Includes experiences we have been invited to review as well as some we have paid for ourselves
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive treat or two. Whether it’s Santa’s Grottos, Father Christmas or a festive day out, here is a run down of the BEST Christmassy treats in Sevenoaks, Kent, and further afield:
Dates: 22nd November to 30th December
Advanced ticket sales: Adult £18.00, Child £11.50, Family £54.00. Under 3’s & carers free
I’m particularly excited for this one. It went down a storm last year and looked absolutely magical. Bedgebury Pinetum illuminations is a one mile magical winter trail, brought to life by leading events producer Raymond Gubbay Ltd.
Featuring lit canopies, a Vortex Tunnel and waterside reflections as well as colourful boats bobbing on the lake. Father Christmas and his elves will be visible through the pine trees so keep an eye out for them. Finish your evening with mulled wine and toast marshmallows on an open fire. Younger ones can enjoy the traditional Victorian fairground rides
Hever Castle, Hever, near Edenbridge, Kent
Dates: From November 23rd – check the website for full details
Admission: Adults from £17.75, children from £9.95, under fives free (unless visiting Santa) please check the website for full details and prices
This year’s theme is Alice in a Christmas Wonderland with an interactive trail leading through the grounds to try to catch up with the White Rabbit, meeting the characters from Alive in Wonderland on the way. Of course you can meet Father Christmas in his grotto
Hever Castle itself is always beautifully decorated for the festive season, we went a couple of years ago and enjoyed the traditional fairground rides and the traditional Christmas decorations in each room of the castle.
Hever Castle is also very well known for its Twilight Christmas evening events where you can enjoy the castle in all its festive glory by dark.
Coolings Green and Pleasant, Knockholt, nr Sevenoaks, Kent
Dates: 30th November to 24th December
Admission: Child from £19.95 (including one free adult) extra adults from £4.95
It is our family tradition to all go to Coolings Green and pleasant at Christmas, we’ve been going since Big L was 6 months old. It has evolved from a more basic Santa’s Grotto to a full on Christmas experience, with families spending time with Father Christmas by themselves. What we like is that it’s very personal as you do the tour just as a family, but it’s not overwhelming.
You go through different rooms with the children doing different tasks before meeting Father Christmas himself. It’s lovely and intimate with each family meeting Santa separately. The elves are on hand to take family photos, with your camera, so no extra expense. Each child gets a gift too
Polhill Garden Centre, Polhill, nr Sevenoaks, Kent
Polhill Santa’s Grotto Dates: 16th November to 18th December 2019
Admission: Child £12 Adult £1
Family and friends that have been here rave about how “real” the Polhill Father Christmas is. At Polhill Santa reads a group of up to 15 children a story then they are invited to visit him in family groups. You can take your own camera in for photos – which certainly keeps the costs down.
Even without a visit to Santa, Polhill is very festive. There’s not much better than a garden centre at Christmas! You can check out the gorgeous decorations, the real and artificial trees on sale and browse a good selection of gifts too.
Santa’s Christmas Grotto at Bewl Water
Dates: Selected Dates from 7th December
Admission: £11 per child up to two adults free per child
I’ve not been to Bewl at Christmas myself but it’s certainly worth a go for £11 and free adults! Parking is £4 and that’s pretty much it!
There is a gift for each child, a Christmas treasure trail and festive arts and crafts on offer on the day too.
Spa Valley Railway Santa Specials
Dates: Early Bird 23rd & 24th November then selected dates from 30th November
Admission: Early Bird prices £14 oer adult, £12 per child, £3 per baby. From 30th November
Santa and steam trains, what’s not to love? Over certain weekends in November and December, Santa Special train rides returns to Spa Valley. Spreading festive cheer starting at Eridge Station travelling to Tunbridge Wells West and back again (please note Santa’s Grotto won’t be open for the Early Bird weekend). Santa will make his way through the train with a present for every child. There wil lbe face painting at Eridge and a chance to take photos with the steam train.
There are extra activities from the 30th November including Santas Grotto at Tunbridge Wells West, Victorian penny machine games to play at Eridge and entertainment at Tunbridge Wells West.
Bluewater, Greenhithe, Kent
There is absolutely LOADS to do at Buewater of the festive season. First up:
Santa’s Grotto, Bluewater
Dates: 14th November to 24th December
Admission: Children FROM £10.50, up to two adults free per child
We visited Santa’s Grotto at Bluewater a couple of years ago your can read our review here. This year the premise is similar with a slightly different theme.
Ice Skating at Bluewater
Dates: 14th November to 5th January 2020
Admission: Children FROM £9, Adults FROM £11, Family FROM £34
The under cover ice rink is situated by the lakes at The Village in Bluewater. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities.
Santa’s Enchanted Forest Grotto at Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Dates: 14th November to 24th December
Admission: Packages available FROM £4.50
I’ve heard good things about Santa’s grotto at Royal Victoria Place. It is reasonably priced and you don’t have to book. The different packages start at £4.50 which includes a gift right up to the £13 Platinum Package which also includes a Christmas card, keyring and magnet.
Ruxley Manor Christmas Grotto
Dates: November to 24th December
Admission: Baby ticket £10, Child £12 Adult £5
Ruxley Manor is an award winning grotto that has been raved about locally for years. This 45 minute experience includes two activities before meeting Father Christmas himself, receiving a gift and photo opportunity. It is hugely popular and several dates have already sold out!
New this year is “My First Grotto”. A shorter session for under 2s. Check the website for full details
I hope this has given you food for thought. Let me know your favourites and I will include them!
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