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Should I stay or should I go?
Can’t decide whether to stay at home or get away this Christmas? We’ll show you how you can make it a magical time, away from home.

Be Around family
If your family live in East Kent, but don’t have enough room to put you up for the season this is the ideal solution. You’ll be able to spend some quality time together and come back to your own space at the end of the day. A perfect balance that doesn’t leave anyone feeling overwhelmed. After all, family is what Christmas is all about.

Stay somewhere cosy
Chose from our selection of properties with wood burners and fireplaces to add to that cosy ambience. Get the family together over a plate of mince pies. A Cracking fire and stockings hung, Christmas perfection!


Let someone else do the dishes
Enjoy a Christmas dinner at one of Deal’s restaurants. Dine in style at the newly opened Rose Hotel, dinner and a side of sea views are the order of the day at The Royal Hotel and 81 Beach Street. Book your dinner now.


More time to spend on what you love
Think about the time you spend cleaning, cooking and running around trying to make everything perfect for the big day. We’ll take care of everything for you so this year, you can spend that time on what you love. Whether its family, partner or yourself, reclaim your time!


Make new traditions
Don’t miss out on all the fun preparations and traditions you do at home. Instead make up new ones, like a fish supper by the sea on Christmas Eve, or carol singing by the bandstand. It will make this year all the more special and memorable. Read our guide to Christmas in Kent for more ideas


Get away from it all
Or if Christmas isn’t your thing escape the madness this time of year brings. Get away from it all in your own private retreat. Time to decompress and take some time out. Make some time for yourself before the new year, bring some books and a box set for some relaxation.

There’s still time to get away this Christmas and new years, take a look at our availability here

The old cruise terminal building in Dover provides the perfect setting for a festive experience. It’s a great opportunity to entertain the whole family in one day. Make sure you wrap up warm as it gets cold in the drafty space. It’s time to get festive, this is your one stop shop to everything christmassy under one roof.


The children can meet father christmas in his grotto, pet the reindeer, and even post off their christmas lists. Clear out those cobwebs and get the blood pumping with a spin around the ice rink, discover you inner figure skater or break a limb just in time for Christmas. It’s a good idea to book your session before you go as it can get busy. Wander round the stalls soaking up the atmosphere, there’s an array of vendors this year ranging from homemade christmas crafts and photography to festive food and drink. A great chance to stock up on stocking fillers and cracker prizes. Look out for last minute cards and wrapping paper too.


The evening is a good time to visit, the place comes alive with lights and can enjoy the live music by local bands and choirs. There’s even a pop up bar on site, the Bohemian pub from Deal has set up shop for the season and you can sample some of their finest drinks. Grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks, choose from delicious philly cheese steaks, tempting pancakes and rustic wood fired pizzas. Keep warm with a festive hot cider from the drinks truck or a warming hot chocolate.


There’s all the fun of the fayre with a selection of rides and games to enjoy like hook an elf and coconut shy. Take the kids for a ride on the chair- o- planes, or have a turn on the merry go round. If rides aren’t your speed, take a look at the vintage cars and service vehicles on display from Dover Transport Museum, they’re dotted about the entrance, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. Symbols of bygone eras, the vintage cars add a great aesthetic and will satisfy the car enthusiasts.

There really is something for everyone here, bring the whole family along and enjoy a fun filled festive day out.


Opening Times

Open Thursday – Friday evenings (16:00 – 20:00 hrs)

20th & 21st (10:00 – 20:00 hrs)

Saturdays (10:00 – 21:00 hrs)

Sundays (10:00 – 19:00 hrs)

27th November – 1st January (10:00 – 19:00 hrs)


Getting There

The terminal can be found at Western Docks. With signs throughout Dover directing you to the cruise terminals. Parking is free and located outside the entrance to the terminal.

For more info visit the Port of Dover events page.

