, from 9am to 2pm.

    The market is normally held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month, and will return on Saturday, 12th January 2019.

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

    From:
    22 Dec 2018 To 22 Dec 2018
  19. Add Carols by Candlelight at Church of King Charles the Martyr to your Itinerary

    Carols by Candlelight at Church of King Charles the Martyr

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    A musical celebration of the Christmas season.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    23 Dec 2018 To 23 Dec 2018
  20. Add Christmas Eve Dinner & Jazz at The Spa Hotel to your Itinerary

    Christmas Eve Dinner & Jazz at The Spa Hotel

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    This Christmas Eve we are hosting a 3 course dinner with live jazz music from The Violet Jive.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    24 Dec 2018 To 24 Dec 2018

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