Family & Kid Friendly Christmas Events in Medway: A Festive Guide

Family Friendly Christmas

As the festive season dawns upon Medway, the region transforms into a wonderland of joyous activities suitable for all ages. This guide offers a glimpse into the family-friendly events that promise to make your Christmas in Medway unforgettable.

Chatham’s Festive Cheer

  • “That’ll Be The Day” Christmas Show (12th Nov): Kickstart the festive season with this dynamic Christmas show.
  • Santa Parade (18th Nov): Experience the enchantment of the Santa Parade, a highlight for families.
  • Aladdin at The Central Theatre (8th – 31st Dec): Immerse in the magical world of Aladdin in this delightful pantomime.
  • Santa Fun Run at Chatham Historic Dockyard (3rd Dec): Combine joy and health in a festive 5K run.

Gillingham’s Paw-tastic Event

  • Meet Chase from Paw Patrol (24th Nov): Let the little ones meet their hero, Chase from Paw Patrol, in a dream-come-true event.

Rochester’s Winter Wonderland

  • Jazz and Blues Festival (15th – 18th Nov): Groove to jazz and blues in this musical extravaganza.
  • Christmas Market (25th Nov – 10th Dec): Find unique holiday gifts at this charming Christmas market.
  • Dickensian Christmas Festival (2nd – 3rd Dec): Step back in time for a traditional Dickensian Christmas celebration.
  • Victorian Christmas at Eastgate House (2nd Dec – 7th Jan): Experience the historical charm of a Victorian Christmas.
  • Costume Sale for Dickensian Festival (18th Nov): Prepare for the festival with a special Dickensian costume sale.
  • The Mistletoe Ball (1st Dec): Enjoy an elegant, costumed Christmas ball.
  • Christmas Carol Concert at the Cathedral (16th Dec): Join the community for heartwarming Christmas carols.
  • Storytelling with Victorian Father Christmas (18th – 23rd Dec): Be enchanted by tales from Father Christmas himself.
  • Candlelight Christmas Love at The Corn Exchange (19th Dec): Enjoy the melodious Christmas classics in a serene candlelit atmosphere.

These events showcase the diverse, family-friendly activities available in Medway this Christmas, offering everything from theatrical performances to historical experiences and festive markets.

Here are some more general ideas on family and kid friendly Christmas activities in Medway:

Creative Fun: Christmas Craft Workshops Engage in creativity at local craft workshops. Places like The Brook Theatre run sessions where families can make decorations or gifts together. These workshops are not only fun but also a great way to learn new skills and bond.

Outdoor Joy: Skating and Winter Walks Embrace the outdoors with ice skating at Gillingham Park or enjoy a winter walk at Capstone Farm Country Park. These activities are perfect for families to get active and enjoy nature’s beauty during the festive season.

The Magic of Theatre: Christmas Shows Medway’s theatres, including the Central Theatre, offer a range of Christmas shows suitable for all ages. From pantomimes to Christmas concerts, there’s something to captivate everyone in the family.

Community Spirit: Christmas Tree Decorating Participate in community tree decorating events across Medway. These events are a great opportunity for families to contribute to their community’s festive spirit and meet fellow residents.

Giving Back: Charitable Family Activities In the spirit of Christmas, engage in charitable activities with your family. Food drives or volunteering at local shelters are profound ways to teach children about giving back to the community.

Festive Markets: A Treat for All Explore Medway’s Christmas markets, which are a treasure trove of local crafts, food, and entertainment. These markets support local artisans and provide families with a unique shopping experience.

Homely Celebrations: Baking and Movie Nights For those days when you prefer the warmth of home, engage in baking festive treats or having a Christmas movie marathon. These simple joys are what bring families closer during the holidays.

Let’s embrace these opportunities, supporting our local businesses and community, and make this festive season a memorable one for every family.

Christmas Traditions in Medway

Christmas Traditions in Medway

Medway, with its rich historical tapestry, unfolds a Christmas tale that would resonate with the spirit of Charles Dickens himself. Here, we delve into the heart of these traditions, tracing their evolution from the 19th century to the present, illuminating how they have shaped our community’s festive celebrations.

The Dickens Influence

Charles Dickens, a luminary in the literary world, profoundly influenced Medway’s Christmas traditions. His vivid depictions of Christmas, especially in “A Christmas Carol,” painted a picture of warmth, family, and generosity that resonated deeply within the Medway community. His stories weren’t just tales; they became a blueprint for how Christmas was celebrated.

Families gathering around the hearth, sharing good food and laughter, mirrored the scenes Dickens created, weaving his literary magic into the fabric of Medway’s festive celebrations. Dickens’s legacy in Medway goes beyond his tales; it’s etched in the way we celebrate our Christmases, filled with warmth, family, and community spirit.