As Christmas approaches, the pressure is on to find gifts for the important people in your life. But you don’t have to waste time queuing in traffic going to out of town shopping centres to find great shopping. With a plethora of independent retailers on our doorstep here in Deal, you can shop indie and local. You find lots of unique items for your Christmas shopping this year.


Retro Cook Shop

A great place to shop for the home cooks you know. You’ll find everything in here, from kitchen gadgets, Joseph and Joseph products, cake decorating accessories, colourful tea towels, oven gloves, and every cookie cutter shape you could ever need. There’s lots of gift ideas to be found, travel mugs, coaster sets and plaques for the home. Visit before you make a start on Christmas baking, to stock up on christmas cake cases and all the essentials.


The Beach

The Beach is a real treasure trove of interesting and individual objects for the home and items of furniture. Choose from Christmas ornaments, locally made placemat, coasters, and novelty gift items. There’s also a massive selection of Yankee Candles so you’ll be sure to find your favorite scent.


Urban Chic

Another hidden gem of Deal’s high street. Urban Chic is run by two sisters with an eye for fashion. In amongst the clothes racks you’ll find stylish pieced with cool patterns and embellishments. Theres also mountains of jewellery, rummage through their selection of earrings and you’ll be sure to find a stocking filler for all the women you know.



Smugglers Records

For the music lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with Smugglers. As you’d expect there’s a selection of vinyl you can choose from, if they don’t have the album you want they’ll even order it in for you. Turntables, t shirts, CDs and cassettes are all here too. If you want to stock up on craft beers, their selection from local breweries will see you through till new years.



Will and Yates

New to Deal, Will and Yates sell beautiful wares for the home. You can pick up items like artworks, throws ceramics and candles. Everything is meticulously curated and has a rustic stylishness to it. You can also stock up on Margate based natural skincare brand Haeckels. Pop along and browse through their selection.


Taylor Jones and Son

A beautiful shop to wander around, Taylor Jones have a wonderful little selection of ornaments this year. Shimmering whales, robins and foxes among glittering baubles, grab yours quick before they all get snapped up. In the back room you’ll find a mini gallery, with ever changing collections from local artists. There’s lots to chose from and with each corner brimming with gift inspiration, you’ll have that list ticked off in no time.



Tamarisk Boutique

Tamarisk is home to a range of quality brands like White Stuff and Joules. There’s lots of gift ideas for you in Tamarisk, including organic bamboo socks, hats and scarves and night ware. Tamarisk have their own range of Indian hand printed cotton night shirts, carrying their own label.


Book your stay with us this Christmas and receive 10% off your booking, take a look at the cottages available throughout the season.

Christmas is always a special time in Deal as the town comes alive and looks magical when it’s lit up at night. It’s never too early to start planning your Christmas, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best reasons to stay in Deal this December.


Let Someone else do the Cooking

In Deal were lucky to have loads of great restaurants to enjoy. Many of them are offering special Christmas menus, get ahead of the rush and book you and the family in for Christmas dinner. The Lane have a great menu and do great food and cocktails, they’re putting on a christmas buffet for larger parties. 

While Dunkerleys, renowned for their fresh local seafood and friendly relaxed atmosphere, are offering a few different menus over the christmas period, so you can continue the celebrations into the new year. 

Or you can enjoy your turkey with a seaview from the Royal Hotel on Christmas day, where they specialise in using seasonal and local produce. Check out their menu.


Go ice skating and meet Father Christmas

The Old Marine Station will once again be transformed into a winter wonderland. The ice rink will be back and bigger than last year, also returning will be the christmas market, festive bar and santa’s grotto. This event really gets you in the mood for christmas, wrap up warm and enjoy a hot spiced cider from the bar, peruse the market stalls. Meet Father Christmas, you can even bring a letter to send off to the North Pole. The unique setting will be packed with christmassy atmosphere, definitely worth making a visit to get you in the mood.


