Festive Experiences not to be Missed Near Sevenoaks Christmas 2019

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:

Bedgebury, Kent

Dates: 22nd November to 30th December

Advanced ticket sales: Adult £18.00, Child £11.50, Family £54.00. Under 3’s & carers free

Website: christmasatbedgebury.co.uk

We visited recently and it is absolutely magical, check out our review and hints and tips here: The Christmas Trail at Bedgebury.

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

bedgebury pinetum christmas illuminations

Bedgebury Pinetum Christmas Illuminations

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

Website: https://www.hevercastle.co.uk

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.

We visited last weekend, check out our review here: Hever Castle at Christmas Review

hever castle

Photo credit: Hever Castle and Gardens

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 

Website: www.coolings.gardencentreticketing.co.uk

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

coolings green and pleasant

One of our previous trips to Coolings Green and Pleasant Santa’s Grotto

Polhill Garden Centre, Polhill, nr Sevenoaks, Kent

Polhill Santa’s Grotto Dates: 16th November to 18th December 2019

Admission: Child £12 Adult £1

Website: www.polhill.co.uk

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

Website: www.bewlwater.co.uk

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.

father christmas


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 

Website: www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk

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.

We visited on 23rd Novmeber – here is our review Spa Valley Railway Santa Special – Review 

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 

Website: www.bluewater.co.uk

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

Website: www.bluewater.co.uk

The under cover ice rink is situated by the lakes at The Village in Bluewater. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities.

skating santa

Santa’s Enchanted Forest Grotto at Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Dates: 14th November to 24th December

Admission: Packages available FROM £4.50

Website: www.royalvictoriaplace.com

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

Website: www.ruxley-manor.co.uk

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

For fans of the National Trust check out Festive Fun with the National Trust in Kent and East Sussex

I hope this has given you food for thought. Let me know your favourites and I will include them!


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  1. Gude HG November 28, 2019
    • Erica November 30, 2019

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