Let there be lights: Christmas lights are starting to sparkle across the county. Make sure you grab a slice of the festive fun with our guide to switch-ons near you. By Angela Cole
It’s time to sparkle as Christmas lights switch on around the county.
WESTWOOD CROSS, BROADSTAIRS
The celebration on Friday, November 17 will be hosted by kmfm’s Garry
Wilson and Laura Nevitt and panto stars from the Theatre Royal Margate, and features special guests from 4pm. Love Island favourites Gabby and Marcel will be joined by X Factor girl
band Lemonade, retro girl-group Hotsy Totsy and pop-rock covers band Exit Strategy. The winner of the shopping centre’s Summer Party’s Little Stars talent show Kelsie Bissett will perform. You can take part in a name the reindeer competition and post letters to Santa. The switch-on is at 6pm.
Dartford town centre’s Big Christmas Lights Switch-on takes place on Saturday, November 18 and will be performed by the Mayor and star of the Orchard Theatre panto Cinderella Louie Spence at 5.15pm. From 2pm, the build-up starts with performances from Five After Midnight, other panto stars and acts and entertainment on stage in the High Street. There will be a treasure hunt around the town with prizes.
HEMPSTEAD VALLEY, GILLINGHAM
A 25ft Christmas tree will be outside Marks & Spencer. Father Christmas will be in his grotto on Saturday, November 18 at
Gabby from Love Island will be helping with the celebrations at Westwood Cross 1.30pm, when he will be joined by kmfm’s Garry and Dame Nellie Night
Nurse from the Central Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty. The grotto will be open daily until Christmas Eve. Children can also post letters to Santa until Wednesday, December 20. There is a carol concert on Sunday, December 10 and a gift fair from Monday, November 20 to Sunday, December 3. Go to hempstead valley.com.
The town’s Christmas programme will begin with the lights switch-on and community parade on Friday, November 17. Gravesend Borough Market is holding its second festive season since reopening last year with a four-week extravaganza of Christmas Frost Fairs. Panto star Linda Lusardi will open a special market that evening and the Frost Fairs will begin the following weekend.
The lights go on on Friday, November 17 with former Hollyoaks star Andy Moss and the mayor pressing the button at 5pm at the junction of Meeting House Lane and Chatham High Street. There will be family entertainment from 3.45pm including dance performances and competitions and prizes.
The lights in the town centre will be switched on around 7pm, with events from 4pm.
For the lights at the Creative Quarter see our books festival page.
Festive fun at Royal Victoria Place on Sunday, November 19, will be a family day plus free parking. It will be hosted by kmfm’s Drive-time presenter Rob Wills from 11.30am. Santa will be opening his new Festive Fireside-themed grotto and switching on the Christmas lights from noon with help from Aladdin stars CBBC presenter Mark Rhodes, Eastenders’ Michael Greco and Chris Pizzey from The Basil Brush Show, from the Assembly Hall Theatre panto this year. Santa’s Grotto will be open until 4.30pm and free festive entertainment will include the chance to see Chase and
Marshall from PAW Patrol at intervals between 12.30pm and 4.30pm and the chance to see the biggest teddy in Tunbridge Wells and win prizes. Go to royalvictoriaplace.com.
For details of the ice rink opening on Friday, November 17 turn to our Events pages.
The fun starts at noon on Saturday, November 18 when there will be street entertainment and a fun run of Santas from 2pm. There will be family entertainment from 3.45pm and actress
Claire Sweeney, who is starring in panto at the Central Theatre this year, will be pushing the magic button with the Mayor around 5pm.
The lights go on on Sunday, November 19 this year from noon through to 5.30pm, with the switch being flicked around 5pm by members of the cast of this year’s Maidstone pantomime, Peter Pan. There will be real reindeer, an ice rink for the children and Santa’s Grotto plus the high street will be crammed with street food, mulled wine and stalls.
The Fremlin Walk lights switch-on will take place at 6pm on Thursday, November 23. The fun-filled evening of entertainment with Santa and his reindeer starts at 4pm, with kmfm breakfast show presenters Garry
Wilson and Laura Nevitt hosting a star-studded show with music, dancing, prizes and an appearance from the cast of Peter Pan at Maidstone Studios. Santa will take his usual spot with his reindeer in the bandstand. There will be Christmas stalls selling tasty treats gifts and stocking fillers.
The lights are turned on on Saturday, November 25 at 5pm when there will be a night food market and visit from Father Christmas from 5pm, with the market from 6pm.
The fun takes place on Friday, November 24 between 3.45pm and 5pm. The entertainment includes singing sensation Jack Rose and X-factor
finalist, Joseph, formerly of the band Rough Copy. The lights switch-on is around 5pm.
The family entertainment starts at 3.45pm on Saturday, November 25 at Friary Place in the High Street with carol singing, competitions and prizes, plus children’s TV character Owlette from
PJ Masks helping with the switch-on at around 5pm. Youngsters can also meet Owlette at Strood Community Hub at 2pm. To book call 01634 337799.
On Sunday, November 26 kmfm head to Commercial Road in Paddock Wood where street entertainment, Christmas market stalls, food and drink, an appearance by Santa and a small funfair will mark the arrival of Christmas.
The lights switch-on will be on Friday, December 1 in Mortimer Street, with food, crafts and entertainment from
Smokin’ Mavericks and the Big Bay
Choir. It runs from 4pm to 6pm with the switch-on itself at 5.30pm.
Family fun starts at 3.45pm at Rainham Shopping Centre on Friday, December 1. The Deputy Mayor will switch on the lights at 5pm and loveable bear
Paddington will be there. For children to meet Paddington at Rainham Library at 2pm, call
337799 to book.
Actress Claire Sweeney who is starring in the Central Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty will be turning on the lights with a flourish in Rochester
It’s time to party and festive revellers will head to Fremlin Walk to start the fun with the big switch-on
Love Island’s Marcel will be at the Westwood Cross Christmas light switch on There will be real reindeer at the switch-on in West Malling Stars from the Tunbridge Wells panto Aladdin will be at Royal Victoria Place to take part in the festive fun
Favourites from kmfm – Garry Wilson, Laura Nevitt and Rob Wills – will be joining the celebrations at a number of events around the county