See Canterbury at Christmas

If you need to do some last minute christmas shopping, or just want to treat yourself during your stay, head to Canterbury for the best shopping in the area. With a large selection of high street shops, department stores and independents you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. There are Park and ride options available so you don’t have to worry about parking in the city. Whitefriars shopping centre even put on an annual market featuring lots of colourful and quirky stalls selling gifts, decorations and food. A walk around Canterbury at christmas is magical, you can even visit the famous Cathedral, be sure to catch it lit up at night with their nativity scene outside.

Photo: Steve Evans


See Walmer Castle transform for Christmas

From the 7th December, the castle will be decorated for Christmas and you can take a tour out of hours. Visit the Tudor fortress formerly the residence of the Duke of Wellington and the Queen Mother during the festive season. The rooms have been freshly re decorated and are now more authentic than ever. What could be more christmassy than exploring a castle during Christmas.

Take a look round Walmer’s award winning gardens during the enchanted lantern festival where you will follow a trail round the gardens. You can make your own lantern and enjoy a hot chocolate at the end of the night. Booking is required for both these events, so be sure to visit the English Heritage website for more information.


Take Part in a Local Tradition

originating from a dare in 1981, the Boxing Day Dip has grown each year with over 200 dippers taking part. The concept is simple, dress up in your most ridiculous attire and run into the sea on Boxing Day morning. Participants often raise money for charities, and they draw big crowds of people who come to watch. But you don’t have to take part to enjoy the event, watching is just as fun. You can cheer on the dippers from the beach, and the pier is a good place to stand and watch the proceedings. It’s a great way to spend boxing day morning, and a tradition to many people from Deal.


Up your Christmas Dinner Game

If you’d rather be making your own dinner this year, brush up on your skills by taking a cooking class. Chequers Kitchen offer a lot of cooking classes to people of all abilities. Come along to their Christmas lunch demo and pick up some tips on how to prepare a delicious meal, using the best local ingredients. Including a trio of starters, and a cranberry and orange meringue roulade. After the demo is over you’ll get to enjoy a tasty meal in a communal setting, whilst meeting lots of new people. Check their website for dates and to book tickets

Sing some Carols

If you’re feeling in fine voice then on On Saturday 16th December at 5pm, come along to Walmer green for a carol concert at the bandstand. The concert often features a choir from a local primary school along with a band. The bandstand hosts concerts all year round and draws crowds of thousands for the Royal Marines Band concert during the summer. The Christmas carol service is a local favorite also, because it wouldn’t be Christmas without a sing song. You could enjoy a fish supper from a chip shop along The Strand then cross the road to see the carol concert on the green.


Come along to a Christmas Fayre

On Saturday 2nd December from 10 am, the Astor Theatre in Deal is hosting a Christmas Fayre. Deal is home to a large community of makers and artists, many of them will have their wares available to buy at this event. This is a great  chance to get some christmas shopping done as there will be an array of homemade gifts and quirky items on offer from the stall holders. But save your pennies and bring along the children as there will also be a tombola and festive lucky dip to take part in.

Keepers Cottages and Elite Pampering are pleased to be working together to provide our guests with a truly indulgent and relaxing holiday experience.


Elite Pampering are a local mobile spa that deliver high end, quality spa treatments in the comfort of your holiday home. As much as we love Christmas, the madness in the run up to it can leave the best of us stressed out with the rush of buying presents, food, travel arrangements and family plans. Elite Pampering’s team of qualified therapists are on hand to relax, de-stress and rejuvenate so you are ready to enjoy this special time of year.  Body treatments, amongst others, include a de-stress massage, a lava shell relax massage; for the hands and feet a luxury manicure and pedicure; or why not go for a spray tan and party lashes ready to party.

It’s not too late to book your spa treatment for Xmas and the New Year so do call Elite Pampering now – all treatments booked on Friday 25 November will receive a 10% discount (this 10% cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer). During December and January, the ultimate indulgence of a Lava Shell Relax Body Massage together with Booster Facial is just £115 (saving £20 on current prices), as an exclusive offer to guests of Keepers Cottages. The wonderful Lava Shell Full Body Relax Massage combines the warmth of the hot Tiger clam shells with deeply relaxing massage techniques, working over the body to drain the lymphatic system and fully relax your mind and muscles, coupled with a Booster Facial to leave you feeling utter bliss.

