When and where to see Christmas lights switched on across Kent in 2021

Festive lights have started to twinkle, and festivities are underway for the run-up to Christmas.

Here's our guide to when the lights will be switched on across the county.

Festive lights are starting to twinkle. Picture: Getty Images
Festive lights are starting to twinkle. Picture: Getty Images

Dartford Christmas lights

Joseph actor Lee Mead will join a host of entertainment as part of a day of festivities in Brewery Square, Dartford on Saturday, November 20 for the switch-on. The singer and actor, who has also appeared in Holby City, is in panto at the nearby Churchill Theatre, Bromley. He will be joined by the Mayor, Father Christmas and the annual colouring competition winner to turn on the lights around 5.20pm.

The free events start at 1pm with street performers including stilt walkers, unicyclists and magicians, a brass band and drumming Santas, courtesy of event partners Cohesion Plus. There will also be live entertainment on stage in Brewery Square.

Strood Christmas lights

There will be family entertainment from 3.45pm on Friday, November 19 in Friary Place in the High Street, with kmfm and the Gruffalo. The switch-on is planned for 5pm.

You can arrange to meet the Gruffalo at the Strood Community Hub at 2pm, but you'll need to book in advance by calling 01634 337799.

Chatham Christmas lights

The family entertainment will come from kmfm and local community groups from 3.45pm on Saturday, November 20 in Military Square, Military Road. The Snowman™ and The Snowdog will be there too, and the switch-on is planned for 5pm.

Snowman and Snowdog will be in Medway Picture: Chris Davey
Snowman and Snowdog will be in Medway Picture: Chris Davey

Herne Bay lights switch-on

Herne Bay's Christmas lights will be switched on at a family friendly event in Mortimer Street on Friday, November 19. The fun kicks off at 4pm with festive tunes from local radio station Cabin FM.

The lights will then will be switched on at 6pm, followed by more festive music and an excerpt from the town's pantomime, Cinderella, at 6.45pm.

The event is running until 7pm, and will feature fairground rides, games stalls, a clown and face painting. A raffle will also take place at 7pm, with prizes from local businesses including restaurant vouchers, a children's guitar, and film tickets. More details here.

Gravesham Festival of Christmas Lights

The town's festive switch-on is taking place on Friday, November 19, between 2.45pm and 5,30pm.

Entertainment will be kicking off in the town centre with street performances including musicians and a mobile life size and interactive snow globe complete with a mystical Snow Queen.

There will also be a lantern parade led by the Mayor, featuring local schoolchildren from Community Square at 4.30pm. Find out more here.

Sittingbourne lights switch-on

The event is due to take place on Saturday, November 20, with an all day Christmas market, funfair, entertainment and Santa's Grotto. The lights are due to be switched on at 5.30pm. Find out more here.

Sittingbourne Christmas lights back in 2018 Picture: Chris Davey
Sittingbourne Christmas lights back in 2018 Picture: Chris Davey

Westwood Cross, Broadstairs

Father Christmas will be at the centre on Monday, November 22 for the Westwood Wonderland Christmas lights switch-on, starting at 4.30pm with a procession through the shopping centre. Find out more here.

Gillingham lights switch-on

This will be taking place on Friday, November 26, with family entertainment from 3.45pm with kmfm and performances from local groups. The switch-on is planned for 5pm with the Deputy Mayor pushing the magic button.

Children's favourites Bing and Flop will be at the Gillingham Community Hub at 2pm. To meet them, you need to book in advance by calling 01634 337799. To find out about the festive event or any others in Medway click here.

Deal Christmas lights

The event, organised by Deal & Walmer Chamber of Trade, will be on Friday, November 16, from 6pm.

Find out more here.

Rochester lights switch-on

The switch-on will take place on Saturday, November 27, with family entertainment from 3.45pm with kmfm and local groups giving displays. The lights are due to be switched on at 5pm with the Mayor and a 'mystery guest' pushing the button.

A past Tonbridge Christmas lights switch on Picture: Tonbridge and Malling council
A past Tonbridge Christmas lights switch on Picture: Tonbridge and Malling council

Tonbridge Rotary Christmas Festival

There will be a festival atmosphere and fireworks on Sunday, November 28, in Tonbridge High Street, with entertainment, stalls and the switch-on. You can find out more here.

Rainham lights switch-on

On Friday, December 3, there will be entertainment starting at 3.45pm from kmfm with local performances.

Peter Rabbit will be at the library at 2pm - to book to see him call 01634 337799. The switch-on itself is planned for 5pm with the Mayor doing the honours.

Whitstable lights switch-on

Whitstable's festivities will kick off with a Christmas event on Saturday, December 4.

Community group WhitSparkle organises the town's annual festive event, which will this year feature a lantern-lit parade featuring local youngsters and the lanterns they've made, which will take place at 4.30pm. The lights will also be illuminated on WhitSparkle's harbour Christmas tree.

Crowds will be entertained with live performances in the harbour from 2pm, where mulled wine will also be available.

Sandwich switch-on

This will take place on Saturday, December 4, when there will be a Christmas parade, stalls, music and an indoor market with Santa’s Grotto. Find out more here.

Sheerness lights

There is due to be a light parade on Sunday, December 5 from 4.30pm in Queenborough, organised by the town council. Find out more here.

Canterbury's Christmas lights switch-on event. Picture: Canterbury BID/Matt Wilson
Canterbury's Christmas lights switch-on event. Picture: Canterbury BID/Matt Wilson

Canterbury's Christmas lights have already been switched on. Find out more here. Find out more about Folkestone's here.

Christmas markets and fairs across Kent this year

For more suggestions of things to do with the kids click here

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