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: 68

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

    The Art of Trees at Bedgebury Pinetum

    Cranbrook

    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 'Threading France and beyond' - Ann Dunbar Exhibition at GC Gallery to your Itinerary

    'Threading France and beyond' - Ann Dunbar Exhibition at GC Gallery

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Come to GC Gallery for an exclusive solo exhibition featuring Ann Dunbar's accomplished works

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    12 Jun 2019 To 12 Jul 2019
  4. Add Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival at The Nevill Ground to your Itinerary

    Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival at The Nevill Ground

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The annual Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival takes place at the Nevill Cricket Ground.

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    17 Jun 2019 To 20 Jun 2019
  5. Add Father's Day Offer on Clay Pigeon Shooting to your Itinerary

    Father's Day Offer on Clay Pigeon Shooting

    Off Pearsons Green Road, Brenchley

    Spend the day with Dad improving your shot at clays in rural Brenchley.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    17 Jun 2019 To 21 Jun 2019
  6. Add Local & Live Sessions at Trinity Theatre to your Itinerary

    Local & Live Sessions at Trinity Theatre

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Paul Dunton presents the ever-popular Local & Live Sessions at Trinity, which showcase the very best artists from Kent and Sussex every month. Featuring Infrared and Kirsty Virgoe on June 22 2019.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    22 Jun 2019 To 22 Jun 2019

    Venue

    Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  7. 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:
    22 Jun 2019 To 22 Jun 2019
  8. Add Nic Bennett at the Grey Lady to your Itinerary

    Nic Bennett at the Grey Lady

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Come and see solo/acoustic performer Nic Bennett at The Grey Lady on Friday 28th June

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    28 Jun 2019 To 28 Jun 2019
  9. Choral concert 'Music from the Shows'

    Add Choral concert 'Music from the Shows' to your Itinerary

    Choral concert 'Music from the Shows'

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Tunbridge Wells Choral Society presents a concert of 'Music from the Shows' including songs from Les Miserables, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Guys & Dolls, and featuring music from Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Conducted by Robyn Sevastos. Interval refreshments. Concert…

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    30 Jun 2019 To 30 Jun 2019
  10. Add Chiddingstone Castle Summer Vintage Fair to your Itinerary

    Chiddingstone Castle Summer Vintage Fair

    Edenbridge

    Celebrating its Fifth year, the Chiddingstone Castle Summer Vintage Fair takes place on Sunday 30th June in the Castle grounds from 11 till 4.30.

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

    From:
    30 Jun 2019 To 30 Jun 2019
  11. Add Paul Dunton & Guests at the Grey Lady to your Itinerary

    Paul Dunton & Guests at the Grey Lady

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Come and see Paul Dunton & Guests perform on Wednesday 3rd July.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    3 Jul 2019 To 3 Jul 2019
  12. Add RSC Live: Taming of the Shrew at Trinity Theatre to your Itinerary

    RSC Live: Taming of the Shrew at Trinity Theatre

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live transmission from Royal Shakespeare Theatre,Stratford-Upon-Avon. A modern take on the classic energetic comedy of gender and materialism.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    3 Jul 2019 To 3 Jul 2019

    Venue

    Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  13. Add Jazz on the Pantiles featuring Jivin' Miss Daisy 6 Piece Band to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles featuring Jivin' Miss Daisy 6 Piece Band

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live Music on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm during the Summer.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    4 Jul 2019 To 4 Jul 2019
  14. Acoustic Varlies at Beau Nash

    Add Acoustic Varlies at Beau Nash to your Itinerary

    Acoustic Varlies at Beau Nash

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live music at the Beau Nash

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    6 Jul 2019 To 6 Jul 2019
  15. Add Duran at The Forum to your Itinerary

    Duran at The Forum

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    A tribute to 80s band Duran Duran

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    6 Jul 2019 To 6 Jul 2019

    Venue

    The Forum, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  16. Add Pantiles Market to your Itinerary

    Pantiles Market

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Pantiles Market is held on the first and third weekend of each month - combining hot food and seasonal local produce with a broad selection of artisan crafts, gifts, clothing and accessories.local produce, tasty treats, designer clothes and artisan crafts

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

    From:
    6 Jul 2019 To 7 Jul 2019
    From:
    20 Jul 2019 To 21 Jul 2019
  17. Add Paul Dunton & Guests at the Grey Lady to your Itinerary

    Paul Dunton & Guests at the Grey Lady

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Paul Dunton & Guests present an special candlelit night of outstanding local musicians with a range of musical styles and genres at the intimate Grey Lady music lounge on The Pantiles.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    7 Jul 2019 To 7 Jul 2019
  18. Add Support Local Summer Fair at One Warwick Park Hotel to your Itinerary

    Support Local Summer Fair at One Warwick Park Hotel

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    "Support Local" Pop Up Market showcasing the best of local producers and independent business owners.  Many of whom have a strong online presence, but still lack the budget required to rent physical shop space in the town in which to display their products. Come and meet the producers and have the…

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

    From:
    7 Jul 2019 To 7 Jul 2019
  19. Add Tunbridge Wells Mela Festival at Calverley Grounds to your Itinerary

    Tunbridge Wells Mela Festival at Calverley Grounds

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    A wide range of culturally diverse artists will be performing at the 14th Tunbridge Wells Mela Festival, alongside a creative arts zone plus food and drink from around the world.

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    7 Jul 2019 To 7 Jul 2019
  20. Add Jazz on the Pantiles featuring J-Sonics to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles featuring J-Sonics

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live Music on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm during the Summer.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    11 Jul 2019 To 11 Jul 2019

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