Whatever the occasion whether it’s Xmas, an anniversary, birthday celebration, reunion, romantic break, family fun or girly get together, Elite Pampering has a treatment to suit you. For further information and to discuss your requirements, please call Elite Pampering on 07501 837522. To see there range of services visit – bespoke packages can be arranged to suit your needs and budget.





The countdown to Christmas has officially begun so we have been busy as elves here at Keepers Cottages to give you the very best places to take family and friends!

Christmas market Leeds

Leeds Castle Christmas Market – 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th to 23rd December 2015

Leeds Castle hosts the annual Christmas Market on the Cedar Lawn overlooking the Castle. Discover an array of seasonal gift ideas, toys, decorations, food and drink. Visit the Leeds Castle reindeer and birds of prey in the animal area.

Enjoy our nostalgic fairground attractions, children’s rides and a daily programme of live musical entertainment at the band stand. The organ from the beautiful traditional horse carousel will add to the festive atmosphere and is a favourite with families. Leisurely trips will also be available on the big wheel, giving spectacular birds eye views of the Castle and Christmas market. Small additional charges apply.

Xmas around the world Hever

Hever Castle – Christmas Around the World

28 November – 13 December: Open Wednesday – Sunday Only

14 – 24 December: Open Daily

For a fun-filled Christmas family day out, discover how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas and the history behind their traditions. Travel across the continents uncovering Christmas practices and rituals from various cultures.

Walk through the rooms of the fairytale castle, adorned with beautiful decorations and welcoming log fires and discover how people in various countries decorate their homes, what they eat and how and when they celebrate over the Christmas period.

Follow the magical fairy lit Christmas trail along the snowy path and around the illuminated grounds. Journey through the enchanted fairy dell, past Father Christmas’ grotto, around the colour washed Italian Garden and on to the beautifully lit Tudor Garden.

Canterbury Tales Artisan


28 Nov 2015 – 29 Nov 2015

For one weekend only the Canterbury Tales will be opening its doors free for all guests to come and enjoy our Artisan Christmas Fair. Building on the success of last year, this is a totally unique experience for your visit to the Canterbury Tales.

Frosted Fairground Margate


05 Dec 2015 – 03 Jan 2016

For our first Christmas at Dreamland, we present The Frosted Fairground!

Here at the UK’s original pleasure park join us for festive fun, thrills and good times!

Roller Skate photo

Roller Room Tinsel-Tastic Christmas

5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th – 24th December 10am – 4pm

Off-Peak (Monday – Thursday): £4.50, On-Peak (Friday – Sunday): £4.95, Family of 4: £14.99

Skate into Christmas and Dreamlands Roller Room, playing a selection of feel good Christmas Anthems and Nostalgic Christmas Oldies alongside our daily Christmas Movie Soundtrack hour. Is there a better way to get into the Christmas spirit, and burn a few calories before the big day too? Christmas bobble hats will be included with skate hire, Christmas Jumpers encouraged!

Winter at Dover Castle

Winter at Dover Castle – Sat 28 & Sun 29 Nov 2015

Enjoy music, dance and storytelling around the roaring open fire. Step inside and experience the magic of the castle in winter.

Santa Specials at Romney


05 Dec 2015 – 24 Dec 2015

For hundreds of families who return year on year, no christmas would be complete without joining us for one our famous Santa Specials. Included is a steam train ride to see santa in his grotto, a visit to the Model Railway exhibition, festive nibbles and treats for all, plus the snow machine!

Peter Pan Winter Gardens

Winter Gardens

Peter Pan 2-6 December


Fresh on the heels on last year’s ‘Rapunzel’ this year MOS proudly present their NODA Award Winning production of Peter Pan.

Ho Ho Ho Dreamland photo

Christmas Grotto at Dream, Margate 5-24th Decemberland

Welcome to our magical Christmas Grotto and Toy Workshop!

