Experience a festive Christmas as a member

A family enjoys christmas decorations at Ickworth, Suffolk

What does Christmas mean to you? Meandering through lively craft markets, hearing carols sung by jolly choirs, marveling at winter illuminations, indulging in cosy knits or smelling chestnuts roasting on an open fire? If you’re keen to make your Christmas more about the special moments, here are some reasons why a National Trust membership could open your eyes to a truly festive Christmas experience.

All light on the night

Winter illuminations brighten up those darker evenings at many places we care for, with displays of houses lit up with colour and twinkling lights wrapped around trees to make them stand out in the dark. Why not wrap up warm and head out to wonder at our sparkling displays? Members help us to look after all of these special places, from the multicolour cellarium at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire to the twinkling splendour of the trees lining the drive at Blickling, Norfolk, so there’s no reason not to indulge in a little light entertainment at houses and gardens we care for. 

Enjoy the Christmas lights at Dunham Massey in Altrincham, Greater Manchester
Christmas lights at Dunham Massey
Enjoy the Christmas lights at Dunham Massey in Altrincham, Greater Manchester

Try traditional tasty treats

Step away from the fads this Christmas and rediscover the true taste of the festive season in our cafés. We’ll be serving up lots of delicious winter treats including moreish Christmas cake, sweet yule logs and fresh-from-the-oven warm mince pies. As a member you’ll be able to try out new recipes from our members’ magazine year-round, which should mean no fighting over the last-remaining Christmas dessert in the chilled aisle this year.

Indulge in Christmas treats in the tea-rooms at Corfe Castle, Dorset
Christmas treats in the tea-rooms at Corfe Castle
Indulge in Christmas treats in the tea-rooms at Corfe Castle, Dorset

Discover Christmas past

Discover a historic Christmas with your little ones when you explore homes and gardens we care for, from jolly Tudor traditions at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire, to a wartime Christmas at Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire. Alive with the sights, sounds and smells of a Christmas past, they’re an unforgettable experience. As a member, you can use your Handbook for visit inspiration.

Making traditional mince pies and Christmas decorations in Lanhydrock's kitchen in Cornwall.
Making traditional mince pies and Christmas decorations in the Kitchen at Lanhydrock
Making traditional mince pies and Christmas decorations in Lanhydrock's kitchen in Cornwall.

Escape the crowds of shoppers

Instead of busy shopping centres and multi-storey car parks, head to some of the houses and gardens in our care that host Christmas craft markets and winter fairs. You'll be spoilt for choice with the mix of handmade and vintage items, alongside artisan produce. They’re a world away from your normal Christmas shopping experience. Our e-newsletter for members often highlights places where you can escape the Christmas hustle and bustle and enjoy the amazing outdoors at this time of year.

Visitors browsing Christmas gifts at the Vyne, Basingstoke
A photo of visitors browsing Christmas gifts
Visitors browsing Christmas gifts at the Vyne, Basingstoke

Create handmade decorations

At 60ft long, the handmade dried flower garland at Cotehele, Cornwall is one of our most impressive Christmas sights. If you fancy making your own decorations, then how about joining in with one of our Christmas craft events? You can join a wreath making workshop at lots of places including Hidcote, Gloucestershire, and Kedleston Hall, near Derby, or there’s winter flower arranging workshops at places like Shugborough Estate, near Stafford.

Visitors making orange pomander decorations at a Christmas event at Attingham Park, Shropshire
Visitors making orange pomander decorations at a Christmas event at Attingham Park, Shropshire
Visitors making orange pomander decorations at a Christmas event at Attingham Park, Shropshire

Relish the Christmas walk

Stunning winter landscapes are waiting for you to walk amongst them. The trees are speckled with winter berries, and frost gives the grass, shrubs and foliage a slight twinkle in the morning sunrise. The stillness of winter can bring peace and quiet to a woodland walk and a breath of fresh air to your favourite place. With over 500 places to enjoy and free car parking for members, why not try a different Boxing Day stroll this year? Head to the Brecon Beacons for a bracing mountain walk, or the coast at Blakeney Nature Reserve, Norfolk, to enjoy the sea air. To warm yourself up, we’ve even got walks with pubs suggested on route.

Visitors exploring the shore of Lake Windermere, Cumbria
Visitors exploring the shore of Lake Windermere
Visitors exploring the shore of Lake Windermere, Cumbria

Whether you’re a crowd dodger, food lover or craft enthusiast, if you’re seeking a unique Christmas experience then joining the National Trust is a great place to start. Not only will you get to enjoy historical Christmas celebrations at our places and Boxing Day walks in timeless landscapes, you’ll also be helping us to continue our work for many more festive seasons to come.