Experience a historic Christmas

Step back in time at one of the places we care for this Christmas. Experience the traditions of the Tudors and Victorians, or see how families celebrated the festive season throughout the 20th century. Here’s a taste of what’s on.

Letter and a photo of Thomas 8th Lord Berwick for a 1940s Christmas at Attingham

Attingham Park, Shropshire 

This Christmas, visit Attingham Park to experience the joys of the season with a 1940s twist. Each room will be decorated with a different theme, and you’ll be able to hear music from the era throughout the house as you discover stories of the mansion’s past festivities. On selected dates you’ll also get to meet 1940s living history cooks in the kitchen. Lady Berwick was a member of Atcham WI and you'll be able to find out more about the role of the WI in the 1940s as they cook treats for a tea party.

Green Father Christmas at Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey, Devon 

From kissing boughs to marchpane galleons, the stage is set for a perfect Tudor Christmas at Buckland Abbey. Come along to see the house festooned with festive floral displays and find Tudor cooks busy whipping up delicious treats in the kitchen – just as they would have when Sir Francis Drake lived here.

The staff and family of Castle Ward pose at the front door

Castle Ward, County Down 

Step back in time this Christmas and celebrate in true Georgian style at Castle Ward. Visit to see the servants preparing for a festive party on the first weekend in December, then come back on the following weekends to see the mansion house in the full flow of celebrations with music, costumes and plenty of cheer.

Festive greenery at Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park, near Bath 

Pay a visit to Dyrham Park this Christmas and find yourself transported back to the 17th century. The house will be decked out in greenery with the scent of orange and spices lingering in the air. Learn all about the Lord of Misrule, who was charge of all mischief and entertainment for Christmas from the medieval era right up to the Georgian period. We have our own wooden Lord of Misrules hiding around the park and house – can you find them all?

Father Christmas watching his favourite 70's and 80's television

Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire 

This festive season, we're turning back the clock for a nostalgic trip to the late 20th century. Come and join the party as Hanbury celebrates a very 70's and 80's Christmas. The lights are glowing, the laughter is flowing; the corks are popping, the Slade hits are dropping.

Living history decorating at Ickworth

Ickworth, Suffolk 

Christmas is just around the corner and down in the 1930s kitchen the Ickworth servants are starting to feel the festive cheer. The maids are busy making traditional decorations and the whole team are preparing the lists and starting to write Christmas cards whilst the cooks are getting ready with their festive recipes. On selected days you’ll even be able to get a headstart on your own Christmas preparations by joining a special workshop to make pastry and a traditional mincemeat recipe to take home.

A woman stands in front of a Christmas tree behind a table with a tray of champagne, an a gramaphone

Polesden Lacey, Surrey 

See the sumptuous house at Polesden Lacey decorated for the festive season, ready for a glittering 1930s party like Mrs Greville would have thrown when she lived here. A glittering 18 foot tall Christmas tree will welcome you as you step into the central hall, and the house will be blooming with seasonal flowers and the scent of fir trees. Outside you can join in with carol singers in the courtyard, or clamber into a horse-drawn carriage for a scenic tour around the grounds. Feeling peckish? Why not pop into the Granary café to enjoy some tasty festive treats and a glass of mulled wine.

Victorian Christmas tree trimming at Speke Hall

Speke Hall, Liverpool 

There’s nothing quite like Speke at Christmas. Experience the sights, sounds and scents of a traditional Victorian Christmas and enjoy lots of activities to help get you in the festive mood. Explore the hall decorated with handmade garlands, follow festive family trails, try making sugar mice, or pay a call on Father Christmas. For an extra special treat why not visit in the evening to experience a traditional carol concert in the Great Hall?

Gifts in the large fireplace of with a table and chairs in a hall

Treasurers House, York 

Tucked away in the heart of York, Treasurer’s House is the perfect place to find a bit of festive sparkle – Edwardian style. The whole house will be decked out for Christmas with sumptuous scented garlands adorning the rooms, twinkling lights and fireplaces overflowing with presents. Hang a wish on the wishing tree and relax downstairs in the cosy Below Stairs Café, serving warming dishes and the famous Christmas Pudding Scone.

A Tudor kitchen decorated for Christmas

Tudor Merchant's House, Pembrokeshire 

Get into the festive spirit at the Tudor Merchant's House this December. Come and see the house traditionally decorated and find out how the Tudors celebrated the 12 days of Christmas.

You can explore The Vyne decorated for a Victorian Christmas.

The Vyne, Hampshire 

Now that the huge project to restore the Vyne’s roof is completed, the house can once again be decked out in full Christmas splendour. Come along for a visit and you’ll find rooms beautifully dressed for a Victorian family Christmas, with bright Christmas trees and other traditional decorations.

A family admiring decorations on a Christmas tree

Wimpole, Cambridgeshire 

This festive season enjoy some of Wimpole’s stunning show rooms filled with decorations sharing the story of a Georgian Christmas. With the Farm also in the Christmas spirit and open on the same days as the Hall, there is plenty to get you in the festive mood. The garden, shops and restaurant are all open daily throughout December.