Experience a more traditional Christmas as a member

Visitors admire the Christmas tree at Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire

Craft markets, carols, pretty winter illuminations, cosy knits and chestnuts roasting on an open fire all add up to Christmas as we know it. If you’re keen to make your Christmas more about the little things and special moments, here are some reasons why membership could open your eyes to a truly festive Christmas experience.

All light on the night

We’ve got winter illuminations in truly spectacular places that’ll certainly brighten up those darker evenings. So 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 to the twinkling splendour of the trees lining the drive at Blickling, so there’s no reason not to indulge in a little light entertainment at our houses and gardens. 

Dunham Massey house aglow with winter lights...
Dunham Massey winter lights

Try traditional tasty treats

Step away from the fads this Christmas and rediscover the true taste of Christmas in our cafes. We’ll be serving up lots of delicious traditional treats including Christmas cake, yule logs and fresh-from-the-oven 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.

Discover Christmas past

Help your little ones to discover a historic Christmas when you explore our homes and gardens from Tudor traditions at Little Moreton Hall to a wartime Christmas at Upton Park. 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
Making traditional mince pies and Christmas decorations in the Kitchen at Lanhydrock

Escape the crowds of shoppers

Instead of busy shopping centres and multi-storey car parks, head to some of our houses and gardens 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 either escape the Christmas hustle and bustle (and still pick up some lovely gifts in our shops or winter fairs) or enjoy the amazing outdoors at this time of year.

Visitors browsing Christmas gifts
A photo of visitors browsing Christmas gifts

Create handmade decorations

At 60ft long, the handmade dried flower garland at Cotehele 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 create willow Christmas decorations at Barrington Court, or join a wreath making workshop at lots of places including Ickfield and Avebury, or there’s paper flower making at Croome.

Relish the Christmas walk

With over 500 places to enjoy and free car parking for members, why not ring the changes on your Boxing Day stroll this year? Ditch the familiar route and set out across some stunning winter landscapes instead. Head to the Brecon Beacons for a bracing mountain walk, or the Norfolk coast to enjoy some sea air whilst you walk off all that Christmas excess. Don’t tell anyone, but we’ve even got walks with pubs suggested on route.

Visitors exploring the shore of Lake Windermere
Visitors exploring the shore of Lake Windermere

Whether you’re a crowd dodger, food lover or craft enthusiast, if you’re seeking a more authentic 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.