Imagine childhood images of Christmas, picture books, movies and greeting cards and chances are you'll be thinking about Christmas with the National Trust.
These are the kinds of settings and houses that are The National Trust's stock in trade. As one of the UK's most important organizations for the protection and preservation of its stately homes, historic houses, important landscapes and gardens, the National Trust maintains dozens of 16th, 17th and 18th-century manors, Victorian and Edwardian country estates. It's hard to imagine more appropriate settings for gigantic Christmas trees, punch bowls full of mulled wine, Christmas music and all the other festive elements of the holiday season.
Spending Christmas with the National Trust
The National Trust agrees and, every year many of its most important homes and landscapes are open for special events throughout the holiday season. There are decorating and Christmas cooking workshops, late night gift shopping, Christmas concerts and special meals, Dickens readings and lots of twinkling, decorated houses and gardens.
Here are just a few of the 2019 highlights
(Hint: Click on "What's On" links at each property's website for full details):
- Attingham Park The fascinating and recently restored Shropshire house, near Shrewsbury, goes back to nature for Christmas 2019 with Inspired by Nature. Decorations throughout the house will feature natural materials and trees throughout the house will be themed: the seasons, winter wildlife, exotic creatures and natural decorations. Father Christmas will be holding court in his study and several special, twilight, after school visits are planned.Advance booking is essential and Christmas celebrations end December 23.
- Waddesdon Manor, the spectacular Rothschild party house, always does amazing decorations over the holiday season. For 2019, they've turned the lawns into rivers of light for a Winter Light Trail and created magical illuminated woodlands throughout the grounds. The theme is Christmas music, with one of the many Christmas trees made of sheet music and room decorations inspired by Christmas carols. There's a Christmas Fair, a wigwam with warming refreshments and great new giant baubles that make perfect Instagram selfie frames. See what else is on at Waddesdon.
- Tyntesfield This Victorian Gothic Revival fantasy of a house is located in North Somerset, near Bristol. Their full schedule of holiday events in December has something for everyone in the family. All themed around a Very Victorian Christmas. The house will have late openings when a Christmas menu will feature in its cafe. Santa will visit and a Cinderella-themed event for tots was planned. Festivities last from mid November 26 Until January 5.
- Trerice A Tudor Father Christmas will be telling tales and sending young audience members home with brown paper packages tied up with string on selected dates at this treasure of a Tudor house. Plus are several dates are available to join "Sir John Arundell" in 1573 to feast on a three-course banquet in his fine new house, with period music and entertainments.
- Polesden Lacey At this house, once owned by the unbelievably wealthy and scandalous Margaret Greville, jewels decorate room after room of stunning decorations. In 2019, they are inspired by Mrs. Greville's own collection. Her diamonds were so spectacular she left some to the royal family. The house belonged to a famous Edwardian hostess, Mrs. Greville and the late Queen Mother spent her honeymoon there. She thought the house was delicious. Unusually for a National Trust property in winter, Polesden Lacey - house, gardens, grounds, shop and cafe - is open throughout the month of December.
- Castle Ward, Co. Down, Northern Ireland Santa and Mrs. Claus are welcoming visitors to their new home during selected dates in December. In 2019 the theme is a Georgian Christmas featuring the servants' celebrations and chores as well as the upstairs family. There's a murder mystery evening as well.
- The Christmas Garland at Cotehele The famous 60-foot long garland has more than 36,000 dried flowers, all grown in Cotehele's gardens. They've been making it at this Cornwall house and garden for more than 60 years. Throughout the festive season, different choirs, bell ringers and musical ensembles perform under the garland. This house's holiday schedule is so jam-packed that it starts in November. There's a food fair, a Father Christmas Trail, arts and crafts activities, and a chance to visit Mr. and Mrs. Claus at home. Follow a Christmas trail to the Cotehele Mill for a hands-on Victorian Family Christmas with lots of activities for children. On December 21, you can don fancy dress and join the wassailing party to scare away evil spirits in the orchard.
- Killerton The Night Before Christmas is the theme in 2019 at this Devon house transformed, inside and out, plus twinkling lights decorating the grounds.Stop off in the dressing room to don some seasonal fancy dress, then follow a sparkling trail throughout the grounds.