Christmas in Kent
Look out for giant The Snowman™ sculptures at Knole, and step back in time for a Tudor Christmas at Ightham Mote. Enter a magical storybook world at Chartwell, or join the Swinging Sixties Christmas party at Scotney Castle. At Quebec House there's twinkling lights, greenery and a Georgian feast.
Celebrate the swinging sixties this Christmas, with gorgeous glittering trees and rarely-seen items from Scotney's vast collection. See original 1960s' outfits, stunning silverware and avant-garde decorations inspired by the decade known for flamboyance and excess. The house will be beautifully illuminated at special evening openings (5 to 8pm on 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 December, see website for details). Families with little ones will be enchanted by the ‘Sixties Snowmen’ trail in the garden. 25 November to 1 January (closed 24 & 25 December). Selected dates only for some activities, see website for details. Normal admission applies.
Step into a magical storybook world, seen through the eyes of Sir Winston Churchill’s beloved daughter. A room full of clocks, a shadow on the stairs and perhaps a crocodile tail… see if you can spot the book references on your way round the beautifully decorated house. In the Walled Garden, meet characters from classic children's books. Play games, solve riddles, and plan the ultimate Christmas dinner party. Pop by for carol singing at the weekends. 25 November to 23 December 2023 (normal admission applies).
Immerse yourself in the sights, scents and sounds of Ightham’s Christmasses past. There are traditional carols in the courtyard, cosy late-night openings and workshops. Families will love the new trail and dressing up box, not to mention the chance of meeting Father Christmas himself. 18 November to Sunday 7 January (closed 24 & 25 December). Selected dates only for some activities, see website for details. Normal admission applies.
Inspired by Raymond Briggs' timeless festive tale, The Snowman™, this winter at Knole you can discover 12 giant The Snowman™ sculptures in the parkland and courtyards, each designed by a contemporary artist. Knole’s historic Great Hall and selected Showrooms will be sumptuously decorated for Christmas too, and the Gatehouse Tower will have a 1930s inspired festive atmosphere. Walking with The Snowman™ at Knole is presented by the National Trust and Wild in Art in collaboration with Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House UK). Sculpture trail runs Wed 15 Nov to Sun 7 Jan. Showrooms decorated Sat 18 Nov to Sat 23 Dec. Pre-book tickets to guarantee entry (including members), normal admission applies.
On weekends in December, experience the magic of Christmas through the eyes of the Wolfe children. Handmade displays including a puppet tent, whimsical boats and a spectacular gingerbread creation of Quebec House itself will transport you back to an 18th century Christmas as enjoyed by young James and Edward, aged seven and eight. Treat yourself to hot chocolate Georgian-style with port or spice, and a mince pie. House open weekends in December (closed 23 & 24 December), 11am to 2pm. Normal admission applies.
‘Anta’ Claus has been incredibly busy this year. Now he needs all his ants to help him make presents across the kingdom. Inspired by the name 'emmett', which comes from a local word for ant, follow the willow sculpture scenes around the 19th century garden to discover how the ants prepare for Christmas. Look out for surprise sightings of Christmas characters and stop by the picture-perfect spot on the ants’ sleigh. Join the Willow Reindeer Workshop on 19 & 20 December, 10.30am to 12.30pm (ages 8+, booking essential). 2 to 31 December, £2 per trail plus normal admission.
See Bateman’s house dressed for a traditional Christmas, with real Christmas trees, fresh floral displays, twinkly lights and golden decorations inspired by Rudyard Kipling and his writing. See if you can spot the paraphernalia of Kipling the writer - the manuscripts, typewriters, fountain pens, spectacles, and ink wells that were the tools of his trade - creatively displayed around the house in all its magical Christmas finery. Head out into the garden for a new family trail inspired by the Kipling family Christmas. 18 November to 1 January (closed 24 & 25 December), normal admission applies.
Enjoy a magical Christmas at 14th century Bodiam Castle. With trees lining the courtyard, twinkling lights all around and atmospheric tower rooms, immerse yourself in the festive spirit. You’ll find Father Christmas’ sleigh in the courtyard, live Christmas music, a new festive family trail, crafts and storytelling. 25 November to Monday 1 January (closed 24 & 25 December), 10am to 3pm. Selected dates only for some activities, see website for details. Normal admission applies.
Red-bricked Lamb House in the heart of Rye will be transformed with Christmas trees, lights, decorations and objects reminiscent of the colourful 1970s when award-winning author Rumer Godden lived there. Inspired by her Christmas tale ‘The Fairy Doll’, there will be contemporary toys, family crafts, opportunities to decorate the Christmas tree and weekly storybook readings. Runs 27 November to 20 December (closed Thursdays).