South East What's On


29 November 2019 Wonderland walks, cosy pubs, dazzling light displays, tempting tipples, frosted trails and fairy tale castles– Winter in Kent is calling. The time has come to celebrate the festive season, so to mark the start of their ‘Winter in Kent’ campaign, Visit Kent are spreading a little Christmas cheer around the county as they launch their biggest competition ever!

Father Christmas has arrived early in Kent with TWENTY days’ worth of glorious goodies to give away to TWENTY lucky winners during the countdown to the big day. With prizes including tickets to the delightful Dover Castle, entry and tours around picture-perfect Penshurst Place and Gardens, afternoon tea at the beautiful Turner Contemporary gallery, a bread baking workshop at charming Green Cottages in Swale and a tour and wine tasting at the glorious Gusbourne Estate, the people of Kent are in for some seriously special festive treats. With the entries for the 2018 competition exceeding all previous records, and even more spectacular prizes on offer this year, the 2019 Advent Calendar looks set to become Visit Kent’s biggest ever competition.

Entry to the Visit Kent Advent Calendar competition is via the link below, where you can enter daily for a brand-new prize opportunity:


Entrants can also head over to the Visit Kent Facebook and Twitter pages to see what goodies are waiting to be unwrapped each day.

With fantastic train links from London and beyond, it’s never been easier for visitors to make their winter escape to Kent. If strolling in frosted landscapes, snuggling up in front of open fires and enjoying a whole host of family events sounds like the ideal festive treat, then Kent is the perfect choice for a wonderful winter day out. Whether it’s the incredible food and drink offering, the many exceptional Christmas markets, the fairy tale castles sparkling with festive lights or the beautiful blustery beaches on crisp winter days, Kent is the ultimate winter wonderland.

With so much on offer this year, Visit Kent have created multiple handy guides to the festive season to make sure nobody misses out on Kent’s sensational seasonal offering. Visitors can head to for inspiration and information on winter walks, the best places to visit Santa, the most epic light displays, the many marvellous markets and much, much more! To make a weekend of it and really string out the festive fun, there are also guides to Kent’s unique and quality accommodation options where visitors can enjoy romantic breaks, fun family trips and seasonal shopping weekends.

For further inspiration for your frosted Kentish adventure, check out Visit Kent’s ultimate wintery highlights below:

Enchanted Walmer Castle - Families will marvel in wonder at Walmer Castle this winter as for the first time ever it’s transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland! Take the trail through the beautiful gardens this season and step into an illuminated world of tunnels and paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights. Keep an eye for flitting fairies, listen out for talking trees and round off a glittering evening with toasted marshmallows, mulled wine and a ride on the fairground.

A toast to the festive season at Gusbourne Estate - A frosted vineyard, a cosy tasting room and a sparkling glass or two to raise a toast to the season – the Discovery Tour at Gusbourne offers wine-lovers a real treat this winter. Visitors can enjoy refreshments and a full tour of the vineyards and winery, before settling down in the tasting room for a tutored tasting of Gusbourne’s exceptional wines - including one or two limited editions. After sipping and sampling it will be time for a fresh, seasonal lunch – the perfect pairing for their delicious Kentish wines.

Glorious gifts and delicious dinners at Penshurst Place - Seasonal shoppers mustn’t miss the Gift Shop at Penshurst Place this season if they want to become a gift giver to rival Saint Nick himself! With a vast selection of festive decorations, Kentish foods, tipples, homeware and cards, Penshurst Place is the perfect place to pick-up unique and thoughtful presents this year. Also stocking a collection of Christmas trees and in-house handmade wreaths created using materials collected from the beautiful 2,500 acre ancient Penshurst Place estate, guests can visit on Wednesdays until 11th December and enjoy browsing until 7pm. While Penshurst Place and Gardens is closed for the season, visitors to the Garden Restaurant can tuck into delicious fresh roasts this winter and enjoy expert talks on all the fascinating elements of the beautiful Penshurst estate.

Makers Markets at Turner Contemporary - There are also plenty of gifts to be found at Turner Contemporary this Christmas from a variety of seasonal market-style events such as the Future Foundry’s Waste-Free Winter Market, the Pioneering Places Creative Enablers’ fantastically festive takeover, and the Kent Creative’s Designers and Makers Market. Each event will showcase the creations of some of Kent’s best local designers and makers, making them the perfect place to pick up a unique Kent-made treat or two. Visitors mustn’t forget to stop off at the world-renowned Turner Prize exhibition whilst at Turner Contemporary - one of the best-known prizes in the world for visual arts- for the chance to see the works of four of the most exciting artists in the world right here in Kent. And the best part? The exhibition is entirely free to visit.

Tis the season in Swale – Faversham, Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey are feeling fantastically festive this year with a range of unique events on offer. With a whole festival dedicated to the Christmas Tree, Tunstall Church’s celebration is an annual visitor favourite. Packed with up to 100 Christmas trees, each crafted from a whole host of materials, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a little festive décor inspiration. For something a little more traditional, the SS Peter & Paul Church’s Cribs from the World exhibition is the ultimate celebration of the Nativity story. From blustery walks through coastal and country parks, to a night spent star gazing in the splendour of a shepherd’s hut in Elmley Nature Reserve, Swale is also the place to go for great views and the great outdoors. Street markets in Swale are the go-to places for Kentish produce, while cosy local pubs offer a fireside, mulled wine and gastronomic delights for the ultimate retreat from the cold. With these natural winter wonderlands, excellent events, lovely lights, magnificent markets and much more, Swale is the perfect setting for seasonal celebrations.

Winter and war time at Dover Castle - From secret wartime tunnels and an authentic WWII underground hospital, to a medieval palace decked in vibrant furnishings, Dover Castle has witnessed centuries of England's history. Visit this winter and immerse yourself in nine centuries of intriguing tales, from the Romans and King Henry II's reign to the drama and tension of Operation Dynamo. Plus, with the chance to escape to The Bunker, Dover Castle's very own Escape Room, visitors are able to get hands-on with code cracking, problem solving and be inspired by the castle's real-life Cold War history.

For further information inspiration for places to visit in Kent this Winter, head to 

Image Credits: Enchanted Walmer Castle and Penshurst Place in the snow