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Step In To Christmas Past With The National Trust

  • Written by Editor

national trust at christmasChristmas with the National Trust is a time of warmth and celebration, tradition and excitement. Historic houses and gardens invite you in to celebrate the coming of the festive season, where you’ll discover sparkling landscapes filled with hand-made decorations and winter greenery, wonderful old stories and inspiring new experiences.

There’s loads on offer especially for children, from seasonal craft-making activities and visits from Father Christmas, to themed adventure trails through our houses and gardens. You’ll also find seasonal homemade treats in our cafes, and shops fully stocked with gifts to suit all pockets.

Enter into the past this Christmas, and help their work as a charity protect these amazing places for the future.

Mottisfont

The Twelve Days of Christmas: 26 November – 3 January (closed 24 & 25 December), normal admission charge only

This winter, The Twelve Days of Christmas come alive at Mottisfont, where the stage is set for a flamboyant Christmas party with plenty of sparkle. Discover beautifully decorated rooms and gardens inspired by the classic song, from the glittery dresses of ‘Nine ladies dancing’ to beautiful bird decorations, even ‘Seven swan a-swimming’ on Mottisfont’s river. There are fancy dress costumes for children to try on too, and an ornate gold picture frame in which to pose for a unique ‘historic’ photograph.

Kids can create their very own ‘Lords a-leaping’ on Mottisfont’s new activity trail. It’s packed with things to find and do, from drumming drums to playing pipes, as it takes families through all the song’s famous verses.

Hinton Ampner

The Story of Christmas Traditions: 3 – 19 December (house closed 20-27 December, entire property closed 24 & 25 December), normal admission charge only (plus £2 for family trail). Guided winter walks: 26 December 10.30am & 1 January 1pm, £15, book on 0344 249 1895

Hinton Ampner is like a jewel box at Christmas, full of sparkling decorations and a festive story to tell. This winter is no exception; each ground room is beautifully transformed with lots of sparkle to illustrate some of our favourite Christmas traditions, from bulging stockings and twinkling trees, to sumptuously wrapped presents and the legend that is Father Christmas. A highlight is Hinton’s very own Punch and Judy display, celebrating the annual entertainment that former owner Ralph Dutton would host for the village children.

Outside, children can follow an Advent calendar-themed trail around the gardens in search of 25 boxes, each one containing something hidden inside (£2 per trail).

After Christmas, enjoy Hinton’s beautiful winter landscape on a Boxing Day or New Year’s Day guided walk led by Hinton’s knowledgeable head gardener, and with warming hot chocolate and shortbread.

Uppark House and Garden

A Servants’ Christmas: 3 December to 6 January (closed 7 & 25 December)

Meet Father Christmas, 10, 11, 18 December, 11am – 3pm, £5 per child including gift, booking essential on 0344 249 1895. Family festive trail: 3 December to 6 January, £2. Christmas lunches: 5 – 23 December, from £15 to £25, book on 01730 825 415

This winter Uppark introduces you to the world of a Victorian Christmas ‘below stairs’. Find your way to the bustling servants’ quarters through the underground tunnels, and discover how they’re preparing for the family’s festive season ‘upstairs’. Even the famous dolls’ house is dressed with miniature decorations. If you visit Uppark on its opening weekend, you’ll be welcomed by real Victorian servants!

Are we still using Victorian servants’ traditions today? Find out all sorts of fascinating facts about a 19th-century Christmas on Uppark’s new family trail around the house and gardens (£2). On 10, 11 and 18 December the stables are transformed into a wooded wonderland, where Father Christmas will be waiting to give little ones a small festive gift. In the house kids can have a go at stirring Christmas puddings and practicing historic table etiquette.

From 5 to 23 December, you can book a delicious traditional Christmas lunch in Uppark’s café. Choose from favourites like roast turkey with all the trimmings, chocolate and cardamon tart and Christmas pudding. Next door, the shop is filled with festive treats, from tree decorations and Christmas ale to soft woollen blankets and the brand new National Trust Monopoly game.

Winchester City Mill

Christmas at Winchester City Mill: 17 24 December (closed 25 – 31 December)

Seasonal baking demonstrations: 10 & 17 December, 11am – 3pm; Alder Valley brass band and carols: 10 December, 11am – 3pm; Christmas tree decoration-making: 3 & 4 December, 12-2pm; Mischievous elves family trail: 17 – 24 December

At Christmas, this cosy working watermill is beautifully decorated with a huge sparkling tree and pretty window displays. There’s nothing more festive than the aroma of warm spices and baking, and at baking demonstrations on 10 and 17 December you can find out how to make delicious seasonal treats using the Mill’s freshly ground flour. Taste the results and take away the Mill’s new Christmas Celebration Cake recipe card to try out at home.

Kids can get crafty and make festive decorations with a Christmas wish to hang on the Mill’s tree (3 & 4 December). A new festive-themed family trail challenges kids to hunt for Father Christmas’s mischievous elves, who are hidden around the Mill.

On 10 December there’s a chance to join in the carols at the Mill, accompanied by a jolly brass band playing all your festive favourites, accompanied by mulled wine and mince pies 12 – 3pm. In the shop you’ll find made-up beautifully made-up hampers filled with an assortment of gifts – the perfect Christmas present.

The Vyne

Behind the scenes at The Vyne this Christmas: 5 December – 1 January (closed 24 & 25 December)

This Christmas, you’ll have a unique opportunity to experience The Vyne as it’s never been seen before, as the huge roof project to save this former Tudor ‘powerhouse’ and its precious contents gets underway.

Outside, a new family trail takes kids on a seasonal adventure to find out about Christmas in Tudor times (£1 per trail). Guided winter walks invite you on a stroll through ancient woods, followed by warming mulled wine and mince pies (1, 8 & 15 December, 1-3pm, £10, book on 01256 883858). You’ll find the shop filled with festive gifts, and the Brewhouse café serving delicious seasonal treats such as festive bakes.

The house itself is shrouded in scaffolding and, whilst the first floor rooms are closed, several ground floor show rooms have been transformed into large open store rooms brimming with antiques to explore up close. Discover fascinating stories about past inhabitants and visitors including King Henry VIII, as the house immerses you in historical moments from its colourful past.

Mompesson House (Salisbury)

A Georgian Christmas at Mompesson House: 26 November – 18 December, Thursday to Sunday

Pretty Mompesson House, set in Salisbury Cathedral Close, is opening its doors at Christmas for the second year. Immerse yourself in a traditional Georgian-style Christmas, and find out how Mompesson’s Georgian families celebrated the season.

Discover beautiful natural decoration from fresh foliage and fruit, authentic party games and festive food. In the garden tea-room there’s mince pies and mulled wine to enjoy, whilst youngsters have a new Christmas trail to explore.

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