Picture book villages in the snow

Picture book villages in the snow

by Darryl Curcher

Tunbridge Wells is Christmas

Welcome to our winter wonderland...

This year it feels like we need to make Christmas extra special and spend quality time reconnecting with our loved ones. We certainly have plenty of space to breathe in our great outdoors in Tunbridge Wells

We can serve up a fantastic selection of glorious Christmas countryside strolls, excellent takeaway choices of cafés, bars and restaurants offering you a premier choice for festive food and drink.

Read on as we show you where to go for a sensational trip into the seasonal festivities.

Christmas Lights in Royal Tunbridge Wells

Visit the town also to admire the Christmas lights and the snowman which are providing the residents with much needed joy in 2020. Take a selfie with the snowman in Fiveways like so many others who've have shared their pictures online!

Christmas Lights in Royal Tunbridge Wells | Collins the Jewellers

Country Christmas days out around Tunbridge Wells

The glorious landscape which characterises the borough of Tunbridge Wells is the perfect backdrop for creating special memories this year.

Sunset strolls in the country | near Tunbridge Wells

Whether you’re are seeking a challenge, or simply looking to cancel out the Christmas calories and escape the indoor fuggy feeling, the area contains both extensive walking trails and pretty, undulating rambles that won’t push you unnecessarily.

Our walking page has a number of route suggestions. Feel free to have a browse so you can make the most of this High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which covers 70% of our region and provides a protected status for this unique patch of England.

Some of the finest gardens and grounds are open and promise to add some Christmas sparkle to your seasonal strolls.

Winter at Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst, Tunbridge Wells
Photo: Bedgebury Pinetum

Spend a wonderful few hours walking in one of the most popular natural attractions run by Forestry England, Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest. Read our blog ‘Walking in a Year Long Wonderland’ to see what a treat is in store for you.

Scotney Castle in winter, Tunbridge Wells. Photo: Darryl CurcherA short drive from here, near the village of Lamberhurst is Scotney Castle. With its stunning grounds, medieval castle ruins, and handsome house, this National Trust owned property is a true fairy tale setting for a festive visit this winter.  Grounds only are open daily until 3rd January 2021. Tickets have to be booked in advance and are made available every Friday.

The tea room with seasonal treats will be open for takeaways too. The house unfortunately will have to remain closed due to government restrictions.

Also in the borough, near the charming village of Goudhurst, Sissinghurst Castle Garden has a rich history.  It has been (amongst other things) a family home to a host of fascinating characters, most famously writer Vita Sackville-West, who during the 1930’s, alongside her husband Harold transformed its grounds into the world renowned gardens that exist today.

The grounds are open daily from 9th November, with the Granary Restaurant serving take away refreshments. Pre-bookable tickets will be available for the following weeks on Fridays. The Tower, Long Library, South Cottage, Coffee Shop and Exhibition will have to remain closed. Dogs on leads are welcome in the wider grounds but not in the formal gardens.

A little further afield, Hever Castle is all decked out and ready for your visit.  From the Peter Pan trail in their magnificent grounds, to the illuminated walkways after dark, all the family will be filled with Christmas wonder.  As all activities are outdoors, Hever is open for Christmas until 3 January.Pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment.

Christmas Shopping in Tunbridge Wells

The region of Tunbridge Wells is brimming full of fantastic independent boutiques, shops and delis packed with perfect gifts for your loved ones this Christmas.  Whilst you may not be able to visit them in person, many are offering fantastic online services. Just take a look at this Christmas Shopping guide and also browse our Shopping page for full listings.

Hawkhurst Christmas Market is going ahead in the southern Weald area of the borough and will have beautiful hand made goodies to purchase for some unique presents this year.

Royal Tunbridge Wells High Street Christmas Lights | RTWT BID - R Bainbridge
Credit: R Bainbridge

Fenwick’s department store in Royal Victoria Place has launched their brand new Concierge Services exclusively for Christmas 2020.  They are offering a full delivery service for your online purchases, a bespoke Virtual Personal Shopping experience, and a Gift Service which will handpick your chosen gifts for you from instore, wrap and deliver to your door!  Why not go the whole hog and treat yourself to The Ultimate Fenwick Tree?  Simply describe your chosen theme and they will deliver the full package complete with decorations and the tree.

Set against the iconic Georgian colonnade in heart of the historic old town, The Pantiles Market offers an array of food & drink, artisan goods and great gifts.  They will be setting out their festive fare on weekends (10am to 4pm) from 5th & 6th December to the 19th & 20th December.

The Cranbrook Christmas farmers' market will be taking place on Saturday 19 December from 9.30am – 1pm. It is packed full of local produce and gifts including vegan, vegetarian, gluten- and lactose-free products as well.

Meet Father Christmas online or at home

There are three new magical opportunities this year to meet Father Christmas: at your home, in your street (Tunbridge Wells only) and via ZOOM.

Father Christmas at your door in Royal Tunbridge Wells | D Curcher

We highly recommend re-confirming events nearer your timeslots. 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 of course the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tourist Information Centre is available to advise you remotely too. The office is currently shut to visitors.

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 is £2 all day in the 5 main town centre car parks and free after 3pm Monday - Friday.

Remember to familiarise yourselves with the current government guidelines which you can view on our COVID19 update.

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

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