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Christmas at Scotney Castle

A little girl in a red jumper meeting Santa
Experience the magic of meeting Santa at Scotney Castle | © Arnhel de Serra

Scotney is stepping back to the Swinging Sixties with a decorated Christmas house full of twinkling trees, memorabilia from years gone by, tinsel, colour, lights, feasting and fun. For younger visitors there is Carrot & Co Scotney snowmen family-friendly outdoor trail and the opportunity to write to Santa.

Enjoy Christmas at Scotney

Christmas in the House

25 November to 1 January, daily from 11am to 3.30pm (last entry 3pm)

Join Christopher and Betty as they host a special Christmas get-together for their guests.

Christopher has pulled himself away from revisions to a new edition of his book, 'The Picturesque' while Cordon Bleu-trained Betty is making final adjustments to the menu. The table is set for a festive dinner, glittering in the light of the towering Christmas tree, and drinks are being served to the first arrivals in the Library. Upstairs preparations are afoot for a private family Christmas Day and a post-Christmas holiday.

As well as seasonal room sets and lots of sparkly decorated trees, visitors will see some of Scotney's very special collection pieces, including stunning Hussey family silverware, artwork by John Ward RA and John Piper, friends and contemporaries of Betty and Christopher, and some of Betty's amazing original 1960s' outfits.

Find out more about Christmas at Scotney here.

For visitors who find low light levels difficult, we recommend arriving between 2.30pm and 3pm when the light levels will be raised.

Lights and late night opening

16, 17, 20, 21 and 22 December, 5–8pm (last entry 7.30pm)

Visit Scotney after hours to get the full Christmas experience with our special late night opening. See the mansion house illuminated, enjoy glittering trees, sparkling decorations and beautiful lights,explore the mansion house decorated for a 1960s' Christmas, browse the shop for gorgeous gifts and Christmas homeware, and enjoy some tasty treats in the cosy tea-room (last service 7pm).

For more details visit Scotney Late Night & Lights.

Carrot & Co: Find the Scotney snowmen in our family outdoor trail

25 November–7 January

Whether you need to run off pre-Christmas excitement or blow away post-Christmas cobwebs, our 'Carrot & Co' trail in the garden is perfect for families. Younger visitors will love finding our special Scotney snowmen dotted around the garden, while older visitors will enjoy the light-hearted nod to 1960s' culture. The trail is included in your general admission (free for NT members) and runs 25 November to 7 January. Check for details at Carrot & Co - the Scotney Snowmen

Letters to Santa

25 November - 23 December

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read ... and something to eat too!

With festive writing paper, special envelopes, seasonal stamps and stickers, and polar postbox all set up and ready, this free event is a perfect pre-Christmas activity for little ones. Either write the letter in the shop, or grab a hot chocolate and something tasty to eat and compose the letter by the fire in the tea-room. You can find out more at Letters to Santa | National Trust.

Santa's Storytime (18–21 December) - now fully booked

Santa is setting up his 'Santa HQ' in the old castle and, although he and the elves are really busy getting ready for Christmas, he'll be sharing his one of his favourite stories in a few special bookable small group gatherings.

Little ones will snuggle down for a cosy Christmas story before chatting to the big man himself and receiving an early Christmas present, while accompanying adults can snap a family photo by the decorated Christmas tree. After meeting Santa, one of the elves will take everyone off to the tea-room for a delicious hot chocolate and gingerbread.

Santa will be at Scotney from Monday 18 to Thursday 21 December, with story sessions at 10am and 11am. Tickets cost £16 and include Santa meet, greet, and storytime, age-appropriate Christmas gift, hot chocolate and gingerbread biscuit.

Booking is essential and is now open Santa's Storytime | National Trust.

We know tickets for this event will fly faster than Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve so book early to avoid disappointment. And do remember to book your car parking too to guarantee entry to the site - you can do this up to four weeks in advance of your visit Book my car parking.

(Please note we can only accommodate a maximum of two adults per family. Bulky items such as rucksacks or pushchairs must be left outside. The experience will last around 30 minutes from arrival at the old castle; one of Santa's helpers will meet ticketholders at the giant candy cane at Visitor Entrance. See Booking information for details.)

Festive feasting

Why not celebrate the festive season with special get-togethers with family and friends and Scotney's very popular Christmas lunches? Christmas lunches must be pre-booked and are available weekdays in the Coach House tea-room from Monday 27 November to Friday 15 December.

Take a look at the festive menu and then make your reservation. Booking is essential and please make sure that the person making the reservation knows each party member's meal choices as they will be asked to add this information at the time of booking. A £10 deposit will be taken to secure your reservation; the balance is payable by cash or card on the day. We regret that dogs will not be allowed in the tea-room over this period.

Do remember to book your car parking too to guarantee entry to the site - you can do this up to four weeks in advance of your visit Book my car parking.

Good to know

You can find more information about all the Christmas events at Scotney on our What's On pages What's on | National Trust.

The whole site, including the car park, is closed on 24 and 25 December. We'll be back on Boxing Day for 'Twixmas' estate walks, garden strolls, family get-togethers and more sparkly trees in the mansion house.

To guarantee entry to the site at this busy time of year on your preferred day and time do pre -book your car parking. You can do this up to four weeks in advance of your visit: Book my car parking.

A twinkling Christmas tree with wrapped presents underneath.
A twinkling Christmas tree with wrapped presents underneath | © John Millar
A small child playing in autumn leaves

Family days out at Scotney Castle 

Explore a moated castle, discover hidden paths and natural play areas, take a walk over the estate or get involved with a packed programme of family-friendly events and activities.

Autumn leaves in the foreground at Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst, Kent, with the ruins of the fourteenth-century moated castle in the distance

Parking at Scotney 

The only way to guarantee entry to this fairy-tale castle and garden is to book your car parking in advance. Learn how to do this, plus what to do if you're arriving by other means.