10 Things to do this Christmas near Dartford

It’s that time of year again when we start thinking about the festive season. For some inspiration Visit Dartford have put together 10 of the best things to do in or near Dartford. From Jolly Christmas Markets and glittering Christmas Lights to Magical Grotto’s and Garden Trails. Plus Nearby Ice Rinks & Christmas Shopping.

1. Bluewater Santa’s Grotto: From 14th November- 24th December

Another year, another Grotto at Bluewater, and each year it just gets more magical than the last. This year the Grotto theme is the timeless festive story of The Nutcracker and the Realms. 

Children will be greeted by a Toy Soldier Guard, Then led through the beautiful Realm of flowers by a delightful snowy Owl, followed by the amazing Realm of sweets where children will meet Clara herself! The Children can Decide whether they want to be a Nutcracker or a Sugar Plum Fairy, and create a festive craft to take home, before the first photo opportunity in the Realm of Snowflakes, with Sugarplum fairies, and a Giant Nutcracker. And Finally- the moment every child has been waiting for, the room with Father Christmas Himself will be next in this spectacular Grotto. 

Every child will receive a plush toy from Father Christmas and will have a professional photo taken with the man in red! The professional photo will be available for adults for purchase with the assistance of the sugarplum fairies as they bid you farewell.


Grotto prices
Adults – Free (up to two per transaction)
Add. Adults – £5.00
Children (off-peak) – £10.50
Children (peak) – £12.50
Children (prime) – £14.50

2. The Magic Of Christmas @ The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, THU 19 DECEMBER | 7:30PM

Get into the festive spirit and celebrate Christmas with the Belvedere Concert Band and guests as they bring you the very best of music and songs from the classics, stage and big screen with plenty of Christmas favourites! A Charity Concert in aid of Mind .

3. Dartford- Big Christmas Switch on – SAT 16th November | From 2:15pm

This year’s exciting countdown to the Dartford Town Centre Christmas lights has begun. Join us Saturday 16th November @ Dartford Town Centre, with all the action starting at 2:15 pm at One Bell corner, with entertainment from, The Soundcasters, A Tribute to JoJo Siwa, Lee Jackson and the Country Jukebox Band, Che Chesterman (The X Factory) and Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions winners Twist & Pulse. 

This year the lights will be turned on by international Actress, Fashion Designer and Author Denise Van Outen. Making an appearance will also be Father Christmas, The Mayor, and the winner of the colouring competition who will all be helping to switch on the lights at 5:20pm. 

As well as the acts listed, there will be lots of fun things to do for all the family around town. For locals and visitors alike, this is an afternoon that should not be missed! 

4. Ice Skating at Bluewater From 14th November-5th January

Alongside Bluwaters incredible Christmas grotto, there will, again, be an undercover outdoor rink, situated by bluewaters beautiful lakes. Perfect for every member of the family to enjoy. There will be skating aids for the children… and the adults, who like me, have 2 left feet. If your skating skills are really that poor- you can always take a skating lesson here too, to improve those skills! You will be gliding across the ice in no time!

Ice skating prices for 1 hour session:
Adults (off-peak) – £11.00
Adults (peak) – £13.50
Adults (prime) – £14.00
Juniors (off-peak) – £10.00
Juniors (peak) – £12.50
Juniors (prime) – £13.00
Children (off-peak) – £9.00
Children (peak) – £11.00
Children (prime) – £11.50
Family (off-peak) – £34.00
Family (peak) – £39.50
Family (prime) – £41.00

5. Christmas Craft Fair @ Hall Place, November 17 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Returning to the historic House of Hall Place is the extremely popular annual Christmas Craft Fair. Absorb the festive atmosphere whilst exploring a unique range of traditional crafts and contemporary gifts.

Displayed on over 50 stalls throughout the house, you’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

In addition the Hall Place monthly farmers market will be running, selling local produce and luxury treats. This will also be the last weekend the owls in the glasshouse are open, before they close up for the winter. This would be a perfect opportunity to visit All About Owls, and even hold one if you wish.

Free event however charges apply to enter the house

6. Rochester Christmas Market

Set In the beautiful Rochester Castle Gardens, Rochester Is transformed into a festive Bavarian wonderland, you can feast on delicious Bavarian foods in the food village, or have a spin on a ride in the funfair. You can find a variety of different stalls to help you find the perfect, and unique Christmas gifts and stocking fillers. For those of you who love snow, you won’t be short of it here, since there will be a guaranteed snowfall. Every Friday, rides are £1 and activities are half price. 

Opening times:

Saturday 30 November – 10am to 6pm
Sunday 1 December – 10am to 6pm
Friday 6 December – 12noon to 8pm
Saturday 7 December – 10am to 7pm
Sunday 8 December – 10am to 7pm
Friday 13 December – 12noon to 8pm
Saturday 14 December – 10am to 6pm
Sunday 15 December – 10am to 6pm

7. Rodolph Rave- A family Christmas Party, SAT 7th November | Doors 12pm

A Christmas Party!? Why not? Our very own Orchard Theatre hosts Rodolph Rave, it’s a must-go-to, bring all the family along Christmas Event. With glow sticks, glitter and giant balloons, it will be a party to remember, for all ages (Particularly ages 0-8). Joining in the festivities will be Santa and Rudolph. The bar will also be open for the big party-goers.

Doors open at 12pm. Disco Starts and 12:30-3pm. Snack will be served from 12pm

8. Peter Pan Panto – SAT 14 December 2019 – SUN 5 January 2020

Well would it even be Christmas without a Panto?! Oh no it wouldn’t! So this year The Orchard Theatre bring to you a Panto Classic, that warms the hearts of both Children and Adults, with plenty of Belly laughs! If you want a day to stop growing up, “Peter Pan” is definitely the go-to panto this Christmas. The Children will know these characters as, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Mr Smee and the Lost boys. However, The adults may see some familiar faces, Known as Steve Mcfadden and Andy Ford. 

9. Christmas Shopping @ Bluewater

For the ultimate shopping experience visit Bluewater, rising from a former chalk quarry among 50 metre-high cliffs with over 300 stores, 60 bars, restaurants and cafes along with 13,000 car parking spaces the shopping hot spot also boasts a 13 screen showcase cinema de lux including imax, sega xd theatre, the pirate cove adventure park and Nature Trail. Not forgetting Santa’s Grotto and Ice Skating. You are sure to find something for all the family to do whatever the weather 

10. Christmas Garden Trail- Hall Place – 1st DEC- 30th DEC | 10am-4pm

Hall Place are hosting a lovely Christmas Trail, perfect for all the family. Trail sheets are £2.50 each, this year’s theme is to find all the penguins and discover the recipe for delicious cupcakes you can bake at home. Includes small free prize . Pay on the day.

So here we have it, our top 10 things we think are not to be missed this christmas, In and around Dartford. If you have any other ideas we would love to hear from you, please contact us at advertising@visitdartford.com 

From us here, Have a Magical Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Get Involved!! Post your festive snaps of Dartford on our Facebook page for your chance to feature your image Top on our Homepage. Our favourite image will be selected & Published 15th Dec, to be announced on Facebook. GoodLuck!!

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Christmas Markets in Dartford
Christmas Markets
Ice Skating, Christmas, Bluewater
Ice Skating
Santa's Grottos in Dartford
Santa's Grotto
Festive Events and Shows
Festive Events & Shows
Christmas Lights & illuminations
Christmas Lights & Illuminations
Panto this christmas
Christmas Pantomimes

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Discover our guide to Christmas in Dartford & Nearby, Explore all the best Things to See and Do, Find & Book Tickets