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Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 14th December 2018

Festive Fun in East Kent

Set your Christmas celebrations in full swing with the city’s and its surrounds’ raft of entertainment events and festive experiences.

There can be few places in the region to match the sheer magic of Canterbury at Christmas – and this year is set to prove no exception. From its fine medieval and Tudor history crowned by the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral, through to a feast of festive shopping, dining and entertainment options, there will be something for everyone this season.

With annual visitor numbers peaking during the Christmas period, there will be plenty of family-orientated activities on offer throughout the city and surrounding areas.

Among the main attractions will be the traditional lights switch-on event, arranged through Canterbury’s Business Improvement District (BID) team. This will feature the star-packed cast of this year’s Marlowe Theatre pantomime, Cinderella, which features EastEnders’ star Harry Reid, better known as Ben Mitchell (see our interview on page 33 of November's INDEX Magazine).

The event takes place on 16th November in St George’s Street, featuring entertainment from local musicians and performers, starting from 4pm and setting the tone for a truly memorable evening.
Another undoubted highlight this year will include celebrations in Whitefriars, which is due to be decked-out in a brand new decorative scheme.

The area will host its largest-ever Christmas Market extending into St George’s Street, which will include a total of 70 cabins, plus additional large cabins featuring a further 60 artisans and food producers.

Opening after the grand lights switch-on on the 16th, the market will run until 24th December. There will also be a Santa’s grotto in Whitefriars Square, opening on 1st December.

Admission is by pre-booked ticket for £4, including a craft activity, quality gift bag and a chat with the big man to see if you’ve been naughty or nice this year. This can be booked online at canterburychristmasmarket.co.uk

There will be plenty of other free entertainment, including kids craft workshops, live music performances and character walkabouts, as well as a seasonal selection of food and drink. There will also be competitions and treasure trails with some great prizes on offer.

With more than 60 stores and restaurants, there are numerous options for finding the perfect party gear, family dinner, and gift shops, including the recently opened pop-up Disney store offering some seasonal surprises.

Whitefriars also hosts the traditional Lord Mayor’s community carols in Rose Square on Christmas Eve, starting around 6pm. Visit whitefriars.co.uk for more information.

Meanwhile, another traditional favourite of the season – the annual St Nicholas Parade – will depart from Westgate Hall at 12noon on 9th December, making its way through Canterbury to the Cathedral for a short service of celebration.

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