Bookings are now closed

Thank you for your interest in Demelza's Christmas Grotto, we have closed bookings whilst we double check our availability.

Any remaining slots will be released and made available to book from 10am on Thursday 2 December.

Important information and FAQs about the Festive Grotto and Magical Trail 

Father Christmas and his Demelza elves can’t wait to welcome families to the Grotto and Magical Trail at the Kent Hospice! We’ve included some important information below, but if you have any unanswered questions before your visit please email or call 07889565223 (Monday – Thursday 10am – 4pm). 

Important information about presents 

If you are booking a visit to the grotto, please note that any presents already requested via the recent gift survey, will not be delivered by elves but instead will be available at the grotto instead. This only applies to families attending the grotto. 


COVID-19 measures - keeping you safe

Limit on group size 

Please ensure that you only bring with you the number of guests included on your grotto confirmation email as we will need to comply with strict capacity limits within the hospice.  


We ask families to carry out a lateral flow test prior to visit and present evidence on the day of your session  

  • All lateral flow test should be taken on the day of the event (or up to 24 hours before if remaining at home during this period). 
  • Please take your tests before you arrive at the hospice site and register your results on the government website which you can access by clicking here. Once your result is registered online, you will receive an email or text which evidences your test result. You will be asked to show this evidence when you sign in on the day of your visit.  
  • Please only come to the hospice site if all members of your family group have negative test results, aren’t waiting on a PCR test result and are showing no COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If any member of your family group has a positive lateral flow test result, is awaiting a PCR test result or are displaying COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come to the hospice and email to confirm that you are no longer able to attend.
  • We ask family members of 11 years old and over to provide evidence of a negative test (unless medically exempt). 
  • Demelza children may use nasal swab only, if completing the lateral flow test. 
  • Where it will cause discomfort or distress to Demelza children, they are not required to complete a lateral flow test. 
  • If you have any queries regarding the testing requirements please   

  • Upon arrival, all members of your group over the age of 11, will be asked for evidence of your negative COVID-19 test. 
  • You will be asked to check your temperature, sign a COVID –19 declaration and sign in. 
  • You will be provided with a new, medical grade facemask that should be worn inside, except when sat down and socially distanced from other family groups or eating/drinking (please note face coverings, cloth masks etc. are not permitted). 

  • All families are also being asked to provide evidence of negative lateral flow tests (see above).
  • Facemasks must be worn by all those over the age of 11 years old when moving about the hospice buildings, (unless medically exempt).  
  • Masks may be removed when seated and socially distanced from other family groups/during light refreshments. 
  • Please also follow instructions on handwashing and sanitising regularly, signs will be up around the hospice and in toilet facilities. 
  • Demelza staff and volunteers wherever possible will maintain a social distance from your family; they will also keep their medical grade face masks on throughout your visit.
  • Demelza staff carry out regular COVID testing and we support and encourage all our staff to access vaccines.
  • The event space and table set up will allow for lots of ventilation and social distancing from other families. Crafting activities and the magical Trail will be held outside.
  • Families will be provided with their own crafting bag containing the majority of the materials for the craft activities, to minimise the use of shared items, where this is not possible all items will be sanitised before and after use.
  • Food and drinks provided will be single use packaging e.g. paper cups, plates etc.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available for staff and families during the grotto.
  • There will be regular cleaning and sanitation of all high traffic/high touch points during and between Grotto sessions, and a further clean at the beginning of each day.

If any member of your family group tests positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms within 48 hours of their visit please let us know by emailing 


We regret that we will not be able to host any individuals that have returned from a country deemed a risk by Public Health England in the last 14 days. 

You will also need to confirm that you do not have any of the following symptoms when you RSVP and again when you arrive at the hospice: 

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) 
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual) 
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal 

Thank you for reading this important information and we look forward to welcoming you to the Demelza Festive Grotto and Magical Trail. 


The event will be held at the Kent Hospice, Demelza House, Rook Lane, Sittingbourne ME9 8DZ.

Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your allocated timeslot to sign in and complete COVID-19 declarations, have temperature taken etc. Unfortunately, we are unable to host families earlier or later than their allocated session due to current COVID-19 restrictions and limits to numbers of attendees at each session. 

Car parking will be available for families and will be situated close by the hospice buildings. Please look out for our parking stewards when you arrive and they will direct you to the Grotto Family Parking area. 

Simple refreshments will be available for families during the Festive Grotto (hot chocolate, tea, coffee, squash, cake and festive snacks), please provide allergy/dietary requirements in your RSVP in advance of your visit.

There will not be childcare available at the event, parent/carers present have full responsibility for any children present.