The Tale of the Six Poor Travellers

The Six Poor Travellers House in Rochester stands as a testament to the intersection of history and literature in Medway’s Christmas traditions. The story, as told by Dickens in “The Seven Poor Travellers,” speaks of a bountiful Christmas feast provided to travellers. While this heart-warming tale was more fiction than reality, it symbolizes Medway’s enduring spirit of hospitality and kindness.

The tale, although a creation of Dickens’s imagination, inspired real-life generosity and goodwill within the community. It’s a reminder of the power of stories in shaping our traditions and the importance of extending a helping hand, especially during the festive season.

Festive Commerce: A Competitive Spirit

The 19th-century festive season in Medway, particularly on Rochester High Street, was a spectacle of competition and community spirit. Shopkeepers, in a bid to attract customers, transformed their storefronts into elaborate Christmas displays. This tradition was more than a commercial strategy; it became a communal event, with residents strolling the High Street to admire the creativity and effort of local traders.

This competitive yet festive spirit encapsulated the essence of community bonding, with each display adding to the collective Christmas cheer. It’s a tradition that speaks to the enduring community-focused nature of Medway’s businesses, a legacy that continues to inspire local commerce today.

From Food to Gifts: A Tradition Transforms

Initially, Christmas in Medway was predominantly a celebration of festive feasts. Over time, however, the tradition evolved to include the exchange of gifts. By the early 20th century, the focus shifted to include not just lavish meals but also thoughtful presents, reflecting a broader societal change.

This evolution from food to gifts marks an important transition in the community’s festive practices, highlighting the adaptability and growth of Medway’s traditions. It underscores the importance of local businesses in providing unique and cherished gifts, reinforcing the community’s commitment to supporting each other and fostering a sense of togetherness during the holiday season.

Wartime Christmas: Unity in Adversity

The outbreak of World War I brought significant changes to Christmas celebrations in Medway. The community, faced with the harsh realities of war, found solace and unity in their Christmas traditions. Churches, usually the epicentre of festive celebrations, became beacons of hope, packed with soldiers and local residents seeking comfort and camaraderie.

These wartime Christmases highlighted the community’s resilience and ability to find joy even in the most challenging times. The collective spirit of Medway, its capacity to come together in adversity, is a poignant reminder of the enduring strength and unity of the community, especially during the festive season.

Conclusion: Our Christmas Legacy

Today, as we celebrate Christmas in Medway, we are part of a legacy shaped by historical traditions and community values. These traditions remind us of the importance of community, the joy of sharing, and the spirit of resilience. Let’s cherish and continue these practices, ensuring that the festive spirit of Medway burns brightly for generations to come.

In embracing our past, we strengthen our present and future, fostering a community that supports local businesses, values shared experiences, and thrives on mutual support.

Things to do in Medway in Late November & December

Rochester Cathedral Jazz and Blues Festival 2023

15th – 18th November 2023 Location: Rochester Cathedral, ME1 1SX

Join us for a sensational weekend of jazz and blues music at the historic Rochester Cathedral from the 15th to the 18th of November. This festival brings together some of the greatest musicians for a series of gigs, all in aid of raising money for the cathedral. Headlining acts like the Nigel Price Organ Trio & Claire Martin OBE are set to dazzle audiences. Also, don’t miss the chance to experience an exclusive VIP reception with champagne and canapés in the historic Quire.

The Dickens Festival Costume Sale

18th November 2023, 10AM – 3PM Location: Princes Room, The Corn Exchange, Rochester High Street, ME1 1LS

Step back in time with a unique shopping experience at the Dickens Festival Costume Sale. Held in the Princes Room of the Corn Exchange, this one-day pop-up sale on 18th November offers an array of Dickensian and Victorian costumes and accessories for the discerning lady and gentleman.

Santa Parade – Chatham

18th November, 12pm Location: Starting from High Street to the Pentagon

Experience the magic of the festive season with the Santa Parade in Chatham. Watch as Santa and the stars of this year’s Central Theatre Pantomime, ‘Aladdin’, bring the sparkle of the season to life. The parade promises to be a vibrant start to the festive season.

Wartime Christmas at the Royal Engineers Museum

25th – 26th November 2023 Location: Royal Engineers Museum, Library & Archive, Gillingham

Dive into history with the Wartime Christmas event at the Royal Engineers Museum. On 25th and 26th November, explore vintage clothing, crafts, local produce, and meet Sapper Santa. This event offers a unique blend of historical insight and festive fun.

Storytelling with Victorian Father Christmas

18th – 23rd December 2023 Location: Eastgate House

Bring your family to Eastgate House for an enchanting storytelling session with Victorian Father Christmas. From the 18th to the 23rd of December, experience the magic of Christmas stories in a historical setting.

