Seagulls, crocheted vegetables and terracotta pots: New National Trust Christmas Wreath Challenge inspires festive creativity

Press release
A nautical themed wreath at Souter lighthouse
Published : 11 Dec 2020 Last update : 14 Dec 2020

The National Trust is putting a new twist on the traditional wreath this festive season, with staff and volunteers across the UK creating unique wreaths as part of a new Christmas Wreath Challenge.

Featuring everything from archaeology trowels and felt red squirrels to wooden seagulls and crocheted vegetables, the wreaths aim to capture each house, garden or landscape’s particular personality and story.

Lucy Footer, the Trust’s National Public Programmes Producer, says: ‘This year we haven’t been able to welcome people to our usual local wreath-making workshops, but we still wanted to find a way to share the creativity of our Christmas wreathmaking elves.

‘Dozens of our wreathmakers have come up with creations inspired by their favourite places, which we'll be sharing through our social media pages during December. People wanting to have a go themselves at home can tune in to a live wreath demonstration on our Facebook page on 15th December.’ 

Souter Lighthouse, Tyne & Wear, sports a nautical-themed wreath, complete with seagulls and beach huts and fairy lights to give an evening sparkle. As the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity, the red-and-white hooped beacon was a marvel of its age.

Visitors to Bateman’s, the East Sussex family home of Rudyard Kipling, are greeted with a charming hand-crocheted wreath depicting Peter Rabbit, complete with radishes, carrots and lettuces. The vegetable garden here is a remnant from the Second World War when much of this part of the garden was dug over and made productive to feed hungry mouths. Kipling’s The Glory of the Garden was inspired in part by his own efforts to create a garden for his children to play in and his family and friends to enjoy.

Appropriately, Sutton Hoo’s wreath takes archaeology as its theme. It was at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk that one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time was made, when in summer 1939, archaeologists uncovered an Anglo-Saxon royal burial of incomparable richness. It went on to revolutionise our understanding of early England. The wreath includes a tape measure, brushes and a trowel, pottery sherds and newspaper headlines from the time, reflecting the painstaking work of the archaeologists and the excitement their find sparked.

The team at Hidcote in Gloucestershire have drawn on the bounty of the world-famous Arts and Crafts garden to create their all-natural wreaths, with each base woven from lime twigs collected during autumn pruning. Visitors can see 12 themed wreaths featuring hydrangeas, dried oranges, herbs and feathery pampas grass – the wreath on the Kitchen Garden gate, a visitor favourite, has been cleverly made from terracotta pots.

And the Christmas feast hasn’t been forgotten: at Greenway, Agatha Christie’s Devon holiday home, the kitchen door is hung with a plum pudding wreath crafted from white, brown and red wool pom poms.

Lucy continues: ‘We hope that even where we can’t welcome visitors inside this Christmas, they can still enjoy the wreaths and the ‘spirit of place’ that we’ve tried to capture with each one.’