Ramsgate is gearing up for another spectacular Christmas, starting with our Christmas Lights Switch On which takes place on 26th November and includes Santa’s Grotto and workshops, facepainting, naughty elves and an Elf Trail, live entertainment, children’s rides, handmade market stalls and lots more loveliness. Sadly, we have no land train this year as the driver is recovering from surgery but hopefully, he will be back down with us again next year! As with previous years, to claim your free gift from Santa, all you have to do is complete the S’Elfish Trail and hand the form in at the Grotto (Discovery Planet, 47 High Street). We have some lovely gifts again this year, thanks to Ramsgate Town Council!
When the Christmas lights are switched on at 4.30pm, our local drumming band, Samba Ya Wantsum, will lead people up to St George’s Church for the next event of the day, which starts at 5pm and features coloured light display (James Brown AV) onto the church’s lantern tower. Then inside the church, there will be light projections curated by the students at UCA (university of Creative Arts) to accompany a special performance from Free Range Orchestra that is guaranteed to thrill as they move through the audience playing in their inimitable style. Light refreshments are available on arrival and during the interval with the performance expected to end around 7.30pm. The event is free (donations welcome) with plenty of space for a few hundred people inside the church.
As we head into December, the boats will begin to sparkle as our boatowners generously spend their time and money lighting up their vessels for our delight, creating the spectacle known as Ramsgate Illuminations! The arch businesses join in too and the harbour has now become a firm favourite on everyone’s Christmas ‘must visit’ list with promises of warming drinks along the harbour and an injection of that Christmassy feeling that sometimes alludes us with all the stresses leading up to the big day! Last year, there were more than 70 boats lit up and this year, we are expecting an even better display to brighten up our winter evenings!
Late night shopping will be in the town centre on 7th December, with a special Xmas Market at Effingham Street’s Radford House. The businesses have lots of discounts, mulled wine and treats available along with a chance to win vouchers to spend at the participating shops (free raffle ticket with every purchase after 5pm). Addington Street are having three late night shopping evenings, joining the town centre on 7th and on 14th and 21st, the whole street will come together to create a festive feel in each business.
This year’s Christmas Tree Festival, held at St George’s Church runs for 10 days, starting on 8th December and can be visited each afternoon from 2 to 5pm. It really does look beautiful and don’t forget to vote for your favourite tree when you visit!
St Laurence Church has their traditional Christmas Fair on Saturday 9th December which will be held inside the church this year from 10.30am to 1pm and Ellington Park’s Fayre is on Sunday, 10th December from 11am to 4pm with a visit from Santa, market stalls and lots more.
The newly opened Granville Theatre hasn’t wasted any time delivering quality shows and their pantomime is no exception. The Granville will be showing Beauty and The Beast from 15th December until New Year’s Eve so click on the link to bag your tickets for a classic family show!
Ellington Park also has their Carols in the Park on 17th December which takes place at the Bandstand at 6pm (with drinks on offer from 5pm) and will include snow on tap to get you into the festive spirit!
And for those who enjoy a good old Carol Singing session, there are a whole host of Carol Services at St George’s, St Lukes and the Sailors Church so hopefully enough options for everyone that likes to attend a Christmas Service!
If you like a bit of risqué at Christmas, make sure you book your festive tickets for the Screaming Alley XXXMAS Party which will be held at Radford House, Effingham Street. Click on the link, to find out what they have in store for you on 20th December…
Ramsgate residents also host a fundraising extravaganza every night leading up to Christmas and everyone is welcome to go along and spread some cheer and support local charity Thanet Winter Shelter. You can find out about Advent Doors by heading over to their facebook page.
And then after the extremes of Christmas, life settles down a bit before we celebrate the beginning of a New Year as we see in 2024 with Fireworks at the Port! As long as the weather behaves, this is always a special event and so hopefully, wherever you are, you will witness the New Year in with a bang!
Whatever your plans may be this season, I hope you have a happy, healthy Christmas in Ramsgate!
Town Promoter at Ramsgate Town Council