Christ­mas wishes

With Christ­mas lights a-twin­kling and Santa wel­com­ing fam­i­lies into his grot­tos, there’s plenty go­ing on across Kent to have you reach­ing for the tin­sel. Angela Cole looks at some of the high­lights to look out for from il­lu­mi­nated trails to nos­tal­gic trip

Kentish Express Ashford & District - What's On - - FESTIVE -

1 WARTIME CHRIST­MAS, GILLING­HAM

Ex­pe­ri­ence a wartime Christ­mas at the Royal En­gi­neers Mu­seum in Gilling­ham on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 8 and Sun­day, De­cem­ber 9 with 1940s-style en­ter­tain­ment and the chance to learn how to lindy hop and cook a Christ­mas din­ner on ra­tions. Vis­i­tors can browse vin­tage mar­ket stalls and lis­ten to fa­mil­iar wartime songs and Christ­mas car­ols. Stu­dents from Mid­kent Col­lege will be repli­cat­ing 40s hair­styles, and there will be talks and demon­stra­tions, plus hands-on crafts, and an op­por­tu­nity to visit Sap­per Santa Christ­mas and re­ceive a tra­di­tional Christ­mas gift. There will be live mu­sic from Miss Hol­i­day Swing and on the Sun­day the Bromp­ton Mil­i­tary Wives Choir will be singing live. The mu­seum is open from 10am to 5pm. De­tails at re-mu­seum.co.uk. The mag­i­cal il­lu­mi­nated trail turns Bedge­bury Pine­tum into a for­est of fes­tive lights. The win­ter won­der­land trail, which runs af­ter dark un­til Sun­day, De­cem­ber 30, has high­lights in­clud­ing the Tun­nel of Light, with more than a mil­lion tiny lights twin­kling along a 70m-long im­mer­sive walk­way un­der a tree canopy; lanterns and foun­tains of light and a scented Fire Gar­den. There will also be art­works from Tilt and Pitaya nes­tled into the for­est land­scape. There are also some hid­den sur­prises to look out for, in­clud­ing snowflakes, shim­mer­ing

2 CHRIST­MAS AT BEDGE­BURY, GOUDHURST

stars and gi­gan­tic baubles in un­ex­pected places. Tick­ets are £17 and £10.50 for chil­dren or £50 for a fam­ily. Un­der fives and car­ers free. There are ex­tra costs for some ac­tiv­i­ties. Book by call­ing 0844

995 1365 or go on­line at christ­masatbedge­bury.co.uk

2 ROCHESTER CHRIST­MAS MAR­KET

The mar­ket in the grounds of Rochester Cas­tle makes its fi­nal ap­pear­ance of the fes­tive pe­riod from Fri­day, De­cem­ber

7 to Sun­day, De­cem­ber 9, with guar­an­teed snow­fall. Af­ter the ex­cite­ment of last week’s Dick­en­sian Christ­mas Fes­ti­val, there’ll be more time to browse stalls and pick up unique gifts and un­usual stock­ing fillers. There will also be live per­for­mances, a fun­fair and a Bavar­ian food vil­lage where guests can buy Ger­man Bratwurst sausages, a hog roast and chur­ros. The fun­fair rides will cost £1 on the Fri­day. Fes­tiv­i­ties will be open from noon to 8pm on Fri­day, and 10am to 6pm on Satur­day and Sun­day. De­tails at medway.gov.uk/christ­mas

4 FOOD FES­TI­VAL & CHRIST­MAS AT WHIT­STABLE CAS­TLE

Fes­tive foodie good­ies will be on of­fer at Whit­stable Cas­tle on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 9 for the an­nual Food Fes­ti­val. Be­sides the food there will be fair­ground rides and face paint­ing at the cas­tle in Tower Hill be­tween 10am and 4pm. There will be mu­sic from the Use­less Pluck­ers Ukelele Band and a visit from the Lind­ley Play­ers panto. There’s also the chance to visit Santa in his grotto if you pre-book at £5 per child. Call 01227 281726 or visit whit­stable­cas­tle.com

5 FES­TIVE ROLLER RINK, DREAM­LAND

If ice skat­ing feels a bit chilly for you, try the Fes­tive Roller Rink where you can skate in­doors at Dream­land in Mar­gate. Held in the Roller Disco, you can glide along to tunes from the Frosted FM DJ, be­tween noon and 4pm on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 8, and again on Satur­days, De­cem­ber 15 and 22 and Sun­day, De­cem­ber 23 and Christ­mas Eve. Other fes­tive events on at the theme park in­clude a visit from The Snow­man and the Snow Dog and a gi­ant snow globe. To find out more go to dream­land.co.uk

n To find out where else to skate across Kent, check out our round-up on­line of ice rinks across the county and beyond at ken­ton­line.co.uk/whats-on/news

6 WALMER CAS­TLE TOURS

Get a look at Walmer Cas­tle out of hours with a tour when the rooms are fes­tively dec­o­rated.

Tours are on Thurs­days De­cem­ber 6, 13 and 20 at 3pm and 6pm. Tick­ets cost £14 and £10 for ages five to 15. Visit english-her­itage.org. uk/walmer to find out more. Nearby Dover Cas­tle’s Sec­ond World War Christ­mas con­tin­ues this week­end with a trip into the wartime Home Front days on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 8 and Sun­day, De­cem­ber 9. Hear stories about the of­fi­cer’s’ mess at the cas­tle gar­ri­son and help bake some Christ­mas treats on ra­tions.

There’s also a chance to see a fes­tive fal­conry show and watch lindy hop danc­ing. Tick­ets for the event be­tween 10am and 3pm cost £20 and £12 for ages five to 15. Find out more at en­glish­her­itage.org.uk/dover

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