Deck the halls and see the lights twinkle at National Trust places this Christmas

Press release
The magical, after-dark, illuminated trail at Belton House, Lincolnshire, in partnership with Raymond Gubbay Ltd
Published : 27 Oct 2019 Last update : 26 Nov 2019

Christmas is here, and the National Trust has a whole host of festively-decorated historic houses and beautifully illuminated gardens for you to explore. 

Why not experience the ‘first Christmas’ at Castle Drogo, a 1920s extravaganza that celebrates the completion of its six-year conservation project, or head to Belton House in Lincolnshire to see the gardens festooned with thousands of twinkling lights and have a go on traditional Victorian fairground rides.

After all that, warm yourself with the knowledge that each magical day out supports the National Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for future generations to enjoy.

Here are the National Trust’s pick of the best places to see spectacular Christmas displays:


Belton House, Lincolnshire
Christmas at Belton
28 Nov – 30 Dec, 4.20pm - 8pm
For the very first time at Belton the tree-tops will glisten and the gardens will shimmer and sparkle. It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year to wander beneath historic tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour and dripping with shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and baubles. Complete with traditional Victorian fairground rides and tasty seasonal treats - this enchanting event promises a great night out for all the family to enjoy.
Price: Adult £17.50, Child £12 in advance. £19.50/14.00 on the door.

Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire
It’s Christmaaas!
30 Nov – 31 Dec, 11am - 3.30pm
The tinsel is glowing, the laughter is flowing; the corks are popping, the Slade hits are dropping. This Christmas, Hanbury Hall is turning back the clock for a nostalgic trip to the late 20th century.  Get a blast from the past as you explore the house dressed for Christmas in the 70s and 80s: a riot of colour, with bright lights, baubles and tinsel galore.
Price: Normal admission applies
Places to stay: Take your pick from The Lodge at Hanbury, a postcard pretty cottage at the entrance to the estate or stay up in the attics of the Hall itself in the South Wing.

Attingham Park, Shropshire
Christmas at Attingham: Inspired by nature
30 Nov – 23 Dec, timed slots at 10am - 12noon, 12noon - 2pm, 2pm - 3.30pm
Inspired by nature and the creatures around us, discover the festively decorated 18th century mansion this Christmas.  Wander through the grand rooms to see each one brimming with decorations inspired by the natural world, and discover the ways that people have been inspired by nature at Attingham, both past and present. Outside there’s plenty to explore too, with 200 acres of parkland and woods to discover.
Price: Normal admission applies, booking essential via the website

Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire
Christmas Game on at Sudbury
22 Nov – 6 Jan, 11am – 5pm (last entry 4pm)
Board games are a part of many families’ Christmases and here at Sudbury you can play your way around the hall with larger-than-life versions of family favourites.  Rooms will be transformed into giant festive versions of classics like Cluedo, Guess Who? and Snakes and Ladders, while the museum’s collection of board games will be on display to bring back fond memories of Christmas past. Will you take on the challenge of the Sudbury Christmas Compendium, and maybe even win a prize?
Price: Normal admission applies (free for members, included in normal admission price for non-members)

East Of England

Blickling, Norfolk
Home for Christmas
30 Nov – 20 Dec, 11am - 7pm
Soak up the atmosphere at Blickling Estate this Christmas, with the beautiful tree lined drive, decorated house, garden of lights, festive gifts and tempting treats. Explore 400 years of Blickling history as you wander through rooms full of festive splendour, from 1620 through to the glitz and glamour of the 1920s and beyond. Head out into the garden and discover the spectacle of lights as you take an enchanting winter stroll. Warm up with mulled wine and a mince pie, then head inside for a spot of Christmas shopping.
Price: Normal admission applies
Places to stay: There are nine places to stay on the Blickling estate, including a Georgian manor house, a nineteenth century tower and estate workers’ cottages.