Candlelight Christmas: Love Actually, Home Alone & More

Date: 19th & 20th December 2023 Location: The Corn Exchange

Indulge in the festive spirit with the Candlelight Christmas concert at The Corn Exchange. Enjoy a multi-sensory musical experience featuring classic Christmas songs from beloved films like ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Home Alone’.

These events showcase the rich cultural tapestry of Medway, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re a music aficionado, a history enthusiast, or looking for family-friendly activities, Medway’s event calendar is brimming with exciting opportunities. Make sure to check official sites for the latest information on dates, times, and ticket bookings.

Music Venues in Medway: Tour the Local Beats

Person playing guitar

In the heart of Medway, a symphony of culture resonates through its vibrant music venues. These local hotspots are not just places of entertainment; they are the pulsating heart of our community, where creativity, camaraderie, and culture converge. This article takes you on a tour of some of the most dynamic and engaging music venues in Medway, each a testament to our thriving local music scene.

1. Poco Loco: The Soul of Medway’s Music

Nestled in the bustling streets, Poco Loco stands as a beacon of Medway’s diverse musical landscape. This family-run, grassroots dive-bar doubles as a live performance venue, offering a unique blend of Spanish and Mexican culinary delights. But it’s after the sun sets that Poco Loco truly comes alive. From the strumming of indie rock guitars to the rhythmic beats of gypsy jazz, the venue is a melting pot of musical genres. The atmosphere here is one of openness and acceptance, a place where all are welcome to revel in the joy of music. It’s more than a venue; it’s a celebration of diversity and a cornerstone of our community’s cultural identity.

2. The Ship Inn, Gillingham: A Nautical Music Odyssey

In Gillingham, The Ship Inn is an iconic landmark in Medway’s musical voyage. Known as the home of live music in the area, this venue is a haven for those who appreciate the finer notes of folk, acoustic, blues, and jazz. Imagine a traditional setting, illuminated by the soft glow of candlelight, where melodies float through the air as freely as the ale pours. The Ship Inn is more than just a music venue; it’s a place where friendships are forged and stories are shared, all to the soundtrack of some of the finest musicians in Medway.

3. RAMS 12 Degrees Micropub: Where Music Meets Community

On the cusp of Rochester High Street and Chatham Intra lies RAMS 12 Degrees Micropub, a gem in the heart of our community. This unique spot is not just for ale enthusiasts but also a sanctuary for music lovers. With a resident band, “12 Degrees Under,” the micropub hosts intimate gigs that are the talk of the town. These gatherings aren’t just performances; they’re communal experiences where locals unite, sharing in the joy of live music.

4. Three Sheets to the Wind: A Rustic Retreat with Rhythmic Heartbeats

In the historic quarters of Rochester, Three Sheets to the Wind offers a rustic and elegant escape. This pub, with its enchanting beer garden, is a paradise for those seeking a tranquil afternoon. But as the evening draws in, the venue transforms, hosting live comedy and music events that are a must-attend. It’s a place where laughter and music intertwine, creating memories that linger long after the night ends.

5. The Huntsman, Rochester: A Harmonious Blend of Food and Music

The Huntsman in Rochester is not just renowned for its traditional roasts and fine beer; it’s a hub of musical evenings that add a vibrant rhythm to the local dining scene. Here, music and dining blend seamlessly, offering a sensory experience that’s both appetizing and entertaining. It’s a testament to how music can enhance our everyday experiences, making even a simple meal an event to remember.

6. The White Horse, Rainham: A Cheerful Rendezvous for Music Lovers

The White Horse in Rainham is your quintessential local pub with a twist. It’s not just about the drinks and the camaraderie; it’s a place where live music vibrates through the walls. With events advertised on social media, it’s a spot where you can enjoy a variety of sports and live music in a friendly, pet-welcoming environment. The White Horse is a place that truly embodies the spirit of community and shared enjoyment​​.

7. Rainham Arms: A Fusion of Dining and Melody

The Rainham Arms offers a unique blend of dining and live music. This venue is about more than just a meal; it’s about an experience. With options for outdoor seating and private dining, it’s a space where families and friends can gather to enjoy good food, live music, and each other’s company in a welcoming environment​​.

8. The Rising Sun, Rochester: A Haven for Live Music Enthusiasts

The Rising Sun in Rochester is a haven for those who cherish live music. Known for its warm hospitality and diverse event nights, this venue offers everything from live bands to open mic nights. With a large garden to enjoy in the warmer months, it’s a place that combines the charm of a traditional pub with the energy of a live music venue. Whether it’s a family celebration or just a night out, The Rising Sun promises a memorable experience

A Call to Support our Local Music Scene

Medway’s music venues are more than just places of entertainment; they are the lifeblood of our community. Each venue, with its unique charm and character, contributes to the rich tapestry of our local culture. By supporting these venues, we’re not just enjoying great music and food; we’re nurturing the heart and soul of our community. Let’s continue to celebrate and support these local treasures, for in doing so, we ensure the continued harmony and vibrancy of Medway’s cultural scene.

