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Enjoy Christmas events at National Trust - things to do Christmas 2017


See historic houses decked out for the season in the style of centuries gone by, or stroll through frosty winter gardens with the National Trust's pick of the best places to see Christmas decorations

South West

Cotehele, Cornwall

Christmas flower garland, 1 Nov – 6 Jan (except 25 & 26 Dec), 11am – 4pm

When the residents of Cotehele first hung a modest, floral, Christmas display in the hall just over 60 years ago, little did they know how their simple decoration would turn into the magnificent and famous tradition it is today. All of the flowers (20,000-40,000 depending on the growing season) are grown and dried on the estate, and you're welcome in the hall to watch the gardeners build it. Why not return once it’s hanging to admire their completed masterpiece, and listen to local choirs performing festive tunes underneath it?

N.B. the gardeners will make the 100ft dried flower garland in the hall of the house from 1 – 10 Nov, and then it will hang from 11 Nov – 6 Jan (closed 25 - 26 December). Booking essential for choirs, see website for details

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

London & South East

Bateman’s, East Sussex

Rewards & Fairies, 2 Dec to 1 Jan (closed 24 & 25 December), 11.30am to 3.30pm

This Christmas, creatures from Rudyard Kipling’s Sussex fairy tales will cast their magic around Batemans, his family home. Look out for miniature handmade decorations and glowing doors to the homes of fairies that live among the books on the author’s very own shelves. From cooking pine cones to crafty carpentry, turning books into baubles and lighting up fairy homes, there is no stone left unturned as the National Trust team and volunteers bring Kipling’s tales to life around the house and garden.

Price: Normal admission applies. Website.

East of England

Blickling, Norfolk

Christmas is Coming

House open: 1 - 3 and 8 – 10 Dec, 12pm – 5pm (last entry). Closed 4 – 7 Dec.

Grounds open: 1 - 3 and 8 – 10 Dec, 11am – 7pm, 4 – 7 December, 11am – 6pm.

The 11th Marquess of Lothian was a politician, diplomat whose patient efforts to help forge a new future for India as it became independent from the British Empire. 70 years on from the Act of Indian Independence, his work is being celebrated at Blicking with a year-long exploration of the story and Indian culture, culminating in a beautiful Christmas display. The house will be decorated with an Indian theme, with colours of gold, green and white. Meet the costumed interpreters who will make you feel at home, and see the cooks in the 1930s kitchen, whipping up a festive delight for Lord Lothian. There’s plenty to see outside too with the iconic Christmas trees lining the Temple walk and the Parterre festooned with sparkling lights.

Price: Normal admission applies. Website.


Upton House, Warwickshire

Christmas at Upton, Friday – Monday between 25 Nov and 18 Dec, 12pm - 4pm.

Follow the story of Upton the ‘Made-To-Measure’ house this Christmas time as fancy and abandon mingle to merry effect.  From Victorian pomp to twenties Art Deco glamour, see the house decorated in different styles and hear how modern Christmas fashions were created.  Pick up tips from interwar home experts: delightful decorating schemes; charming presents, and festive family games to make your home sparkle with mirth. 

Price: Normal admission applies. Website.


Allan Bank, Cumbria

Homemade Christmas, Friday – Sunday 1 – 17 December, 10.30am – 4pm

Allan Bank has been a home to many families who each had their own personal ways of decorating the house at Christmas. Today the National Trust staff, visitors and volunteers have a new tradition - decorating the house with homemade crafts and plants gathered from the grounds. At the heart of the house stands the Christmas tree, and wreaths decorating the stairs, fires lit in the grates and the record player on to make Allan Bank a festive home from home. Outside, the garden bothy & veranda will also be dressed for the season with natural decorations, potted Christmas trees, lanterns, quirky home-crafted birdfeeders and homes for winter wildlife.

Price: Normal admission applies. Website.


Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Christmas through the Ages, 2 - 23 December, see website for opening times

Chirk has seen many Christmas celebrations since it was built in the early 1300s. This year the castle will be festooned with different styles of decorations, charting the progress of Christmas trimmings over the last 700 years. From the ‘Medieval Christmas’ in the courtyard and Adam’s Tower to the Tudor Kissing Bough in the Portcullis and the Hop Garland in the Long Gallery, there’s plenty to discover about how the festive season was celebrated in centuries gone by.

Main activities take place on weekends, or visit on a weekday to get away from the crowds and enjoy the decorations.

Price: Normal admission applies. Website.

For the full festive programme, visit the National Trust website.

(images: Speke Hall copyright Colin Lane; Batemans copyright National Trust images David Sellman; Cotehele Garland copyright National Trust images Steve Haywood)

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