Christmas at Hinton Ampner 2016
This article was about our Christmas activities at Hinton Ampner in 2016. We’ll be updating this with 2017 event information later in the year. Please check Christmas information from our main homepage. The Story of Christmas Traditions, 3 to 19 December : Hinton Ampner is like a treasure chest at Christmas, with rooms full of sparkle and tales to tell. This winter is no exception, as we reveal the stories behind favourite festive traditions.
All six of Hinton Ampner’s ground floor show rooms are decorated, each representing traditions we love. Here’s a flavour of what you’ll find, but can you guess the famous themes?
Sequined stockings and piles of presents
The grand chequer-floor Entrance Hall is decked out in rich Highland colours. Tartan swags and garlands adorn the staircase and pillars, along with miniature sporrans and pipers.
The elegant South Drawing Room is filled with wrapped presents and a beautifully decorated tree. Someone’s legs can be seen dangling from the chimney, next to a plate of carrots.
There are over 100 stockings of all shapes, sizes and colours in the Study. Their beads, embroidery and sequins glint in the soft lamp light.
A fabulous festive feast
The Dining Room not only looks wonderful, it smells gorgeous too, infused with cinnamon and orange. The table is set for a feast, at its centre a decorated swan. Around the room are beautiful tableware and floral displays. But you’ll also spy wartime ration books and some very unusual recipes.
The theatrical surprise in the North Drawing Room celebrates Hinton's own Christmas tradition. Every year owner Ralph Dutton invited village children to the house to enjoy a magic or theatre show.
" The children were given a half crown each, and after tea chairs were moved into the Drawing Room while carols were sung around the tree in the hall. The children were then led into the Drawing Room to enjoy the entertainment."
Additional treats for families
Around the rooms are Hinton Ampner’s popular miniature mice, sporting costumes linked to our Christmas traditions. Look out for carol-singing, angel and tartan-themed outfits.
Hinton’s Advent calendar trail takes kids on a hunt for 25 boxes hidden in the gardens. Find what's inside each box to complete the challenge (£2 per trail - cash only; trail runs until 6 January). You’ll also spot Hinton’s willow reindeer pulling their sleigh. Jump inside for a family photograph.
Hinton’s pop-up shop makes a welcome return to the courtyard. Its shelves are laden with traditional old-fashioned sweets (3 - 4 and 10 - 21 December).
On Friday 9 December, there’s a special opportunity to experience the house by evening lamplight, when it stays open until 7pm (last entry 6.30pm).