Felbrigg, Norfolk
Enchanted Felbrigg
6 - 8 & 13 – 15 December, 3pm - 7pm
Enchanted Felbrigg is back for another year to weave an air of festive fun throughout the estate. Follow a winter trail through the gardens and enchanted woodland, and enjoy the opportunity to unwind surrounded by nature. On your journey you'll be able to enjoy sounds, crafts, and storytelling.
Price: Adult £7, Child £3.50 for children over 5 years old.  National Trust Members free.

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
A Wimpole Christmas
Friday – Monday between 29 Nov - 23 Dec, 10.30am - 3.30pm
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.
Price: Normal admission applies

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Tinsel & Tweed
30 November – 5 January, see website for times
Step back in time to the 1960s, as Anglesey Abbey invites you to celebrate Christmas as Lord Fairhaven and his staff would have done. Let the smell of festive cooking in the Domestic Wing draw you through the house, meet the costumed interpreters who are cooking up a storm, and see the house dressed with sparkles and show-stopping Christmas trees. You can even lend a hand by creating your own decorations to add to the display.
Price: Normal admission applies booking essential

South West

Cotehele, Cornwall
The Christmas flower garland
16 Nov - 5 Jan (excluding 25 & 26 Dec), 11am - 4pm
When the residents of Cotehele first hung a modest, floral, Christmas display in the Tudor hall just over 60 years ago, little did they know how their simple decoration would become a beloved annual tradition. Come along to see this year’s 60ft garland, created by the National Trust gardeners and volunteers from 32,000 cut flowers that were all grown and dried on the estate.
Price: Normal admission applies
Places to stay: There are eight different holiday cottages at Cotehele and each has its own character. Two are at the house, two are at the mill, one is on the quay and three others are scattered in the woods. Four of the cottages welcome dogs too.

Dunster Castle, Somerset
A Christmas Castle
8, 14-15 & 20-23 Dec, 11am - 4pm
Visit Dunster Castle this Christmas, and you’ll be able to soak up the festive atmosphere as the Luttrell family would have in times gone by. See the Castle’s 19th century rooms dressed to reflect some of the stories from Dunster’s past, and enjoy live festive music on selected dates. Don't forget to stop off at the Tea-room for some festive food and to pick out the perfect present in the Stables shop.
Price: Normal admission applies
Places to stay: Newly opened Keeper’s House is traditional thatched cottage on the main approach to Dunster Castle, and within the castle grounds. Crammed with historical character and original features it sleeps five.

Dyrham Park, near Bath
An escape from Christmas present
30 Nov - 5 Jan (excluding 24 & 25 Dec), 10am - 4pm
Fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of modern Christmas? Step back in time at Dyrham to discover some 17th century winter traditions. There’ll be choirs in the church at weekends, children's trails through the parkland, a poetry trail, and subtle, scented decorations crafted from plants and dried flowers from around the park and garden.
Price: Normal admission applies

Castle Drogo, Devon
The First Christmas
30 Nov - 23 Dec, see website for times
After six years of building work, Christmas is coming back to Castle Drogo. The castle will be decorated for the festive season, just as the Drewe family would have experienced when they spent their first Christmas here in 1926.  On selected days little ones will be able to meet Father Christmas in the library, listen in as he reads a story, and even receive a special gift
Price: Normal admission applies, plus £5 for Meet Father Christmas sessions (includes present for each child. Booking essential)

Buckland Abbey, Devon
A tranquil Christmas at Buckland Abbey 
1 - 31 December, 10am - 4.30pm
Escape to Buckland Abbey this festive season, a place of peace and tranquillity. Reflect on the genuine Christmas under a constellation of a thousand willow wishing stars in the medieval Great Barn. At weekends, hear choirs fill the barn with music under a towering Christmas tree. Wander the Abbey and breathe in the scent of fresh foliage and citrus beautifully decorating the rooms. You’ll find Olde Father Christmas in the Great Hall at weekends, dressed in traditional green, telling children magical stories of Christmases gone by. Gather the family to enjoy festive crafts and a winter walking trail.
Price: Normal admission applies. Trails are £1 and there will be an additional charge for some of the crafts.

Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Illuminated garden
Wed – Sun between 4 Dec - 5 Jan (excluding 25 Dec), 4pm - 7pm
Experience Kingston Lacy during late night openings on Wednesdays – Sundays as the Formal Gardens are transformed by illuminations, interactive lights and festive music. Take a stroll around the gardens to see the glittering display inspired by stories of the Bankes family, who once lived here. Imagine yourself joining William John Bankes on his travels as you walk to the Obelisk, lit with hot pinks and bright oranges inspired by the desert sunsets of Egypt, or be transported to Japan in the Acer Glade, complete with Japanese lanterns. In Blind Walk you can have a go at making your own light display by pushing the buttons to light each tree.
Price: Normal admission applies
Places to stay: Pretty in pink, 524 Pamphill Green is hard to miss with its bright exterior and thatched roof. It sleeps four plus two dogs.

Corfe Castle, Dorset
Winter lights
Fri – Sun between 14 – 30 Dec, dusk - 7pm
Settled high on a hill, the ruins of Corfe Castle can be seen towering over the landscape for miles around. They’re even more magical at Christmas, when the whole castle will be illuminated by beacons, braziers and contemporary lighting, and brimming with festive atmosphere. For a real taste of Christmas you can share your seasonal wish on the wishing bridge, or tuck into treats by the log fire in the tea room.
Price: Normal admission applies
Places to stay: In Corfe Village you’ll find a former bakery and what was once the home of the groom to a medieval merchant’s house. While further afield, a choice including traditional farmhouses, former farm workers’ cottages and even a converted isolation hospital offer homes from home among the hills and heathland of the beautiful Isle of Purbeck.

Stourhead, Wiltshire
Christmas at Stourhead
Thu – Sun between 29 Nov - 8 Dec & daily between 12 - 24 & 26 - 30 Dec, 4.20 - 8pm
There’s something spectacular coming to Stourhead this Christmas. For the first time the tree-tops will glisten and the garden shimmer and sparkle. Wander beneath tree canopies drenched in colour and dripping with shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and baubles. There’ll be a few extra surprises too – including a Laser Garden and scented Fire Garden for a moment of reflection. Complete your walk under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate, or have a go on the traditional Victorian fairground rides.
Price: Adult £18, Child £12 (advanced price). Extra charges apply for refreshments and fairground rides. Booking essential
Places to stay: 89 Church Lawn is set at the entrance to the garden and allows guests to enjoy the garden before and after the day’s visitors. The living room with its open fire is a cosy place to relax, while the Spread Eagle pub is practically opposite and offers hearty suppers and real ales.

London and South East

Scotney Castle, Kent
Hussey family Christmas Eve
23 Nov - 5 Jan, 11am - 3pm
Experience a Victorian Christmas in the decorated festive home of the Hussey family. You’ll be able to imagine they’ve just stepped out, leaving the fires lit, table laid for the festive celebrations and toys left scattered on the floor. This majestic mansion  really comes alive this Christmas, while outside the romantic gardens, which include a moat and ruins of a medieval castle  look extra special with a sprinkling of sparkly frost
Price: Normal admission applies

Stowe, Buckinghamshire
12 days of Christmas
1 Dec - 5 Jan (except 24 & 25 Dec), 10am – 4pm
Celebrate Christmas Georgian-style at Stowe. Out in the garden you’ll discover 11 displays celebrating the tradition of the Twelfth Night, including wreaths and kissing boughs crafted out of natural foliage. The 12th final flourish is housed in the Temple of Concord and Victory,  where the lofty interior will be filled by a decorated feasting table, with lights, drama and the Twelfth Night king and queen.
Price: Normal admission applies

