Dover’s Christmas Cheer

The last two Saturdays have seen more than 10,000 people experience Christmas magic in Dover town centre. Father Christmas and his band of merry elves and reindeers visited on Saturday 10 December when over 5000 people enjoyed Dover District Council’s Meet the Reindeers event with at least 600 children meeting Father Christmas and his elves and receiving free gifts. The previous Saturday saw thousands of people attending Future Foundry and Destination Dover’s Winter Light-Up event.

There was fabulous festive music from the award-winning Sound Waves Choir and the Eythorne Silver Band and a wonderful dance performance by local children who attend CJ’s Dance Studio. Two beautiful reindeers, Prancer and Dancer, from The Reindeer Centre at Bethersden near Ashford graced the Roman Lawn where people fed them and learnt all about these amazing creatures

Dover Artisan Market, organised by Kent Market Bees, with stalls selling gifts and treats did a roaring trade and town centre cafes and shops were buzzing. Dover Town Team’s John Angell remarked, ‘We’ve had two great weekends. Santa’s Grotto, the reindeers and the market brought more people into the town which benefited all the retail shops, cafes and restaurants.’ Stacey Christou from Dover Artisan Market added, ‘It was so good to see everywhere so busy. Visitors from out of town were saying it was lovely to see a town putting something on for local people. The whole vibe was festive and wonderful.’

People took advantage of the opportunity to park in DDC-owned car parks for free and local families welcomed the event. As one mum said, ‘We can’t afford to take our children to see Santa at the big shopping centres’; another said, ‘We’ve absolutely loved it, the organisation has been wonderful, there’s a good selection of things to buy, there are reindeers, it’s free with a fab selection of gifts from Santa – what more could you want?!’

Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Leader of Dover District Council, said: ‘It was wonderful to see so many people in Dover enjoying this fantastic event and all the happy smiling children enjoying meeting the elves and Santa and the reindeers. And it was great to see people out and about making the most of all that Dover has to offer!’

Free parking in DDC-owned car parks on Saturdays throughout the district continues until the end of December, ideal for last-minute Christmas shoppers and New Year’s Eve revellers. The Dover Artisan Market will be back in the Market Square on Saturday 17 December from 10am-3pm. See White Cliffs Country’s What’s On listings for details of other festive events happening across the district.


Monday 12 December 2022


Notes to editors:

  • Photo caption (© Dover District Council): Dover District Council's Father Christmas, his elves and reindeers bringing happiness and laughter to hundreds of children in Dover town centre on Saturday 10 December.
  • This is the first Christmas utilising Dover’s new-look Market Square events space. If anyone is interested in booking the Market Square for a performance or event, please email events@dover.gov.uk.
  • Meet the Reindeers was organised and funded by Dover District Council.
  • Dover’s Winter Light-Up was organised by Future Foundry and Destination Dover and funded by Dover Town Council, Dover District Council, Dover Town Team and Port of Dover.
  • This event was part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.


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