Now in its 18th year, the Wealden Times Midwinter Fair is a much-loved festive shopping bonanza and one of the most popular events in Kent. We spoke to Wealden Times Editor Lucy Fleming to find out why fans of the fair return year-after-year and also to Flo Simpson, Event Director, about what we can look forward to this year…
The South East’s largest and most prestigious Christmas shopping event returns to the Hop Farm on November 17-19. With over 260 independent exhibitors selling fashion, jewellery, homeware, gifts, Christmas decorations, artisan food and drinks, there’s something for everyone – you can even get clothes for your dog.
“We always see lots of mums and daughters and groups of best friends shopping together. They shop, have some lunch, and make a day of it. They love it.” says Lucy. “It’s easy to get to, free parking, big enough to make it worth the drive yet still feels intimate. There’s just such a nice atmosphere.
“I think that people like to buy nice things, from nice people. The exhibitors you meet have either designed, made, or sourced the products themselves – a lot of love and care goes into everything you see. It’s where I find my most thoughtful Christmas presents – things you can’t get online. Between fairs, our team scours the country for interesting new exhibitors, inviting them to join fan favourites. They carefully curate each marquee, so that it has the perfect mix of products and exhibitors and that’s what makes the fair so special.”
“To enhance the shopping experience visitors this year will be directed to one of two entrances, which will improve the flow of the show” says Flo. “We have some amazing new exhibitors, delicious street food, and to get everyone into the festive spirit we’ve invited some of our favourite local school choirs, to sing Christmas songs in the Holly Café.”
DON’T MISS THE FOLLOWING:
LONG LIVE THE KING
A magnificent musical production is coming to the Assembly Hall Theatre on Saturday November 5 starring world renowned Elvis performer Chris Connor. Joined by his 12-piece live band The Steels, and backing vocals The Sweet Harmonies, the production will transport viewers back in time, recreating two of Elvis Presley’s most popular concerts. If you were not lucky enough to see Elvis live, this concert will certainly leave you feeling as if you have!
Tickets cost from £30 and can be bought on www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-world-famous-elvis-show-1
Dunorlan Park Fireworks
Don’t miss out on this year’s incredible fireworks display at Dunorlan Park on Bonfire Night [November 5]. Organised by the Tunbridge Wells Round Table, this is an event which benefits many local charities. Before the spectacular fireworks display, visitors can enjoy a delicious selection of winter warmer treats including pulled pork burgers and fish and chips, as well as hot desserts and ice cream.
This spectacular seasonal event usually attracts 10,000 plus visitors so don’t delay in buying your tickets! Gates open at 5.30pm before the main event kicks off at 7.00pm.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first recorded fireworks in England were at the wedding of Henry VII in 1486. They became very popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and they were so much enjoyed by the Queen herself that she created a “Fire Master of England”.
Artisan Craft and Gift Market at One Warwick Park Hotel
November 6, 13 & 20
The Tunbridge Wells Artisan Craft and Gift Market will be popping up at One Warwick Park Hotel this November [6, 13 and 20], offering a delightful selection of gifts and products. Between the streets of Chapel Place and The Pantiles, the hotel’s function room will be home to magnificent artwork, delicious chocolates, soaps, candles, fashion and more. Meet local traders and support small businesses whilst stocking up on a host of fabulous and unique Christmas gifts.
ICE, ICE BABY
SKATE at Calverley Grounds
November 18 – January 2
Ice skating is a seasonal must and as Christmas looms, SKATE will be returning to Calverley Grounds for the twelfth year running. The magnificent dual ice rink attracts visitors from far and wide and is a must-do at Christmas. Open seven days a week from November 18 to January 2, (closed Christmas Day), the outdoor ice rink and festive stalls are only a five-minute walk from the train station and town centre, offering spectacular views of the beautifully-lit park, creating a unique and special seasonal experience this Christmas.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ice skating became popular on frozen ponds in England in the 17th century and in the 1740s, it was British servicemen who introduced ice skating to North America
Calling all fashionistas
Southborough Civic Centre
November 11 & 12
Luxury faux fur accessories brand Helen Moore are heading to Tunbridge Wells for two days of fashion fun. Join the team on Friday November 11 and Saturday November 12 at the Southborough Civic Centre between 10am and 5pm to discover past collections, never-seen samples and unique items at special prices. “We will have faux fur from all our collections including Fashion, Home, Wellbeing, Bridal, Children and Pets. We can’t wait to see you,” a team member tells SO magazine. And between 7pm and 9pm on Friday (November 11) you can drop in for a glass of fizz while you shop the collection. A great way to make a start on your Christmas shopping for all the family!