Father Christmas’s magical Grotto has landed right the middle of Dreamland’s Scenic Railway. Come and help the elf department of Hornby Hobbies as they busy themselves making toys for the big day.

Rare breeds centre xmas photo

A truly magical Christmas at The Rare Breeds 5-6 December

One of our guests recently wrote a blog post about Deal after staying with us. It received a fantastic response on social media so we have re-posted here for our other guests to read, with Cate’s permission of course! You can read the original article and all of the comments it drew at the link below:

Delightful Deal

I think that the British seaside is a wonderful place to be at this time of year and after spending the Christmas week in Deal in Kent, I have completely fallen for the place. I booked a cottage (I highly recommend Keepers Cottages) which was very fortunately in the Middle Street district which I now know is the place to be. There is Georgian gorgeousness about the buildings and the streets between the sea front and the high street are charming but still have a lovely rawness about them. Interestingly, there are a number of delectable shops and restaurants that seem to have sprung up recently and would be just at home in the trendy bits of East London as on the Kent coast.


A house on the High Street


These are the sort of houses you find between the sea front and the High Street in the Middle Street conservation area.


I think Farrow and Ball arrived in Deal before I did – I bet that is Pelt.


Lovely interiors, art and gift shop Dunlin and Diver on the High Street selling Thornback and Peel (which I thoroughly approve of!) and other fab things


Hoxton Store opened just before Christmas and completely gorgeous


Super stylish shop with something for everyone stylish – and a tiny (stylish) art gallery at the back. Taylor-Jones and Son


Great wine bar and wine merchant – run by a French man, need I say more.


Very inviting pub in Middle Street


The two restaurants I can recommend are 81 Beach Street which is excellent (don’t be fooled by the website which isn’t excellent but you can successfully book through) and Dunkerleys which has great food and a somewhat, erm, Faulty Towers inspired approach to service and the two that top of my list when I go back are Victuals and Co and The Dining Club based on local recommendation and by pressing my face against the window when they were closed.


IMAG0317  IMAG0324     IMAG0355     IMAG0381

I was sorry to leave this delightful town but visiting again soon is on my list of resolutions. Happy New Year to you all.


Christmas is around the corner and there is so much to do and see along the Kent Coast.  Why not wrap the family up and come and visit  Father Christmas, go to a Kent Christmas Fair or listen to some Carols at Canterbury Catherdral. We have been busy here at Keepers Cottages to find you some wonderful things to do in Kent this Christmas!

Meeting Father Christmas and his elves and wonderful family Christmas events at castles and many other places in the area…

Father Christmas at Howletts Zoo 22-23 December, Littlebourne, Canterbury

tiger in the snow

Magical of Christmas Past and Father Christmas at Hever Castle – 15th-24th December

Hever Castle

Great Tower of Christmas at Dover Castle 6th Dec-28th Dec


Gingerbread Xmas at Leeds Castle 6 Dec-23 Dec

Leeds Castle in the snow

Traditonal Magical Xmas at The Rare Breeds Centre, Ashford – 6-7th December

Rare breeds centre

Christmas party at Jungle Jim’s, Quex Park, Birchington  – 20th December

jungle jims


Blean Christmas Tree Festival – 13th December

Blean Christmas Festival

 Kent Christmas Fairs

Rochester Christmas Market 5-14th December

Rochester xmas market

Christmas Fair – Pilgrim’s Hospice, Ramsgate – 6th December

Pilgrims Hospice Fair

Christmas Fayre Margate – 6 Dec-21 Dec


Xmas Fair and Market Ramsgate – 13th December & 21 December

Christmas Fair Ramsgate

Cliftonville Farmers Market – 21 Dec

cliftonville farmers market


Canterbury Choral Society Family Carols 13th December 6.30pm. Tickets from

Canterbury Cathedral

Carols by Candlelight, Ellington Park, Ramsgate, 21 December

candlelight carols

Canterbury Carols 24th December

chistmas tree canterbury

If you would like to book one of our lovely self-catering cottges please go to


It’s coming up to my favourite time of the year and Keepers Cottages have picked a selection of wonderful Christmas activities in Kent for all the family while you stay with us in South East Kent this Christmas.

