Christmas at Petworth: festive traditions through time

Spend the 2021 festive season at Petworth, and discover different Christmas traditions celebrated through the years, including Georgian, Victorian, post-war and the future. From period costumes crafted by hand with garden greenery to mystical future decorations, there will be something for all the family to enjoy.

Festive traditions through time in Petworth House 

Sat 27 Nov 2021 to Mon 3 Jan 2022, 10:30am-3:30pm

The property is open 10am-4pm. Last entry to the house and garden is 3pm.

Explore Christmas through the years in Petworth House. Step into the Georgian period in the Somerset and Square Dining Room, and discover mannequins crafted by hand with garden greenery inspired by Elizabeth Ilive and the 3rd Earl, along with gifts influenced by Jane Austen’s diary. 

Christmas trees bring merriment in the Victorian themed Marble Hall, a time when celebrating the festivities with decorated evergreens became popular, thanks to an illustration of the royal family in the 1848 Illustrated London News. See these historic outfits recreated from flowers and foliage on mannequins, and write a Christmas card to a loved one. 

See how despite the 1940s war era, families still celebrated Christmas with warmth and joy in the Little Dining Room. Then finally, travel through time to a fantastical future Christmas throughout the Carved and Red Room. See the magical contemporary box Christmas tree installation and discover how families will gather to celebrate the festivities in the future.

Experience the magical Christmas atmosphere at Petworth
The foliage of a Christmas tree frames the faces of a little girl and boy looking up at the decorations
Experience the magical Christmas atmosphere at Petworth

You can also find a festive display of food centrepieces resembling historic desserts in the Servants’ Quarters, which were created by Chichester College. 

Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail at Petworth

Sat 4 Dec to Mon 3 Jan, 10am – 3.30pm 

Have fun exploring the Pleasure Garden at Petworth, as you help Percy and his animal friends while following the clues and completing the winter activities. £2 per child. 

Festivities outdoors at Petworth  

Sat 4 & Sun 5 Dec. Winter words – poetry and spoken word in the Pleasure Garden. Enjoy this performance as part of the South Downs Poetry Festival with Gareth Williams, Paula Tinker and others in the beautiful grounds of Petworth.  

Sat 11 & Sun 12 Dec. Watch Panto in the Pleasure Garden with Chichester College. 

Sat 18 & Sun 19 Dec. Listen to carols in the Pleasure Garden with West Sussex Sings choirs. 

To women smile while holding a cup with a warm beverage in

Enjoy a smoking bishop at Petworth

Try this warm festive historical drink at Petworth that has a sweet orange taste. It got its name from the steam that rises from the heat of the liquid, and it was a popular beverage during the festive period in the latter half of the 19th century. Warm your fingers with a cup, and as this version is non-alcoholic all the family can enjoy one. Subject to availability.

Christmas workshops at Petworth 

Create a Sustainable Christmas, Sat 27 & Sun 28 Nov, 10:30am-1:30pm. Have fun making cards, gift wrap and tags. 

Modelling Christmas cake decorations, Thu 16 Dec, 10:30am-1:30pm. Make two figures of a Father Christmas and Rudolf.  

Wreath making, Sat 4 & Fri 10 Dec, 10:30am-1:30pm.  

These courses are run by Aspire Sussex and booking is essential. 

A lady weaves foliage around a circular ring to create a wreath

Christmas workshops at Petworth

Find out more information on each course and secure a space.



Upcoming events

Deer Rut Guided Walk

Mon 18 Oct 2021
Discover more about the annual deer rut in the Park on this 2 hour guided walk.

Build a Bat Box

Tue 26 Oct 2021
Get crafty during October half-term at Petworth and make a bat box.

Petworth 'GPS Trees' exhibition by Richard Geraint Evans

Sun 31 Oct 2021
Petworth’s ancient trees are a must-see and their natural beauty has been brought indoors for a new exhibition featuring nine incredibly detailed drawings of trees at Petworth, each including GPS coordinates so you can discover the tree for yourself.

Sustainable Christmas Workshop

Sat 27 Nov 2021
Join this festive workshop by Aspire Sussex to create gift wrap, cards and tags to take home.

Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail at Petworth

Sat 04 Dec 2021
This winter, treat your little ones to a world of adventures at Petworth on the Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail.

Wreath Making Workshop

Sat 04 Dec 2021
Add Christmas cheer and a seasonal welcome to your front door at this festive workshop by Aspire Sussex.