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 and in Major Yorks Road Car Park from 2pm to 7pm on these dates.

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

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Number of items: 109

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  1. Add The Art of Trees at Bedgebury Pinetum to your Itinerary

    The Art of Trees at Bedgebury Pinetum

    Goudhurst

    Bedgebury Pinetum Florilegium Society are a group of highly skilled artists who volunteer their time to capture all stages of the life cycle of the Bedgebury tree collection. This unique outdoor exhibition has been created by the Florilegium with support from the Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum,…

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    1 Apr 2019 To 30 Sep 2019
  2. Add Annual Jazz on the Pantiles to your Itinerary

    Annual Jazz on the Pantiles

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    From May to the end of September, live jazz performances at the Bandstand on the Pantiles, every Thursday evening from 7pm. Bookmark to see the Jazz on the Pantiles acts for the coming year.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    2 May 2019 To 26 Sep 2019
  3. Add 24th Summer Exhibition at The Fairfax Gallery to your Itinerary

    24th Summer Exhibition at The Fairfax Gallery

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Fairfax Gallery will be holding its 24th Summer Exhibition at its gallery on the Lower Walks of the Pantiles. The exhibition will feature original contemporary art by established, award-winning and emerging artists.

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    24 Jun 2019 To 10 Sep 2019
  4. Add Maize Maze Challenge at Penshurst Place & Gardens to your Itinerary

    Maize Maze Challenge at Penshurst Place & Gardens

    Penshurst

    Back by popular demand, the Maize Maze this year features some new twists and turns, so if you think you cracked it last year, why not come back again and see if you can beat your time and find all the hidden checkpoints?

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    13 Jul 2019 To 1 Sep 2019
  5. Add Summer Sundays at Penshurst Place & Gardens to your Itinerary

    Summer Sundays at Penshurst Place & Gardens

    Penshurst

    Settle into summer with the whole family in the wonderful Summer Sunday events at Penshurst Place and Gardens.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    21 Jul 2019 To 1 Sep 2019
  6. Add Two of a Kind Art Exhibition at The Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society to your Itinerary

    Two of a Kind Art Exhibition at The Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society

    61, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells

    An interesting free modern art exhibition featuring work by local artists Linda Moores and Adèle Kirby. Influences include Africa, science, people and animals to name but a few. Framed and unframed works are available in all mediums as well as etchings and a variety of greetings cards. Late night…

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    17 Aug 2019 To 26 Aug 2019
  7. Add Local and Live at The Forum to your Itinerary

    Local and Live at The Forum

    Tunbridge Wells

    Local and Live is a fantastic music festival which takes place in Royal Tunbridge Wells each year over the bank holiday weekend in August from the last Friday in August to Bank Holiday Monday. The festival takes place at The Forum, well-known music venue, and features a wide range of music; what's…

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    23 Aug 2019 To 26 Aug 2019
  8. Add Milk Fest 2019 at The Milk House, Sissinghurst to your Itinerary

    Milk Fest 2019 at The Milk House, Sissinghurst

    Sissinghurst

    A full fat festival of food and music for all the family!

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    23 Aug 2019 To 26 Aug 2019
  9. Add Local and Live at Calverley Grounds to your Itinerary

    Local and Live at Calverley Grounds

    Tunbridge Wells

    2019: Local and Live is a fantastic free music festival taking place in Royal Tunbridge Wells over the bank holiday weekend in August. The festival will be at Calverley Grounds from Friday to Monday. Local and Live features a wide range of talented local musicians and bands; what's more, it is all…

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    23 Aug 2019 To 25 Aug 2019

    Venue

    The Forum, Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Calverley Grounds

  10. Matt Bridle at the Beau Nash Tavern

    Tunbridge Wells

    Enjoy a live performance from singer Matt Bridle at the Beau Nash Tavern.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    24 Aug 2019 To 24 Aug 2019
  11. Matt Brooks at The Great House

    Hawkhurst, Tunbrudge Wells

    Enjoy a performance from singer and guitarist Matt Brooks at The Great House.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    24 Aug 2019 To 24 Aug 2019
    From:
    6 Sep 2019 To 6 Sep 2019
  12. Joyride at The Bedford

    Tunbridge Wells

    Enjoy live music from band Joyride at The Beford pub in Tunbridge Wells.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    24 Aug 2019 To 24 Aug 2019
  13. Add Journey Through Time & Jousting at Hever Castle to your Itinerary

    Journey Through Time & Jousting at Hever Castle

    Edenbridge

    This August Bank Holiday Hever Castle will be hosting a series of re-enactments, stalls, a Jousting Tournament and much much more during their Journey Through History event.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    24 Aug 2019 To 26 Aug 2019

    Venue

    Hever Castle and Gardens, Edenbridge

  14. Add The Sussex Guild Craft Show at Pashley Manor to your Itinerary

    The Sussex Guild Craft Show at Pashley Manor

    Wadhurst

    This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase a variety of quality contemporary crafts from The Sussex Guild’s Craft Show at Pashley Manor Gardens.

    Type

    Sale

    Dates

    From:
    24 Aug 2019 To 26 Aug 2019
  15. Add Tunbridge Wells Farmers' Market to your Itinerary

    Tunbridge Wells Farmers' Market

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The New Tunbridge Wells Farmers Market features nearly 20 independent local artisan traders.

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

    From:
    24 Aug 2019 To 24 Aug 2019
  16. Cowboy, Corgirl & Astronaut Children's Party at the Mercure Tunbridge Wells

    Add Cowboy, Corgirl & Astronaut Children's Party at the Mercure Tunbridge Wells to your Itinerary

    Cowboy, Corgirl & Astronaut Children's Party at the Mercure Tunbridge Wells

    Pembury, Tunbridge Wells

    Join us for a back to school party with a difference with your favourite Toy Story Mascots. Hosted by The Cowgirl starting at 10.30am your children will have 2 hours of entertainment and sure are sure to have with lots of fun. There will be Lots of activities for them to do including face…

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    25 Aug 2019 To 25 Aug 2019
  17. Add Local and Live at The Spa Hotel to your Itinerary

    Local and Live at The Spa Hotel

    Tunbridge Wells

    Local & Live is a music festival taking place from the 23rd to the 26th August. One such selection of performances will be at The Spa Hotel on the Bank Holiday Monday, 26th August. Headliners are The Breretons.

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    26 Aug 2019 To 26 Aug 2019
  18. Add Summer Discovery Days with the Cultural Team to your Itinerary

    Summer Discovery Days with the Cultural Team

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Don’t be bored during the school holidays!

    Type

    Workshop

    Dates

    From:
    27 Aug 2019 To 27 Aug 2019
    From:
    29 Aug 2019 To 29 Aug 2019
  19. Add Meet Paw Patrol at the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    Meet Paw Patrol at the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Marshall and Chase from PAW Patrol will be on hand at the Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells, Kent to see his fans arriving on trains hauled by a steam or diesel locomotive on Thursday 15th August and Thursday 29th August. Standard train fares apply to this event and there is no additional cost…

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    29 Aug 2019 To 29 Aug 2019

    Venue

    Spa Valley Railway, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  20. The Informers at The Grey Lady

    The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells

    Enjoy an evening of blues and soul at The Grey Lady with the band The Informers.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    30 Aug 2019 To 30 Aug 2019

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