A Rye Christmas

With Christmas right around the corner we’re all on the look out for seasonal activities and gift buying opportunities. If you’re visiting Rye this December there’s a plethora of festive fun available to keep kids and big kids alike entertained.

Rye Christmas Festival

The central point of the festival season in Rye, Rye Christmas Festival (https://www.christmasinrye.co.uk/) is a perennial delight. The one day event on 9th December sees the whole town transform into a place of festive joy, with this year’s theme, Toyland, sure to bring an extra big smile to the faces of both locals and visitors. The event is run by volunteers, and local businesses and performers throw themselves into making the day extra special.

And the people of Rye really do go all out. Music and dance taking place across three stages is only scratching the surface. Street performers, reindeer, children’s rides, a puppet theatre (click here for tickets) and a Christmas procession through the streets of the town contribute to a sense of the town being taken over by a kind of magic. Yet more magic is available at The Mermaid Inn, where a magician will astonish and delight those who stop for a drink or bite to eat. The Christmas Market provides a fantastic place to find festive gifts.

Festive fun and games

Another tradition in Rye on the day of the festival is the Rye High Street Races. Adults and children’s Santa Relay Races, where competitors race as a fully dressed Santa, as well as Christmas Pudding Races and Tug-o-War are all open to those who want to take part on the day. Each starts at 14:00 along the high street, but make sure you get there 15 minutes early if you want to take part!

Christmas traditions

For a chance to be a part of a real traditional Christmas atmosphere joining the popular sing-a-long Carol Concert at St Mary’s Church could be a wonderful end to the day of the Festival.

Ever wanted to find out more about how Panto works? Also on the 9th of December kids and grown-ups can do just that in a workshop held by the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk, this year’s local show. Kids can be left at the workshop and all the leaders are CRB checked. Jack and the Beanstalk (more info and tickets) itself opens that evening and runs until the 27th of December.

Another event starting on the 9th and continuing throughout December is the Reindeer Art Trail. Offering an opportunity to explore Rye through a creative trail of magic and Christmas wonder, this is potentially a perfect activity for visitors to the town. Collect your prize at the end from Rye library.

Further afield

There’s also plenty of seasonal goings on elsewhere in the local area. Many nearby villages hold fairs on different days than the festival in Rye, so if you’re visiting on another date make sure you have a look for local Christmas activity elsewhere.

Or for something extra special check out the Santa Special Train from Tenterden Station - see details here. On board the festively decorated steam train, you'll meet Santa himself during the 1 hour 10 minute return journey. Look out for his elf helpers with their sacks full of lovely presents - every child receives an age appropriate gift direct from Santa whilst teenagers (13 to 15) receive a scrummy box of festive chocolates. Everyone receives complimentary refreshments too.

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