by Eileen Leahy | 12th December 2018
There are just a couple of days left to see the Picture as it is 2 exhibition at the G&C Gallery in Camden Road. This solo show by artist Li Mang is well worth a visit, not only because the work is so well executed but because just a few minutes browsing around it is a perfect antidote to all that Christmas shopping stress.
Stuck for some original Christmas gift ideas? Then why not visit Discover the Art of Christmas at the Pantiles Pop Up Gallery? A group of established local artists and makers have taken over No 36 The Pantiles to showcase their work until December 22. It’s open from Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm and on Sundays from 11am-4pm.
Over in Tonbridge you can enjoy a similar style event courtesy of Tonbridge Creates, a pop-up arts hub that is on every day until December 19. The hub showcases the creative talents of local artists and encourages the local community to get involved. You can enjoy a host of free and paid-for workshops, as well as an exhibition by talented creative students at West Kent College.
The selfie bear Mr Magic welcomes visitors to take their pictures with him at Royal Victoria Place – and also to donate to the ellenor charity, which looks after people with a terminal illness. Located on the second floor of the shopping centre, opposite Marks & Spencer, this is a great way to have a break and a bit of fun while you’re out Christmas shopping. Find out more about Mr Magic at ellenor.org
While you’re there, why not pay a visit to Santa’s Grotto, also located in Royal Victoria Place until Christmas Eve? For ticket information and group bookings, go to royalvictoriaplace.com
At 6.30pm, you have the chance to meet broadcaster Anna Cookson at Tunbridge Wells library. The presenter will be talking about her career on the BBC Radio Kent Breakfast Show and introducing her debut novel, The Sound of Your Soul. Tickets cost £4 and booking is essential. For more details, telephone 03000 41 31 31 or email: email@example.com
Trinity Theatre’s much anticipated Christmas production Wind in the Willows starts this evening at 7.30pm. Based on the children’s classic Toad of Toad Hall, this particular version is the one penned by Downton Abbey’s creator, Julian Fellowes, and promises to be a really enjoyable evening out. For tickets and timings, visit trinitytheatre.net
Children’s classical concert group Kidenza will be hosting two concerts today (and a workshop) at Sevenoaks School at 2pm and 4pm. Suitable for all ages, and a great introduction to orchestral music, the concerts cost £10 per child and £15 per adult. There will also be an hour-long workshop at 12.30pm and 2.30pm, for which tickets cost £10. For further details, see kidenza.co.uk
Bedgebury Pinetum’s Christmas spectacular is also underway. But make sure you wrap up warm to walk through the stunning illuminated forest and colourfully lit trees and shrubs! To cosy up afterwards you can toast some marshmallows in one of the route’s many firepits, or enjoy a quick kiss under the special Mistletoe Moment. Tickets cost £10.50 for children aged 5-16 and £17 for adults. Visit christmasatbedgebury.seetickets.com
The Assembly Hall’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, which stars Claire Sweeney, Derek Moran and Quinn Patrick, is now in full swing. You can find out about all the show’s timings and ticket prices by visiting assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk – oh yes you can!
Talking of pantos, Wicked Productions begin their run of Jack and the Beanstalk today at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge. For tickets, visit emtheatre.com – See also our exclusive interview with Tom Swift in our pantomime round-up on pages 50-51
If you fancy getting out and about this weekend in order to get into the spirit of Christmas, why not pay a visit to Hever Castle? In the grounds visitors can discover a festive trail themed around the Charles Dickens classic novel A Christmas Carol, and wander through the illuminated gardens as dusk falls. Daytime Christmas prices: adult £17.25, children (5-15) £9.75, under-5s free. Visit hevercastle.co.uk
Groombridge Place also has Father Christmas present in his authentic log cabin. Enjoy face painting and Christmas craft activities, and take a walk through the Adventure Forest to find the giant swings, wooden ship and rope bridges at Crusoe’s World. Open on Saturdays and Sundays throughout December. For more details, see groombridgeplace.com
Penshurst Place’s enchanting Christmas Grotto is proving to be very popular. Children can see Santa in his sleigh, surrounded by his elves, and visit his old-fashioned toy workshop to receive a gift. Tickets cost £14.50 per child, and up to two adults can accompany each child free of charge. For tickets and timings, visit penshurstplace.com
Staying at Penshurst Place, there will be another of its Roasts and Rambles events happening today. This time the discussion at lunchtime will centre around Christmas in the Baron’s Hall. Tickets are limited for each event and are priced at £21.50 each for adults and £9.50 for children aged 5 to 12, with under-5s free. Tickets can be booked by calling 01892 871053 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Over at One Warwick Park Hotel, there’s another suitably seasonal theme happening with the Dine With Santa event this lunchtime. Visitors can enjoy a festive three-course lunch suitable for the whole family, while Father Christmas makes his way round to hear all about the children’s Christmas wish lists. For further details and to book, go to onewarwickpark.co.uk
At 4pm at St Peter & St Paul’s Church in Tonbridge there will be Lessons and Carols with the choir, and then at 5.30pm a carol service at St Philip’s Church, where mince pies and mulled wine will be served.
If you’re on you way to ice skate at Calverley Grounds, why not make some extra time to visit Santa’s Grotto? Tickets cost £14.50 per child and include a mounted photo and gift. Other ticket options are available. Visit fatherchristmasinkent.co.uk and tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com
Ensure your Christmas shopping is as pleasant as possible by taking part in The Ivy’s luxury gift experience in collaboration with Hoopers. The idea is to give shoppers an ‘exclusive luxury experience’. First you relax and unwind in the department store enjoying two indulgent experiences, including a styling and salon appointment, then you have a Champagne afternoon tea at The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells. Available Monday to Friday, tickets are priced £60 per person. Call Hoopers on 01892 530 222 to reserve your spot.