The beautiful county  of Kent will sparkle as our many castles and historic homes are dressed for the festive season, offering some truly dazzling days out for all of the family.
Discover a Dickensian Christmas, indulge in festive food and drink experiences, visit the county’s many fairs and markets whilst staying at one of our pretty coastal cottages.
Whatever you decide, the Garden of England delivers fascinating entertainment during the festive season, allowing you and your loved ones to experience Christmas in a truly unique and fulfilling way.

Canterbury Cathedral

Christmas at Canterbury Cathedral (2nd – 28th Dec). There is no better time to visit Canterbury than December as the Cathedral prepares itself for one of the most important events in the Christian calendar. The life size crib, signed and made by Cathedral staff and ‘sewing ladies’, is worth a visit and the music sung by the Cathedral choir at Services can only be described as ‘heavenly’.

Dover Castle in the snow on the hillMedieval Christmas at Dover Castle  – Dover Castle is situated in spectacular settings above the White Cliffs of Dover and makes a great Christmas atmosphere. Join the court of King Henry for a weekend of medieval festive celebrations at Dover Castle. Enjoy music, dance and storytelling around the roaring open fire. Available every weekend in December. Why not add to the experience and stay in the most unique house in the area, Sea Purse, St Margaret’s Bay.


Quex park photoChristmas at Quex Park, Birchington (23rd Nov – 20th Dec) Quex Park prides itself for bringing to you a varied programme of magical events and activities to enjoy with your loved ones this festive season. Begin the celebrations by attending ‘Quexmas’; the bright and magical Christmas craft fair, with over 70 stalls selling a variety of crafts and gifts. Join Santa in the dining room of Quex house, where he will be warming his toes by the fireside. Enjoy a stroll throughout the museum, house, restaurants and marquees before singing along to your favourite festive songs in the Quex Gardens. Alternatively, why not book a private Christmas party at Quex barn, or enjoy a festive family carvery at Powell-Cotton Museum? Let your children enjoy the festive party at Jungle Jims, relishing the indoor play centre, a disco, and plenty of entertaining party games. The fun continues after enjoying a tasty meal box, where Santa will arrive on his sleigh with a present from the North Pole for each child to unwrap (so be sure to stay off the naughty list!).  A perfect end to this wonderful day would be to stay in one of our fantastic cottages in Broadstairs, Bleak House Lodge, with not just one but two roaring fires to relax by.

A little further afield, but still only a short drive…..

Leeds Castle in the snow

Leeds Castle in the snow

Christmas Celebrations at Leeds Castle (6th Dec – 31st Dec) (just off the M20)
The magic of Christmas descends upon the entire Leeds Castle Estate this December, celebrating the traditions of the festive season with wonderful things to see and do for the whole family. The German style Christmas market will be returning for its second year, allowing you to browse a variety of homemade products, gifts, local produce and festive fayre. See the Castle interiors transformed with a traditional gingerbread theme for Christmas with beautiful decorations and a central display to take your breath away. All the presents have been unwrapped and crackers pulled, so it’s time to breathe in some fresh air and take the children on the Leeds Castle Winter Trail. Collect festive clues as you go round with the chance to be entered into an exciting prize draw. Why not celebrate the start of 2015 at Leeds Castle? Make the evening a night to remember, enjoying scrumptious food, dancing the night away, and enjoying a spectacular fireworks display which will commence high above the 900 year old castle and come back to stay in one of our comfortable self-catering holiday cottages along the South East Kent Coast.

tiger in the snowPort Lympne Christmas Events Celebrate this Christmas party season in style at Port Lympne. Port Lympne Mansion, built for parties and entertaining, and the Aspinall Suite, can accommodate up to 180 people for a 3 course sit down meal and a festive disco, providing the perfect historic exotic venue to hold your Christmas party. Alternatively, why not enjoy a unique Christmas afternoon tea experience? Enjoy a selection of freshly made festive finger sandwiches nestled beside a selection of homemade cakes and pastries, served with freshly brewed fair-trade tea and coffee. Port Lympne Mansion is also pleased to host a two course Christmas lunch for OAPs, including a welcome drink and festive entertainment.

