Published: Monday, 4th November 2019

There are plenty of things for the whole family to enjoy in Medway this Christmas.

Celebrate the countdown to Christmas with the stars of Chatham’s panto Cinderella and popular children’s film characters at Medway’s festive lights switch on events.

The Christmas lights will be switched on in Rochester on Saturday, 16 November at 5pm. There will be family entertainment from 3.45pm with special appearances from the stars of Chatham’s panto Cinderella which will be performed at The Central Theatre.

On Friday, 22 November the Christmas lights will be switched on in Gillingham at 5pm. There will be entertainment from 3.45pm with guest appearances from minions Bob and Kevin.

Chatham’s Christmas lights will be switched on in the High Street on Saturday, 23 November, at 5pm with special appearances from the stars of Cinderella. There will also be entertainment from 3.45pm.

Shrek will keep crowds entertained on Friday, 29 November when the Rainham festive lights are switched on at 5pm. There will be entertainment in the High Street from 3.45pm.

The Christmas lights will be switched on in Strood on Saturday, 30 November, at 5pm. There will be family entertainment from 3.45pm and a special appearance from Kung Fu Panda.

Setting the tone for Christmas

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “There is a wide range of activities, performances and events taking place across Medway for the whole family to enjoy this Christmas. We are looking forward to the wonderful Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival with its costumed parades and the Christmas market which really sets the tone for Christmas. I would also like to encourage residents to book their tickets to see the interactive performance of The Christmas Adventures of Archie the Mouse and this year’s pantomime Cinderella quickly, to avoid disappointment.”

Rochester Christmas Market 

The Christmas Market returns to the picturesque Rochester Castle Gardens from Saturday, 30 November, where visitors can browse a variety of stalls for unique gift ideas and stocking fillers or relax listening to festive music whilst enjoying a glass of mulled wine. Wander through the Bavarian food village or visit the funfair. There will also be live performers to keep visitors entertained.

There is also guaranteed snowfall and every Friday rides cost £1 and activities are half price. 

Opening times:

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

Christmas at Medway’s theatres 

Medway’s theatres also have festive treats for people of all ages to enjoy. Interactive show The Adventures of Archie the Mouse at The Brook Theatre will delight younger children and this year’s pantomime Cinderella at The Central Theatre will keep audiences of all ages enchanted.

Join Archie the mouse and his friends on their magical Christmas adventure to the North Pole at The Brook Theatre, Chatham, from Friday, 29 November to Tuesday, 24 December. From Archie’s house to the woods and beyond, the journey is packed with fun things to do, and you’ll be part of the gang, travelling with Archie all the way. Will Archie be able to save Christmas? He needs your help! Tickets start from £8 for adults and £7.50 for children. Babies under 12 months go free but will need a ticket. To book click here or call the Box Office on 01634 338338.

This year’s magical pantomime extravaganza, Cinderella, is brought to you by Jordan Productions, the team behind last year’s smash hit Dick Whittington and his Cat and once again they promise stunning sets, sensational costumes, slick choreography and spectacular live music. Left at home by the ugliest of sisters, Cinders cannot go to the ball. However, with the help of her Fairy Godmother (played by EastEnders’ Lucy Benjamin), and with brilliant buffoonery from Buttons and Dandini (played by Milkshake’s Derek Moran), the most exciting night of her life can begin. Cinderella will be performed at The Central Theatre, Chatham, from Thursday, 12 December to Sunday, 5 January 2020. Tickets start from £16 to book click here or call the Box Office on 01634 338338.

Dickensian Christmas Festival

This year's Dickensian Christmas Festival will be held on Saturday, 7 December and Sunday, 8 December from 10am to 5.30pm. 

Uncover a feast of Victorian delights, costumed characters, parades and join in with our open-air carol concerts. 

Visit Rochester Christmas Market for unique gift ideas and shop for festive goodies along Rochester's historic high street.

Dress in your finest Dickensian attire and enjoy a Victorian dinner and dance at the Mistletoe Ball at the Rochester Corn Exchange on Friday, 6 December, from 7.30pm to 11pm. Tickets cost £22 if booked before Monday, 18 November, or £26 after this date. To buy tickets click here or phone 01634 338338.

If you don’t have anything to wear visit the Dickens costume sale on Saturday, 9 November, from 10am to 3pm at the Corn Exchange.

Christmas at Eastgate House

Join us for a spectacular Christmas at Eastgate House this winter. Explore the Grade I listed building all dressed up for Christmas and discover how the Victorians invented many of our festive traditions from Saturday, 16 November until Sunday, 12 January 2020. Entrance costs £4 for children aged five to 15 and concessions, £5.50 for adults and family tickets cost £15.

Listen to Victorian Father Christmas read a unique story about the mice of Eastgate House on Saturday and Sunday, 7 and 8 December, Saturday and Sunday, 14 and 15 December and Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 December, from 11am to 3.30pm. Costs £2 per child, £4 per adult. Price includes entrance to the house as well as storytelling. No need to book, just turn up. All children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Visitors can also enjoy performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol which are back by popular demand. Performances will be held on Sunday, 24 November, Saturday, 30 November and Sunday, 1 December at 1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm, 5.30pm and 7pm. As you enter our 16th century grand reception room, the drama starts to unfold all around you, where scenes will be performed in the various alcoves and hidden doorways. Tickets cost £12 per person, to book phone 01634 332700 or visit Eastgate House, open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 5pm. Please note, audience members stand for the performance, which runs for about 45 minutes.

Christmas at the Guildhall Museum

Enjoy an afternoon of festive fun with the Fezziwigs at the Guildhall Museum on Sunday, 15 December from 3pm to 5pm. The afternoon includes a reading from A Christmas Carol and a Victorian dance demonstration with costumed characters in the museum’s 17th century main chamber. Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for children under 16. Mince pies and soft drinks included. Booking recommended, phone 01634 332900.

The vast range of activities going on in Medway this Christmas in theatres, heritage attractions and in Medway’s town centres all  contribute towards Medway’s strong case to bid for City of Culture 2025. 

To find out more about Christmas in Medway click here or search Christmas in Medway on Facebook.

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