Christmas events for families in Kent this weekend

Ice rinks, grottos, Christmas lights and markets.

As we near the first days of December all the festive events are in full swing. We round up some of the best for families in Kent this weekend:

Take the kids ice skating this weekend
Take the kids ice skating this weekend

Canterbury on Ice

Canterbury's much-anticipated ice rink opens this Friday (November 29) for the first time. Running until January 1 in the city centre's Dane John Gardens tickets are £12.50 for adults and £9 for children and sessions are available to pre-book.

You could pair your visit with a trip to the Christmas markets in St George's Street or a visit to Santa's grotto in Whitefriars - for a guide to this and other grottos in Kent click here.

To book ice rink tickets visit

For a round-up of other ice rinks open across the county click here.

Tasty treats at Rochester Christmas Market
Tasty treats at Rochester Christmas Market

Rochester Christmas Market

Set in the picturesque Rochester Castle Gardens the popular market opens for Christmas trading this Saturday.

Enjoy a selection of festive food and drink and browse the stalls for unique gift ideas or treat the kids on a ride at the fun fair. The market is open this Saturday and Sunday 10am until 6pm.

Medway Christmas lights switch-ons

There is free family entertainment on offer in Rainham and Strood on Friday and Saturday when two more Medway towns switch on their Christmas lights.

On Friday evening in Rainham High Street entertainment with kmfm's Andy Walker and local artists begins at 3.45pm before the lights switch-on at 5pm. You can also meet Shrek in Rainham library from 2pm!

And on Saturday, November 30 in Strood High Street kmfm's Rob Wills will be kicking things off at 3.45pm with special guest Po from Kung Fu Panda. The lights there will be switched on at 5pm.

The National Trust at Christmas
The National Trust at Christmas

Ightam Mote

Father Christmas is paying a visit to Ightam Mote this weekend. The National Trust property is enjoying its Christmas opening weekend with a mini-market, kids trail, craft activities and other festive celebrations. Santa will be handing out small gifts to children from 11am until 2.30pm. Normal admission charges apply. All the information can be found here.

Magical Fairy Trail, Emmetts Garden

Emmetts Garden opens its Christmas activity trail on Saturday (November 30). See if you can spot the magical fairies hiding around the gardens and enjoy the beautifully decorated evergreens along the way. The trail is running for the majority of December. To learn more about visiting click here.

A Truly Magical Christmas, Rare Breeds Centre, Woodchurch

Santa Special days begin at the Rare Breeds Centre near Ashford this weekend. Families are promised a warm welcome at Santa's grotto and some interactive festive entertainment as part of their experience. And visitors can of course also see all the animals and traditional attractions at the working farm too. Santa will be at the Rare Breeds on both Saturday and Sunday and then on additional select dates throughout December. All the details and booking information here.

Storytime with Santa in Maidstone
Storytime with Santa in Maidstone

Free storytelling with Santa, Maidstone

Fremlin Walk opens its popular free Storytelling with Santa sessions this weekend. Stories will take place in the centre's Christmas Cabin with Father Christmas and his elf Sparkle.

Sessions begin this Saturday (November 30) and will continue on select dates right up until Christmas Eve between 11am and 4pm but must be pre-booked in advance. Further information available here.

Santa at Whitstable Castle

Santa arrives at Whitstable Castle this Saturday and Sunday to meet families in his grotto. The cost is £6 per child and slots are pre-bookable. To learn more click here.

Arthur Winter, 8, on the helter skelter at the Leeds Castle Christmas market
Arthur Winter, 8, on the helter skelter at the Leeds Castle Christmas market

Leeds Castle Christmas Market

It's the second weekend of the Leeds Castle Christmas Market this Saturday and Sunday. Alongside food and refreshments are stalls of unique gifts and the chance for kids to enjoy a fairground ride or two. Visitors can also make their way into the castle to visit the beautifully decorated rooms which this year have a Magical Birds and Festive Feathers theme.

To learn more about both attractions and everything else Leeds Castle has to offer this Christmas click here.

Christmas at Brogdale, Faversham

A 'jolly good' Christmas market is promised at Brogdale this Sunday (December 1). Alongside Christmas shopping and festive refreshments families can take a magical ride on the Faversham Miniature Railway to Santa's grotto. Advance bookings for that can be made here. For further details about the market event click here.

Are you ready for the arrival of an elf?
Are you ready for the arrival of an elf?

Are you gearing up for the arrival of your family's Elf on the Shelf on Sunday? There are 24 adventures you can expect from them here.

For more things to do with the kids in the run up to Christmas please click here.

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