It promises to be a cracker of a Christmas this year in Eastbourne with something for everyone throughout the festive season.

There’s music, Christmas markets, a Santa Fun Run, live entertainment and for the first time in the town centre this year – a real ice rink. And don’t forget Eastbourne’s legendary pantomime – Sleeping Beauty – children’s rides, themed days out at local attractions and Santa Claus.

Ice Skating

Get your skates on and head to Eastbourne’s first ever Christmas Ice Rink which opens its doors on Wednesday 1 December. The festive ice rink will be located outside the Enterprise Shopping Centre by the Railway Station and will be open daily until 5 January. The rink – sponsored by Lightning Fibre - will feature Christmas illuminations and an interactive Christmas Tree for people to post their messages. Tickets for the rink - brought to you by Your Eastbourne Bid and Visit Eastbourne - are on sale now.

Meads Magic is on Friday 3 December and from noon until 8pm Meads Street will be closed to traffic and lined with stalls selling locally made art and crafts, beautiful cards, delicious local produce, and perfect Christmas presents.

Mrs Christmas and the Christmas Cook will be handing out cookies and presents, children from the schools of Meads will be singing carols and at around 4.15 there will be a parade bringing Santa himself to the Grotto.

Nothing says Christmas like Bing Crosby and the classic sound of a big band and this year the Len Phillips Swing Orchestra is back to celebrate the festive season with a Swingin’ Christmas family favourite show. It’s on at the Congress Theatre on Sunday 12 December and is packed with some of the best loved Christmas tunes of all timer like Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and many more.

There’s more festive fun at the Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday 14 and 15 December with the That’ll be the Day Christmas Show. The show combines the best pop Christmas classics and popular Christmas songs.

Adam Kay delves back into his diaries in Twas the Nightshift before Christmas at the Congress Theatre on Thursday 16 December. The show is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the NHS frontline and the former doctor’s hilarious live show mixed highlights from his book and stand-up comedy.

Sleeping Beauty Pantomime

It’s Panto time – oh yes, it is and it’s bigger, better and more bonkers than ever before as Sleeping Beauty is on at the Devonshire Park Theatre from 10 December 2021 to 9 January. The show promises music, laughter, amazing special effects and plenty of surprises with panto favourites Martyn Knight and Tucker joining forces with Carli Norris, Micholas Pound, Rebecca Hoyle and a full supporting cast. Tickets are selling fast.

The popular Eastbourne Christmas Market returns to the town centre this year for four days from Friday 17 December. Terminus Road will transform into a winter wonderland with market stalls, live entertainment and fairground rides to enjoy.

The pedestrianised precinct will be packed full of market stalls selling the best food and drink products, handmade gifts and unique crafts. You can spend your time browsing and sample some of the goods before deciding what to buy. Whether you need to find something for a loved one or just picking up some stocking fillers, there will be plenty of choice at the Eastbourne Christmas Market. There will also be stalls selling delicious hot food and festive drinks including mulled wine. Enjoy a well-earned glass after all the Christmas shopping you’ve done and sit back and soak up the festive atmosphere.

The Christmas market will also have live music from carol singers and brass bands, providing the perfect Christmas soundtrack to your evening. Street performers and entertainment will provide lots of memorable fun for everyone. And the little ones can have fun on the carousel and Ferris wheel.

Drusillas Christmas

There’s plenty of festive fun to be had at Drusillas Zoo Park this year with a magical visit to Santa’s Grotto, a chance to get nose to nose with adorable husky dogs, a glittering 24-foot Christmas tree and some delicious treats.

Santa’s Grotto is open weekends until 5 December and then daily from 11 December through until 23 December. Watch little eyes twinkle with wonder as they meet Santa among the shimmering lights. Each visit includes a personal one-to-one with Santa, photo opportunity and a magical Christmas gift.

The zoo park’s Husky Cave is also open daily from 17 December and there’s also festive face painting, seasonal tattoos, mulled wine and mince pies.

There’s a vintage festive treat at The Grove Theatre on Sunday 12 December. Following their sell-out show at the Grove in September, Vintage are back with a great festive line-up to bring a touch of sparkle to the holiday season.

The theatre is also hosting an adults-only Pete’s Pants pantomime on Friday and Saturday 17 and 18 December.  Tickets are £12 each.

There is also a pantomime for all the family – Jack & the Beanstalk – at the Grove Road venue on Friday and Saturday 7 and 8 January 2022.

There’s a chance to join the mayor of Eastbourne on 16 December at a Christmas party. The festive feast will help raise funds for the mayor’s chosen charities - Amaze, Holding Space and Community Wise – and includes a three-course meal and coffee as well as entertainment.

On Friday 3 December and again on Friday 16 December, the Hydro Hotel welcomes popular Eastbourne band Fat Freddie and the Queens. Enjoy all your favourite Queen tracks by a larger-than- life professional Queen tribute band who take the music seriously but not themselves. Ticket prices are £42 inclusive of entertainment, festive novelties and a three-course dinner with coffee and mints.

The Art House in Grove Road will host a Christmas wreath making workshop on the evening of Tuesday 14 December and for the children there’s an opportunity to have breakfast with Santa ahead of some pottery painting on the mornings of Saturdays and Sundays throughout December (4, 5, 12, 18 and 19).

A Breakfast with Santa event is also taking place on Sunday 12 December at the Chalk Farm Hotel in Willingdon. The event is from 9.30am onwards and those attending can enjoy a hot chocolate with Mrs Christmas, activities with elves, a meet and greet with Santa, an age-appropriate gift and breakfast. Ticket prices start at £10.

The Rattonians always know how to get everyone in the right mood for Christmas. This year sees them return to The Royal Hippodrome Theatre with their popular Christmas Spectacular. The show will be packed with musical theatre favourites, seasonal classics, glamour, dancing and even a special visit from Santa himself. It promises perfect, festive entertainment for all ages. The show is on 1, 2, 3 and 4 December.

Langney Community Centre is hosting a Christmas Fair on Saturday 11 December from 10am-3pm. There will be stalls full of gifts and ideas to aid you with your Christmas shopping as well as games and activities for the children, Christmas tree and gingerbread decorating. Santa will also be making an appearance in the grotto so come along and say hello. There will be refreshments ready and waiting for you including the odd mince pie or two.

Enjoy a pre-Christmas afternoon tea served in the Hydro Hotel’s Drawing Room whilst watching a classic Christmas film on Saturdays and Sundays in December. The cost is £20 for adults and £10 for children. Love Actually will be shown on Saturday and Sunday 4 and 5 December: The Holiday on Saturday 11 December and Saturday 18 December; The Muppets Christmas Carol on Sunday 12 December and White Christmas on Sunday 19 December. Tea is served during the film showings from 3-5pm.

On Saturdays and Sundays 4, 5, 11 and 12 December, The Big House at 49 Prideaux Road will be throwing its doors open for a Christmas event. The arts and crafts house will be exhibiting a variety of exciting artwork including ceramics by John Warren, paintings and textiles by Helen Warren, jewellery by Lynda Lindfield, pebble pictures by Mel Gill, ceramics by Julie Snowball and glass by Anthony McIntosh. Admission is free.

Eastbourne musician Rick Bonner takes to the stage at Printers Playhouse in Grove Road on Sunday 5 December for a Christmas Special. Rick performs some of the greatest songs ever written and recorded by the greatest performers that ever lived. He is also an outstanding jazz saxophone and clarinet player. Tickets are £5 each and the performance starts at 6.30pm.

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