Join us over the first weekend of December and get your Christmas shopping off to an early start while enjoying a range of entertainment and special offers.
If you’re starting your trip from the top of the town (Parrock Street Car Park), head towards Community Square and onto Windmill Street, where independent bars, butchers and cafes tempt the senses. One of Gravesend’s oldest shops, Munns, a family business trading since 1842, with everything from Arts and crafts to unique gifting ideas all under one roof.
Canopy of lights
When you reach the Canopy of Lights in New Road, you will be greeted by a giant snow globe, providing the perfect Christmas selfie moment. Shoppers may be distracted by New Road’s ample offer of big names, big value retailers and shopping centres, but for those looking for something more quirky head to our historic High Street, where you’ll soon find some brilliant independent traders like Toxic Angel Women’s Boutique, Little White Dress bridalwear, Marie’s Speciality Tea room and Kent Bar to entice you with a cheeky pre shopping cocktail or two.
Old Town Hall
Then join us in the under-croft of the imposing Old Town Hall building in the High Street, where there will a Dickensian array of live music, mulled wine, chestnuts, churros and mince pies, free to anyone who has spent £5 or more in any of the town’s independent stores. So pull up a bale of hay and join in the festivities!
If the fresh air gets too much, seek shelter in the indoor, historic Borough market building, now a treasure trove of artisan market stalls and a showcase of world food, from Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Jamaican Grill, Hungarian and Thai, or enjoy amazing gourmet Burgers, Pizzas, or coffee and cake from our range of fantastic food businesses. The Borough Market will also be hosting live music, a free Santa’s grotto over the weekend and workshops for all the family.
Head back out onto the historic High Street and down towards the River Thames for more artisan local businesses, from Vegan Antics’ selling out of this world sweet and savoury treats to wonderful antique shops and an underground lair of beer, music and poetry at the Mole Hole Micro Pub.
At the bottom of the High Street you will be greeted by the Three Daws, one of Kent’s oldest pubs and recently rated Top 10 in Kent by the Campaign for Real Ale. As well as regular live music, the pub will be hosting a free big board game experience, delivered by the The
Mug and Meeple gaming café.
The world’s oldest cast iron pier, the inspiration for the borough’s very own craft brewery, offers panoramic views of the Thames, which can also be enjoyed from the adjacent riverside gardens. If you’re lucky, Captain Finland will allow you aboard the iconic LV21, a bright red lightship-turned-art space.
St Andrew’s Arts Centre
It might be too cold to explore Bawley Bay, our very own beach, but St Andrew’s Art Centre next door will be open. Pop in and be amazed by the historic mission church, which was part funded by local resident Charles Dickens, and is currently home to Fourth Portal, an inter-generational meeting
place, event space and pop up café.
St George’s Church
If the illustrious history of St Andrew’s isn’t enough, heritage buffs can head across to the beautiful St George’s Church, the resting place of the legendary native American Pocahontas, whose imposing statue attracts visitors from around the world.
St George’s Shopping Centre
A short walk up to the St George’s shopping centre will be rewarded with great coffee at Barista & Bakers or the St George’s Arts Centre, where you can also enjoy great exhibitions and activities. There will also be activities in the Christmas pop up unit being run by The River Church, and if that’s not
enough – we will be putting on a FREE pop up skating rink to add to the fun!
Thrill seeking & gaming
Thrill seekers and gamers are spoilt for choice in Gravesend, with escape rooms, laser tag arenas, retro arcades, board game cafes, axe throwing and VR gaming. And this weekend, Orb VR gaming will be waiting to welcome you into their unique game arcade offering virtual reality experiences like no other!
Or for something a bit different why not experience the many different Panic Room experiences on offer throughout the town.
Gravesend town centre is renowned for its world cuisine, inspired by the melting pot of cultures that have made Gravesend their home. Head to Queen Street for everything from Reliance Fish Bar for traditional fish and chips, an assortment of African and American cuisines and the amazing Korean
The area’s thriving Sikh community have ensured sweet and savoury snacks inspired by the Indian sub-continent are plentiful. Head to the edge of town for Desi’s Sweet Centre in Wrotham Road, for the best Indian sweet and savouries ranging from Barfi to the ultimate vegetable samosa and Bhajis all cooked instore. Also, if you have the time, one of Europe’s largest Sikh Gurdwara temples is not just a marvel of engineering and beauty, but a lesson in hospitality and community spirit.
Our Ale Trail is the envy of Kent, with underground hideaways like the Mole Hole on the High Street and the Three Pillars in Wrotham Road. Head to Manor Road for the brilliant Compass Ale House and enjoy regular live DJs at the Rum Puncheon on West Street or the Invicta Bar on Windmill Street.
The more adventurous are recommended to make the journey to Northfleet to visit brewing pioneers Iron Pier at their tap room. This hidden gem is within walking distance from Perry Street.