Thousands gather in the streets of Tunbridge Wells for The Big Reveal

Picture: Emily Brown

Last weekend saw the return of the annual Big Reveal with large crowds flocking to the streets of Tunbridge Wells for the occasion. Organisers, RTW Together Business Improvement District (BID) announced that more than 3,000 people were in attendance across the three-day event.

For the first time, the event ran from 4.30pm-6.30pm on three consecutive afternoons from Thursday November 16 to Saturday November 18. Christmas light switch-ons took place at three different locations across the town with the help of West Kent Radio presenters, an audience countdown and the infamous ‘Christmas Plunger’ – which helps switch the lights on.

Kicking off at Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, the Big Reveal Christmas Window Trail sent visitors to windows along Camden Road, Monson Road and Five Ways on the first day, then on to Mount Pleasant, the High Street and Chapel Place on day two, with the final day’s event taking place in its original home on The Pantiles.

The fifty-plus retailers of Tunbridge Wells did not disappoint this year, with some very creative, seasonal plate glass window displays being revealed across the trail. At Catherine Hills Jewellery on The Pantiles (pictured bottom right), a pair of rainbow-coloured angel wings adorned the shopfront while Kumquat restaurant has created an incredible Polar Express-themed display.

All the colourful displays are still available for residents and visitors to view this week, but you need to be quick, as voting closes on Friday November 24, with the winners officially crowned on Saturday November 25.

At each Big Reveal event, there was plenty for families to enjoy, with various festive food and drink stalls and special performances from local theatre groups. On Thursday, the Once Upon a Wish Princesses performed four free ‘Frosty Tales’ shows at Royal Victoria Place (RVP) and came out to meet visitors at the Five Ways light switch-on. Cast members from the Assembly Hall Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast pantomime entertained audiences on Friday, while Trinity Theatre’s Cinderella cast performed on the bandstand on Saturday.

There were also costumed character appearances, a visit from Santa and his elves who were handing out chocolate coins, and further singing and live entertainment from local groups, Rock Choir, The Salvation Army Brass Band, The Talentz and the King Charles the Martyr Church Choir.

The magical Round Table Christmas Sleigh also made its annual appearance at the event, collecting gifts for the Mayor’s Toy Appeal and donations for Nourish Community Foodbank.

The BID invites the people of Tunbridge Wells to vote for their favourite window displays. To support your choice, visit: or scan the QR code in the display windows

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