Christmas at Cotehele

Volunteering hanging wreath on doorway

Celebrate Christmas with a festive day out to Cotehele. Step back in time to see a recreation of how the garland tradition begun, see Cotehele Mill decorated for a family Christmas and head out on a frosty walk around the estate

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Do I need to book to visit?

You don't need to book to visit us this winter, although we do ask all coach groups to book in advance. At busy times there might be a short wait outside before gaining access to some of our popular areas of the property - this includes the welcome centre, restaurant and the hall of the house.

Entry and parking is free for National Trust members - please make sure you bring all your membership cards with you. If you're not a member you will need to pay when you arrive for parking and admission. You can also join the National Trust as a member ahead of your visit to support our work and gain entry.

We always recommend looking at our Visiting Information: What you need to know before you visit pages of our website which has the most up-to-date information.

 

Once upon a time when Cotehele’s garland first begun

Cotehele’s garland has been a beloved Christmas tradition for over 60 years. The National Trust first decorated the hall during the 1950s for a staff celebration at Christmas time. The first garland was a beautiful and simple affair, made from a bushy evergreen shrub called pittosporum.

Since then the garland has evolved, with our garden team creating stunning displays of dried flowers set against the traditional pittosporum.

Preparations for the garland begin in January when the flower seeds are sown in the Cut Flower Garden. Our team of garden volunteers and staff then start picking flowers from late April which are then dried over the summer and autumn before the garland is put together over two weeks in November.

 

 

A trip down memory lane

Next year marks 75 years since Cotehele which given to the National Trust through the National Land Fund. We’re planning a year of events to celebrate this milestone, starting with our garland this winter.

This year we will be diving deep into the archives and recreating how the garland looked in the 1980s. During this time the garland was a more modest design inspired by decorative greenery and kissing boughs that the Tudors brought into their homes in the winter.

The garland will look different to normal this year as we take the opportunity to show how the tradition begun, capturing the magic of the retro green pittosporum and simple decoration.

The hall will be open daily from 20 November – 2 January (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day) from 10.30am-4pm.

An archive photo of Cotehele's garland from 1981
An archive photo of Cotehele's garland from 1981
An archive photo of Cotehele's garland from 1981

 

Why will the garland look different this year?

For the last 60 years, Cotehele’s garland has always reflected the growing season and mirrors a year of unexpected challenges – this year is no different. Throughout the pandemic we’ve had less resources available, making it tricky at times to balance maintaining the garden all year round whilst starting preparations for the garland which typically begin in January each year. In Spring 2021, we needed to focus our efforts to enable the garden at Cotehele to be continued to be opened, as well as the re-opening of the Valley Garden, meaning less time was available to sow, grow and dry the usual 30,000 flowers we need for a usual garland.

 

Outdoor festive performances

Throughout the festive period we're delighted to be welcoming various choirs and performers to Cotehele. This year all performances will be held outside - so we recommend wrapping up warm in a cosy scarf. These performances are weather dependant, we might need to pull some performances at the last minute for everyone's safety.

Who is performing when?

Please note, there will be no performance on Saturday 4th December due to illness.

  • Saturday 27 November, 1pm & 2.30pm - Callington Town Band
  • Sunday 28 November, 1pm - Great Sea Choir
  • Sunday 28 November, 2pm - Wheelhouse Folk Choir
  • Sunday 5 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Barret's Privateers
  • Saturday 11 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Polperro Fisherman's Choir
  • Sunday 12 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Arundel Consort
  • Saturday 18 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Devonport Park Community Choir
  • Sunday 19 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Looe Valley Singers
  • Monday 20 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Callington Singers
  • Tuesday 21 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Burraton Boys
  • Wednesday 22 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Just Voices
  • Thursday 23 December, 1pm & 2.30pm - Arundel Consort

 

 

Wassail!

On Saturday 18 December from 11.30am-12.30pm come and join us for our annual Wassail as we scare away the evil spirits from the Mother Orchard to ensure there is a bumper crop for 2022.

You're more than welcome to come in fancy dress and don't forget to bring something noisy too. Meet outside the welcome centre at 11.30am for the start of the procession which then heads through the garden to the orchard.

 

Wassailers sip from wassail bowls in their annual procession each winter solstice at Cotehele
Wassailing at Cotehele, Cornwall
Wassailers sip from wassail bowls in their annual procession each winter solstice at Cotehele

 

Wander down to Cotehele Mill

Tucked away in the Morden Valley, Cotehele Mill will be decorated in traditional Victorian style and you’ll be able to discover how families like the Langsfords, who lived at Cotehele Mill, celebrated Christmas in those times.

The doors to the Saddlers, Meal Floor and the Bakery will be open for everyone to peer in and experience the sights and smells of a flour mill at Christmas time. Due to flooding last year, we unfortunately won’t be able to turn the waterwheel and produce flour.

Cotehele Mill will be open on 20, 21, 27 and 28 November, 4, 5, 11 and 12 December and then daily from 18 December – 2 January (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day) from 11am-3pm.

 

The Victorian Cotehele Mill under a blanket of snow
The snowy drive in Cotehele Mill, Cornwall
The Victorian Cotehele Mill under a blanket of snow

Winter walks

When the days get shorter and the weather turns frosty, there’s nothing quite like a wintry walk to refresh your senses. Escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas by taking some time out with a walk along the many miles of footpaths around the estate – here are our some of our favourites.

The estate is open daily, dawn-dusk.

Stroll around the garden with a coffee
Stroll around the garden with a coffee
Stroll around the garden with a coffee

Search for the perfect gift

Get this festive season merrily underway with our range of Christmas essentials, inspired by the special places we care for. From Christmas garlands to Christmas Eve games, festive tree decorations and luxury Christmas biscuits, find inspiration to make the holidays extra special this year. The shop at Cotehele is open from 10am-4pm throughout November and December.

Stop by the Bull Pen Gallery for unique gifts lovingly made by West Country artists and makers. Open daily throughout November and December from 11am-4pm.

Decorate every room in your house with our Christmas decoration range
A selection of Christmas decorations
Decorate every room in your house with our Christmas decoration range

Festive eating and drinking

Open daily throughout November and December stop by the Barn Restaurant for seasonal treats such as mulled wine, mince pies, cranberry scones, warming one-pots and other festive fare. 

The Edgcumbe at Cotehele Quay will be open weekends only for winter warmers such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate and snacks.

Treat yourself to a festive mince pie
Mince pies at Bodiam castle
Treat yourself to a festive mince pie

 

What else is happening this Christmas at Cotehele?

With a year of unexpected challenges, we are still reviewing how we can run some of our . Over the coming weeks we will update this page with more details as events are confirmed.

We are however unable to host the following this winter:

  • Our Autumn Market and Winter Craft Trail
  • Meeting Mother & Father Christmas
  • Apple Grafting and Pruning workshops