Winter in Kent
Crunching leaves, tempting tipples, frosted trails and fairy tale castles lit up for the season – winter in Kent is calling.
Whether you’re in search of family days out, visits to Santa, sparkling Christmas drinks, or frosted strolls through the countryside in the shadow of historic houses, Kent is a winter wonderland this season.
And because we're just a little obsessed with this time of year, we're sharing some of our favourite winter gems where you can shop, saunter and get that all important Santa sighting...
A frosted vineyard, a cosy tasting room and a sparkling glass or two to raise a toast to the season – we can’t think of much better than the Discovery Tour at Gusbourne this winter. Enjoy refreshments, 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’s time for a fresh, seasonal lunch – the perfect pairing with your Kentish wines.
Discover the Gift Shop at Penshurst Place this season and become a gift giver to rival Saint Nick himself, with a vast selection of festive decorations, Kentish foods, tipples, homeware, cards and more. Open all year round independent of the house and gardens, the Gift Shop also stocks a collection of Christmas trees and in-house handmade wreaths created using materials collected from the beautiful 2,500 acre ancient Penshurst Place estate. Visit on Wednesdays until 11th December and you can enjoy browsing until 7pm!
Oh, there's a treat in store at Walmer Castle this winter because it's been transformed into a magical wonderland! Take the trail through the ever-beautiful gardens this season and you'll be stepping 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 go on the fairground.
There are plenty of gifts to be found at Turner Contemporary this season! From Future Foundry’s Waste-Free Winter Market and the Pioneering Places Creative Enablers’ fantastically festive takeover, to the 25 independent sellers at the Kent Creative’s Designers and Makers Market, trust us, you’ll find more than stocking fillers here this Christmas. What’s more, as each event boasts the creations of some of Kent’s best local designers and makers, it’s the perfect place to pick up a Kent - made treat or two.
Oh you’re in for a some fantastically festive feels in Faversham, Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey this year! With a whole festival dedicated to the Christmas Tree, Tunstall Church’s celebration is an annual favourite. Packed with up to 100 Christmas trees, each crafted from a whole host of materials it’s the perfect excuse to get a little festive inspiration. While the SS Peter & Paul Church’s Cribs from the World exhibition is the ultimate celebration of the Nativity story. Crafted in 40 different countries from around the world and ranging from the stable scene carved on a match head (yep, you read that correctly) to a whole village stretching across a table, this one will soon have the whole family in the Christmas spirit.
The ultimate gift, or the ultimate treat for yourself, the Gusbourne Estate Tour is the perfect wine-lover’s retreat. Spend a day in the countryside, complete with welcome drinks and nibbles in The Nest to start, before a full tour of the estate and vineyards. Once you’ve followed your guide from vine to winery, it’s time for a tasting of eight of their exquisite wines (rare releases and vintages included), all topped off with a three-course lunch of local ingredients, made to complement Gusbourne’s tipples.
Glorious comfort food in the countryside – does it get much more wonderful than that? Tuck into a delicious roast in the Garden Restaurant this winter and you’ll be treated to talks from the experts all about Penshurst Place’s fascinating house and garden. From talks about the house’s intriguing filming links (it was the setting for Wolf Hall and The Other Boleyn Girl to name a few), to hawking demonstrations and a look into the love stories of this fascinating estate. While Penshurst Place and Gardens is closed for the season, be sure to keep an eye out for plenty more events like this throughout winter!
You’ve probably heard by now the much-anticipated Turner Prize exhibition has arrived in Margate! As one of the best-known prizes in the world for visual arts, this is your chance to see the works of four of the most exciting artists in the world right here in Kent at the renowned Turner Contemporary art gallery. This winter tour the exhibition (did we mention it’s free?), explore Margate and view the very skies Turner claimed were ‘the loveliest in all Europe’.
It’s time to fall in love with winter again in Faversham, Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey! From blustery walks through coastal and country parks, to a night star gazing in the splendour of a shepherds hut in Elmley Nature Reserve, this is the place to go for great views and the great outdoors. In search of the best comfort food? 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.
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, you'll be able to get hands on with code cracking, problem solving and be inspired by the castle's real life Cold War history.