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. Closed 24 & 25 Dec.

Petworth House is open 10:30am-3:30pm, last entry 3pm. The garden and main car park close at 4pm.

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 families celebrated a 1940s/50s 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 may gather to celebrate the festivities in the future.

See the 1940s/50s themed Little Dining Room
A 1940s/50s themed Christmas tree stands under paper chains
See the 1940s/50s themed Little Dining Room

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 Sun 23 Jan, 10am – 3.30pm. Closed 24 & 25 Dec.

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. 11am-3pm. 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.  

  • 11am & 12.30pm - Winter Words, Naomi Foyle and Barry Smith
  • 11.30am & 1.30pm - The Snow Queen - Gareth Williams and Paula Tinker
  • 12 noon & 2pm - Ballads and Tales - The Rhyme of the Reddleman's Daughter, James Simpson

Sun 12 Dec, 11:30am. See a vocal performance with a festive theme in the Pleasure Garden with Chichester College. 

Sat 18 & Sun 19 Dec. There will be two performances between 11am and 3:30pm. Listen to carols in the Pleasure Garden with West Sussex Sings choirs. 

The Ionic Rotunda surrounded by frost
The Ionic Rotunda surrounded by frost
The Ionic Rotunda surrounded by frost

Christmas workshops at Petworth 

Join Aspire Sussex in their festive workshops held at in the Battery House Studio at Petworth. Booking is essential. 

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. SOLD OUT

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

Christmas workshops run by Aspire Sussex

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



Upcoming events

Watercolour Landscape Painting in the Park

Fri 20 May 2022
Celebrate the great outdoors with a watercolour landscape class in Petworth Park. We will be learning in the landscape to create a seasonal Plein air painting, drawing inspiration from the light and its changing, ephemeral qualities.

'We the People' exhibition

Mon 30 May 2022
See this touring exhibition celebrating volunteers on its first stop at Petworth

Drawing and Painting Trees in Petworth Park

Fri 03 Jun 2022
Spend a day drawing and using watercolours inspired by the magnificent trees in Petworth Park.

Volunteer Recruitment Afternoon at Petworth

Tue 07 Jun 2022
Learn all about volunteering opportunities at Petworth and discover the House and grounds

Photography - Architecture

Wed 08 Jun 2022
Be inspired and build up your photography skills in the beautiful Park and Gardens at Petworth.

Celebration Sunday: free entry for Petworth’s 75th Birthday

Sun 12 Jun 2022
Join in the birthday celebrations with family activities, tours and free entry