On Sunday 19th November nearly 25,000 shoppers headed to the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells to herald the start of the Christmas season as West Kent’s biggest shopping centre put on a day bursting with festive family fun. The excitement kicked off from 11.30am as KMFM DJ Rob Wills entertained the crowds and got them in to the festive mood ready to welcome Santa back to Royal Victoria Place.
Santa certainly didn’t disappoint as he made his grand entrance to officially open his brand new ‘Fireside’ Grotto and switch on the shopping centre’s Christmas lights. Hundreds of excited children and their families greeted Santa who was joined by celebrity friends CBBC Presenter Mark Rhodes and EastEnders Michael Greco – both who will be starring in this year’s Assembly Hall Pantomime ‘Aladdin’. This year saw Santa taking up residence at his favourite shopping centre for the 15th consecutive year. Over the past 15 years, Santa has made the wishes of nearly 60,000 children come true at Royal Victoria Place and he is once again looking forward to meeting children from across the region in the lead up to the big day.
After Santa’s Arrival event and the lights switch on, the day was filled with a programme of festive fun entertainment which ran all day until 4.30pm. This included special appearances by Chase and Marshall from the hit kids TV show ‘PAW Patrol’, Snow Globe Acrobatic Shows, Juggling Jesters, Santa’s Present Monitors, Miss Mistletoe and a hilarious pair of Groovy Grannies who brought mischief and laughter to all who met them.
Shoppers were also able to get close and personal with the biggest Teddy Bear in Tunbridge Wells which is in support of local children’s hospice Ellenor. ‘Teddy Selfie’ is located on level 2 of opposite French Connection and will be at Royal Victoria Place every day until Christmas.
Free all day parking proved a big hit with visitors on the day and was kindly provided by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to support retailers as Christmas was officially launched in Tunbridge Wells. Free Parking will be available throughout Tunbridge Wells from 4pm every night between 18th and 23rd December.
Marketing Manager of Royal Victoria Place, Marc Burchett commented; “Our Festive Family Fun Day was a big success and the centre was very busy all day. As always Santa’s Arrival at Royal Victoria Place is the highlight of the day and from the very smiley faces lots of fun was had by shoppers of all ages! The free parking was also very popular with shoppers looking to enjoy a festive family day out at the same time as starting their Christmas shopping early.”
Santa’s Grotto at Royal Victoria Place will now be open every day until 4pm on Christmas Eve and is located on level 1 opposite M&S. Book in advance at royalvictoriaplace.com