Christmas in and around West Sussex

All across Sussex we are bringing festive traditions to life at our country houses, atmospheric gardens and wintry countryside.

New for 2021 is Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail. Join in the fun with Percy and his animal friends and give nature a helping hand.

See the houses decorated beautifully for Christmas at Nymans, Standen, Bateman's, Petworth and Uppark. Or go on a festive family walk in the winter landscape in the South Downs.

A family walking in the woods at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

Latest visiting update 

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. You no longer need to pre-book at many places. Some still require booking ahead, so please check the property webpage before you travel.​

Percy the Park Keeper

Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail 

This winter, treat your little ones to a world of adventures at Nymans, Bateman's, Petworth and Sheffield Park on Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail. Join in the fun with Percy and his animal friends and give nature a helping hand.

The forecourt garden at Nymans

Nymans, West Sussex 

This Christmas, there are festive delights indoors and out at Nymans, from 4 Dec to 3 Jan. In the house, rooms are richly decorated with sumptuous Christmas trees and sparkling lights, including some of the Messel family’s original Christmas decorations (house open and dressed for Christmas from 19 Nov). In the garden, join Percy the Park Keeper on a winter wander trail, not forgetting to stop off at the Play Glade to see Percy’s shed and enjoy some festive games. There will also be opportunities to meet Percy in person and help him with his winter jobs. Dogs can also join in with the festive fun during November, December and January when they’ll be greeted with a special treat at the welcome hub. 

Christmas tree in the courtyard at Standen

Standen House and Garden, West Sussex 

This atmospheric house lends itself beautifully to Christmas. This year, Standen invites you to see how the Beale family celebrated Christmas in their country home. Visit the Christmas tree in the Courtyard which is inspired by William Morris’ designs and will get you in the festive spirit. Enjoy twilight openings when you can see the rooms lit for a Christmas celebration and afterwards listen to a local choir singing in the courtyard. Families can visit Santa’s woodland grotto and enjoy a magical Christmas story, gift and a hot chocolate. Discover the Pyjama Thief trail in the garden. The Sussex Guild will be selling handcrafted items at a Christmas Selling Exhibition, daily throughout December.

A Christmas tree sparkles with lights in the background while a Christmas tree is decorated with baubles in the foreground

Petworth House 

Explore Christmas traditions through the ages and into the future, as you wander through rooms decorated with festive sparkle and costumes crafted from winter greenery. In the Pleasure Gardens you’ll find performances of poetry, spoken word and carols (selected dates). Little ones can set off on our new Percy the Park Keeper activity trail (4 Dec – 3 Jan), and there are festive workshops too, from sustainable card, gift wrap and tag-making, to cake decorations and wreaths. Christmas at Petworth: 27 November – 3 January (closed 24 & 25 December).

Mantelpiece decorated with red Christmas decorations


Inside the mansion you’ll find rooms decked with all the sparkle and grandeur of a traditional family Christmas, whilst the gardens twinkle with lights. The grounds offer glorious views over the South Downs, and pops of bright winter colour. There are warming seasonal meals in the café, and next door a delightful second-hand book, full of hidden gems. 20 Nov – 3 Jan, house open Thursday to Sunday (site closed 25 & 26 Dec)

Frosty trees by the bridge at Sheffield Park Sussex

Sheffield Park and Garden 

Wrap up warm for a stroll among the trees. This year we're inviting you embark on Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail from 4 December to 3 January. There are seasonal gifts and decorations to browse in the shop. Or drop by the cosy tearoom to indulge in a fireside hot chocolate.

A decorated Christmas tree in the wood panelled hallway at Batemans


See the house decked in traditional snowy white, complete with foliage from the estate and a Christmas tree adorned with decorations inspired by the May Morris Orange Tree embroidery. Look out for orange-themed decorations inspired by visitors' own needlework, and discover more about the embroidery and other treasures from the collection in a special display. Families will love the outdoor Percy the Park Keeper™ trail, with welly hoopla and a mini wheelbarrow obstacle course. Look out for Percy’s personal touch on the snowy-white Christmas tree. The Mulberry tearoom is stocked with hot chocolates and festive treats. Runs 27 November to 3 January (trail from 4 Dec, £2 per trail).

Father Christmas beckons visitors to come into Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle 

Climb aboard the festive Christmas’ sleigh in the Castle Courtyard, and snap a festive photo (1 December to 3 January). Look out for winter characters including Father Christmas, Mother Christmas or elves wandering the courtyard or seated on thrones (selected dates 4 to 23 December). The Wharf tea-room has warming hot chocolate and festive treats, and the shop is open for Christmas gifts.