Hever Castle

Christmas Magic at Hever Castle (29th Nov – 24th Dec) Capture the spirit of Christmas with a day that casts a magic spell on all the family. Decorated Castle rooms, welcoming log fires and twinkling Christmas trees. Father Christmas will be visiting again, relaxed Christmas shopping in the gift shops and delicious festive food in the restaurants. As dusk falls, the gardens are magically lit creating stunning illuminated displays.



Christmas Events at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit (12th Dec, 19th Dec). Join us on Friday 12th December, for our Christmas karting party sprint evening. Following a practice, you will then take part in the race heats followed by the all- important final on the National Circuit. This event is available for any group size, this Christmas party evening combines the perfect blend of karting with a Christmas themed meal. Celebrate this Christmas in style at our very special party-night on Friday 19th December. This fun-filled, adrenalin fuelled evening includes; 5 minute qualifying, non-stop 30 minute endurance race, trophy and prizes for top finishers, dinner and other activities. You could always make it a long weekend and stay in one of our Coastal Cottages in Deal.

Christmas is looming ever closer as the months speed by and so we thought it would be useful to highlight the Christmas markets, good shopping towns and events going on throughout Kent and particularly in the South East region to make the festive shopping experience a little less stressful.

In the South East corner we are very fortunate to still have a number of small towns with attractive high streets and some fabulous independent shops, so if you are searching for that something a little different for the person who has everything these are the places to go.  Currently making the shortlist for the “top 10 High Streets in the UK” per the Saturday Telegraph is Deal with a fantastic range of shops down towards to Conservation area ranging from Gift shops to Jewellers to a consortium style shop in the form of Mileage there is something for everyone here.

Mermaid Street, Rye

Mermaid Street, Rye

Other towns worth a visit are Whitstable which, although has a few more High Street chain stores, still retains some small town charm and independents who offer something different. Likewise Rye is a lovely day out, not only for the history and experience of wandering around this beautiful old port, but also for the variety of shops on offer plus the added bonus of some lovely tea rooms and pubs for the well earned sustenance.

For the dedicated shopper there is the mecca that is Bluewater,  when built the largest shopping mall in Europe.  They have plenty to keep the children occupied while the parents shop with an ice rink opening 29th November (booking is advisable), rides, beautiful Christmas lights and the opportunity to meet Santa in his Ice Palace (again booking is required).

Canterbury have their annual Christmas market opening in Whitefriars Square on Thursday 28th November and it is open everyday making a lovely change from the usual high street stores with a variety of gift and food stalls.  Set out in wooden Chalet style huts they are easy to wander around whilst clutching a Bratwurst to get you in the mood.

This year Leeds Castle is hosting it’s first Christmas market (7th to 22nd December) with German market style chalets and traditional carousel rides.  Items on sale will include handmade decorations for your home, quality gifts, beautifully crafted traditional wreaths and festive garlands.  Many local suppliers will also be offering  home-made pies, meats, cheeses, fudge, chutneys, spirits and liqueurs, ideal for the Christmas table.  For younger children there are also Father Christmas visits available the last two weekends before Christmas.

European Christmas Market

European Christmas Market

If you have the time and fancy a little pre-Christmas getaway we are also perfectly located for a little jaunt across the Channel to experience some of the fabulous European Christmas Markets.  There are a number which are easily accessible either by train or car worth a visit such as Lille, Bruges and Ghent to name a few where you can pick up a selection of gifts whilst sampling some festive food delights and maybe even taking a ride on the Ferris Wheel.