Polesden Lacey. Surrey
All That Glitters
15 Nov – 23 Jan, 10am – 5pm, open till 6pm Fri-Sat. 26 Dec – 6 Jan, 10am – 4pm.
This Christmas, see Polesden Lacey transformed with festive sparkle. Working with contemporary artists Neon and inspired by Mrs Greville’s amazing collection of diamonds, pearls, emeralds and more, see the rooms in the house brought to life as never before. The sparkle spills out into the grounds with a festive, glittering children’s trail; horse and carriage rides through the grounds and the chance to meet Father Christmas himself in his bejewelled grotto. Price: Normal admission applies. Booking essential to meet Father Christmas
Places to stay: Bang in the middle of the Polesden Lacey estate, next to the famous Edwardian rose garden, Garden Cottage is an ivy-clad Victorian detached cottage which is decorated in a modern farmhouse style with an open fire.

Mottisfont, Hampshire
An Enchanted Christmas with the Flower Fairies
23 Nov - 5 Jan, 10am – 4pm
Visit Mottisfont this Christmas and find yourself stepping into a fairy realm, inspired by Cicely Mark Barker’s exquisite Winter Flower Fairy paintings. See the house and grounds lit and dressed with beautiful decorations and native winter foliage, from holly and ivy to trailing old man’s beard. In the gallery you’ll find an exhibition of original Flower Fairy illustrations, and families will love the fairy-themed activity trail around the gardens
Price: £2 per trail. Normal admission applies

Nymans, West Sussex
Flights of fancy: The wondrous world of Quentin Blake
26 October to 19 April
Leap into a fantasy world with a new exhibition of the work of legendary illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. Featuring illustrations from Quentin’s self-penned books and artwork from his Art in Hospitals work, the exhibition is a reminder of the power of the imagination and how joy can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Over Christmas, the decorations at Nymans will take inspiration from ‘The Story of the Dancing Frog’ with a chorus line of froggy sculptures stepping out in the garden, created especially for Nymans in conjunction with Wild in Art.
Price: Normal admission applies
Places to stay: Woodlands Cottage is set within Nymans’ working woodland, a picturesque and cosy cottage it was built in 1863 and was once home to the estate’s gamekeeper.


Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Christmas at Dunham Massey
Selected dates 22 November – 30 December, see website for days and times
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Dunham Massey, and the gardens are all aglow with light for the third year running, with plenty of new surprises in store. Explore the garden for a magical outdoor, after-dark experience. There’ll be gigantic flowers, festive projections and trees lit up like fizzing fireworks, as well as returning favourites including the larger-than-life glittering deer, and the towering Tunnel of Light twinkling with thousands of pea-lights. Afterwards warm up with your favourite winter tipple, or enjoy some toasted marshmallows around one of the fire pits while the aroma of roasted chestnuts fills the air.
Price: Advance tickets Adult £17.50, Child (3–16) £11, Family (2 adults & 2 children) £54. Additional charge for refreshments. Booking essential via the website.

Speke Hall, Merseyside
Christmas past
29 & 30 November, 1, 6 - 8 & 13 - 15 December, 12.30pm – 4pm
It might be 2019, but Speke Hall hasn’t lost any of its festive Victorian style and traditions. See the outdoors come indoors as the rooms and corridors are decked out with handmade greenery garlands. It wouldn't be Christmas without a tree and the high ceilings in the Great Hall make it the perfect place for a showstopper. Even the servants’ quarters get spruced up with paper chains, and you can make your own traditional paper decoration to take home on Fridays or your little ones can have a go at making sugar mice at weekends.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

Wallington, Northumberland
Christmas at Wallington 
From 24 November – see website for detailed dates and times
Searching for that special festive experience this Christmas? Join the celebrations in full swing at Wallington, where the house is decked out in beautiful decorations and colourful lights. Listen to festive music, tuck into delicious treats fresh from the Aga then head outside to snap a picture of yourself in the sleigh pulled by beautiful willow reindeer. Visit on Friday and Saturday evenings to experience the mansion after dark and see the 30ft illuminated tree in the courtyard surrounded by thousands of twinkly lights.
Price: Normal admission charges apply, with reduced admission after 4pm for the twilight evenings, adult £5, child £2.50.
Places to stay: Nestled in the heart of the estate, Bolt Cottage is surrounded by trees that are home to a population of around 150 red squirrels with their own Red Squirrel Ranger.

