An aerial shot of Rochester and the castle gardens lit up for the Rochester Christmas market
The Rochester Christmas Market
Published: Wednesday, 19th October 2022

The Christmas countdown is on and fantastic shows, fairy lights and family activities are just some of the things to look forward to in Medway this festive season.

Medway welcomes more than five million visitors each year and this Christmas is expected to shine bright with new festive events and the return of family favourites including the Christmas pantomime.

Highly anticipated time of year

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Christmas in Medway is always such a brilliant and highly anticipated time of year. This year will be as exciting as expected and I’m pleased that our autumn and winter events help people from Medway and beyond get into the festive spirit. We’re glad to host such well-loved traditions in the heart of Medway including the Dickensian Christmas Festival and Christmas markets, to welcome thousands to Medway for its heritage and culture. There are also even more child-friendly activities taking place for Medway’s young people this year, as part of our aspiration to become a child-friendly city.”

Live entertainment this Christmas

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, which is the most magical panto of them all? This year’s fairy-tale pantomime will take the whole family on a thrilling adventure with the much-loved Snow White. Join stars such as Eastenders’ Gillian Wright, West End star Hannah Boyce, award-winning Matthew Curnier and the magnificent seven on an adventure to explore the enchanted forest.

Performances will take place from Thursday, 8 to Saturday, 31 December 2022. To book, visit the Medway Tickets Live webpage or phone the Box Office on 01634 338338. Tickets from £18. Group offers available.

Snow White and the cast outside of the Central Theatre for the 2022 Christmas Panto

Snow White case outside of the Central Theatre for the 2022 Christmas panto

If you just can’t get enough live Christmas entertainment, this year’s Christmas show at The Brook Theatre is guaranteed to have the whole family singing and dancing with The Lighthouse Cat’s Christmas Adventure 2022.

With interactive puzzles and larger than life characters, Medway’s younger residents can join the Lighthouse Cat on a magical journey through fantastical lands to help lift the spell, relight the lamp and save the ships in time for Christmas! 

Families are encouraged to come along and help the Lighthouse Cat from Friday, 2 to Saturday, 24 December. Presented by Play on Words and Loop Dance Company, this show is tailor-made to suit children aged three to six-years-old and lasts approximately 50 minutes. To find out more and book your ticket, visit the Medway Tickets Live webpage. Tickets from £8 adults, £7.50 children.

An illustration of The Lighthouse Cat's Christmas Adventure, a cat holding a lantern in the snow with a lighthouse in the background

The Lighthouse Cat's Christmas Adventure

Medway’s Christmas makeover

See Medway turn into a winter wonderland with the family next month, with a fantastic array of Christmas lights across Strood, Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester and Rainham.

VIP character guests will join each Christmas light switch on, including JJ Coco Melon who will open the annual tradition on Friday, 18 November at Friary Place in Strood.

To find out more about the special celebrity character guests, and to find your nearest light switch on, visit our Christmas webpage.

Find festive necessities at Medway’s Christmas market

Set in the picturesque Rochester Castle Gardens from Saturday, 26 November until Sunday, 11 December, a variety of stalls with unique gift ideas and unusual stocking fillers will be available for visitors to browse. Support local businesses whilst ticking off your Christmas list before taking a break at the funfair and enjoying delicious food at the Bavarian food village.

View the full list of dates for this year’s market.

A low shot of Rochester Castle with a funfair for the Rochester Christmas market

Funfair at Rochester Christmas Market

Step back in time with the Dickensian Christmas Festival

One of Medway’s favourite traditions is back once again this year with the popular Dickensian Christmas Festival on Saturday, 3 and Sunday, 4 December. From 10am to 6pm, street entertainment including singing, dancing, parades and readings will take place across historic Rochester. Residents and visitors can get even more into the spirit by dressing in their best Victorian costumes.

A Victorian Christmas

Residents can continue the Victorian festivities from the Dickensian Christmas Festival with a traditional Christmas at Eastgate House.

From carols and crackers to Christmas trees, the halls at magnificent 16th century townhouse will be decked with traditional decorations, reflecting the many customs and traditions which we still enjoy today.

Children will also have the chance to meet Victorian Father Christmas, dressed in his green robes, and listen to a story about the mice who live at Eastgate House.

Admission fees apply. Find out more.

Visitors taking a step back in time in the Tudor house can also immerse themselves in a unique performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the grand reception room in December. To find out more and find performance dates, visit the Medway Tickets Live website or phone the Box Office on 01634 338338.

Elf Yourself

Families and young people are invited to take part in a Christmas elf trail in Medway’s city centre next month to get into the festive spirit. Go on an adventure to visit all four elf stations and collect costume necessities, including bells and hats, before taking a Christmas elf graduation photo with Santa! The event is being delivered by the Pentagon Shopping Centre in partnership with Medway Council’s Child Friendly Medway team on Saturday, 19 November from 1.30pm until 4.30pm.

Reserve your space and find more child friendly Christmas events.


In the spirit of Christmas, the council will once again lift parking fees in all council-owned car parks from Thursday, 15 to Sunday, 18 December (inclusive) to help residents with their festive shopping.

Free parking will allow visitors to shop local, supporting small businesses, and visit the best of Medway’s bespoke stores to tick things off the Christmas list.

A host of festivities

There are plenty of other Christmas events and activities happening across Medway this year, including a digital performance of A Christmas Carol in Gillingham, a Santa Safari at the Fenn Bell Zoo and Christmas wreath making workshops at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.

For a full list of the festivities, visit the Visit Medway website.

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