Are there any you think we should add to this list? Add your favourites music venues in Medway in the comments.

Chinese Takeaways & Restaurants in Medway (and Nearby)

Chinese restaurants either side of water

In Medway, Chinese cuisine has long been an integral part of our community’s culinary landscape. From the aromatic spices of Rainham to the vibrant flavours of Chatham, each locale in our area boasts its own cherished Chinese eatery. These establishments are more than just food providers; they are a testament to the cultural diversity and richness within our community.

This guide aims to inform and encourage locals to experience the variety of Chinese cuisine available in Medway, from the famed Parkwood Chinese Takeaway in Rainham to the bustling Lotus House in Maidstone.

Parkwood Chinese Takeaway

Located in Rainham, Parkwood Chinese Takeaway is celebrated for its high-quality Chinese cuisine. Their sweet and sour chicken is a standout dish, consistently drawing praise from patrons.

Confucius, Chatham

In Chatham, Confucius offers an array of Chinese and Asian dishes. Known for its excellent food and service, it’s a popular choice among locals.

Water Lily, Rochester

Water Lily, situated in Rochester, Medway, is renowned for its authentic Chinese cuisine, offering a genuine taste of traditional flavors.

Imperial Dynasty, West Malling

Imperial Dynasty, located in West Malling, serves Chinese and Asian dishes. It’s praised for its hot food and excellent service, making it a go-to for quality meals.

Nai’s Garden

Another popular choice in Medway, Nai’s Garden is known for its wide range of Chinese cuisine, catering to various tastes and preferences.

Peking Restaurant, Gravesend

Peking Restaurant in Gravesend offers a diverse menu, showcasing a variety of Chinese and Asian dishes that are sure to satisfy any palate.

Tai Won Mein Noodle House, Gillingham

For those seeking quick bites and Chinese dishes, Tai Won Mein Noodle House in Gillingham is an ideal spot, known for its convenience and taste.

China Garden

China Garden, another Gravesend gem, is well-regarded for its extensive menu offerings, providing a comprehensive Chinese dining experience.


Tang’s in Chatham offers a variety of Chinese and Asian cuisine. It has received many positive reviews, making it a favorite among locals.

Hons, Rainham

Located in Rainham, Hons is known for its diverse menu and excellent service, offering a quality dining experience in the area.

Lotus House, Maidstone

Lotus House, a fast food Chinese restaurant in Maidstone, is praised for its quality of food, offering quick yet delicious meals.

Crown City, Maidstone

Situated in Maidstone, Crown City is recognised for its Chinese and Asian dishes. Its reputation is backed by numerous positive reviews.

Yummy House, Gillingham

In Gillingham, Yummy House stands out for its quality service and Chinese cuisine, ensuring a satisfying dining experience.

Fairview Chinese Takeaway, Gillingham

Fairview Chinese Takeaway, located in Gillingham, is known for its fast food Chinese offerings, combining convenience with taste.

Diversity in Cuisine

Medway’s Chinese culinary scene is characterised by its diversity. From traditional favourites to innovative fusion dishes, these restaurants cater to a wide range of preferences. Whether you’re a fan of classic beef and broccoli or looking to try something new like a spicy Szechuan stir-fry, Medway’s Chinese eateries have you covered.

The Art of Chinese Cooking

The essence of Chinese cooking lies in its balance of flavours and use of fresh ingredients. Our local chefs skilfully combine sweet, sour, and spicy elements to create dishes that are not only delicious but also a feast for the senses.

Takeaway Culture in Medway

Chinese takeaways have become a staple in our local food culture, offering quick, satisfying meals that resonate with our community’s tastes. These establishments blend traditional flavours with local preferences, making them a popular choice for many.

Health and Nutrition

Contrary to popular belief, Chinese cuisine offers a variety of healthy options. Steamed vegetables and grilled meats are readily available for those seeking a nutritious meal without compromising on taste.

The Business of Chinese Cuisine

These restaurants and takeaways are more than just food establishments; they are vital parts of our community. Their commitment to serving quality food and adapting to local tastes underscores their importance in our daily lives.

Integrating Chinese Cuisine in Local Culture

Chinese cuisine’s integration into Medway’s culture highlights our community’s appreciation and enjoyment of diverse culinary traditions. These dishes have become a regular feature in local gatherings and celebrations, showcasing our inclusive community spirit.

This guide offers a glimpse into the rich and varied Chinese culinary scene in Medway. We encourage you to explore these establishments and support our local businesses. Each visit not only promises a delightful meal but also contributes to the vibrant tapestry of our community’s dining culture.