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Yorkshire
Festive Fountains
Weekends 23 November – 22 December, see website for times
Enjoy a festive all-day adventure at Fountains Abbey. Have a warming breakfast on the lakeside at Studley tea-room before exploring the wintery water garden.  See the colourful lights bathing the abbey ruins, hear a choir or band at Music and Lights.  Sing carols in the abbey cellarium by candlelight and see the deer munching on their winter feed by St Mary’s Church.  Discover a 1930s Christmas at Fountains Hall, where you can make your own paper chain or  dove decoration, play games or dress up as they would have done in the 1930s. You can also enjoy a festive tale with Father Christmas on certain days and receive a special gift.
Price: Normal admission charges apply. £10 per child to see Father Christmas, booking essential
Places to stay: There are fourteen places to choose from at Fountains, including apartments in the Hall, a cluster of converted barns (perfect for multi-generational breaks) and traditional postcard-pretty 17th century stone cottages.


Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
O Christmas Tree…
16 Nov - 5 Jan, 10am - 4pm
This Christmas the story of Dyffryn will be brought to life with a trail of decorated trees dotted around the house and gardens. You can also have a go at playing the all-natural musical instruments and identifying some seeds, or even make a special Christmas wish. After you’ve completed the trail, don’t forget to stop off at the café to warm up with delicious festive food and drink.
Price: Normal admission applies

Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Christmas of Make Believe
30 Nov to 5 Jan (except 25 Dec & 1 Jan), 10am – 4pm
Enter a world of make-believe at Chirk Castle this Christmas. Follow the footsteps of the six children of Lord and Lady Howard de Walden as you explore the castle decked out for a 1920s Christmas with a fantasy twist. The house will be decorated with theatrical-themed trees, reflecting the family’s tradition of putting on festive pantomimes. Outside you can follow the fairy tale trail through the gardens and see how many of the stories you can name.  There’ll also be parlour games, music and dress-up to get you into the festive spirit.
Places to stay: Make a weekend of it and stay in a 1930s villa with spectacular views along Offa’s Dyke or stay just meters from the castle in a traditional stone cottage.

Christmas at Tredegar House
30 November – 22 December, 11am - 4pm
Travel through time and explore traditions of Christmas of the 1840s in this beautifully decorated mansion house. There’ll be traditional garlands, wreaths and a twinkling Christmas tree around every corner. Indulge your nostalgia with seasonal crafts, or warm up with a glass of mulled wine and homemade mince pie.
Price: Normal admission applies. Additional charge for refreshments and donation for crafts

Powis Castle, Powys
Illuminated Garden
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 6-22 December, 5pm - 9pm (last entry 8pm)
Looking for a way to brighten up those dark winter nights? Why not take a stroll around Powis’ spectacular illuminated garden after dark, with plenty of sparkling lights to lift the gloom? Afterwards you can head inside and step back in time as you explore the castle’s ornate state rooms decorated for a 1940s Christmas. The Courtyard Restaurant and shop will also be open so you can warm up with a festive tipple or wrap up your Christmas shopping.
Price: Adult £7.50, Child £3.75, Family (2A, 2C) £18.75, Family (1A, 3C) £11.25. Free to members.
Places to stay: The Bothy is a beautiful Edwardian cottage, set within Powis’ picturesque Edwardian formal garden. With four bedrooms and sleeping up to seven people, it's an ideal place to stay when visiting.

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